Eleven @ 1

Our darling Eleven turned 1 today! I consider her our lucky charm because ever since she lived with us, it has been nothing but good news for our family. Despite the pandemic, we’re still very much safe and comfortable in our home, cooped up with her and Mr. Frodo.

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First family picture with our Eleven

Initially, Mr. Frodo was a little jealous of her. He’s been our baby for the longest of time and the new addition was foreign to him. Little by little, they learned to live together and even romantic at times, except when they’re fighting over food scraps. Haha!

Eleven is quite the opposite of Mr. Frodo now, but she very much reminds me of him when he was little. She’s very playful since she’s still a puppy. She can be feisty sometimes, but always obedient when I give commands. She waits very patiently when we’re having our meals before asking for her snacks. She learned how to pray and “say” amen before every meal in just a day!

She reminds me of the lamb in that children song because she follows me everywhere I go, even to the restroom!

And every where that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go…

Every time I hear this song on Spotify, I can’t help but sing it to her, modifying the lyrics so it fits her. She would look up at me with those big, brown, puppy eyes and listen intently. Adorable! Whereas Mr. Frodo hates all the singing and dancing that we do, Eleven seems to enjoy it.

We’re happy because Barkin’ Bakes is now open for pickup and delivery. We ordered a paw cake for her so she and Mr. Frodo can have their little lick and smash celebration:

Here’s a short video that I made to commemorate this day. Enjoy watching!

An Evil Prince and a Pixie

Theirs is a love story that wasn’t meant to be.

He is an evil prince who’s cursed to roam the Earth for eternity, perpetually unsatisfied with any type of happiness that love brings. She is a pixie, a minuscule of his size; tasked to bring about happiness to every soul while she absorbs all of their sadness and despair.

Until something or someone comes along… What that something is or who that someone is, no one knows. It’s something that wasn’t written anywhere or prophesied by anyone.

One afternoon, the evil prince went for a walk. Upon reaching the forest, it suddenly rained. He just stood there, getting drenched. It suddenly occurred to him that he gets kinder when it rains. He can’t explain why, it’s just the way it is.

Now it so happened that the pixie was nearby. She saw the evil prince in the middle of the forest just standing there, getting drenched. She thought about how lonely the evil prince looked. She thought about how one creature could endure such sadness and discontent. For she can feel what others feel. Full with curiosity, she carefully approached the evil prince ready to sprinkle her pixie dust of happiness.

“Don’t even think about it!”, the evil prince snapped.

The pixie let out a squeal. She didn’t know that she’ll be visible to the naked eye.

“I know what you are. It will not work.”, the evil prince continued.

“How can you see me? How do you know me? Who are you?!”, the pixie don’t know where to begin.

The evil prince looked at the tiny being, amused. It looked like it’s trying to talk but all he can hear are soft tinkling sounds. It reminded him of tiny little bells hanging by the window, blown by the wind.

The pixie repeated her questions for the evil prince appears to be frozen, until a tiny smile formed at the corner of his lips. Is that a look of amusement she sees? The evil prince was now looking at her closely, squinting his sharp, black eyes, still smiling.

“Are you trying to talk to me?”, he asked. “I can’t understand you if you are…”, he continued.

The pixie stopped talking. This is the first time she’s hearing that she cannot be understood by a human. But then again, this is also the first time that a human has spotted her and know what she is.

“My mother told me stories about your kind. How you sprinkle happiness into the world and just absorb all of the sadness. But she didn’t tell me that I can see you. From her stories, I always assumed that you are… well.. invisible,” the evil prince told her.

The pixie was afloat in the air, wings flapping hurriedly. Her wide blinking eyes showed him that she can understand every word he’s saying.

“It’s quite unfair, isn’t it? You can understand me but I can’t understand you. You have the ability to absorb loneliness, except for mine. For I have no capacity for happiness,” the evil prince said, looking sadder than normal. He reached out his hand. The pixie felt his soft fingers, his palms enveloping her wings and her whole body.

So this is how it feels like, being held by a human. I know that he’s full of sadness but why do I feel happiness?”, the pixie thought. She did not even bother to say it out loud, for fear that he might suddenly understand her. Smiling, she closed her eyes and just lay there in his warm, soft hands, feeling happiness for the first time in a long, long time. Those years and years of absorbing all of the sadness and despair in the world has made her nearly forget.

