• "Everything is a grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love—difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul's miseries, her burdens, her needs - everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness - Everything is a grace because everything is God's gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events—to the heart that loves, all is well."
  • - St. Therese of Lisieux

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My Grandmother's Greatest Ambition


This post has been a draft for almost two weeks now. My grandmother is still in the ICU as of this writing. She has suffered a massive stroke about a month ago, a few days before her 94th birthday. So today, I have decided to publish this post - without much editing because it is too painful to read again. 

I remember Christmas 1988, I was twelve. I got a slam book, something every tween had that time, but had no friends who would write on it. Not that I had no friends, but it was Christmas vacation and so I was stuck with two younger brothers, who had no interest in sharing about what love is; and with family and relatives.

My mama told me that I could ask my uncles, aunts and other cousins to write on my slam book at our annual family reunion. And so I did. I also asked my lola Remy (grandma) to write. Her answer to the question, "What is your greatest ambition?", anchored me more to the Catholic faith. I just did not know it that time.

I remember lola's room in Paranaque, it had its own bathroom which I thought was pretty cool. The curtains were heavy and it was dark even during the day when the curtains were shut. Lola had a round table with an intricately patterned, yellow-gold table cloth. There, were her images of the saints, Mother Mary and other relics and mementos of her trip to the Holy Land. I remember standing in front of that altar, looking. I remember the plastic bottle with Holy water in the form of Our Lady of Lourdes. I remember Lola Remy's rosary with a relic of a saint on the crucifix (I completely forgot whose) maybe because I did not know what 'relic' meant. She told me only someone with the purest of heart can see whats inside. She asked me if I could see it. And, I was so happy that I could. I only realized later on that everybody could probably see it. I will always be grateful for that moment. My Lola Remy showed me how exactly Jesus saw me.

I remember my parents commend me, jokingly, because that's how they would do it, that they noticed that I was being very polite and kind. My Papa said it must be because of the book Lola Remy gave me. And it was true! I did not want to admit it but I really wanted to follow all the lessons in The Little Children's Bible.

Lola gave me several books. In all of them she wrote a note on the front page. I remember one book she gave me about the Ten Commandments, she wrote 'Dear Weena, Always be a good girl. Love, Lola Remy.' 

I remember going to mass with her. She and Lolo would remain in the pew long after the mass was finished. I did not understand this practice at that time and I must confess, I thought was silly. Now I realize that during those times, there were no adoration chapels yet, and Lola stayed to pray and adore Jesus in the Eucharist.

I always thought of what Lola Remy wrote on my slam book. As a child, I took it literally and thought, 'that would be a difficult thing to do.' I probably forgot about it during my teenage and college years. But when I joined CFC Singles for Christ, I began to have hope that IT may be possible! Now that I am married and raising a boy, I have come to realize that every Catholic should have the same ambition. I try my best nowadays but fail again and again. I run to Jesus for forgiveness through confession and resolve to try better.

I remember asking Lola if she wanted a 15 decade rosary. I remember looking for blue beads so I can craft her a rosary. I remember making that rosary, and giving it to her. I remember how she took it out of the pouch, looked at the cross and the beads lovingly, and then carefully cupping the rosary with both her hands. I remember feeling joy in my heart. I remember seeing it hung on the post of her bed last year when I came to visit her at their home. 

I remember arriving at Lola Remy's house but without them home. Mama always explained that she was still at Anihan Technical School, run by her Catholic community, Opus Dei. I know she has helped a lot of women transform their lives. My memory is failing me, but I know she did lectures too. Her example also fueled my desire to teach.

I remember asking my mother if Lola Remy's answer to the question on my slam book was true. Mama told me that it was. As I look into her life again, I realize that all the memories I have of her point me to Jesus. Her greatest ambition is now also mine. I don't know if many know this, but I'm sure those close to her see it through her actions. Her greatest ambition - 'To become a saint.'


