A Letter to My Savior

Dear Jesus,

It’s Holy Week and I admit that it’s only around this time that I get to meditate on your crucifixion and resurrection. It doesn’t come naturally for me to recall what You’ve done. And for that I’m sorry. :( I know that a sacrifice like that deserves more than just a few days of recollection. It deserves a daily expression of gratitude. When I opened my Bible today, I asked You to highlight something for me about Your journey to Calvary and Luke 22:42-44 seemed to jump right out of the pages.

Luke 22:42-44 NIV

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

gethsemane

I tend to forget that You were as much human as we are when You came here on earth. You are both God and man. I admit that I have trivialized Your human side. The very thing that made us common, at least for a short while. Being human is hard, I can attest to that. I have never experienced a perfect life nor seen a perfect world the way Adam and Eve had. You know what it feels like to be pristine, pure, and perfect. Yet You chose to be dirty, filthy, and wretched like the rest of us.

I’ve had my own share of pain, suffering, and betrayal but not in the magnitude that You had Yours. Seeing what the future holds at that moment might have been a curse after all and not a blessing. You knew what You will go through. You could feel the stabbing betrayal of Your trusted friends, the seething pain of scourging, the tormenting anguish of being deserted by Your father, and the blinding darkness of death. You begged and cried for one last time for God to bail You out. Your plea was so intense that instead of beads of sweat, drops of blood fell on the ground.

portrait-of-jesus

Yet in that moment of bargaining, when You had every reason to give up, You yielded to Your Father’s will. You showed me that part of using Your free will is choosing to finish what You’ve started. It’s not about giving up in the middle of the battle. It’s about pressing on and going against fear, doubt, and hopelessness. It’s about seeing the victory at the end and not letting the blood and bruises stop You from fighting.

And You were fighting for us. You were fighting for me. You were thinking about my name and my future with You. You knew that if You walk away, we will be lost for good. Hope will never be a part of our vocabulary. We will never see the sense in saying “things will be better” because it will never be. It was a make or break negotiation for You. You had the option to impose Your will and say, “I can’t.” But You didn’t. You resolved in Your heart that You’d do it regardless.

Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for not giving up on mankind. Thank You for dying for us. Thank You for defeating death by coming back to life. Thank You for showing us that we have victory over sin and death because You did it for us. The cross and the empty tomb remind us that we are forgiven and redeemed. Your triumph gives us confidence that we can surpass anything because You’re alive and You’re with us.

stained glass heart

I may not say it that much but I want You to know that I’m very grateful for Your sacrifice. I know I’m one of Your far too many delinquent children and I’m humbled and up to now still baffled by Your encompassing love. Thank You for Your grace that never ends. Thank You that I can face each day full of hope because of who You are and what You’ve done. Thank You that You love with no questions nor limitations. And most of all thank You for giving Your life for me even if I don’t deserve it.

I love You, Jesus. I may have failed You so many times but this frail human being before You loves You with all her broken pieces. By Your blood You have restored all my shards, making a beautiful stained glass depicting a portrait of a redeemed life. Thank You, Jesus, for being my Savior, my Lord, and my everything. :)

Your Child,
Ivy

 

Toddler Tasks: These little hands can do big things!

Ivy San Diego-Guerrero:

So inspired by this blog from my good friend Diane. :) Lots of tasks for tots! Can’t wait to let Timmy try them! :)

Originally posted on whenhippostalk:

When you live a busy life, sometimes it’s easier to do things yourself. You get things done quicker and just the way you want it. Juggling between nursing and caring for a newborn and running around after a toddler, it’s easier for me to finish the chores, put away the dishes, fold the clothes and clean up the toys while the kids are napping instead of waiting for my 22 month old to wake up and help me. But by doing everything myself, what am I teaching him?
What if I actually waited for him to do it? It shows him that mommy trusts him to do big tasks. That she believes that I can do it by myself and that I am able! Oftentimes, I’m tempted to put away the dishes from the dishwasher so when my son wakes up, we can read a book or play or do…

