Family and Relationships · Married life · Musings

Dear Husband

You’re the man of the house. Of every breakfast, lunch, and dinner that need to be prepared and are served with love, much flavor and vigor. Of nappy changes and dirty feeding bottles. Of passive but profitable family income. Of minute but very important decisions to be made daily, from which color of sheets to use for the bed to what products to buy to cut in the grocery budget. Of all household things broken and must be repaired or replaced.

I honor you for taking the biggest leap of faith and having the most drastic change of career by choosing to stay at home and be the one to take care of our family. I honor you because I know it’s far from being the easiest thing to do, and because together, we steadfastly fight unnecessary drama that is unsolicited advices (and judgments) from others (concerned or otherwise), our own personality differences, and your inability to thoroughly (and consistently) tidy the house (and/or do the laundry alone). But most importantly, I honor you for allowing me to dream, and pushing me to make those dreams come true; all because you believe in me and my capabilities.

I know it’s hard, but sometimes I envy you. Everytime I have to leave you for work in the morning, with the baby in your arms, both of you ready to go back to sleep, I envy you. Every lunch time I get to check on you and you’ve sent me a video of our adorable baby doing adorably nothing, I envy you. And every evening that I arrive to see the house in disarray, but you and the baby’s faces show how great an adventure happened to lead to such mess, I envy you. But really, there’s nothing to be resentful about, for your work is one without price, vacation leaves, or holidays. It’s a continuous commitment. A vocation to lead us, nourish us, and sustain us.

And so, I’m always proud to say you’re the man of the house. Of all things to be cooked, washed, or cleaned. Of every bit of sanity and courage in overcoming the struggles of nurturing a baby by yourself. For at the end of the day, despite the longingness, exhaustion, disappointments, and fear I feel on a daily basis, and through every big or small accomplishments our child did and all her smiles showing that she had proudly done it by taking on the world with dirty hands, grazed knees, and full heart (because no Mom will ever allow that), at the end of the day I know we made the right decision and are doing the right thing for our little family.

Thank you for surpassing this society’s expectations of how a Mother or Father should be, because you are, and will always be, a great Father. I love you dearly.

Happy Fathers’ Day,

Your wife

Family and Relationships · Married life · Personal

Happy birthday Daddy!

Daddy Aljhon of House Mercado, first of his name, Head of our household, lover of all things coffee and cinnamon, buyer of branded caps and shoes, player of tank heroes, follower of fliptop emcees and filipino vloggers, keeper of coins, protector of our family, and owner of my heart. I love You ❤

Married life · Motherhood · Musings · Personal

Of good times and bad

It was the weekend of Mother’s Day and our 3rd wedding anniversary, but it was also Philippines’ mid-term election and Game of Thrones penultimate episode of the series’ final season.

Truly a weekend of good times and bad.

My husband unwittingly told me I am already becoming too negative and cynical. Basing on who will be the future senators of our country, who wouldn’t? I am not a Liberal Party supporter and I didn’t vote for all the Otso Diretso candidates. But Bong Go, Imee Marcos, Bato Dela Rosa, Lito Lapid, and Bong Revilla as senators? 🤦‍♀️ Seriously, Philippines. ☹ What dismays me really is not just the “quality” of the Hugpong’s senatoriables (who are either unqualified or plunderers) but their apparent loyalty not to the country but to Pres. Duterte. The Senate is supposed to be an independent body that must ensure check and balance in the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers of the President. Now that’s the Senate, Congress, and Supreme Court are pro-Duterte by majority, we can only guess what will happen next. 😥 #Federalism #DeathPenalty #Divorce #SameSexMarriage #PhilippinesasChinaProperty

(I’m anticipating that there would be no Presidential election come 2022.)

And in the midst of it all, what breaks my heart is seeing my friends and loved ones vote, promote, and defend these kind of politicians. (Even Aljhon is now a “closeted” DDS. Hahahahah 😅☹) Before, I was secretly laughing at those people who unfriend and/or unfollow “friends” at facebook, but now, seeing how they react and celebrate the victory of PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago, I actually unfriended and unfollowed people for the first time! I just can’t handle their “reasoning” and how bad it makes me feel. I even unfriended Aljhon because he promoted Bato Dela Rosa!

But really, facebook is creating a strain on our relationship (no proper sweet cheesy message for me on Mother’s Day and our anniversary!) kaya okay lang na i-unfriend ko na sya. Hahah minsan kasi siraulo din ako.

