Let them make Pizza

Joshua is a big boy now. He always wants to be the one to do things. You will hear him say, “Joshua will do it” or  “I want to do it”. He even cried several occasions when I did not listen to him and did the chore myself. 

It’s a good age. He wants to wash his own hands, he  chooses what he wants to wear, he does chores like clean the floor with a broom. All I have to do is ask if he is open to doing it… And most of the time I get a “yes”.

One afternoon, I had to think of a good snack for Josh. Making a home made pizza is one fun activity. Of course it would be under mom and dad’s supervision. 

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough
  • Tomato sauce (you can make your own using whole peeled tomatoes, pepper, white onions, oregano, basil leaves, and a little sugar boiled in a pan until it becomes thick).
  • Cheese – mozzarella if you can find mixed with some cheddar
  • Ham/ mushrooms/ onions/

  
The dough we got were the small ones so it would be easy for my toddler to assemble a pizza. He placed the sauce, then the toppings,  and then the cheese.

   
   
A toaster oven can fit this pizza. After 12-15 minutes we have a a great afternoon snack all made by little chef, Joshua. He made 3 pizzas! One for dad, one for mommy, and one for himself.  Kids this age would love hands on stuff because they know they are more capable and willing to try.  

  

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Tender hearted

In the past few days, I have been emphasizing to my 3 year old about being kind. It means being gentle and respectful of others and treating them the way you should be treated. It means being good to others. Joshua can be so expressive of his feelings and also explosive with his emotions. Sometimes he can be so intense with his emotions when he is irritated.

  
 Joshua would run a tantrum or fight or shout if things don’t go his way. He can be found saying “I don’t like you… You go away!”  So there were a few times that he said that to me. I knew if I just allowed him to disrespect me, it can go on. 

So, I had to scold, discipline, and explain to him. He was told to watch what he says. I also told him that I am unhappy when I hear him utter those words. Often times he would say those words when I ask him to obey me and he does not want to follow. Thus, he would say he dislikes me and wants me to go away.  At the end of our discussion, he would say sorry. He is more afraid that I would leave him because he told me to go away. 

Recently, another episode happened. He did not want to bathe and he started his tantrum. Asking him nicely was not working. He was headed for discipline. He screamed so hard it woke his baby sister who was sleeping.  After he got disciplined, he calmed down and obeyed to shower. After showering, I asked him to help me be a big brother by being kind and not waking his sister. When his sister is awake I have less quality time with Josh. So disappointingly I told Joshua that I am so tired, upset, and unhappy because his screaming woke his baby sister up.

To my surprise, he kept saying, “Mom, I’m sorry.” I also kept stupidly blurting, “I know you are, but this happens all the time, I’m so tired already.” Again, he placed his hand on my lap and looked with a really remorseful face and said, “Mom, I’m sorry.” I still went out of line and said, “Sometimes I wish I can just get away, I need a time out. You cry all the time and Anna does too.” Then this time he said, “Mom, I’m sorry. I’m going to pray for you… Dear Jesus, bless mommy. Make her strong, make her healthy, give her good dreams, make her strong…” 

I was pierced in my heart…my 3 year old tender hearted boy is praying for a mommy going on a tantrum! I continued his prayer, “please Jesus make mommy a good mommy, and make my babies good babies. In Jesus name…” And we both said “Amen”. 

After that prayer, I held my son who hugged me tight. I kissed him and thanked him for praying for me. He actually practiced kindness at the best form – prayer. My son just taught me to pray when they go through tantrums. To pray when they feel unworthy. That has to be one of the most powerful experiences I have had in my life! 

  
I look at my son, and I see his tender heart. A heart moved by Jesus… A heart that is filled with God’s spirit. It makes me want to cry for joy… I am so blessed. He is a work in progress and I am a too!

Well, here is the last story of that day … Joshua was doing something silly with his sister and I told him to stop doing it. He did not listen so I raised my voice and yelled at him. He then looked at me and said, “Mom, stop shouting at me, be kind to me.”

 Oooppsss! 

I was caught in the act! Mommy has to demonstrate kindness to be an effective  teacher of kindness. So I apologized and said sorry for yelling. I asked Joshua to forgive me. He then said, “Mom, be kind.” And yes, my  3 year old is right, I have to be kind.

