New Year, New Love, New Life

The talk on The Feast two Sundays ago dealt again on relationships. Bro. Bo Sanchez talked about the power of compounding and how compounding can make or break our lives. Compounding, in finance, is how one small amount can double again and again through time. To elaborate, he talked about a love account, similar to our bank accounts, but instead of making money talk, we’re either making deposits or withdrawals on our relationships every day. Some accounts can go on starting with a whopping amount but remaining dormant for years, while others may make one big withdrawal to the point of closing the account. Yet, the worst account of all is the one that keeps the account going and makes tiny, minute withdrawals every single day. These withdrawals can be in the form of hurtful words, mistrust, indifference, infidelity, and so on and so forth. Ouch, right?

As a parent, it hit me hard. How many times did I make withdrawals from my love account for my kids? Oh yeah, the time I scolded my kid for spilling his drink for the nth time. And the other time I pushed my daughter to rush when it was not in her nature to be rushed. And what about that time my son wanted to play with me but I was busy on Facebook? GUILTY!

As a wife, it hit me harder. Have I been making enough deposits to my spouse’s love account? When WAS the last time I cooked him a meal? As in really cook him a meal not because I was obligated? When did I last massage his feet or give him a back rub? When did I last drop everything and snuggle up to him? Worse, there’s the list of withdrawals I made. The time I complained about this, nagged about that, expected him to do one thing and yet ignored the many other things he has already been doing for me…the list can go on and on. I felt so small at the moment I just wanted to crawl under my seat and cry at how selfish and ungrateful I had been.

I also did the worst thing unimaginable. I tried to list everything my husband deposited to the love account. I felt so ashamed! He has been filling it up, day in and day out, making deposits to my account and to the kids’ account.  Nothing grand, I must say, but constant, consistent, and compounding (e.g., a trip to the playground, bringing home fruits and buko juice, helping with the chores, saying yes once in awhile to the kids’ whims, saying yes to my crazy wants). Thank God my guilt and shamefulness turned to gratitude and hope. Gratitude for all the “deposits” made and hope for more deposits and lesser withdrawals from now on.

My daughter Zoe, who attended Awesome Kids, The Feast’s kids’ ministry, also brought home a “Love Account” passbook. The kids were told to keep a list of every good deed they made and to write them down under the “deposit” column. They were to list down every not-so-good thing on the “withdrawal” column. I guess the love account also did my daughter good because everyday I would see her listing down her deposits, and making more effort to write down a deposit. So far these are what are in her deposit: greeted family and friends, talked politely, packed away gift wrappers, played with little cousins, helped little brother, prepared water bottle (a chore I entrusted to her every time we went out), folded underwear, helped unpack groceries,  ate my veggies, drank buko juice (something she’s really not fond of), kept self busy, helped make breakfast, set table. I’m loving how she’s been more helpful around the house and more cooperative lately, probably because of the love account. She’s also made a few “withdrawals” yet her deposits far outnumber her withdrawals. I am praying this will be a continuous thing, or she will have the habit of counting blessings and being more of a blessing to others.

So this 2014, I’ve resolved to fill my love account to overflowing. To make deposits every day. To make the power of compounding work positively in my life and for it to have a ripple effect on my husband, my kids, and all those around me. I know, with God’s grace, this is possible. 🙂

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January 21, 2014. Family, General, Married life. 1 comment.

Uno, Dos, Tres!

Finally, after long months of hoping for another baby, we are pregnant again! We’ve been wanting to get pregnant when PHX turned 3. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very cooperative in monitoring my fertility cycle that we ended up just trying and trying without hitting the target. I also went through moments, albeit fleeting, of disappointment and frustration every time I would miss a day or two of my period, only to see it greeting me month after month. My husband was there to knock some sense into me and make me realize that there’s Someone else in control of things and it would be crazy for me to expect that everything I wished for will be given to me according to my terms. He was right. I was acting like a brat and thought that conceiving would be something we could take charge of. I was wrong. God had other plans for us and His timing was always right. God first made me surrender everything to Him. I never really did. He asked me to relax, let go, and let God. Honestly, although I wanted a child, I never really bothered to ask Him for one. I just kinda assumed He knew. And I just expected.