But anyway, we celebrated Mother’s Day as a family and that’s what really matters. We served in the Mass, joined Aljhon in his service at Fatima Kalayaan Fiesta, visited Mercado Family (because it was also Ate Heart’s birthday but she wasn’t there), and then had an outing with The Agustins at Ciudad Cristhia 9Waves Resort (on Monday, immediately after voting).

On our Anniversary day, Aljhon, Ella and I went to UP Town Center. We just strolled around and watched Ella be curious with her surroundings.

Good times, yeah. Then I watched GOT 805.

I need not elaborate how disappointing the last season is turning out because it’s all over the internet. It just breaks my heart (again!) to see how great this series was until they run out of material to copy from the books 😥 But I’m all #TeamDanyforevs and though torching all of King’s Landing is totally unnecessary, I can understand where all the hatred is coming from. What I don’t understand is how Jaime and Cersei died. 💯 lame and non-GOT. But then there’s one last episode left, one last chance to salvage one of the best tv shows ever. *fingers-cross*

What GOT lacks, John Wick: Parabellum suffices. Aljhon seemed to notice my mood so he treated me and we watched the movie together on the first day of screening. And we absolutely got what we paid for.🤘 I’m not an Action film fan (I’m not into movies, tbh) but I really appreciate this particular franchise. The plot is simple but well-thought of and alluring, action sequence is a choreography at its finest, and Keanu Reeves is well, Keanu Reeves (hands-down one of the best).

It was only 4 days, but I got a roller coaster of changing moods and emotions. At first I was happy, but the next moment I was sad. It was both good and bad times. But as I was always saying to my students, these good and bad times always go together. Happiness and sadness are opposites, but partners. One cannot be fully experienced- and appreciated- without the other. So good and bad times it is. And all is well.

P.S. Now please, tell me, am I really negative and cynical?

Christian life · Married life · Places

Learning only from the Experts: joining MER 1

Just would like to share how God abundantly blessed us last weekend when we attended the Marriage Enrichment Retreat (MER) 1 of our Couples for Christ community.

The retreat was conducted at Bale Maragul in San Antonio, Arayat, Pampanga. We left Manila by 5:45am and arrived at 7:30am. We are actually the first chapter to arrive in the location.

North B2D represent!

Bale Maragul is a perfect place for a retreat. They have bale maragul (meaning “bahay na malaki” in kapampangan) comprising of 3 floors full of airconditioned accommodation rooms (for couples and for families/groups). We stayed in a room at the ground floor, complete with a big comfort room for bath (with tub and shower) and toilet. The session hall is very nice, I think big enough for 100 people. The landscape of the resort is also nice, and they have 2 swimming pools.

The retreat started with an orientation followed by the Opening Worship. While praying, I think about all the things I left in Manila- Ella, my review classes, my work- and decided to surrender to God all my concerns. When Aljhon and I joined CFC in 2016, this MER is actually one of the things that we ardently look forward to. Excited lang kasi kami talaga palagi sa mga ganitong klaseng retreats. However, we failed to attend last year because I was due then to give birth. For this year, I was at first hesitant, because there are weekend classes I need to attend. Praise God for giving me a submissive heart, and I let Aljhon decide for us to choose MER over my review, for the last weekend proved to be one of my highlights this year.

The retreat comprises of 7 talks, each one focusing in making God the center of our marriage. Here are my important takeaways:

1. God commissioned husbands and wives to serve Him through marriage. Marriage is not just a relationship, but a Worship.

2. The family is no longer just the basic unit of society, but a domestic Church as well. And as commissioned by Christ, the father will always be the Head.

3. Expressed in the term “Padre-de-Pamilya”, the father is expected to fulfill priestly duties to his own domestic Church.

4. The wife is always a help mate to her husband. But she is the Heart of the home. The mind may be higher than the heart, but without a heart, it is dead.

5. The pastoral care of the wife and the children may come from the husband/father, that’s why it is the husband’s urgent responsibility to grow spiritually. But the pastoral care of the husband never comes from the wife; rather, it is given to him by his leaders from the community.

6. Parenthood is by far the biggest, noblest, and grandest vocation. It even literally requires laying down your life for the sake of the family. And so in this seminar, I salute my parents, especially my Mama, for doing the best in providing for and loving us in a way no one else could.

7. Submissiveness of the wife is never a sign of weakness. It is by her unconditional love that a husband can securely fulfill his role and duties. Nothing is truer than the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman”.