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Divine Aspirations



I learned about Divine Aspirations at a time when I was being 'fire-tested' by God. It was my heart's desire to be able to trust in the Lord, and all his plans completely. Admittedly, I can be demanding and overbearing at times and twice as terrible when things do not go my way. And I often hurt the ones I love the most. Also, I worry a lot, and so I have learned to say "Jesus, I trust in you." every time I do.
Jesus, I trust in you for ipad

According to http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/g/Aspiration.htm,
"An aspiration is a short prayer meant to be memorized and repeated throughout the day. Sometimes called an ejaculation, these prayers are meant to help us continually turn our thoughts toward God."
Now, I have learned to say more Divine Aspirations like "From all sin, deliver me, O Lord!" especially when I know I am about to sin!
From all sin... for Iphone

This inspired me to make these little prayers into Ipad and Iphone wall papers. Whenever I unlock my ipad or iphone, I see the Aspiration I am trying to memorize.


Proverbs 13:25. I also tried my favorite verses.
And I am now sharing them with you! Check out the Divine Aspirations page on the blog.

As Bishop Camillo Ballin, M.C.C.J said in his book, OREMUS, "It is good to memorize these aspirations so that in times of stress, words that can focus your attention back to the holy come easily."

You can choose and download here.

I do hope they will also help you become a step closer to holiness!

Setting Divine Aspirations as wallpaper for your lock screen:
Make sure you download the Aspiration of your choice and add the Jpeg file to your 'Photos'

1. Go to Settings, then wallpaper.
2. Click 'Choose a New Wallpaper
3. Pick the wallpaper from your 'All Photos' folder
4. Pinch or adjust to fit
5. Click Set Lock Screen

And you're done!



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Guest Post: Romeo and Tess' Adoption Story


Flashback: CHRISTMAS 1986
I had just started working for a Japanese company based in Makati when the season started and part of our company’s social work was sponsoring a Christmas party at an orphanage, the Asilo de SanVicente de Paul at UN Avenue. We were welcomed warmly by young smiling faces in their freshly scrubbed clothes lining up the lobby as we made our way inside.

That was my first encounter with orphaned children and throughout the days’ event, which included song and dance programs, team games and gift giving, my fellow co - workers and I bonded with the kids as we shared meals, getting snippets of their touching stories, how they viewed their situation and a little puzzled by their wonderment as we tell on what we would otherwise consider as our quite ordinary life. By the time we wrapped up and were heading out the gate, tears where falling in everyone’s eyes as the kid’s where crying and pleading “kuya, sama niyo na ako, kunin niyo na ako” (translation: 'older brother, I want to go with you, take me with you.') as we left. Looking out from the window of our bus as it made its way out of the gate, we waved our goodbyes and somehow felt that we could do more, as we looked forward to a now more appreciated routine life.

FATHER’S DAY 2016
Surrounded by kids mostly too young to talk and some actually just starting to crawl, I, my wife and my 3 children share a cake with them in what has already been quite a tradition for the past 6 years, that on Father’s day, I become a father to them, on Mother’s day the orphans have my wife as a mother, and on other special occasions or just random days when our busy schedules permit, we find ourselves in the orphanage where we got our first adopted child, our second son. Often enough as I look at their faces, I am reminded of the kids that I encountered 3 decades ago, so welcoming and appreciative of the attention we have given, lending proof to the adage that indeed the best gift you could give to a child is time. Stress reliever is how my wife amply puts it as she helps around the feeding, my kids play with their ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’, as I carry and make funny faces with the babies.

THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON
In 2008 my wife and I have been married for 9 years and we have a son Bridge, who had turned 8. Sitting in the developmental doctor’s clinic, as he finished up his yearly assessment for our son who has autism, perhaps seeing first hand our personal struggle, aware that we have tried all medical, spiritual and mythical ways to have another child and knowing him personally as our neighbor, he concluded with a suggestion that we consider adoption, so we can experience how it is to have a normal child and family, “para matikman niyo naman kung paano magkaroon ng normal na anak at pamilya” his exact words.


Hearing this, my wife and I had a serious discussion back home, that also took into account the future prospects of our son. It is during this talk that I recounted my above experience with the Christmas parties our office had at the orphanage as my wife also shared that she has a cousin who was adopted. To test a hypothetical decision that we are slowly veering to, we took a trip back to the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul orphanage which brought back deep feelings to me and upon consultation with a staff there, took her advice that led us to the doors of the DSWD region 4 office at Alabang.