View original 1,500 more words

Timmy Learns to Read

Timmy is officially a reader! I want to share his reading journey to other moms out there who want to get their babies started on this reading habit. :) My husband and I are both avid readers. So when Timmy was born we knew that the perfect toy for him would be books! Haha! So geeky! Anyway, he had a cloth book, bath book, foam books, board books, and anything with pages on them. :)

Exposure

We would read to him a lot. I would use different voices to make it livelier. :) I’m the more animated storyteller between my hubby and me. Haha! We also encouraged him to do whatever he wants with his books from biting them to sometimes ripping the pages accidentally. We would just tape his books so he could use it again. Usually, the more battered the book is, the more frequent Timmy uses it. We also make sure that Timmy sees us read. He knows where daddy and mommy’s books are. We have different shelves so that he knows which ones belong to him and which ones are classified as untouchables. Haha!

20140405_090517

He also developed an early liking for letters so we bought letter toys and blocks and exposed him to colorful letter flash cards. By the time he’s around 16 months old, he already knew the alphabet. Just like any new mom, I really don’t know how to teach reading. All I know is that consistent exposure to books and letters would be helpful. This approach is time consuming because it’s guided teaching. I needed to really spend time reading to him and teaching him about the alphabet. Unlike with gadgets, you can leave your kid and he’ll be fine with educational games. But with reading, you need to sit down and be extra animated to lengthen their five-second attention span. :)

Phonics

So I did what other modern moms do, I googled. Haha! Yup, I googled “how to teach your child to read.” Tadaaaah! Phonics! Of course, it’s phonics! I realized that as adults, reading comes so naturally to us that we tend to forget how challenging it was when we were starting. I honestly don’t remember how I learned to read. All I have are images of our bookshelf and the hardbound story books that my mom completed (and repaired) for us over the years. I remember reading them repeatedly, too!

IMG_20140314_161518

One of the things we noticed about Timmy is that he learns better and faster with songs. So, I did again what other 21st century moms do, I went to YouTube! Haha! I typed, “phonics songs for kids” and voila! A buffet of phonics videos appeared on my screen! The key now is choosing the right videos. What better way to test a video’s effectiveness than by letting Timmy watch them. I initially picked three videos and observed his response. He ended up liking the videos from KidsTV123. :) We downloaded the phonics videos that he liked and sang them together wherever we go (even without the actual video)! :)

20140406_153647

In a few months, our little boy already mastered phonics through phonics songs! We also had an alphabet video customized for Timmy. :) When we’re out, we try to look for things that begin with A along with the rest of the letters. At 24 months, we we’re ready to combine phonics sounds. :) I searched and tried different sites and copied their techniques. Some were really good but Timmy couldn’t seem to grasp the idea of combining phonics sounds just yet. He was even honest enough to say if he didn’t like the phonics technique I was using and I won’t mention where I got it because it’s actually a good site!

Bottom line, I didn’t force it. I allowed him to just practice and master his phonics sounds and alphabets. We sang and read together until finally God gave me a brilliant idea. :)

Making it personal

Over the past three years, I’ve learned to understand my son’s learning preferences. He likes to learn when it’s personal and when you do it together. So, I channelled my former corporate girl self and made Powerpoint presentations for him! The first slide for each presentation says TIMMY LEARNS TO READ. :) That alone made him excited and giddy. And yes, if you want a copy of the Powerpoint I can email them to you. :) We started to read them together and combine the sounds together and I was surprised that he got it almost immediately!

I guess it helped that he mastered the individual sounds first and used it in different words. :) Since he already understood the concept of using the “A” (ah) sound, it became easy for him to combine the rest of the vowels with consonants (e.g. ba, be, bi, bo, bu). We mastered it for three months before moving to three-letter words. :) Here’s a video of Timmy reading them. I’ve also learned that repetition is always good because it makes it easy for your child to transition from one stage to another once there’s already mastery of the concept. :)

PhotoGrid_1396404858368

To make reading even more enjoyable for him, I also made letter pops and reading cards for him. I got the letter pops idea from Pinterest while the reading cards were mine. :) It’s heartwarming that Timmy looks for them and actually uses them! My letter pops actually became puppet pops because he likes it when I hide the letters first and make them come out slowly before he reads the word. :) Haha! Soon we’ll be moving to four-letter and multi-syllabic words and I have a pending customized project for him. :)

PhotoGrid_1396492393294

Humbling the mommy

Teaching Timmy is a very humbling experience. I had to set aside the way I want to do things so I can observe him and see what makes learning easy and enjoyable for him. God has been teaching me that it’s all about Him and His work in our child and I’m just but an instrument. If a certain technique doesn’t work then I need to look for something else and not force the “seemingly effective” one on him. I have so many fears with homeschooling—the greatest being Timmy not learning anything from me. My husband is a teacher so I’m sure he can teach Timmy anything. I don’t have those trainings and qualifications which make me feel unqualified.