8. There is no broken relationship that cannot be repaired by God. For our God is a healer and restorer.

I thank God for leading my parents to the Couples for Christ, for I, myself, is a testimony of how God is truly gracious with this community. I have seen many miracles through this family, and I must say that the most important one is when I found my life partner who shares the same values and faith in this community. Aljhon is God’s gift to my faithfulness, and I know that He has even greater plans for our family. I am grateful to CFC because they are guiding and teaching us to become partners and parents the best that we can be, even at a very early stage. God is truly good and great!

Married life · Reviews

2nd.

Aljhon and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary last May 14 doing the things we love to do as an individual- him taking photographs of me being surrounded by books. We visited the Book Museum cum Ethnology Center located at Concepcion, Marikina City. We initially planned on going to Art in Island, but it was closed due to the nationwide barangay election holiday. We enjoyed the day discovering the history of publishing in the Philippines, seeing a decent collection of different reading materials, looking through various cultural artifacts, and of course, taking photographs around the museum.

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Happy fam at the Book Museum
The most photographed area inside the compound, where every structure has its own meaning.

Review: ⭐⭐⭐ I’m naturally a nerd, and a museum is one of the places that I truly enjoy being in. I was actually excited to see and be able to read their collection of books, but I was somewhat disappointed when we arrived. Only the general reference books are allowed to be read, topics that are of real interest are just for display inside the bookshelves. Also, some reading materials are just travel pamphlets, which is because the owner of the collection, Mr. Buhain, is also a travel junkie. Parang he would just buy any book that is within his reach when he visits a place or country. But though the selection did not appeal to me, what I love about his collection are the miniature version of popular books such as the Shakespeare’s plays as well as their copies of Philippine comics. It brought me back to the time when I was just 7 or 8 years old, I would borrow comics, pocketbooks, and readers’ digest from our neighbor, and I read while my friends play. Ang nerd lang talaga, haha! The tour around the Book Museum costs P300, including 3 display rooms and a hundred-peso merienda from the cafe inside their compound, the James Dean Cafe. The price was okay, though the first display room only showcases different salakot and stones. Their ethnology exhibit is just fine, I enjoyed looking through their handiwork and learning more about the Northern and Southern culture. But it seemed to us that some “artifacts” are already modernized version of what had existed before. Hindi naman sa hindi legit, pero hindi rin yun yung lumang lumang bagay na makikita mo normally sa loob ng isang museum. But I appreciate the owner’s generosity of sharing his collection to the public. Also, the exhibit (both books and artifacts) is organized well, so all those negative observations are just fine by me. By the way, the James Dean Cafe is instagrammable, and their shakes taste decent. You’ll get just the worth of what you paid for.

The Northern Culture exhibit. I like this better than the other display room.
The Book Museum’s icon. This is Mr. Dominador Buhain’s right foot and signifies the owner’s love for traveling as well as the city where the Museum is located, Marikina. And yes, there are smaller feet by the wall, showing foot impression of Atty. Buhain’s family members.
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Ella enjoying every display as well. Takot nga lang siya sa mga bulols. Hahah
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The door with baybayin inscription. What I love about this place is even the small details have their own meaning.
A breastfeeding Mama. *sob*
This display is amazing. It has old and original published versions of some popular and well-loved fiction novels as well as the smallest woodcarved crucifix.

Starting her young. 😉 Two of my life’s favorites in one photo.

This large mural is handpainted and shows the history of publishing.
Replica of Jose Rizal’s Triumph of Death over Life sculpture.
We got lucky because we met Atty. Dominador Buhain, owner of the Book Museum cum Ethnology Center.
Milkshakes and brownies.
We visited the Museum during the election holiday kaya we got the place for ourselves.
Happy Second Anniversary Daddy ❤

Dalawang taon na pala ang lumipas. Aljhon can’t even believed that it has only been 2 years. A pregnancy (and all its drama), Rafaella Jesusa, enrollment to Grad School, CFC CLP, 2 Best Employee awards, resignation from Kasagana-ka, family problems (and all its drama), 10kgs of weight gain, 2 hospital confinements, and 1 short haircut- a lot indeed has happened to our little family for 2 years. Some are joyful occasions, others are heartbreaking, but all of them are blessings and opportunities to learn and grow. Aljhon is still the great guy I know, and I enjoyed being married to him. But we also had fights, and I discovered some annoying habits and characteristics of my husband as we try to build our own home (totoo pala talaga yun). The two years was not perfect, but it was real. And those two years taught us that while this can’t be the fairytale we had dreamed of when we’re young, this is just the RIGHT story for the both of us. I learned to love and respect him as the head of our household, and he empowered me to become the best woman I can be. And the most important? It is that we stood by each other no matter what the circumstance (or what others may say about us). Because that is what the two years is all about- learning from and being by each other and loving every moment of the worthwhile ride.