So I started asking and praying silently, even including it in my birthday wishes this August. My prayer was for another child, but if it is His will that two children are enough for us, then His will be done.

I expected my monthly period to arrive last week. I was a few days delayed but I didn’t get my hopes up, although hubby was already keeping his fingers crossed and would ask me everyday if I already got my period. Last Sunday, at The Feast in PICC, the topic was about surrender. He says we can never really be out of control because the moment we aren’t in control, God remains in control. It made perfect sense. Bro. Bo talked about the miracles waiting to unfold in our lives, and how, before a miracle becomes visible, it starts with being invisible. He talks about how, during the times we question and cry and doubt, God is already cooking up something exciting for us. We just don’t see it yet, but it’s already there. He then compares a visible miracle to a baby, one that you can hold and cuddle and see, and tells how it started as a fetus in a pregnant mother’s womb, still invisible from our eyes. The words “baby,” “fetus,” and “pregnant” gave me goosebumps. He goes on to say that we are “pregnant with God’s miracle.” I started getting emotional as I heard God speak to me. My thoughts were racing. Could it be that I was, indeed, pregnant? Was this the sign I was waiting for? I wanted to believe it was.

The next day, hubby and I gathered enough courage to take the pregnancy test. And there it was…two strips on the pregnancy test! I was positively pregnant! My period wasn’t just delayed! We were crying tears of joy! Then, after we composed ourselves, we called on Zoe and PHX to share the wonderful news. Zoe was ecstatic and PHX was also pleased. I know PHX doesn’t quite comprehend it yet, because he thought the baby was gonna come out already that evening, but I saw he was excited, too. I can’t wait to see him as a kuya!

God never fails to amaze me with his miracles! During the times I doubted and cried out in despair, he was planning this surprise all along. Always, always, in His perfectly sweet time.

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August 28, 2013. Family, General, Married life, Mommyhood. Leave a comment.

The World Needs Men of Courage

The World Needs Men of Courage

Here’s to all the husbands and fathers out there! Happy Father’s Day!

June 15, 2013. Tags: , . Family, General. Leave a comment.

Back to Nature, Balik Bukid Style

It has been a long time since the kids have communed with nature. Our usual trippings included dining out and malling, so when the news came that there was going to be another Balik Bukid Fair, we jumped at the chance.

Sunday’s weather was perfect for a day at the Fun Farm in Sta. Elena. It was our first time there so we did not know what to expect. Just to be sure, we brought lots of water, some hand towels, and extra clothes.  I skipped the sunscreen but brought my handy bottle of Giga insect repellent just in case. The kids were excited to be spend a day outdoors but I did caution them that they could run around all they want, get dirty and sweaty, and that there won’t be any airconditioners to cool them, just outdoor showers. I guess that got them all the more thrilled.

Sta. Elena Fun Farm, Cabuyao, Laguna

Sta. Elena Fun Farm, Cabuyao, Laguna

We arrived just in time to listen and watch the Drum Jam. Anyone from the crowd can join and drum to their heart’s content. The setup of the place was gorgeous! It really felt like a country fair as there were booth after booth of lovely wares, from recycled bags to native decors to creative and whimsical crafts. Food and drinks that were on sale were healthy, refreshing, and most, organic.

There's no excuse not to get dirty!

There’s no excuse not to get dirty!

Lovely handmade stuff

Lovely handmade stuff

Washi tapes are here!

Washi tapes are here!

Takatak horses

Takatak horses

Home decors from Cornerstone Pottery

Home decors from Cornerstone Pottery

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Of course, the kids did not waste any time exploring the farm. After a quick snack which consisted of puto, taho, tsokolate batirol, it was on to fishing. Zoe was thrilled that she caught a fish! PHX, on the other hand, was happy feeding the rabbits.

