13/52: Flower Girls

Photographs of my daughters, once a week, every week, this 2014. Week 13.

13/52: Rain

13/52: Dawn

Rain: Loved walking back and forth the aisle before the ceremony started.
Dawn: Loved twirling in her pretty flower girl dress. Ahh, so adorable!
Dawn & Rain: Ended up not wanting to walk down the aisle on their own, we had to walk down with them. Parents have to experience escorting their babies down the aisle at some point, right?

13/52: Dawn

13/52: Rain

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13/52: Dawn & Rain

13/52: With Mommy

It was their first time to be flower girls, and in typical stage mother fashion, I.. was more excited than they were. In fact, I think I was more excited about the twins being flower girls than the bride and groom themselves.

That said, you can never take enough photographs of your daughters’ first flower girl gig. Bunch of first timers here. ;) Here’s more from my Instagram:

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I don’t think I ever stopped swooning the whole night, glancing at my husband through lit candles, watching the girls twirl and marvel at the world around them, and feeling the love that filled the place.

Times like this you realize that there’s so much to be grateful for, not just on special days like this one, but even in ordinary days when you’re given the opportunity to breathe, to live, to love. Hope you spent the Holy Week thanking the Lord for every good and perfect gift too, as we did. :)

More about Project 52 here. View all posts in this blog series here.

12/52: First Time to Swim

Photographs of my daughters, once a week, every week, this 2014. Week 12.

Dawn & Rain's First Time to Swim

Dawn & Rain with Daddy

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12/52: We managed to get Dawn inside her floater, but Rain wouldn’t take her arms (and legs!) off her Daddy. Haha. We should try again next time.

It was their first time to swim, and they didn’t like it. We think it must be because they’ve gotten so used to taking a bath in warm water or hot shower, that it caught them off guard when we dipped them in a pool that had colder temperature. Which explains their unhappy faces.

Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of photographs taken because we took them out of the pool after about 15 minutes of cryfest. Still adorable, these two. And they sure loved wearing their swim suits!

Their Daddy currently has the top picture as his FB cover photo, and he captioned it with this:

17th month: First time swimming in an actual pool. Took the whole gang, your ninongs and ninangs, to calm you down because you’re not used to bathing in cold water. It was a funny and touching scene. This is just the first. I’m thinking that next time, we’ll be the ones who will have a hard time pulling you out of the water.

On a sidenote, D changes his cover photo on the 24th of each month. He captions each photograph with his love letter for the twins, and I love just how consistent he’s been doing this for the past 17 months! I should compile his love letters no? I think I will. So proud of this guy, for the man that he is, and now, for the Daddy that he’s become. <3

(Photo credit: Last 3 photos grabbed from one of their Ninong’s FB page.)

More about Project 52 here. View all posts in this blog series here.

(Not So) Recently: Meeting the Blissmakers, Finally!

It’s the Holy Week and we’re staying in today, which means I finally get to work on post backlogs. Which means I finally get to blog about this one Sunday afternoon I spent with the #blissmakers at La Creperie Boheme in New Manila.

Make it Blissful

My IG posts from that day, top to bottom, left to right:

(1) La Creperie’s yummy Salidou Crepe—salted butter caramel and whipped cream (my fave!) with add-on bananas for me please!
(2) Spotted: Martine’s Simplified Planner, I finally saw one in person yay.
(3) Christine, owner of La Creperie, made each of us take home a little piece of Paris—an Eiffel Tower keychain. Very thoughtful of her.
(4) I orderd an iced Vanilla Bourbon with milk while waiting for the others (I was the first one there, next to Martine). Super refreshing, ahh, makes me want to have it now now.
(5) A glimpse of Martine’s desk, items she brought for the pictorial.
(6) Darling Magazine’s back cover with its manifesto. You gotta love Darling Magazine.
(7) Darling Magazine Issue 6, Martine’s copy.
(8) Drinking TWG Vanilla Bourbon red tea (hot, this time) and scanning through the pages of Darling as I wait for my pictorial.

Who is Martine and Who are the Blissmakers

I first met Martine when I caught her writing workshops in my radar. Attending her Write On Mom workshop for the first time last year, I found how easy it is to connect with her because her advocacy—of meaningful living and purposeful blogging—resonates well with mine. Soon, we were seeing each other for tea (or cupcakes!) and collaborating on projects. I’m so blessed to know her up close not only because she’s been giving me design projects that I loooove, but also because I found a friend, a fellow dream-chaser, and since she’s a few years older than I am, a role model.