CYMERA_20140406_154946

In the end, God has taught me to be totally dependent on Him. He made me realize that being Timmy’s mom is my qualification. Knowing his character, temperaments, interests, and inclinations is my advantage over teachers in regular schools. Homeschooling allows me to tailor fit Timmy’s education so that he will always find learning fun and enjoyable. God also gave me a wonderful husband whose expertise helps me manage which tools is just right or too advanced for Timmy. I can’t believe I’m getting teary-eyed writing this! I guess relinquishing control to God over anything will always be an emotional thing. :) And seeing our son’s first academic achievement (i.e. reading) is a milestone I’m privileged to be involved with. :) Knowing that I have Him as Timmy’s principal keeps me grounded. He allows me to charge every mistake to experience and every triumph to a testimony so I can help other young moms like me. :)

Read on, Timmy

I know there are more things that we need to teach Timmy. Reading is just one of them. Soon he will read the Bible on his own and know more about the God who loves him. :) Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” I’m excited to learn with my little man. And I know that God will teach me a lot of things in the process. :) Meanwhile, read on, Timmy! Enjoy every word and every page. I’m pretty sure you’ll even be a better a storyteller than mommy when the time comes. :)

Benefits of Instore Radio

Music affects us on different levels. From our mood to decision making, music is processed in different areas in our brain. This is the reason why when we listen to a certain song we can tap our foot or dance, we can recall an event related to that music, we can understand the emotions conveyed in the song, and we can even memorize the lyrics! Businesses are now actively integrating music in their stores through “Instore Radios.” Instore radio is a marketing tool that involves the use of music to promote brand awareness and enhance customer experience. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using instore radio.

rustans

Photo courtesy of styleandrelax.blogspot.com

Add-free music. Compared to local radios, instore radios have no unnecessary commercials. Some radio stations have advertisements that do not match your brand image and target market. They may have good music and great DJs but their annoying commercials could be the deal breakers for your customers. Instore radios have no advertisements unless intentionally placed by the company.

Controlled content. This is probably the best thing about instore radio. You can choose the songs you want to play and brand-related commercials you want your customers to hear. Some local radios have themes for certain days of the week. So if you’re stuck on the day when they play 60’s songs, you have no choice but to play it or turn the radio off. Whereas with instore radio you can tailor fit your music to your target market and brand image.

Increased brand awareness. The music you play reflects the kind of store you are. With instore radio, you can have a playlist that matches your brand identity and store ambience. For example, if you’re a high-end retail store you can go for something jazz and instrumental. If you’re a retailer for teen clothes, pop music would be consistent to your brand. The things you promote in your instore radio also increase your brand awareness from your promos, events to other marketing efforts.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Strengthens customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is achieved when a customer is consistently satisfied with your products, service, and overall experience. Instore radio can make shopping enjoyable for your customers. It can brighten their mood and move them to buy more. When you’re able to create an ambience that makes your customer feel good about being in your store, you can be assured that they will come back again and again.

Improves customer experience. When customers walk into your store, they need to be engaged at every level. From the products they see, to the fragrance they smell, and even the music they hear. All these things make for excellent customer experience. Music enhances that all the more. You can make customers relaxed with the songs you play, you can make them groove to upbeat music, or simply smile with the catchy tunes in your instore radio. This enriched customer experience will influence them to stay longer and ultimately, purchase from your store.

Instore radio is best utilized when done right. You need a team who can help you come up with radio content that is consistent with your marketing direction and brand image. Give your customers what they need to know when they’re in your stores. Try incorporating instore radio and see how it impacts your business.