Participating in the seminar that is the first step in the process, confirmed our decision. Soon enough we proceeded with the necessary papers to affect our legal adoption.

THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE
The much anticipated day has come, accepting the first boy that was matched to us with no reservations, we eagerly took the trip to the orphanage to fetch our boy. Along the way, my wife and I wondered how it will feel like to see him, hold him, for the first time… will it be the same as the birth of our child? Will there be as they say a “lukso ng dugo”? A very Pinoy expression that fails a proper English translation.

And so, there he sat at the play area, and as he looked up at us with those eyes, our question was answered. Holding him with tears of joy, we knew that in our arms is someone that we will do everything in the world to nurture, educate protect and love. We called him Blake.

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM
 After 3 years, buoyed by the generally encouraging response and acceptance of our family and friends as well the lovable experience we were having with our two sons, my wife being an only child and I having only one sibling, longed for a big family, and so we had our third child, our second adoption, this time a girl. Bianca is my wife’s clone, after living with three boys (me included) she finally has someone she can do girl stuff with. Watching them I just realize how men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and if Tess had two Mama’s Boys, I now have my very own Daddy’s Girl.


THE BIG QUESTION
As I finalize writing this, having driven my sons B1 and B2 as I fondly call the kids, B3 is helping her mommy prepare for the office as she herself will be driven to school later. Since my business is mostly weekends we have scheduled our routines to complement each other and while doing away with a yaya (nanny) and househelp can be very tiring, it has given us the opportunity to be hands on with our kids. They are growing up confidently as we have very early on agreed not to hide their being adopted, bringing them regularly to the orphanage and to the Adoption Family Group party, to see that they are many, that they do have peers.

We tell them how their biological parents made the sacrifice so that they will have a better life, and so they must study hard. It is our idea that the best arm, is the truth. However, we have to confess that although we have prepared ourselves for the day when our son will finally talk about that ‘subject’, my wife was momentarily caught off guard. He asked “Do I look like my original mom?” Original mom being a term that he himself came up with, maybe because at age 4 he can’t pronounce biological which we used. Finally catching her breath my wife answered “Yes you look like your original mom, but you do look similar to your daddy” referring to me. Actively participating in his sisters adoption also wizened him up. Sometimes he will unexpectedly ask deep questions, always to his mom (true blue mama’s boy) like “Why did God put me in the orphanage”? Disarming and at the same time assuring that he can talk about it with us and sometimes we even hear him lecturing his sister about it. One of the questions always put up by people with regards to adoption is “How can you love someone that is not your blood”? Our adopted kids constantly make us feel that YES, they can love us, just as unconditionally.

TODAY 2016
I am now 52 years old while my wife has turned 45. Never did we imagine that at this age when most of our age bracket have grandchildren that we will still be chasing after kids, picking them up even if our backs ache when they fall, carrying them when they are tired, getting migraine from all the shouting and the noise, tidying up after their games, controlling our temper when they make mistakes, putting effort to teach them right and answer their endless questions. My wife and I even have a running joke where we ask each other, “Whose bright idea was this anyway”! But seriously, after we have tucked them in for bedtime, we look at them and have a fulfilling sigh, we see bright possibilities and look at another day’s job well done.

FLASHBACK: CHRISTMAS 1986
As our bus makes it’s way out the gates of the orphanage we waved our goodbyes and somehow felt that we could do more… little did I know.

Learn more about local adoption here and here.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Christmas Play dough Mats


Chriatmas Play Dough Mats


I have made several play dough mats for my son to keep him busy this Advent and Christmas season and I want to share them with you. These can be a wonderful gift too.

So go ahead and download, print and laminate!

In addition, here are some Christmas play dough recipes. We have made some in the past and will be making more in the coming weeks.


Scented play dough recipes:

Peppermint No Cook Play Dough Recipe from Childhood 101

Gingerbread Play Dough from The Imagination Tree

Hot Chocolate Play dough from Sugar, Spice and Glitter

Vanilla Mint Play Dough from MAMAPAPABUBBA

Cinnamon Scented from The Imagination Tree

Colored  adn glittery play dough recipes:

White Snow Play dough from The Imagination Tree

Easy DIY Play Dough recipe from my good friend Mia at Pinay Mom Adventures

And the recipe I have been using most of the time in my classroom before and for Teo is from Tinkerlab: The Best Play Dough Recipe. And its true! Just add food color and/or glitter and viola! Christmas Play dough!