And so I was surprised and honoured when she invited me to be part of Make it Blissful at the start of this year. Her advocacy as a bliss-finding blogger is so strong she had to rebrand her site and make it (almost like) a movement. And now she shares her blog space with women around the world, whom she lovingly calls blissmakers, so that we too can share inspirational posts and stories on different aspects of blissful living.

After a few months of just virtually knowing each other, Martine finally gathered us up for a pictorial, one Sunday afternoon at La Creperie in New Manila.

Blissmakers, 2014

Manila-based Blissmakers’ class picture, 2014. Grabbed from Makeitblissful.com.

by Shutter Panda

We all took turns having our solo portraits taken. I love mine heee, thanks Shutter Panda.

Don’t you just love our color palette? Me loves it.

Being in one room with these women, it was surely a lovely and giddy-fan-girl experience. I finally got to meet Toni of Wifely Steps and Vanessa of Shedmom, and be part of this group with them, when I used to just lurk on their websites and admire them from a far. It’s good to see other Manila WAHM mainstays again, such as Ginger, Tina, and Louise; to sit in the same table with Marilen whom I got to talk with about life as a working mommy; to finally meet the lovable Denise; and even though I didn’t get a chance to personally talk to everyone, it’s still great being in the same room with these beautiful women. The inspiration was just overflowing in that place!

Once I said that some of the best (and insightful!) writers I know are mothers. And meeting this women, I couldn’t be more right in my claim.

It’s impossible to come out of an afternoon like this one without feeling a sense of validation. These people are hard-working career women and hands-on mothers at the same time. They go through days balancing household management, homeschool, raising children, their chosen businesses and passions, their careers, and still manage to live beautiful, meaningful lives. I’m in awe. :)

Spreading the link love

I invite you to come visit and subscribe to Makeitblissful.com for lots of inspiring posts about life, love, and finding bliss in every day. You can find my MIB post/s here.

Check out Toni’s photographs and account of this afternoon here.

And Vanessa’s beautiful story-telling.

Also, the official sneak peak / post by Martine.

Have some crepes and some tea at La Creperie, Manila! Best crepes, ever. Their New Manila branch is my favorite, but they also have branches at F. Calderon, San Juan, Shangri-la, and Robinsons Galleria.

Linking up to the blissmakers, after the jump!  (more…)

11/52: Full Circle

Photographs of our daughters, once a week, every week, in 2014. Week 11.

Our little family

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1152-dawnrainmommy2

Fernbrook Gardens

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11/52: The four of us, back in the place where this whole journey began.

One Saturday afternoon in March, my husband and I took the twins with us to a wedding at Fernbrook Gardens in Alabang. The wedding was beautiful, and my husband was reunited with some of his friends from New York who were here for the wedding too. What can I say, it’s always good to reunite with old friends and to revisit old places.

Meanwhile, the girls totally loved running around the place! There was so much space for them to explore, new things to see. And in typical mommy-and-daddy-of-twins fashion, we followed them around (often in opposite directions), pulled them here, carried them there, wiped their dirty hands and knees while the ceremony was happening. Anything, as long as you’re happy, darlings.

A nice cool breeze accompanied the golden hour; making it the perfect time to take photographs and to just.. bask in the love and the memories of that place. I longed to tell Dawn & Rain stories of that day, except of course they wouldn’t understand or remember a thing. At least not yet.

It was the same venue of our wedding, almost 3 years ago, and for the first time since then, we’re back.

Full Circle

We’ve come full circle. Wow.

Full Circle

How do you handle days like this? It’s one of those days you wish you could just step back and watch your life from afar, rewind and replay over and over again. I was just getting married here! How did it all go so fast?

Full Circle

Fernbrook Gardens to me will always be a place where dreams happen. Once we were just standing there, committing our lives to each other before God and our loved ones. And suddenly we’re back with these two little girls who happen to be the greatest validation of the decision we made 3 years ago. What a milestone! I’m glad I took lots of photographs. This one’s definitely for keeps.

More about Project 52 here. View all posts in this blog series here.

9/52 + 10/52: Afternoons like these

Photographs of my daughters, once a week, every week, in 2014. Weeks 9 & 10.

10/52

10/52

9/10: Drinking their favorite strawberry yogurt after playing outdoors.

9/52

9/52

10/52: Since Valentines Day, buying balloons has become kindof a regular thing.

This week should be Week 14, and I’ve been contemplating if I should just go ahead and skip through these weeks and just backtrack them later. But this is exactly how I dwindled in my Project 52 last year, and I refuse to let that happen now.