WAV Atmospheric is the leader in instore radio services. With clients such as Rustan’s Supermarket, Ayala Malls, JCO, Shopwise, Wendy’s, and a whole lot more, WAV atmospheric has perfected the art and science of instore radio marketing. For more information on their services visit http://www.wavatmospheric.com or call (+632) 519-0001 and (+632) 519-0205.

_____

This is a sponsored post. 

 

Appreciating your child’s uniqueness

As a relatively new parent, I find myself comparing my child to other kids. Timmy is a vibrant 38-month-old boy. He’s a happy, easy-to-please toddler who also happens to be very shy. It takes him a couple of hours (minimum) to warm up on a playdate setting. He tends to play on his own first then later on (and by that I mean two hours later) he will interact with other kids. I’ve met other toddlers his age and even those younger than him who immediately talk to people they’ve just met.

20140209_143501

Meet the parents

I guess it’s pretty normal to compare your child to other kids but not to the point of forcing him to be like them. It’s like looking at two products and using the other one as reference instead insisting that they should be alike. I believe it’s beneficial to learn from other parents and their children. Timmy takes after his dad in this area of shyness. I am touted as Ms. Volunteer growing up. I had no problems singing or speaking in public. I think I was in kindergarten when my mom was called to the Principal’s Office because I kept standing on my chair with my arms raised up high whenever I wanted to recite (which was practically all the time).

20140202_201540

Meanwhile, my husband Omar has never been comfortable with new people. He admitted that he cried everyday during his first week in preschool because his mom wasn’t there and he was in a new environment. He may be a teacher and speaker now but these are the only platforms where he is comfortable speaking to a huge group of people. Otherwise, when you see him in a gathering with no acquaintance in sight whatsoever, he will make himself invisible in whatever way possible.

Our toddler’s personality

Timmy’s innate shyness has two advantages. First, his aversion to strangers protects him from possible kidnapping. No kidding! I see that as a great advantage! Second, it makes him mysterious. When people win his smile and attention, it’s like hitting the jackpot. Haha! He will show off his tricks, try to get your attention, and he will never forget you. In fact, he has a people hangover if there is such a thing. If he warmed up to you and you had even just a few minutes of play, he would look for you from the time you parted all the way home. He would even pray for you that night! The next day, he will still look for you and wonder why you’re not there to play with him. Timmy will bring up your name the rest of the week as if he’s having a minor separation anxiety.

Happy Timmy :)

Over the past three years, I have learned to embrace and accept this uniqueness. I was never frustrated about his shyness in the first place. But I have been careless in handling it sometimes. Like there was a time when I would tell him to join a picture taking and sit on the lap of one of her cousins or uncles. He would cling on to me for dear life and I didn’t even realize how hard it must be for him to see his mom trying to give him to another person! Later that night, my husband (who is an absolute expert in this area) lovingly told me that what I did was stressful to Timmy. I apologized to him and my baby even though he doesn’t understand why I was saying sorry. I told Timmy that mommy will never do that again.

20140203_135219

Timmy might be showing signs of being an introvert but he loves doing things with the people he’s comfortable with. He would often say, “Want mommy/daddy to join me.” That covers everything from reading books, playing basketball, coloring, watching TV, tinkering with his toys, and role playing (i.e. talking with his stuff toys and dinosaurs). He likes spending time us and his grandparents. I’m beginning to see that time might be one of his love languages aside from words of affirmation. I remember he would sit so close to me while I’m writing. He may be doing other stuff and not talk to me but he still wants to snuggle close because he sees it as quality time. He also loves it when he is complemented for what he did, may it be for a jump shot or just by putting things back to their proper place. Come to think of it, time and words are my love languages, too! :)

20130913_143108

Our boy’s ACTIVE nature

You can only keep Timmy in one place when you’re doing things with him. Otherwise, he’s a ball of energy running around, shifting from one activity to another. When in the mall, he’s not the type who would point at things and ask us to buy stuff for him. He’s more of the play-and-drop kind of kid. He would play with a certain car for a short while then leave it. Instead, he looks at malls and stores as free spaces to run and explore. I guess we really have an athlete in the making. :)

IMG_20140125_211532

If you have a kid like that, you need to be fit. Haha! And it’s something that my husband and I need to work on. :) You can’t keep your toddler in the stroller all the time. You have to give him the freedom to explore and yes, run. It’s a team effort on who runs after Timmy and who watches over our stuff and keeps an eye on the “territory” so to speak. I always end up doing the latter because I don’t have the stamina to run that fast and that long.