  
God gave me children to teach me valuable lessons too!  And truly only the tender hearted are willing to learn them.❤️❤️❤️

Flying without my daughter

I had to attend the ASEAN Tourism Forum and it meant flying to Manila. I decided to just leave the children because I would be gone for just 3 nights. The biggest challenge for me was leaving my 1 year old baby who is still exclusively breastfed. This will be our very first time to separate from each other in a year.

 I bought my little Anna the sippy cup, a cup with straw because she opposed the bottle. We tried introducing her to formula and she just refused the formula milk. I thought, she won’t take it because I am still around. She would however sip duchmill yogurt drink (which she learned from her older brother). I bought 2 kinds of formula so she can choose which one she prefers while I am away. I also left several of my clothing that I have not laundered so she could have a sense of comfort when she smells me.

  
The night before I left, my little girl may have sensed it because she just fed almost every hour. I could not sleep! I did not have any spare breastmilk stored because once babies start to eat, supply usually deplete. 

I called a friend who left their daughter for a trip and she said that her daughter took the formula because she had no choice. They were gone for a week or even longer and their baby adjusted. So I trusted her advise and I also got this confirmation from another close friend who had the same experience. 

I left for Manila and focused on the sales mission for the next couple of days. I called to check on my Anna. I found out on the first day she was on full protest and did not drink from any of the sippy cups, nor from the bottle. She went on the whole day without milk and just munched away on food. I honestly started to worry.

  
Day 2- I learned that at 6 am she was supposed to take milk in between her sleep. However,  she did not. She woke up,  ate food and went back to bed. She was still protesting taking the formula milk. I had to start researching and learned that as long as she is eating a lot, she should be fine. So I relaxed. 

Meanwhile in Manila I had to express milk because my breasts were feeling painful. I was able to store some milk and many I had to throw away. 

Day 3 – I learned my strong-willed Anna just continued to refuse the milk that was given to her. I could not believe that she has reached this far without milk. She is well behaved but would cry before sleeping because usually we are cuddling so she could sleep. At night she won’t sleep early. She would stay up till 11pm and ask to go outside. There she would call “Mama… Mama…”. When I heard that, I felt that maybe she was waiting and hoping I would be home that night. I felt so bad to hear that report. 😢

Day 4- I could not sleep. I kept thinking of my children and how excited I am to see them. I wondered if Anna would still breastfeed when she sees me… I took the 6:35 am flight so I could be home the soonest that I could. I am missing my family.

As soon as arrived home, my son rushed shouting “Mommy!” … On the sideline with smiles and giggles was my baby girl who stood her ground to not drink any milk. She was so happy to see me that she positioned herself ready for breastfeeding. And that’s pretty much what she wanted to do all day was stick by me and latch!  

  This trip made me learn a few things about my daughter… When she sets her mind on something, she will stick to it no matter what. So for now we are going to continue breastfeeding until she is more ready to wean.

Cute and Sweet

These photos happen to be the cutest snapshots I captured one afternoon. I was having a meeting at home and I caught this situation:

Anna is in a middle of some car trouble  and only her Manong (Brother) Joshua can help. 
In this distress Anna is fortunate to have a big brother who is a bit of an auto expert!  

 
And in this bad  situation, sometimes a big brother is all you need to drive you out of it!  

 
Sisters are blessed to have caring brothers! Sometimes  just having your brother with you, makes you feel that everything  will be okay. 

 
Ahh… I’m so loving this stage. I pray that they will remain closely knit forever.

Here is another fun photograph from Kim Tiblani. Thanks for capturing these Kim! 

 

Make Faces! 

It’s great to have a glass table top with a white board pen, and lots of imagination! That was all we needed one afternoon. Josh wanted to do something different from his usual playing with toys. That afternoon we made faces. 

I drew large circles and I let my son draw different faces. He had faces that smiled, others that did not, others even had curly hair. 

  
This fun activity let him explore emotions and explain what the people he drew were like. He drew eyes, nose, ears and mouths. He even had some with pimples because he remembered some household members having them! It was honest and funny! 

  
When we were doing this, we were having great conversation and laughing at some of his comments. We would draw and erase, draw and erase… A glass table top with white board pen is a pretty convenient learning space. It’s a great way to practice Josh’s hand grasping and motor skills. 

Sleeping milestone! 

My eldest son, Josh turned 3 years old and he is considered a Big Boy now. However, he has never slept through the night. Yes, he had the worse sleeping habits and he sleep talks and cries every night without fail!  