Go fish!

Go fish!

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There was much more exploring to do: horseback riding, carabao cart ride, zipline, and obstacles of different kinds. It was simply playground heaven for the little ones.

PHX calls this a spider web.

PHX calls this a spider web.

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Look, mom, I can balance!

Look, mom, I can balance!

Logs, lots of them

Logs, lots of them

Watch Zoe....

Watch Zoe….

...goooo!

…goooo!

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The kids were like energizer bunnies, going this way and that, wanting to try one thing then another. They did get hungry, so off we went to the food booths. We ordered brick-oven pizza and some BBQ. For dessert, we had Isobel’s ice cream bars. The espresso flavor was to die for! The food on sale were quite pricey. I made a note to myself to bring some snacks next time around as it was a lovely day for a picnic. There were picnic mats that can be borrowed and a shady picnic area to relax and forget about the word “rush”.

This pizza's really good!

This pizza’s really good!

Papa tried this Katipunan Indio Pale beer. it passed his standards

Papa tried this Katipunan Indio Pale beer. it passed his standards

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After resting a few minutes, the kids were off again to make the most of their afternoon.

Racing…

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Boating…

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row, row, row your boat

and crafting…

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A bracelet made out of coconut leaves

A bracelet made out of coconut leaves

For a moment there, I simply forgot we weren’t home. Why? Because it felt like home just being there, surrounded by nature and feeling the good vibes of the place. The kids want to go back. They can’t get over it. We’ll definitely be back.

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Emphasis on “FUN”

PHX

PHX

Zoe, all smiles

Zoe, all smiles

 

 

May 1, 2013. Family, General, Mommyhood. Leave a comment.

PHX, my little guy

Hi everyone! Here’s my birthing story as promised. Thanks so much for all your greetings = ) So sorry it took so long as I’ve been busy with this little one.

I’ve always dreamed of becoming a mother. With God’s grace, I am now blessed with two kids I can lovingly call my own. Zoe was already 3.5 years old when we discovered we were pregnant again. Of course, hubby and I were ecstatic. We were doubly thrilled when we found out we’ll be having a boy this time. Quota na!

To say that no two pregnancies are the same is an understatement. From the first trimester to the time I gave birth, my two pregnancies were quite different. With Zoe, the whole 9 months was a bliss, except for one bad case of migraine. I also hated seeing, smelling, and eating spaghetti for the whole 9 months. My second pregnancy wasn’t that smooth sailing. I had frequent dizzy spells and experienced fainting in public for the first time. Turns out my iron was quite low and my OB even told me to get ready for some blood donors in case I lose too much blood while giving birth. I prayed hard that there won’t be any need for that come delivery time.

I was estimated to give birth by January 19, but before Christmas my OB said the baby had dropped already. We kept our fingers crossed that our little guy could wait to come out after New Year when the Christmas rush has settled down and the house would be more ready for his arrival (read: there were still so many last-minute things to take care of like cleaning, getting the hospital bag ready, etc.).

On January 5, I think I felt and saw my mucous plug come out. It wasn’t a bloody show though but my OB says it’s still possible that it was the mucous plug already. I thought I would be giving birth anytime soon. During my OB checkup of January 7, I was 1 cm dilated. Finally, we were making progress.

That Saturday, hubby and I decided to go on a movie date. Something we haven’t done in a long time. During the movie, I could feel my tummy getting hard in shorter intervals. I thought, this might be it. When we got home, we prepared everything we needed for the hospital and fell asleep. I woke up at noon the next day. Apparently, the little guy changed his mind still.

At this point I was already getting impatient. I couldn’t wait for the contractions to kick in and I couldn’t wait to see our baby. My prayer is hubby would be around when the time comes for me to go to the hospital. His work is quite far from our place (2 to 3 hours away) and the thought of having to go through labor without him beside me is something I dread.