20131015_192500_18

It’s a different story when daddy’s not with us. I have a “no running” policy when it’s just me and Timmy. We rarely bring the stroller anymore unless of course it’s going to be a long day or an extended trip. I guess most moms would agree with me that grocery carts are one of the best things ever invented for moms with tots. The grocery is my fall back when Timmy feels the urge to sprint. It’s the best place to do informal homeschooling, too! You have all the fruits, vegetables, and some live fish, too (well, the ones we eat at least. Haha!). Bookstores are perfect for down time hangouts for our active boy. Timmy enjoys going through books and yes, he can sit down for a good amount of time when you read to him. :)

Our boy’s REBELLIOUS nature

No child is perfect and rebellion is not unique. In fact, it’s one thing that humans have in common. We all have rebelled against the rules at one point or another. No matter how sweet and adorable your baby is he or she has a rebellious nature. The urge to do what you want (without fear of consequences) and get away with it is something that comes natural for any human being. Laws and other disciplines are put in place to control our reckless nature. Same goes with kids. Timmy doesn’t like being reprimanded. He tends to raise his voice when you tell him to stop doing something. Respect is BIG in our family. You will not get away with answering back with unintelligible words no matter how cute it sounds. Timmy gets spanked when he does this. He doesn’t get spanked a lot. Sometimes months would pass before he gets another spanking.

20140216_200013

Now, just hearing the word “spanking” makes him cry. He hugs us immediately and says sorry quickly. It was tough disciplining him. We love our son but we know that tough love should also be done. At first it was just Omar who was spanking him. Later on, I’ve learned to put my foot down and do the same. I needed divine help to make sure that my voice is firm and my spanking is painful enough to be felt. If you know me, you probably can picture that my spanking won’t hurt a bit. So it took a lot of effort on my part to make it sting.

20130927_134849My husband and I needed to be a team to ensure that we discipline Timmy so we can help develop his character. It was hard but when you see your child improve you’ll realize that it’s worth it. We also made sure that after spanking Timmy we talk to him and assure him that we love him. Those moments of tears will be later on replaced by playtime and his favorite—tickle time. :)

Parenting is only half the story

In my few years of being a parent, I’ve learned that being a mom doesn’t give you all the power over your child’s life. It’s true that being a parent is only half the story. The other half is learning from your child. As I teach Timmy, I also learn from him. I’m not only teaching him to nurture his fine motor skills but I’m also learning how to be a fine listener when he demands my attention. I’m not only teaching him how to read but I’m also learning how to be patient along the way. I’m not only teaching him good manners but I’m also learning how to apply it with him. I’m not only teaching him independence but through him I’m also learning how to be more dependent on God.

20131231_143030_15

I know we will discover more of Timmy’s quirkiness as he grows up. His strengths will be more pronounced. His skills will be more defined. And we will do our best to develop them and encourage him to do the things he loves. I’m excited to see how God will continue to develop his character. I even look forward to writing more blogs about him! Chronicling these things allows me to take a step back and appreciate my son for who he is and how God created him. :)

IMG_20140215_115202

Take some time to look at your child and appreciate how unique he or she is. Maybe you could write a list of the qualities you like about him or her. Even your child’s flaws are silver linings for improvement, too! Believe me, you’ll be surprised to see how blessed you are. :)

Saying goodbye to transition year

It’s amazing how so many transitions can happen in one year. From family to health and even career, 2013 was ironically full of new beginnings. It was a year of adjusting to changes that God has been doing in our lives. When you have a sovereign God who always knows what He’s doing and a supportive husband by your side, I discovered that change is not something to be feared.