So here’s weeks 9 and 10, with photographs from our extra-ordinary, ordinary afternoons at home. I know they’re not the most perfect of photographsour house is a chaos, the girls are sweaty, even my husband is caught in an unflattering position (sorry about that, Lol), but that’s our life right there in all its beautiful mess. And I love everything about it. <3

I’m not sure where it started, but we’ve somehow developed this nice little afternoon routine where we take the twins out for a walk or some outdoor playtime after they had their nap. I think it’s their most favorite time of the day, and it’s starting to become mine too, especially now that summer has kicked in, the husband doesn’t have classes, and I get to work most days at home. I never seem to run out of work to do, but I treasure afternoons when I can take a quick break from whatever I’m doing and just enjoy some QT with my little family.

March has been such a busy month, and April is starting to become full too. But I’m excited for the little non-working holidays that this month brings, like tomorrow! yay! And next week (Holy Week)! Double yay! Simple joys, what can I say?

How have your days been? I hope they’re nothing short of awesome.

We Weren’t Joking, Alright

Two years ago, on April Fools Day, we announced on our Facebook wall that we were having twins. It sounded like something someone would post on April Fools, but we were overjoyed and we couldn’t wait until April 1 was over to share the news to our family and friends.

April Fools Joke -- NOT

“I know it must sound like a really good April Fools joke, but it’s for real, we’re having twins. We’re still recovering from the sweet surprise, thank you for including us in your prayers.”

It wasn’t an April Fools joke alright, but we still couldn’t help but laugh whenever we remember that moment we found out we were having twins.

We were in the ultrasound room of Delgado Memorial Hospital, when the sonographer on duty nonchalantly announced The single most life-changing news of our lives.

“Twins? Seriously?” my husband squeaked, “Are you really sure?” I remained still on the hospital bed, and my husband barraged the sonographer a bazillion questions I would have asked myself, except I was frozen and unable to say anything at all. He calmly explained to us what we were seeing on the ultrasound screentwo gestational sacs, one placenta, 5 weeks old.

“How did that happen?” my husband asked.
“Do you have twins in your family?” 
the sonographer asked us back.
“None in my family,” 
I answered. (That time, we didn’t know this yet.)
“Is that really possible?” My husband asked.
“Yes. It happens. Very rare, but it’s possible to have twins even if you don’t have it in your genes,” said the sonographer.

He answered a few more questions until we’re positively convinced that what we heard (and saw!) were true. Dazed, we went out of the ultrasound room, sat in the hospital lobby to wait for our ultrasound prints, and took some couple selfies that we later posted on Facebook. We then called my Mom, and then my husband’s father, who also couldn’t believe their ears.

The rest, as they say, is history.

They’re turning 18 months old this month, and wow do babies grow fast! It’s not at all easy to raise twins, and there are days when I feel so tired like I could sleep an entire week straight. The expenses are doubled, the responsibilities are doubled, and I sometimes wish 24 hours a day is doubled too. There’s never enough time for everything!

But what an awesome, awesome ride this is, and believe it or not I still sometimes whisper to my husband at night, “Do we really have twins sleeping in the bed with us?” He would smile and answer, “yes we do” to state the obvious, and we would drift off to sleep like thatsmiling.

God wasn’t joking alright, when He called us to be the parents of these two, and we couldn’t be any more grateful for this sweet April Fools surprise God has played on us.

Best April Fools non-joke ever.

Dad’s smile, I get it now

Remembering the life of a great man, pastor, husband, friend, Dad.

Daddy

It’s been 7 years since Dad passed away but every year I still learn something new about him. This year, I learned how much he loved me.

Oh sure I know he loved me and my brothers so much, no doubt about it. But this year I gained a better understanding of how great that love is. I wish I knew sooner, but I needed to be a parent first to understand.

Daddy

Daddy

Look at THAT SMILE! That smile on his face when he held me for the first time. Or when he carried me (and my balloon!) on my birthday. Or when I sat on his lap looking like a cranky bumble bee. He had that smile on like he couldn’t contain his joy.

That smile speaks volumes, and I get it now. It was the smile of a father who loved her daughter so much, who was crazy about her and would do everything for her.

I know now because I have that same smile on my face when I hold Dawn or Rain in my arms. And I see my husband smile that way too. I love my daughters so much that when I think about how much I love them, tears would fall from my eyes. I watch them sleep at night and it’s like my heart is going to burst with so much joy. I’ll do anything for them, sacrifice my life for them, protect them, and be the best Mom I can be for them.

And I realized now that sometime 30 years ago, Dad felt exactly the same way about the baby girl who was growing before his eyes.

Thanks, Dad, for loving me that much. I didn’t understand it then, but I get it now.

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