Oh and I just discovered more free Christmas Play Dough mats from Kate at Picklebums. I will be printing and laminating them too. The Christmas cookies are just brilliant!




Christmas Play Dough Mats, download here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Catching Tadpoles and Enjoying the Benefits of Nature Play




As you know we take morning walks everyday. During one of these walks, we found a stream of flowing water near Lolo Boyet and Lola Fanni's house. So we let curiosity take over and peeked in. We found tadpoles! They were swimming happily around. We did not think of catching some because we did not have a container with us. But our little one was very curious and would always remember the "ta-pows mi-mimg" whenever we passed by the stream.

So we decided to catch some so we can have a closer look.

We prepared our things: a fish net borrowed from Lolo Boyet, and a glass bottle with a lid.

And off we went with two dogs in tow. It was 7:00 in the morning.


Read on to find out how exactly this activity benefited our family of three.



When we arrived at the stream. Teo was so excited that he immediately dipped the net into the pool where the water was deeper. Realizing that it would take more than just the act of scooping to catch some tadpoles, he gave the net to 'Tatay'. So 'Tatay' demonstrated how it was done.


Teo and Tatay putting the tadpoles in the jar.
Then 'Tatay" let Teo have a go. His first try yielded no tadpoles. But then he caught two big ones on his second try! He was so happy and the look on his face was accomplishment. 

The water in this stream is clean by the way. It is from a leaking water supply pipe. If it had been drainage water, I'd think twice before letting Teo catch tadpoles. But again, a little dirt would be always beneficial.

So we took home the tadpoles we caught. Teo insisted that he carry the jar himself, so we let him. But I honestly was afraid that he would drop it and break it. But of course, I had to restrain myself and show him that I trusted him. The tadpoles were all safe.

He is happier because he gets to challenge himself and successfully accomplish what he wants to do.  Like carrying the jar full of tadpoles, for example, I allowed him to carry it because the jar could be replaced and we could get more tadpoles. He is also happy when he finds and picks up things. Teo usually puts them in the seat compartment of his toy car; which he usually 'drives' when we take walks. He plays with these loose parts at home.

Happy and content with our forty five minute walk, he is usually cooperative and follows the rest of our morning or afternoon routine. But of course with the occasional 'No.' when I have requests.



As soon as we got home, we decided to transfer the tadpoles to another bottle so Teo could see the tadpoles better. Again, insisting that he do the transferring, Tatay gave him the watering can so he could pour the tadpoles into the bottle.


We watched YouTube videos of the life cycle of frogs during wind down time. And talked about how the tadpoles grow into frogs. Teo, even with his limited expressive vocabulary, retold the events that had happened with much excitement. 

I did a watercolor sketch of a tadpole on my journal while Teo watched. I invited him to draw too but he declined and said "Watch you." So, I took the opportunity to talk about the parts of the tadpole.

By the time we finished talking about tadpoles, it was lunch time. And then bath time. While settling down for nap time, we agreed to bring the tadpoles back to the stream this afternoon so they can go into frogs. I bet Teo dreamed about tadpoles and frogs that afternoon.

Another thing I like about nature play is that it makes Teo question. He's not yet in the why stage but often asks "Was da?" What's That?" And, at this point in his speech development, anything I say, he repeats. 



We let go of the tadpoles that afternoon. As Teo poured the contents out of the bottle, he said "bye-bye" to his tiny black friends. Then, we stayed a while to watch them swim about.


"Buh-baay ta-pows."




Monday, November 7, 2016

Let's Go Fishing! (Game)


Here's a quick and easy game for your toddler or preschooler. This isn't your print, cut and add a paperclip kind of fishing game. It's easier! 
You will need:
          
               a few dried leaves
               safety pins
               a magnet
               a stick
               and maybe a few minutes to gather and prepare the game
               plus, a few more to spend with your little one 

What to do:

Invite your little one to pick up leaves. I suggest the large and dried up ones. Not too crunchy but not too soft. Your tot will definitely enjoy this activity. We picked up small acacia leaves too, so we could have a lot of fish.