The year of no “yaya” (household help). It was the first full year that we didn’t have any help at home and thankfully, it wasn’t so bad! Despite being a terrible two, Timmy was pretty much manageable. With our chores split up between my husband and I, we were able to maintain our apartment well. God has blessed Timmy with wonderful grandparents who are always willing to take care of our baby when we needed to go out for work (around 2-3 times a week). We still don’t have a yaya up to now and it’s been great so far. Sure there were days when my energy gets completely depleted but it didn’t happen often as I expected. I believe that it’s God’s grace right there giving us the strength that we need every day. :)

Holidays with family :)

Career movement. I’ve blogged about this previously but since it’s one of the highlights of our year, it’s worth mentioning again. J God has moved me out of my comfort zone (i.e. the book industry) and allowed me to take on my dream job to be a stay-at-home mom. Over the past years God had been giving me a lot of writing opportunities that honed my skills, preparing me for my present copywriting job.  I couldn’t imagine God being so in tune with my heart’s desires. I know I’ve failed Him so many times but in the end His grace always finds me and blesses me in ways I could never imagine. Meanwhile, my husband got a job writing devotionals for an android Bible app, which fits him to a T. I was blessed to see how God gave him a very specific job that fits his skills and passions!

Health scare. From Lupus we transitioned to Ischemia, a heart condition wherein my heart is not getting enough oxygen. We had one stressful week of waiting until finally the results came out and revealed that my condition can be managed with maintenance medicines. I know I’m still young to have heart medicines to be taken twice a day (4 tablets daily) but that doesn’t diminish God’s ability to heal me. I know someday my Lupus and Ischemia meds will soon be taken out of my body. For now, I just need to be a diligent patient and a faithful steward of the good health God has given me.

Blessed to be healthy :)

Nest moving. With the change in my career came the change of residence. We had to move to my in-laws temporarily while we make adjustments in our finances. We took care of their house while they were away in Canada for four months. We are still living with them and Omar and I are learning that this season of life has a specific purpose. It was crazy moving our stuff and selling them because my in-laws have a fully furnished house so that meant some of our stuff had to go because you cannot possibly have two dining sets and a different couch that will disrupt the current design of their house. From the time they arrived last October to spending holidays with them, God showed us how extremely blessed we are to be here.

Extremely grateful :)

I know that 2014 will even be a better year for us. We welcomed the New Year together peacefully, watching fireworks and snuggling side by side. We look forward to moving to a new apartment, too. Although that means transitioning to a new location again, God has already given us enough experience to help us go through it once more. :) I look forward to having a deeper relationship with God, a stronger marriage with my husband, and a crazier year with our little toddler. I know that the same God who increased our faith last year will be the same God who will show His goodness and faithfulness to us this year. I’m excited with what 2014 has in store for us, knowing that God already has this prepared for us in advance. It’s just a matter of seeing His plan unfold before our very eyes. :)

So goodbye, 2013! You were pretty unpredictable but nothing short of amazing. :)

An Open Letter to My Thriving Three

Dear Timmy,

I can’t believe that another round of 365 days has just passed and here I am writing my letter to you for your THIRD birthday. Yes, you’re three years old today and it only seemed like yesterday when I wrote my letter for your second birthday! I feel like I’m chasing after the wind, trying to slow down your growth as much as I can. I know I can’t do that and I’m actually glad that I can’t. You know why? Because it has been a blast seeing you achieve one milestone after another. :) Seeing you grow up before our eyes is like watching a light-hearted family movie—full of life, laughter, and lessons.

Our happy baby!

Our happy baby!

It’s amazing how fast you’ve grown physically. You can now grab the things that were previously beyond your reach. When I carry you, you occupy almost 3/4 of my body. You are athletic, too! You have your morning basketball routine (make that whole day because you always pick up your basketball when you get bored). You run too fast I can barely keep up with you! Your energy level doesn’t seem to go down even if it’s bedtime. Funny how you would find excuses to do something before going to bed. :) After our story time, we would pray, turn off the lights, and lie down. You will then say, “Want to read books!” I’m sure you know that reading is one of the things we encourage you to do. When this request is ignored you would say, “Want to read the Bible!” Now you’re taking the “who doesn’t want their kids to read the Bible?” tactic. Hahaha! Smart move right there, little one! Too bad, your requests fall into deaf ears when it’s time to sleep and you know by now that we can’t afford to stay up late. :)

