Excellent Service!

We came back from Australia and my heart has been full. I have nothing but praises for the Sydney hotel we stayed in.

Traveling with 2 young children means traveling heavy. It means expecting occasional melt downs, and setting aside your own personal expectations. Reality it is tiring but also super fulfilling.

So let me tell you about our trip. When we arrived in Sydney, the kids were already feeling a little tired from the plane ride. It was not helping that the taxi drivers there drive fast and press heavy on the brakes. My children were complaining that they were car sick.

Arriving at Sofitel Wentworth, my son was crying because his stomach was upset from the taxi ride and he was ready to vomit. The bellboy who picked up our luggage was quick to give my son bottled water.  Anna was also about to start a melt down and so I walked with her to the front desk to check in. Their front desk happens to be a Filipino and she was super accommodating. She gave Anna chocolates while we were being processed to get to our room.  She offered me Accor membership and gave us a special deal for breakfast. She also gave us a guide where to walk around. It was such a pleasant check in experience.

However going up to our room, Anna started to snap and cry. She was tired and she was behaving in such a disobedient manner. We were getting impatient with her and warned her a discipline would come. As we arrived to our room, Marcus the bell boy saw Anna in full crying mode. I was of course embarrassed that I could not keep her quiet. Marcus was kind to help us with our luggage and strollers.

About 30 minutes later, we had a knock at the door. When we opened it was Marcus with a teddy bear for Anna! He asked for Anna and gave her that gift and encouraged her not to cry anymore and to enjoy her stay in Sofitel. I was so impressed by their genuine kindness.

Sydney is beautiful and our hotel is a 8 minute walk to see the Harbour Bridge and a 12 minute walk to the Opera House. The hotel location is so conveniently close to many beautiful museums by walk or by train.

But what got me most on this trip is Sofitel’s service and hospitality. On our last evening in Sydney, we came home almost 11pm. I decided to process our check out and book a ride to the airport. As I was checking out, the front desk assisted another guest making me wait for my bill. My little girl wanted to rest and I really wanted to settle the bill first because we leave by 9 am. The front desk seeing my change of mood, was very apologetic. When the front desk staff completed my check out, he gave me chocolates again and apologizing for the delay. I thanked him and I rushed upstairs to finish packing again.

The next morning, I woke up early and I saw this letter on the floor.

I call this thoughtfulness — great hospitality. I felt so special and sincerely cared for by the people who work in this hotel. This gesture just made me want to vote them as the best hotel we experienced in Australia.

SOFITEL Sydney Wentworth, I salute you for your warmth and excellent service! I will never forget Sydney because of you!

Volcano Project

My son had a sudden interest to understand earthquakes because of the recent 7.2 Magnitude earthquake we experienced a few weeks ago. We went through some interesting YouTube shows to help explain what happens in an earthquake.

Part of our science subject, we started to look at tectonic plates moving causing these shakes. But it went further to why the crust moves and that the earth has a mantel and core were liquid rocks, metals, and minerals. From this it got him interested to understand about lava and volcanoes. And this started our Volcano Science project.

We first got a soft drink can and cut out the top to make it like a cup. Then we cut out some old folder into strips and made it as the outline of our paper mache mountain. Then with some newspapers and glue & water, we started shaping our mountain.

Next day, after drying our mountain, we began painting on it. This activity was fun for the kids! 

After painting we had to get the Main ingredients to make our lava. You see inside the earth’s crust are some molten rocks and some will come out of a volcano when it erupts.

 Homemade lava is made of 3/4 hot water, 3 drops of red colouring, 2 table spoon liquid detergent, 2 Table spoon baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar.

This activity was super fun as they were seeing the lava quickly spew out of the volcanoes mouth.

Here is our video on how it all happened!

Homeschool Schedule for my 4 year old

Just this January, I decided to give a bit of structure to our homeschool. I created a guide on what would do everyday. For a four year old pre-schooler, a good 30 minutes to 1 hour of focused time is all we need for every subject I am teaching.

For English and Writing we do letter writing, sounds of letters and try some small word reading. Honestly, my son does not enjoy  writing, but we encourage him to try. We also do a lot of language by asking questions and answering them, doing imaginary stories, and talking about feelings.

For Science, my son loves anatomy. We bought from a bookstore posters of lungs, internal organs, teeth, and more. We discuss this and he really enjoys it. After our session, Joshua would go to his dad and explain what he understood. 

For Piano, we enrolled Josh in Gray tones school of music. I love their curriculum for kids his age. It is a mix of play and music familiarization and playing the piano.

For Math, we do a bit of number practice 1-100 and concept of addition and make Johua write numbers. We also play a math app on the iPad where it introduces fractions, addition and subtraction and sequencing.

For Arts, I have to find ways to be creative… we do painting, we create animals, we do drawing. Lots of materials are found on Pinterest. One should take a look there and get inspired! This is a sample of what we made recently — butterflies using toilet paper rolls and some colored paper and pens.

For Values we discuss bible stories, and themes like sharing, caring for each other etc.. I love the Bible for Kids app by youversion.com. They make the stories come alive with their graphics and it is easy for kids to understand. We discuss what we read and then find ways to apply.

We also insert some physical activity for Joshua and so we enrolled in swimming at the Bert Lozada Swim School. It is a one hour swimming session where our 4 year old learns the skill on swimming and survival.

What Joshua has a lot of is play. He plays blocks, he plays with clay, he plays with toys and his sister. They watch their favourite movies, they sing and dance…. they fight, they make up, they laugh and play some more.