January 14, Wednesday, was my next check-up with my OB. Hubby left work early to join me for check-up. Dra Cornelio, however, texted that there was an emergency and she couldn’t meet me that afternoon. Hubby decided to still go home despite the change in schedule. I was feeling a few contractions but they were still spaced so far apart that there was no cause for alarm at all. In fact, I was able to visit the nail shop and meet the staff plus do some grocery at Shopwise. When we got home at around 11 pm, the contractions started getting regular. I got in bed but I couldn’t sleep anymore. I had a feeling we’d be going to the hospital anytime soon so I decided to count my contractions instead. I gauged I might be in early labor still coz my contractions, although regular, were quite tolerable. I was even able to take a shower and go to the kitchen to have a snack (matakaw ako up to the last minute!) and walk around while eating and timing my contractions.

When I was certain that my contractions were 5 minutes apart, I woke hubby up. This was around 2:30 AM of January 15. Because hubby and I talk a lot, we just stayed in bed a wee bit longer reminiscing how, just 4 years ago, we gave birth to our firstborn Zoe. Hubby had his hand on my tummy when suddenly, I felt and heard a pop. It was a pop like no other and hubby heard it, too. He also felt the baby kick. Liquid gushed out and I knew it was my water bag. I called my OB and she calmly instructed me to go to the hospital. The worrier out of me surfaced as I thought of the many wrong things that could happen when the water bag breaks. I was scared I’d end up getting a CS or the baby might get into fetal distress. Thank God hubby’s not the type of person who panics as he assured me it’s nature’s course for the water bag to break.

The drive to Asian Hospital was quite fast. In 10 minutes we were there (3:00 AM). My contractions were getting more intense but I still got to laugh and talk to hubby in between contractions. A nurse from the ER brought me to the Genesis Center. Hubby had to park the car. I was still leaking a lot of fluid. They brought me to a labor room (their triage room must have been full) and strapped me to a fetal monitor in between contractions. After a few minutes, hubby was beside me and I felt safer. When the in-house OB did an IE, she said “Malapit na to! Dalhin na sa birthing room”. I wasn’t sure I heard her right. Nurses wheeled me to the birthing room and started preparing the things they needed in frenzy. One nurse calls hubby to go down to admitting. I panicked. I wanted hubby to stay right beside me but I had no choice. My OB hasn’t arrived yet. Double yikes!!!

The room was too quiet when I suddenly felt the urge to push. There was only one nurse in the room and, gathering enough strength, I called out to her and just said, “Nurse, urge to push na”. The nurse runs, leaves me alone, and calls outside to tell them that I have the urge na. More nurses enter and the in-house OB appears. They ask among themselves who my pedia is. Again, I tell them the pedia’s name faintly. I wondered what happened to my OB’s admitting orders and my birthing plan. The name of my pedia was clearly written there. Hubby still wasn’t there and I felt so alone.
The in-house OBs (another one comes in) tell me to push now. The urge was there so I really had to start pushing. Hubby was finally back and I heave a sigh of relief. Still no sign of my OB though. Hubby tells me to relax as I strain to push. He says, “Hun, relax, you’re not relaxing.” I wonder why of all times would he expect me to relax. And so I mutter under my breath, “They’re already telling me to push.” Apparently, like me, it took awhile for hubby to realize that we practically skipped the labor phase and that I was already in the final pushing stage, and so he goes, “ah, ok, push…” Had I not been in so much pain, I would have laughed at that comic moment. At this point I just wanted to get it over and done with. The pain was becoming constant already and I had no choice but to face the pain. After a few pushes, my
OB arrives. She thought she wouldn’t make it on time anymore. After just a few more pushes, I felt my little boy ease out. Then after a few seconds, I hear a loud cry. A few minutes more, the nurses bring him to me. I felt so wonderful. I felt high, despite not having taken any drugs, hehe. Like my first pregnancy, I prayed for a natural, anesthesia-free delivery. I felt every pain but seeing my baby healthy and alert makes labor so worth it.