Getting smarter :)

Getting smarter :)

Speaking of making excuses, I remember when you were sick we placed you on room arrest. You couldn’t play basketball. Despite knowing that, you still told me, “Want to go out… want to play basketball.” When I said no, you got your huge teddy bear, carried it to me, and said, “Teddy bear wants to play basketball!” Hahaha! You’re crazy! Poor bear, he didn’t know that he was being used as an accomplice! :) Nice try, Timmy. We both know how that conversation ended, you had to put teddy bear back and we stayed in the room. :)

Our little reader :)

Our little reader :)

When you were a year old going on two, you were so fascinated with letters. So we bought you all sorts of letters—ref magnets, plastic letters, letter blocks, and flash cards. This year you became obsessed with numbers. You weren’t contented learning 1-10. You wanted 1-100. You love anything with numbers! You watch the top ten NBA highlights mainly because of the numbers. You watch Minute to Win It because there’s a lady that says, “The game begins in 3, 2, 1…” We bring number blocks when we leave the house because forming numbers keeps you busy. You just might end up being the mathematician our family never had! :)

It's fun to read!

It’s fun to read!

You still love to read, Timmy. You get excited when you see books and we’re so ecstatic about it. :) You love story time regardless if it’s in the morning, afternoon, or evening. You like it when I read to you. You have a book of the month, which means that we read the same book over and over again that month. Some of your favourite books are “My First Book of Prayers,” “The Toddler’s Bible,” “Monster Trucks,” “Curious George’s Pat-A-Cake,” “First Steps in Faith,” “Just Like Daddy,” “Llama, Llama Red Pajama,” “My First Easter,” “My First Christmas,” “Mole in a Hole,” and “How Do I Kiss You?”

Reading the Monster Trucks book :)

Reading the Monster Trucks book :)

At some point, I thought you already knew how to read! One time, you started reading “Monster trucks are so big and so strong, they jump over cars and they race along!” You were at the right page, pointing at the correct words and reading them! Then I asked you to read the next page, you did the same thing but I noticed that you were looking at the pictures. It dawned on me that you memorized the words! Hahaha! The reason why you were asking me to read the same books over and over again is for you to memorize what it’s all about! Soon you will learn how to read, sweetheart. We’ll get there. :) You already know phonics and soon you will learn to combine them and read words!

Timmy and Daddy praying :)

Timmy and Daddy praying :)

You have shown signs of your childlike faith, Timmy. We were so touched and blessed to hear you say, “Let’s pray, let’s pray” when you were not feeling well. When you woke up from a bad dream crying, the first thing you said was, “Read the Bible.” Somehow, you knew in your heart that you have a big God who can remove the “ouchie” and bad dreams away. Your faith blows up my faith. :) Through you I am reminded that God is my stronghold and that He will also take my “ouchie” and worries away. :) And yes, Timmy, you have a God who loves you. He gave His life for you, He will guide you all the days of your life, and He will never leave you. When you see the cross you say, “Kawawa Jesus.” And then I will say, “He’s not kawawa anymore because…” You will then shout, “JESUS LIVES FOREVER!!!” :) You may have a small heart but it is full of big faith. :)

Your big faith inspires me :)

Your big faith inspires me :)

One of the highlights of your year was the discipline stage. We’re still at it but it has been months since we last spanked you. We realized that discipline is vital to the proper upbringing of a child. There were times when it was so hard to spank you but if we didn’t do it, you will not learn to stop shouting back, hitting the table, and stomping your feet. We do not tolerate disrespect and disobedience in our house, you know that. It may have been painful to see you cry when you got spanked but when we saw you stop those bad habits we wouldn’t have it any other way. We praise and thank God for helping you understand that we do it out of love. :)

We love you that's why we discipline you :)

We love you that’s why we discipline you :)