All of a sudden, she felt his grip tighten. She looked up at his sharp, black eyes still looking at her, but his smile is no more. She saw his jaw clenched as he tighten his grip once more. The pixie is now turning blue, she cannot breathe under his coarse, cruel hands. By the looks of him, he doesn’t plan to stop until she stops breathing.

“So this is how it feels like, being held by a human….”, this was the pixie’s last thought before she let go of her last breath. As she sighed, a chockful of pixie dust emanated from her and hit the evil prince straight in the face.

Surprised, the evil prince coughed and blinked. For a brief moment, he felt what he thought was happiness… but how can he be sure? He’s never felt happiness before…

He looked down at the pixie, her wide, blank eyes, staring into his. Her once luminescent skin is now an ugly shade of blue, and it appears to be crumbling, too. With a look of disgust, he flung the pixie out of his palm, and closed his eyes. He heard a small thud when her frail, dead body hit the ground. He opened his eyes and looked up at the sky.

It has stopped raining.

Turning 34

The thing about having a birthday-person-husband is it slowly rubs on you, whether you like it or not. I think I’ve written about this a few years back: I’m not a birthday person but not in a grinch kind of way. I just prefer to go through the day in peace without the frivolities. But yes, I married a birthday person and we are on quarantine so I have nowhere to go. Haha!

My day officially started with a lovely greeting from my loves — the husband and the little ones. Husband surprised me once again with this sunny bouquet while Frodo and Eleven adorably watches on.

Lovely morning surprise from the husband and the grumble

Happy with this mañanita (lol), I treated them to a Japanese lunch from one of our favorites, Boteyju — albeit in takeout boxes. I made sure I have all our favorites – even the ramen, which is now available for delivery. Yay! The little ones had a slice of chashu from the ramen, too, for their lunch. Lucky!

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Birthday in Takeout Boxes

It rained hard in the afternoon, which is perfect for an afternoon nap. But as with all other birthdays, I still reported to work. Nothing else to do, nowhere to go. So byebye, nap time! I just brought my bouquet near my workstation so I’ll have something sunny and bright to look at despite the gloomy weather.

I must say this is one of the happiest birthdays that I’ve had in a while. I’m very thankful for the gift of family and friends and for the blessing of life. Even though we are on ECQ and in the middle of this pandemic, I’ve never been more hopeful, full of purpose, and feeling more alive than ever.

A Quarantined Celebration

At the stroke of midnight, Cris gave a little surprise for Mother’s Day. For the past 3 years, he’s been greeting me and treating me out for Mother’s Day because of Ezra, our baby in heaven. This year is a little different but he did not let the ECQ stop him.

He remembered how much I love dark chocolate and macadamia so I was really happy with his little surprise.

I wanted to prep something special for lunch so I asked him to get some meat cuts on his last grocery run. I wanted to have samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ) at home so we can have a little taste of normalcy. I also wanted to use our electric hotpot & grill, which has been sitting in our kitchen cupboard for so long. Original plan is to cook and eat in our balcony, but it was a logistics nightmare. As a workaround, we just made use of our good old grill pan and sauce pan and cooked in our stove instead.

Our lunch menu was ssamjang soup — pork broth seasoned with soybean paste, samgyeopsal — pork belly, and chadolbaegi — thin slices of beef brisket. I made a quick video about it because I’m currently having so much fun with my phone’s movie editor tool. Haha! Forgive me!

It really makes me happy when I cook and prepare meals for my husband, especially when he really enjoys it and not just pretend that it tastes good. 🤣

He gave me another surprise but that deserves another post. 😉

Afternoon was spent praying The Holy Rosary in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary (and as requested by our Mama so we can’t really say no). And since it’s still ECQ, we did it over Zoom.

I hope that on Father’ Day, we can already go out and celebrate but that might be wishful thinking for now. Our ECQ has been extended for another 2 weeks and who knows what will happen by end of the month.

Despite all the restrictions, I’m still very thankful for the gift of life, love, and family.