I partly blame myself for his bad sleeping pattern.  You see, I got pregnant when he was only a year and 5 months. He was not ready to wean from breastfeeding, but we had him move to the bottle. To wean him from breastfeeding meant that he had to also stop co-sleeping with me. It was a terrible time for Josh. He had to cope with all the adjustments…including sharing his world with a new baby.

 
From that time he took comfort on the bottle and he started rubbing his ears as one of his new habits to sleep. At night, Josh would wake 3 times each night and on each time he was given a bottle to make him go back to sleep. His style was to cry so he can get a bottle. Now, taking care of Josh was no joke and was really tiring. He would also dream and sleep talk or sleep scream. The nanny however, does not know much of the difference if he is awake or just sleep talking. So she would get the bottle just to keep him quiet. 

As he turned 2 and half, I was already trying to coach the nanny on lowering his milk intake at night. She did her part and just lowered the milk intake, but the waking in the middle of the night still continued. The nanny could not administer what I instructed because Josh would cry. It was not the crying that they were worried about, but daddy who slept in the same room because he would complain of Joshua’s noise. So they continued to give him night feedings.  

So, when Josh turned 3, I told the nanny that if Josh cries at night she should just give him water in a bottle. I also explained to Josh that ” you are older now and a big boy… You need to drink only 1 bottle to sleep and then wake in the morning already”. We got daddy on board with this transition. 

So Josh would take a bottle at night before bed and then when he asks in the middle of the night, he only gets water. In the beginning he cried and throw the bottle with water. Then, when we were on Christmas vacation and we all slept in one bed, it was where he mastered it. I would patiently talk to him when he would cry for milk and tell him, there is no more milk. He then learned to go back to sleep and there were nights he was upset about it.

  
But now, he has been sleeping straight from 10:30pm till 8 am. No more waking in the night to ask for milk or water. He is finally sleeping through! 

No more going to the Internet for me and seeking answers. No more going to a developmental Pediatrician because I was worried that this would go on forever. Lord, thank you! A prayer answered! 

I also love this stage where Josh actually prays before he sleeps and his prayer goes like this: 

Dear Jesus, please bless me, bless daddy, bless mommy, bless Anna, bless Yaya. Give us good sleep, keep us healthy, give us good dreams. We love you Jesus. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

 

And she turns One!

Our little Anna turns one, and with gratitude we praise God for the joy she has been in our lives. She is indeed a gift, a surprise one. She definitely is our teacher of many things.

For one, my pregnancy with her was  difficult and emotionally draining. She also was colic for almost 3 months and we were sleepless for almost all that time. She taught me perseverance, resilience, patience and a desire to always commune with God. 

    
This child has also opened the heart of our eldest son. Joshua’s heart is more loving and generous. He has learned to share his toys and his life with Anna. He also laughs and enjoys family because she is around. It’s pretty amazing to watch because Joshua would tell me almost everyday, “you know, I love Anna. I love her. I’m the best Manong in the whole world”.

  
Who would have thought that God’s favor would pour over and allow us to raise a daughter. Though she is reserved in her nature, she is a bit of a rock and roll star with her powerful voice. She does not mind getting all dirty and is pretty chill for the most part. She loves to eat and sleep… Yes she dances and sings too! On her own she carries baby conversations and is a little explorer of her brother’s toys. She can stack toys for 2-3 year olds with her excellent motor skills. She is an amazing little girl. 

   
 
I pray that she grows into the fullness of God’s purpose and that she will be a favored one who will bring many to the Lord Jesus. 

Thank you Lord for allowing me to know how wonderful and beautiful it is to love a daughter. Thanks you for the 365 days of be holding this beautiful gift — our sweet darling, Anna.

  
  
  
 

God’s Word in a young one’s heart

Is it possible that a child could memorize 10 bible verses before they turn 3 years old?  

I shared on my blog ” Memory Verse ” how I taught my 2 year old to memorize the verse John 3:16. It was a pretty long verse and one of the first verses he learned. But it took us less than 30 minutes to get him to familiarize and say the verse. The days there after, God gave Joshua interest in the story of Jesus and so we went through his toddlers bible from one story to another.

From that time on, I felt the desire to continue teaching him bible promises. Verses that would be tucked in his memory and my prayer that would help him grow in faith and character. I would use actions to help him remember key words. It’s quite amazing that he listens and can memorize the verses on the same day it is introduced.

