Pregnant Pinoy in America: We are Expecting!

When Cha and I got married, we talked about the number of kids we wanted to have. Both of us didn’t want to have a huge family (thankfully!) although she has 5 siblings. I only have 2 siblings. I wanted to have 3 kids, but she wanted 2.

I am not the one who will carry the baby for 9 months then risk my life to deliver them. In the end, we agreed to have 2 kids, with 3 or 4 years between them. In 2013, our son Coco was born and he changed our lives for the better. He brought so much joy and happiness in our lives.

Postponing our next Baby Project

We planned to have another baby when he was 3 years old. But our plans had to change because we ended up moving to the USA in mid-2015. We thought we were going to postpone having a baby for a year. After all, moving from the one country to another is a BIG move.

But our waiting season turned out longer than we planned. In 2017, we felt that it was time to try and have another baby. So we prayed and tried. We had to wait some more.

Since we have a family prayer time together before bed, Coco got to pray for a baby brother or a sister. After almost a year of praying, he just couldn’t seem to wait anymore.

Coco (to me and Cha): “Where is my baby sister, we pray and pray but she’s not yet here.”

Me (trying to stifle laughter): “Anak, we need to be patient and wait.”

Coco (with some hand waving and a big pout): “But I can’t wait anymore!”

Nanay: “Let’s keep praying and waiting anak, hopefully she will come soon.”

Continue reading

How to Save Money on Children’s Toys in the USA

Sometime in 2016, a friend stayed over at our home for an evening. He saw our son’s room and all the toys that he had there. This friend works as a Principal of an elementary school in the Philippines. He said: “Wow, your son’s room and toys look like a full play area for a kindergarten in the Philippines!”

We laughed at his statement at the time. It’s true, our son has a lot of toys. And the good thing is that we did not pay full price for those toys. In most cases, we got those toys at a bargain. If you also have a small child, here are some tips to save money on children’s toys in the USA.

Here are some of the toys we got from different sources and the corresponding price:

Train and Activity table: $40 Craigslist
Hot Wheels Playsets: $20 from Craigslist
Various robots and cars – got it from Goodwill thrift stores

Continue reading

6 Tips for Parents on Kids’ Use of Smartphones or Tablets

Parents of young kids often wonder how to regulate the screen time of their kids. It’s no longer a matter of whether kids should have access to tablets or smartphones. It’s now a matter of regulating that access.

Kids as early as one are now watching videos so their parents can do their chores or work at home.

Here are some tips for parents on kids’ smartphone use.

Continue reading

My Father: Pastor, Farmer, Church-Planter

Today is my father’s 62nd birthday. I decided to write some things about him and his life work. 

My earliest memories were set at the seminary where my father studied for his Master of Divinity in Dasmarinas, Cavite. I must have been 3 or 4 years old then. All my life, he had been a pastor and I daresay a good one at that.

He had never been a district superintendent. But I have seen his leadership skills in the churches where he served.

When we moved from Union Theological Seminary from Cavite to Roxas, Isabela to take on his first assignment after seminary, the church building was pretty small. With the growing number of church-goers, they needed a bigger space.

I grew up as a young boy in that church. That is also where I attended my first Christmas Institute and got connected to this life-giving stream of ministry with youth and young adults.

Although Papa did not oversee the renovation of the church until its completion, he left behind a bigger structure that was on the way to being finished.

My father also organized at least two congregations during his time at Roxas United Methodist Church–one at Dannal, Paracelis, Mountain Province. One can only reach that village by riding motorized boats at Simimbaan, right by the Siffu River dam.

Continue reading

6 Crazy Things I Did as a New Father

Before our son was born, my wife and I watched some movies about babies and parenthood. I particularly remember the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

One particular scene cracked me up. It’s when Gary Cooper (played by Ben Falcone) panicked and kept pacing and looking for his car key inside the house. Finally, his wife, Wendy (played by Elizabeth Banks), who was in the throes of labor, threw a magazine or a booklet at him. That helped him get his wits back.

I sympathize with Gary Cooper. When you’re a new father, you face a lot of changes in life, and you may panic for quite a bit.

Here are 6 crazy things I did as a new father. Some of these are pretty silly, some had happened because of accidents and mistakes, but almost all of it was probably because I was clueless and nervous. Or downright afraid of the prospect of taking care of a small human being.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Kids’ Soccer, Competition, and Sports

It was a really hot Saturday noon with the sun almost directly overhead. I held a big umbrella to provide shade to 2 members of our son’s soccer team sitting on the bench. First game of the Nashville Youth Soccer Association (NYSA) Fall season and the kids had 3 minutes left in the game.