We also had to teach you how to say sorry. We didn’t realize that this will be difficult to do! You easily grasp the concepts and have since then used the words thank you, please, and excuse me. But sorry is a different story. You would cry, hug us, bury your face on our chests, look elsewhere—anything, except say sorry. I realize how innate pride is that even a seemingly innocent baby knows how difficult it is to admit that he’s wrong. There was one time when after spanking, we hugged and your daddy asked you to say sorry to me. You wouldn’t budge. So we prayed. Then we explained and tried again. It took us 30 minutes, Timmy. Half an hour and three prayers before you said sorry for the first time. It became easier since then. Now, you know how to say sorry and just the other day when I responded, “It’s okay” you even reminded me to tell you, “I forgive you.” :)

Pure joy :)

Pure joy :)

I’m also amazed at how you are able to communicate in sentences now. You can express what you like and what you don’t like. You say, “I love it!” and “Timmy’s such a happy boy!” when you’re doing something you love. You are so good at imitating us that we need to be extra careful with what we say. You learn Filipino by just listening to our conversations. One time when we out of the house you said, “Ang init sa labas!” On our way home yesterday, you said, “Ang cute ng yellow parrot.” You are so good at relating the meaning of words and putting them together. :) We are happy that you are not having a hard time learning both Filipino and English. :) You know all the names of our family members (first and last name), too! You have a good grasp of basic concepts like shapes, colors, opposites, letters, and numbers. :) You also know the days of the week and months of the year. I praise and thank God that you are a natural learner and you love discovering new things. :)

Heat fans!

Heat fans!

You love the NBA. I am just floored that you know the names of the teams based on their logos. One time I heard you say 76ers while watching a game. And you were right! The Philadelphia 76ers were playing! Sometimes while eating you would say, “Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat on NBA Premium TV.” Hilarious! Hahaha! Of course you know the Miami Heat’s big three, their jersey numbers, and their trademark game-on faces. You know who the Heat’s coach is. When we have a game, you cheer, “Let’s go heat! Let’s go heat!” You joined us when we watched Lebron James at SMX and you could clearly recount what happened. :) You actually prefer to watch NBA than Disney Junior. But when you watch Disney Junior, you only want Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Hi5. You love singing their songs!

Tech-savvy baby :)

Tech-savvy baby :)

You are tech-savvy. You know how to use our gadgets and have learned it with ease. We try to balance your use of gadgets with your other activities. The things you use everyday are balls, cars, books, toys and gadgets. I believe that gadgets are not bad as long as the parents control its usage. I’m happy that you don’t complain when we get the gadgets from you and give you something else to do. You borrow politely when you want to use them. Someday, you will have your own when you are old and responsible enough to take care of it. :)

The sweetest baby!

The sweetest baby!

You are the sweetest baby, Timmy. You give us random hugs and playful bites using your lips! It’s very ticklish! You always do that to me when we’re eating and when I’m lying down. :) You say, “Hi, mommy!” repeatedly as if you’re seeing me for the first time after a long while. You say, “I love you” and “I miss you” out of the blue in a voice that can melt any parent’s heart. :) You are very vocal in saying, “want to join mommy” when you want to be with me. You pray for almost every person in our family before we go to bed. You have some favorite relatives whom you pray for more frequently than others. :) You make sure that you make us laugh every single day with your crazy antics, imitations, and one-liners! When you want daddy to stop smothering you with kisses you would say, “Daddy will work.” Haha! You also love tickle time and you keep asking for more! You are one amazing, joyful child who laughs at the smallest things and expresses love in the simplest yet sweetest possible way.

We are truly blessed and grateful to have you. :)

We are truly blessed and grateful to have you. :)

I can really say that you are a thriving three-year-old. :) I’m sure you will learn more things this coming year and we are excited to be with you on this journey. :) We are so privileged and blessed to be your parents. You are God’s grace and love personified. Someday you will read all my letters and see God’s faithfulness in your life. :) Oh, I forgot to tell you, you’ve been really healthy this year! You only had two bouts with asthma compared to four last year. :) Praise God! I love you so much, sweetheart! You inspire us to be better people so we can become better parents to you. :) Happy birthday! Thank you for bringing us so much joy, for making us feel like the most important people in the world, and for showing us how great our God is. :) I pray that you will enjoy being a child and experience God’s goodness in every stage of your life. May He continue to mold your character and make you the kind of man He wants you to be. We love you, Timmy! We will always be here for you. Happy 3rd birthday! :)

Much love,
Mommy