Attach one safety pin on each leaf. You can also put a paper clip through but I thought this takes a longer time to assemble - and I did not want my excited boy to wait any longer.



Tie a string onto a stick. and a magnet on the other end of the string. While I was pinning the leaves, I asked my son to go look for a piece of string. I first explained that we are going to tie it on his stick. So off he went to ask his Tatay. But his Tatay (Papa) was doing something and so he went to ask Lolo (Grandpa). My little one came back to me and said "Yoyo." Translation: 'Lolo has string.'

I attached the string to the stick and the magnet to the string and viola! We were ready to go fishing!

This can be done indoors or outdoors but we chose to do it outdoors. I got a basin and placed all the 'fish' leaves in and let the tot have a go. 


It was such a joy to see my boy have so much fun. He was challenged because the game required him to control the stick in order to 'catch' a fish. I was cheering him on the whole time.

This simple game has a lot of benefits too. It helps in developing fine motor tuning, increases focus and attention span and of course, the virtue of patience.

Remember to spend a little time 'fishing' with your little one too.





Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Celebrating The Feast of Pope St. Gregory The Great



Pope St. Gregory is a Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, teachers and students. He loved the poor and generously gave the donations made by wealthy people to them. 

There is an old church in Majayjay, Laguna called the Iglesia de San Gregorio Magno. Doing this painting got me curious about St. Gregory so I started reading about him while I worked on this painting.
Visit my shop @weenaswatercolors

Anyway, here are the three activities I've planned for us to celebrate St. Gregory's feast:

1. Listen to Gregorian Chants. It is said that St. Gregory might have also established the "cantus planus" or gregorian chant. I sometimes play this playlist during Teo's nap time. We will listen to some parts of it during our music & movement time. We do active listening  in Kindermusik class and it helps Teo develop his focus and attention. We'll try to hum a tune too if he's up to it. 

2. Give alms. St. Gregory is known to give alms to the poor. So I've planned to buy some bread and water so we can hand them out to the kids who sell vegetable spring rolls and rags outside the school where we do Kindermusik. It would be a great way to teach our children to love the poor by modelling right? And Pope Francis has declared this year as the extraordinary jubilee of mercy, why not feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty? That's two out of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy.

3. Pre-writing activities. St. Gregory has written a lot of books and he is often depicted in paintings and iconography holding a book or writing on it. So I have made a couple of activity sheets, nothing fancy, for Teo to do.  You can download and print for your little one too. While the closest thing Teo does to writing is scribbling on his sketch pad, we do a lot of pre-writing activities like playing with playdough; scooping (and scattering) beans, then picking them up - this is very good practice for pincer grip, so I let the toddler scatter away; or using tongs to pick up pom-poms. 
Click here to download
Click here to download






















And of course, a coloring page of Pope St. Gregory the Great.

Click here to download
I hope you can do these activities with your little one too. 


Friday, August 26, 2016

Celebrating The Feast of St. Monica of Hippo


On August 27 we celebrate the feast of St. Monica. She is patroness of wives and abused victims; as well as alcoholics, married women and mothers. Her persistent prayers lead her husband and mother in law into the Catholic faith; and her son, St. Augustine's conversion.

Next to our Mother Mary, I ask her intercessions whenever I'm about to loose my patience with my son. I cannot count the number of times a day I say, "Mama Mary and St. Monica, pray for me."

I have planned 3 activities for Teo and I to do. And since August 27 is a Saturday, It's going to be Nanay and Teo's day. So here they are!
1. Pray for others together. St. Monica is known for her persistent prayers. I thought it would be a good idea to model how to intercede for others. Although we pray for blessings and protection for our immediate family members every night before bed, we will put extra effort on this day to pray for friends and family.

I have chosen a few photos of friends and family to show Teo. While we look at the photos, we can talk about the person and pray for them. You may do this with your tot or preschooler anytime that is convenient for you. We will probably do this before afternoon nap. 