Those two kids didn’t want to play. J, the son of my son’s coach, cried when the opposing team took the ball from him. It just went downhill from there. The other kid, U, refused to play after the first quarter. It is their first season playing kids’ soccer.

Our son did a little better on his first season, too. He played in the Spring 2017 season of the NYSA from February to May. He loved practice time but during the actual games, he just wanted to sit on the bench and cheer his teammates on.

If he ever played, he would kick the ball once then stand around watching everyone else play. But on the last quarter of the last game of the season, he blocked the other team’s attempt to score a goal, then dribbled the ball across the field, and then scored! I was so proud! We waited a whole season for that winning moment!

Continue reading

First Day of Pre-K and Soccer Practice

Our son woke up really early today. My wife was cooking breakfast and I was drinking coffee this morning at 7:30 am. Then our son stepped out of the room and we heard a loud “good morning!” followed by a hug. (Yes, that is really very early for him.)

He was excited for the first day of his Pre-K! I can’t believe how time flies. Summer is over for him and he goes to his class now.

That lunch box is deep.

Before eating breakfast, my wife had another practice session with Coco about opening, unpacking, and repacking his lunch box. The new lunch box case, carrier, or whatever you call it, can carry more, but is also a bit heavier. It’s also more difficult to open. Hence, the need for the practice session.

After breakfast, we helped him prepare, and after an hour, we were ready to go! At least my wife and I were ready to go. In between toothbrushing and putting on his shoes, he found the remote, turned the TV on and found YouTube! Then we had to convince him to turn it off, otherwise, he might miss class.

Coco loves that Lightning McQueen bag.

Thankfully, he turned it off, and off we went.

Shy Guy…

During the summer, he went through what I call a “SHY phase.” He’s not as sociable as he used to be and he would just be shy around people. He probably missed the socialization with classmates, friends, and teachers in the school. So he’s really looking forward to school again.

When he met his teacher, he had that shy look again in his face. Hopefully, as the school year moves along, he’ll adjust well and be sociable again. It also helps that one of his former classmates last year will be in his class.

First Day of Soccer Practice, too!

Today was the first day of soccer practice, too. We went to the Heartland Park, where the Nashville Youth Soccer Association has practices and games. We met his Coach and his teammates. He also got to show off some of the skills he got from last Spring’s games.

Last Spring, when he enrolled him for soccer, he just loved the practice sessions. But every game day, he would just kick the ball once and refuse to follow and kick it to the goal. Only in the last quarter of his last game did he really show up, block another kid’s attempt to score, then kicked it and dribbled all the way to score a goal!!!

That was only his second goal during the whole season! But it was totally worth it! Just to see the pride in his eyes and his running form. It was awesome!

We’ll see how it goes this season.

As parents it is very difficult to resist the urge to be competitive and urge our son to be a good, competitive player. But we reminded him to enjoy the game and have fun. We could use that advice, too!

We’re just glad that he has several opportunities to grow his physical and mental abilities, and make friends in the process.

 

 

Along Came a Child…

It was an ordinary July (2012) week for me and my wife. Except that her period was delayed for two days. I didn’t want to hope too much because by that time, we had been waiting and praying for a baby to come along.

On the third day, we finally got a Pregnancy test kit and it came back with two lines! Positive! We were pregnant!

I couldn’t contain my joy and happiness. I was going to be a father. My heart swelled! I couldn’t believe how much love I was feeling–for my wife and our soon-to-be-born child. Continue reading

Surviving Our Son’s Stomach Bug Woes

On the third Sunday of March, after our son’s fever, he had what seemed like diarrhea. But it didn’t progress beyond the day, so we weren’t worried at all. On Monday, we even went out for a nice walk at the lake.

But the next morning, after he went to school, I got a call from one of the staff at his preschool. She told me that we needed to pick him up and bring him home. He had been to the restroom twice within 2 hours! I thought “that can’t be good.”

A Trip to the ER

Thankfully, within 30 minutes, my wife picked him up and got him settled at home. I stayed at work and just went through my day just like any normal day at the office. But when I got home that afternoon, he couldn’t keep anything down. He was vomiting and his diarrhea showed no signs of letting up. By 7:45 p.m. after several times of vomiting, we decided to bring him to the E.R.

They did some tests. The medical technologist at the triage said that our son probably had flu since that was the main thing that people complained about. We got more worried, thanks to that well-meaning (or maybe not) medical guy. Continue reading