A different kind of Mother’s Day

Mommy, thank you for teaching me independence and resilience. You’ve always supported me in every step of the way. You’ve always been proud of me, of us, without being overbearing. In most of my problems, when I become too sad that I can’t even bring myself to cry, you cried for me; when I become too jaded to even believe, you prayed for me. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Mama, thank you for teaching me patience and grace. You made me realize that there’s strength in vulnerability and wisdom in silence. It’s so easy loving Cris because you raised him as the man that I’ve always wanted to end up with. You have accepted me as your own since the first day we met. And for that, I am forever grateful.

From both of you, I re-learned faith — not the kind that was taught in school, by my elders, or by society. It is a stronger kind of faith, a faith that resonates even if I don’t shout about it or I don’t impose it on anyone. It is the kind of faith that re-affirmed my belief in a Higher Being.

That not everything could be explained, and that’s ok. That not everything has to make sense, and that’s ok. That everything has a reason for being.

Now that we are all entering a new and exciting phase in our lives, I continuously pray that I exude your strength, resilience, and faith.

I love you both!

November 13, 2015: The day Cris proposed. The day when I said yes to having two mothers.

 

A Spaghetti Story

When we were just dating, Christian shared with me his favorite spaghetti recipe. Up until then, the only pasta that I know how to cook is my roommate’s spicy tuna carbonara. Really simple because you only need to mix the canned tuna and the cream, let it simmer, then mix with your cooked spaghetti, or any other type of pasta that you want.

His recipe was a bit complicated for me then, a kitchen novice. It involved mincing garlic and onions, slicing hotdogs (Yes! We have hotdogs in our spaghetti because we’re born and raised in the Philippines! Haha!), pre-cooking the grounded beef, and perfectly mixing together his secret ingredients to make his preferred sauce. He’s not a fan of sweet spaghetti, like most Pinoys. He wants it tomato-ey and a bit spicy, thus, his “secret sauce”. Even the pasta, he wanted a very specific way of prepping.

All well and good if he actually prepped and cooked it from time to time, but no. He instructs, I execute.

Through the years, I’ve come to perfect his spaghetti recipe. I remember including in my silent wedding vow that I will cook his favorite spaghetti on his birthdays. Silent because we didn’t really say our vows out loud in front of everyone. But I’m getting out of topic.

Anyway, today is not his birthday but he’s been very stressed by work lately. In my effort to take a bit of his stress away, I went ahead and prepped his favorite meal. And I’m happy that it put a smile on his face.

I’ve read that to make a marriage work and to keep the love alive, you don’t need to do monumental gestures every single time. It’s the little things that matter that you consistently do.

You just need to know what makes your partner smile and you try your best to be a constant source of that smile.

Star Wars Run 2018

May the 4th be with you! In honor of Star Wars’ Day, let me talk about my Star Wars Run from 2 years ago.

Our main reason for going to Singapore that year is the Bruno Mars 24K Magic World Tour. Why fly 2500 km just to watch Bruno Mars perform, you ask? Simple: It’s just so hard and frustrating scoring tickets here in the Philippines. Thank you, inconsiderate scalpers!

Anyway, I was looking for other things to do and try to maximize our stay in SG when I chanced upon the Star Wars Run in Facebook. The race was actually on May 5th, not May 4th, but it’s ok. It has always been one of my goals to join a race outside of the PH. Second, it’s Star Wars. Come on!

I asked Cris if he’s willing to join me despite the steep registration fee. He agreed and actually extended the invite to our Dark Side – SG Chapter friends who’ll be coming with us to the concert. To my surprise, they all decided to join.

This was one of the most unique and fun run that I’ve even been to. Upon registration, it lets you choose between the Light Side and the Dark Side. This determined your race shirt, finishing medal, other freebies, and your actual path. Yes, the two sides ran through different paths and converged at the finish line.

We chose to participate in the 5.4KM non-competitive run because we were just in it for the fun. Personally, I also like how it corresponds to the Star Wars date which made the finishing medal all the more special. I was so happy that my 5.4KM finishing medal is a Stormtrooper, but Cris wasn’t so fond of his. He’s not a big fan of Chewie. Lucky for him, his route is the more enjoyable one because it’s around the Marina Bay area. They even went through the Hellix Bridge which looks spectacular at night! Meanwhile, our route was true to form — it was so dark! We went through trails and tunnels that I’m not totally familiar with. It’s a good thing I did not get lost even if I had to stop in the middle of the race for a quick bio break.