I am not strict on my son or on myself. We are enjoying the journey of discovery and learning together. Sometimes, I don’t follow my schedule and it is okay. Our pace sometimes is fast, sometimes it’s slow. We go on my child’s pace. As a homeschooling mom it is a discipline not to look at what others are doing and comparing my child with theirs. As a parent-teacher my goal is for my child to learn and enjoy learning.

So far by God’s sustaining grace, we are doing okay.

Celebrating Milestones with Google Photos

Our children each have their time. And every milestone is worthy of tight hugs, praises, and applauses. 

Remember your baby’s first smile, first time to grab your finger, first roll over, first tummy time, first crawl, first babble, first food, first time to say “mama” or “papa”? — ahhhh so many firsts! 

My son Joshua started his baby steps at 10 months. Anna began to do that at 12 months. Each child has their own time. As much as we like to compare, God made each child unique and special from the other.

  

Joshua has great verbal skills and Anna is great with her fine motor skills. Both like to sing and dance. Most of these we record through photos and videos. But the problem is how we store these precious moments?

Good thing, Google has this app called google photos. I learned about it when I was researching where I can upload my photos from my phone so I don’t lose them. 


There were other apps, but I really find google photos most useful and I will tell you why…

1. Downloading the app is free. If you are an android or iOS user you can download the app for free.

2. It syncs with your phone photos when you open the app. You also have free storage and can buy more storage when you have used up your free 5 GB storage.

3. It is attached to your email if you have a gmail account.

4. It helps organize for you. You can organize by date, by themes or by faces. We were able to make a quick collages with this app. Type swimming and all the photos with swimming will be shown to you. 

5. It can make movies for you and reminds you of what happened in the past year.

6. It helps you free up your phone photo storage. If you can’t take anymore photos or videos it means you have used up your phone’s internal storage. With Google photos it assists you by informing you what photos have been uploaded to the google photos cloud so you can erase it on your phone. You need not worry because you have it backed up!

I feel like an advocate for Google photos because I have been using this for years! I am truly happy with it and I know other moms and dads will be able to make good use of this application as their family memories grow!

Letter brain practice

When Joshua saw the wooden cut out letters I bought, he was so thrilled! He was excited because it came in many colors and looked like fun! So I used it to make him look for the right letter to spell words.

Then we tried a different approach. He had to find all the right letters to all 26 letters of the alphabet. He worked hard on it! After A-G, he was already breaking a sweat.

The reason I believe he was challenged because he had to complete 26 letters. Well I encouraged him to go on and he probably finished this activity in 12 minutes! 

When he was done it felt like an accomplishment. But he was also so tired looking for the right letter to match his chart.

I’m so happy he never gave up and was able to succeed in this task. This is a good activity to do at home.

Challenged to read

The reading milestone came as a surprise. You see, Joshua and I have been going through alphabets and their sounds. Everytime I try to push him to read, he would always show disinterest and would rather do numbers. When that happens, I just go with his flow and do subjects or topics he likes. 

So that day we did writing practice, we did some counting, and again when we were about to do letters, he again did not want to continue. He was eyeing to open my portable TABOO game. I told him I can’t let him play with it because it requires reading and he still can’t read.

I did not realize that challenged him. He really wanted to open Taboo game and try to read. So I allowed him to open the game and we went through some of the cards. The first one I showed him was “Mickey Mouse” and as he slowly followed the sound of every letter, he read it on his own! I was so thrilled. But to make sure, I tried another card and the word was “Donald duck”. Yes again he slowly read it! I was happy because he finally got encouraged to read.


There is joy as well for my little boy because he felt accomplished being able to read! We did a lot of high fives too because he read at least 15 words that day! I thank God for such a blessing to see my three year old’s literacy blossoming before my very eyes.

Here is a video of Joshua slowly reading some words. It’s a mother’s joy so bear with my excitement! 

Another Angel

You surprised me when I got back from Hawaii. I thought I was jet lagged. I was feeling strange… Always hungry, body warming up, and feeling tired. Then a couple of days of feeling that way, I decided to check. Just maybe, who knows I may be pregnant.

True enough you were alive. I saw you on your 5th week. Yes you were tucked in a sac, with a heartbeat. I had mixed emotions… Could not believe that at 39, I would be going through pregnancy again. But I did get excited that you have come, my love. 


I settled in my heart, that I would slow down to have you. I chuckled how since 2012, I have not stopped breastfeeding. I am sure I will commit to breastfeed you like Josh and Anna. I wondered if you were a girl or a boy.  I am happy that my pregnancy symptoms were not as overwhelming as the last one. You were going to be someone great because I prayed that God would use you and make you beautiful.

Then, I started to bleed. I never bled in any of my pregnancies. Doc says just to take progesterone and isoxilan and you should be fine. I checked on you and you were there showing off your heart to me. It was beating but not at optimum. Doc says there is blood above the sac. I should stay still and relax. So mommy did. 

Two weeks later, I brought your older brother  Josh to my check-up. He was excited to see you. He has been kissing mom’s tummy and praying for you. Then Doc said, you no longer have a heartbeat. Joshua blurted “Baby died?” I had to tell him, you returned to Jesus.  Joshua could not believe that baby is dead and is in heaven. He says he wants to go to heaven too.

I was crushed inside because I will not have the opportunity to meet you here. I will have to wait for heaven to know you. Baby, know this… I love you even when you were mine for a little while. Oh Daddy was more sad because he wanted you so much!

I now have to wait for when you will come out of me. It’s a very strange thing knowing you are still in my uterus but no longer alive. 

I thank the Lord for the opportunity to be pregnant again. I thank Him for the weeks I held you,  baby. But in everything, I will still choose to say… The Lord gives, the Lord takes away… And yet,  Blessed be the name of my Good and Faithful Lord.