I plan to go a little further and make this part of our daily prayers. I found this wonderful idea from One Thousand + Gifts. Instead of prayer sticks, which are really good if you have older kids, prayer flowers have photos of the people you want to pray for. 

2. Mom and me selfie. I rarely take selfies of me and Teo so I plan on taking as much as I can on this day. It does not matter if we're just at home doing our usual routine. What matters is the memories we are making.

The activity may be extended by making a Mom and Me album or a pin up board. This way you both can look at the photos and talk about the events that happened or the emotions you felt at that time. This will help your toddler or preschooler express his thoughts and feelings. Talk about feelings. Let your child know that you will always be there for him, that you will love him no matter how he feels.

3. Home made picture frame. Doing arts and crafts is a perfect bonding experience for you and your child. From the extra craft sticks (or popsicle sticks) you have after making the prayer flowers, you can create a beautiful picture frame for any of your selfies. The little ones can paint, draw with markers or glue buttons, beads or cutouts onto the sticks. Find inspiration on my Pinterest board!

St. Monica, B&W
I plan to make this another day though. While you make this, remind your little one that you will always pray for him like St. Monica did for St. Augustine. This may be also a good time to talk about St. Monica. You can read more about her here.

Here is also a coloring page for older kids. 

Let us continue to ask the intercession of St. Monica to help us be persistent in prayer, not only for our children but for all people. I hope you will do one or all of these activities with your little one. do let me know how it turned out in the comments. 



Download more pictures of the saints here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

10 Things We Knew We Did Right When We Adopted A Toddler



We had overwhelming support from friends and family when we told them that we were adopting. From praying about it to finally deciding to do it; from the day we walked in the field office of DSWD R4-A to awaiting the call of our social worker for the news that we had been matched. I imagined myself holding an infant boy. We expected to be adopting an infant.

But God had other plans. He gave us a toddler. Teo was 20 months old when we brought him home. And so, we had to adjust to life with a toddler and learn as much as we could on how to parent, well, a toddler.

Of course we got a lot of help from the one who made this all happen - Our Heavenly Father. We couldn't have done these 10 things right if it weren't for His grace and guidance anyway.

1. Adoption Birth. The orphanage from where Teo stayed required us to go there and bond with him for two whole days before we could take Teo home. It was wonderful and heartwarming. We bonded instantly and we got to see how Teo interacted with the other children and staff in the home and learn about his daily routine. Which brings us to number two.



2. We kept his sleeping and eating routines. Routines are very important for toddlers, it gives them a sense of security - and this is what we wanted to give Teo from the very beginning of our lives together. We had to adjust our entire day to accommodate Teo's routine. We kept the same time for naps and bedtime and of course added our own rituals like reading books and cuddling.

3. We took home some of his things. The orphanage sent home some of Teo's favorite clothes and toys. Although I wanted to change him into the clothes we brought for him, time did not permit me to. we had to leave quickly after the despedida at the orphanage because it was time for the children's nap, and Teo's too. So we brought him home in the clothes he was wearing that day. This helped with our goal to provide emotional comfort for him on his first days with us. Familiar things or faces help ease a toddler's anxiety. 

4. I cooked the same food he ate at the orphanage. The adoption birth also gave me a chance to see what food they serve Teo and what he likes to eat.  So for the first week, I cooked only the meals he was familiar with. Then added a couple of new ones each week. We also wanted Teo to feel secure during mealtimes and familiar tastes helped him enjoy family meal time. 

5. We had his 'Life Book' available for him to look at whenever he wanted. Teo would look at his life book a couple of times each day during his first two weeks with us. We keep his life book under the coffee table. He would ask me to sit with him on the sofa to look at his pictures. I would talk about him and his friends at the orphanage and he would point to the photos of his caregivers. We would not want to keep this part of his life hidden. And so his life book will always be under the coffee table. It will be easier to talk about adoption when he is a little older. Meanwhile, it is wonderful to recall and talk to him about the events that lead us to each other.




6. We stayed home during the first two months. We established routines and rituals while building our relationships. Noli and I took turns in feeding (nah! Teo insists he eat by himself), bathing and putting him to sleep. The only times we 'went out' were on Sundays to hear mass and to go to the grocery. Rituals helped us bond. Its our special time with each other. Reading books before bedtime is one of Teo's favorite rituals. It also gives me a chance to tell him that we are his forever family and that he is loved.