 

Book Museum cum Ethnology Center

127 Dao Street, Marikina Heights, Marikina City

Open Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm

570 4449

adb.bookmuseum@yahoo.com

Married life · Motherhood

Of life and reminiscing last weekend

#GorioPH decided to finally let the sun shine last Saturday so Aljhon and I took the chance to take Ella to her first out-of-bahay experience.

Aside kasi from attending Sunday mass in the neighborhood chapel and her first checkup in UST, this is our first pasyal as a family. I am somewhat hesitant to take baby Ella out for fear of her getting infection, and I am also not really looking forward to nurse in public. But I am also getting itchy to go out myself and eat out again. So we went to the mall, bought a carrier for Ella and had an early dinner. Happy mommy na ako! 

Though parang hindi masyadong happy ang aming Baby😛 Hahahah! 

I was very thankful for Ella was behaved while we ate inside the restaurant. She had been irritable and colicky the past few days (huhuh) so I was afraid that she might throw a crying fit while in the mall, but she just quietly observed her new surroundings when she woke up then breastfeed calmly back to sleep. Again, I am still no expert on this, but I just would like to share my learnings on how we had a no-fuss outing with a two-month baby:

  • I planned ahead. Being an OC that I am, I made sure I knew where we’re headed, what are the activities we’re going to do, where we’ll eat exactly, and approximately what time we can get home. While this is no-brainer, I just think that being this “organized” to schedule can make a big difference on what things to bring and more importantly, what you can expect from your gala. By planning ahead, I also have a heads up on when will my baby need to feed. And that leads to my second learning-
  • I fed the baby right before heading out of the house. I think this vital measure made our plan of having a peaceful pasyal possible and saved us from a hungry, crying little one. Because she feeds every 1-2 hours, I only nursed her once when we went out. And this helped me to achieve learning #3-
  • I relaxed and just paid attention to the three of us. Well, I am an introvert and I have this bad habit of overthinking what others may say or think about what I am doing (the Spotlight effect) – thus, what concerned and freaked me out the most is breastfeeding in public. But actually, I learned that when your baby is right there wide-eyed looking at you, expecting to be nursed, there’s no more introversion, spotlight effect, or any shame at all. Everything just takes a back seat. And though I honestly felt awkward at first, my baby and her needs are always the topmost priority. And that makes me brave and proud to breastfeed my child even in public.

In addition, I was able to return to some activities I had forgone when I entered the last trimester of my pregnancy with Ella.  Aljhon and I attended the Sunday mass at POLP (we didn’t bring Ella because it was raining) and I rode the motorcycle on the way home. I missed riding, going to POLP, and most especially having some solo time with the hubby. I am not complaining, but taking care of Ella requires a lot- if not all- of time, and though we may not admit it, our life nowadays totally just revolve around her.

Doing all those things again (and writing this blog post) makes me think of how I also miss my life before Ella. But of course I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything in the world. I already had a fair share of the single life, and what I have now with Aljhon and Ella is everything I wanted and all I ask for.

Family and Relationships · Married life

Life as of 08.16.2016

A lot has changed since the last time I paused and sat down to actually write and share the happenings of my life thru this blog.

Well, I got married.

wedding
Mr. & Mrs. Mercado ❤ 05.14.16

Had a delayed”honeymoon” in a marriage seminar sponsored by the hubby’s company, and actually enjoyed it

Indulge the geek in me by visiting the National Museum

And yeah, I’ve finally gotten the courage (and reason) to cut my hair short

Lately, I’ve been thinking so much of how fast life is changing, as well as how drastic life is also changing us. Change may really be the only permanent thing in this fast-paced world, and the reality of our lives lies in the fact that all these- including us- are passing. We are fragile creatures given only 70 years or so as a lifespan. Pessimistic or not, the catch is we’re bound- and obliged- to find our purpose and make the most of this 70 or so years.

These days I am so engrossed with these thoughts but ironically, what I actually do is just stare and watch as days go wasted. Ewan ko, nasa adjustment period pa din siguro talaga ako sa bagong stage ng aking buhay. May hinahanap akong di ko matagpuan, may hinihintay akong di malaman. Whatever it is, I just pray that everything may just be unfolded in God’s perfect timing. Di nagmamadali, walang pag-aalala.