  
Here are our 10 Memory Verses. Yes by God’s grace and help, your 2 year old can memorize these:

Deuteronomy  6:5

Love God with all your heart mind and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself 

John 3:16

For God loves the world He gave Jesus that whoever believes in Jesus will not die but have everlasting Life.

Psalm 121:3

God who guards you never sleeps

Joshua 1:9

The Lord God will be with you wherever you go

Jeremiah 33:3

Pray to God and He will answer you

Romans 8:39

Nothing can separate us from the love of God

Matthew 19:26

With God all things are possible

Ephesians 6:1

Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right 

See Josh say this:   http://youtu.be/9TH2_ctD-yE

Matthew 7:7

Ask and you shall receive.  Seek and you shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened to you

See Josh say this: http://youtu.be/tvR3vtaXyY8

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

See Josh say this: http://youtu.be/Dfdk12ZqtjM

Atleast‭‭ once or twice a week, we go through the verses in a fun and not so formal way. This is how we keep these verses in his memory and keep it in his heart. We also talk about what it means in a very simple way. Sometimes when I need to correct Joshua, I will remind him what God says in the bible. If I encourage him, I again use some bible verse he knows. 

As Joshua memorizes God’s word, I am also memorizing and instilling it in my mind and heart. This is why God says in Isaiah and I declare this to be true:

“”As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.””

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭59:21‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Joshua just turned  3, and what a blessing this boy is to us. He is a reminder of God’s faithfulness. We pray that we can raise him to love Jesus and His Word! 

Amazing 10 months! 

My little girl Anna is quite different from her very outgoing brother Joshua. She always has a serious face and she seems to observe people. She does not give off a smile easily. Some people say she looks like me, but I say, she looks like her daddy. Okay, you guys be the judge!  

 She is fully breastfed 10 month old baby. This little one is a strong girl. She likes to follow her Manong Josh. She does not have a lot of girly toys, so she is exposed to her older brother’s stuff. She seems to comprehend quickly what her brother is doing and wants to join in and play. Joshua often would struggle with sharing with her so she has learned to also whine at him and many times fight back because she also wants to play. 

But as of recent, she has shown us some pretty remarkable stuff at 10 months old. She has been very good with stacking her brother’s wooden pyramid. I was amazed because she would do it again and again. She is patient and does not stop trying until she succeeds.

 

Then one morning about 4 am, she showed us her mastery on another toy. She could not sleep that early morning but she did something spectacular. With a wooden tool box toy, she was able to insert wooden nails on a row of holes. It was a pretty amazing to witness this milestone! 

Check how she did it here:

 http://youtu.be/8SY-8ZR3-a0

Then the following day, she attempted to  do a even more challenging task. With some popsicle sticks and a box drawn with a bear’s face and a small slit for the mouth, Anna succeeds putting in the sticks in! Joshua did this activity at 2 years old, and she confidently does this at 10 months! 
 Look at this video:

Steve says his little girl might become an engineer or a doctor. I don’t really know what she will be when she grows up, but I am thanking God for just how amazing she is. My little Anna, you are such a blessing and a wonderful gift to us! 

  

Juicing for kids

Juicing became a big thing in 2013. Many people have started drinking their fruits and vegetables and have improved their over all health. My son Joshua, after turning 2 years old has become a picky eater. Joshua no longer likes vegetables and prefers just rice and meat with soup. He prefers McDonald’s rather than real food. Ok, who can relate with me? 

But as of recent Joshua has been holding back his bowels because he has constipation. He would cry in pain as he would pass his bowels.  It was why he would rather hold it in as long as he could. So we explained to him that he needs to eat vegetables. He gives us that head gesture that says “no”. So we told him he needs to eat oatmeal and we have to start juicing. The juicing part he likes, because he likes to put fruits and vegetables in the juicer.

  
Our concoction was made up these ingredients:

  • 1 apple with skin
  • Half a cucumber without skin
  • 1 carrot
  • Slice of lemon without the skin
  • Cubes of ice

Joshua was happy to keep putting slices of fruit and vegetables. When we were done we placed them in glasses with ice to keep it refreshing.

  
Joshua drank his power drink of the day and his little sister Anna had a couple of sips too! It was yummy, healthy, and refreshing. What a great way to get vegetables and fruit into the bodies of our little ones. So happy this is a healthy solution for my picky eater!