I can no longer find my stats for this race so I’m just posting here my favorite pics. This is a very good reminder for me to post regularly so details are not lost in time. Haha!

Overall, it was very enjoyable and I was impressed at how organized the race was. I was even allowed to exchange my race pack because the shirt size that I chose is quite small. This surprised me because if it was here in the PH, I’ll have no choice but to run wearing a crop top baby tee.

Post race, we went to a hawker in Geylang for a much needed dimsum dinner. I can’t even remember the name of the hawker place but it looked like a popular go-to because just mere minutes after we have reserved a table, there was already a long line of people waiting to be seated. We were lucky we got there a bit early.

Despite the post-race fatigue because of lack of sleep and the the Singapore heat, we went home with full tummies and happy faces — fully recharged for the Bruno Mars concert the day after.

📸: Brylle Baluyot

Happy Barkday, Mr. F!

Dear Mr. Frodo, 

I still remember when I first saw you. You and your sister were in a playpen but you, my boy, caught my eye. You know why? Before we even approach you, you were already standing on your two hind legs and resting your two little paws against the playpen, barking at me incessantly, looking so happy. It’s as if you were saying, “Pick me, hooman! Pick me!”. 

And I was smitten. 

You were so curious on our drive home, looking out of the car window and can’t seem to get enough of what you’re seeing. Do you still remember what I told you then? 

“Look at the world, Mr. Frodo. Make it yours!”. 

You are a promise silently made and a promise kept.

When your Poppa and I just started dating, I jokingly told him that he should get me a pug if ever we reach our 3rd anniversary. This stemming from the fact that some people thought we wouldn’t last that long. He just shook his head at me, smiling without saying a word. I took it as silently telling me, “You wish!”. 

It didn’t help that after three years, he gifted me with a pug paper craft proudly saying he’s keeping his promise. I thought it was really funny, until he told me that he’s getting me you, for real. I still could not believe it until we were going rounds the pet shops already, looking for the perfect you. 

The morning after, you gave me a fright. You were so sick that I thought I’d lose you. Without taking a shower I took you to the vet and waited nervously for your checkup. The vet told us that you might not live for long and I almost cried. I talked to your previous owner and she assured me that you will live. That she will take you in for two weeks and give you back to me in perfect health. 

And she did.

It was a promise made and a promise kept. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that you will be this mischievous little one who would go and ruin my stuff, sneeze straight on my face as if it’s the most delightful thing in the world, and make me fall and roll around the streets of Tomas Morato while trying to save you from being a roadkill. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that I could trade sleep just so I can keep an eye on you when you’re sick. That I could trade night outs and partying just so we can spend more time together. That I could trade splurging on a meal just so I can buy your favorite snacks and toys. I wouldn’t have thought that I have this much capacity to love a squished faced, sneezy non-human. 

Mr. Frodo, you are one of our earlier relationship milestones and you’ve been with us through every other milestone thereafter. The good and the bad, the happy and not so happy. 

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy 6th Barkday, Mr. F. We love you and you will always be our baby boy.

That’s a promise that we will always keep. 

His Greatest Fear

This ECQ has proven to be a good time for no nonsense yet hilarious conversations. I was having lunch with my husband one day when he brought up something that surprised me.

“Hey, if ever you go into labor someday, can you make sure that you type the baby’s name first on my phone?”

“Why? Are you having second thoughts?”

We’ve talked about baby names for as long as I can remember. Part excitement, part wishful thinking, I guess. We’ve actually narrowed them down to two, depending on the baby’s gender. Yes, we have become that couple who annoyingly plans for something as if it’s already a reality.

“No. It’s just that… I don’t want to make a spelling mistake”.

This cracked me up! In all of our talks for the past years, this was the first time he’s brought it up. It’s not as if our chosen names are too difficult to spell out. We are not fans of  complicated names that are convoluted with consonants, or vowels, or (gasp!) both.

“It’s one of  my greatest fear you know. Misspelling the baby’s name”. 

Laughing out loud, I assured him that I would do such thing and make sure I put in my pregnancy checklist in the future.

“Ok, I will make sure it’s in your phone and in one of our documents when we pack your hospital bag. But husband… if you ask me, my greater fear is for you to tick the incorrect gender. Yun yung di talaga kita mapapatawad!”

It was his turn to laugh out loud but the look of concern never left his face…