7. Kept his toys to a minimum. The toys Teo had during the first two months were all hand me downs. I had kept some wooden toys I used when I taught my Preschool readiness Program and he played with that too. But toys were not really the focus during our playtime; it was cuddling, tickling, laughing, singing, dancing and making funny faces. We had more chances to look into each others' eyes and connect.

8. Brought him to a toy store 3 months after. For fear that he might feel 'entitled'. Ha! I was worried that he would want us to buy every toy that he sees. So when we finally brought him to a toy store it turned out quite the opposite. While we looked around, Teo inspected some of the amazing toy cars on display. When we told him it was time to go, he walked towards me with a smile and held my hand. We bought a bottle of bubbles. I don't regret delaying the toy store trip though. As much as we want to give Teo everything we believe that it is better to point him towards the One who created everything.

9. Worked on attachment. We read and read all there is about attachment and positive parenting and worked on it.  

10. Took him back to the orphanage on his birthday. On the way home from the orphanage, Teo was so happy he kept on hugging me and his lola (grandma) in the car. And he seemed happier than his usual 'happy morning self' the next day. I guess he now understood what I meant by 'we are your forever family'. 








Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Celebrating The Feast of St. Clare



On August 11, we celebrate the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. She is the patron of clairvoyance, eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, embrodiers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, telephones, telegraphs, television.

In the Philippines, the faithful bring eggs to the Monasterio de Santa Clara in Quezon City as offering for fair weather. Lately, I ask her intercession when doing the laundry. Its the rainy season here in the Philippines and even though the weather forecast can be easily accessed through the internet, the weather can still be pretty unpredictable. While doing some research and planning activities for my little one to honor her on this day, I learned that St. Clare is also the patron of laundry!

Dear St. Clare, I ask your intercession for clear skies; and help me today with my laundry.


So here are three activities I have came up with. They're simple and doable. 

1. Cook and eat eggs. The little one and I have done scrambled eggs a couple of times. I let him beat 2 eggs in a large bowl (to avoid spilling); and used a balloon whisk (so he can hold on to it easily). Of course I had to beat the eggs a couple of times before I poured it in the pan. He sits on the kitchen counter and watches as I cook. So we're doing this again on August 11.
     note: make sure your child is at a safe distance while you cook. This can be another lesson on safety too.

You can also ask questions or talk about the process. Go over the steps with your child. 'First we prepare the bowl, then we crack the eggs in, then we beat the eggs.' This simple activity helps your child develop his executive function skills. 

Watching the clothes spin around and around.

2. Help with the laundry. Little kids love to do grown-up things! Your child may help load up the washing machine and watch you put the detergent in. Because toddlers love pushing buttons (I mean both literally and idiomatically), I let the tot push the start button. You may have to restrain you toddler a bit while you program the washing machine though.

They can also be 'in charge' of handing you the clothes pins. Older toddlers can sort clothes by color. Sorting (learn more about it here) is an early stage of math development while doing the laundry, well, I consider it a life skill. 

We'll pray and seek St. Clare's intercession for good weather and to keep us in high spirits as we tackle this chore.

T hands me the clothes pins


3. Beading. Since St. Clare is the patroness of embrodiers and needle workers, I think this activity would be appropriate. You may need a little preparation on this one. But I'm sure you'll have the supplies. All you need are toilet paper tubes and rope or a ribbon. I got the awesome idea here. This activity helps your toddler develop his fine motor skills. Also, his focus and attention. This can be done with very minimal adult supervision, you probably just have to show your child how to do it the first time. 

4. Coloring. For preschoolers and older kids who can sit and color for a longer period of time, here's a free downloadable coloring page of St. Clare. 
St. Clare, BW


So these are the activities we will do on St. Clare's feast day. And I pray all goes well, if not, its OK. We'll just laugh and laugh and laugh all day!

Since she's also the patroness of television, maybe we could watch a little TV too. (wink!)

Oh, talking about watching,  we might be viewing this from Catholic Online and this as our virtual field trip. We hope to make a pilgrimage to the monastery too.




You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...