Phoenix Sebastian was born at 4:05 AM of January 15, just an hour after we arrived at the hospital. I’m so thankful that he chose to come out when his dad was home. If not, I might have given birth at home considering I miscalculated my labor pains.

It’s been more than a month already and we’re enjoying having our new bundle of joy. Zoe is taking her big sister role seriously by helping out whenever she can. There’s no tinge of jealousy at all. Sometimes it pains me when she would patiently wait for me to put Phoenix down in his crib so I can hug her to sleep (yes, she needs my hug) and how she tries to fall asleep without me always beside her. She’s such a trooper.

As for Phoenix, he spends his days sleeping, eating (mommy’s milk!), pooing. I think he hates it when his Ate harasses him with kisses but he’s got no choice. Zoe can’t wait for Phoenix to grow older so that they can be “double trouble” daw.

I dread the day I’ll have to get back to work. Although my days (and nights) are hectic caring for my 4-year-old Zoe and my 1-month-old Phoenix, being with them just makes life so complete.

Here are a few of Phoenix’s latest pics. All photos courtesy of Cuteprints

PHX

PHX

Ate Zoe

Ate Zoe

Katkong

Katkong

Dalawa ang puyo!

Dalawa ang puyo!

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Lola's boy

Lola's boy

March 2, 2009. Family, General, Mommyhood. 17 comments.

Hmmm…Nothing Much

I’m not into blogging lately. Call it a writer’s block or just plain lazy-busyness. Lazy, because I, well, spend most of my time at home. Busy, because I have a lot of errands and assignments to do that they’re piling up! Nothing much intersting to talk about but here are the latest developments in my life:

  • My tummy has gotten bigger! I’m now in my 5th-6th month and I’ve been feeling the baby kick more often. Looks like he or she is more malikot than Ate Zoe! I’ve been having so many sweet cravings lately, which they say means it’s gonna be a girl!
  • I passed out at church a couple of Sundays ago. Bad me, skipping breakfast before going to church. In the middle of the priest’s homily, I started to have some cramping and told hubby I wanted to go home. Must be the heat, too. I was in such a hurry that I stood up right away and tried to walk as fast as I can to the parking lot. The people around me were slowly disappearing from sight and then I blacked out. I remembered hearing hubby’s voice calling out to me but I felt so weak. Fellow churchgoers were quick to assist. One gave me a glass of water to drink, another called the guard to inform him that our car was leaving and another car was blocking us, another lady checked my pulse and held my hand, another fanned me while I was lying down on the steps of the church. The priest had to be interrupted because he had to announce the plate number of the car that was blocking our car. It didn’t last long. After a few minutes I was okay enough to get up and go home. But that was a scary thing I hope and pray will never happen to me again. Now I know better and I take things easy and don’t push myself too much. I think of all the Good Samaritans who have helped us that day and I pray for their good hearts. Their hearts shone that day by helping me in whatever small way they could. I’m so blessed to have a great hubby, too, who took care of me and made sure I was going to be okay. It’s a good thing i wasn’t alone when this happened. Just the thought scares me.
  • Spent my birthday with hubby and the little one as we explored Trinoma for the first time. It’s so far away from where we live that the thought of going to this mall was something we looked at as an adventure. We had a great time. Zoe spent a few hours in gymboree, we had a late lunch at Heaven n’ Eggs (we love their green eggs and ham!), and we checked out the ice cream at Five Cows, the ice cream resto everyone’s been talking about. I love their bubblegum ice cream! Trinoma was too big for comfort, or perhaps it’s coz it was a Sunday and the mall was crowded with people. I’ve always loved the comfort that ATC offers and it’s still my favorite mall ever.
At Five Cows
At Five Cows
  • Spent hubby’s birthday at Tagaytay where we had lunch at Bawai, a vietnamese resto that we’ve been wanting to try since last year. Bawai did not disappoint. Our lunch was delicious! The food was filling, to think it wasn’t as if we pigged out, but it was filling in a healthy sort of way. Zoe tasted every dish and she was proud of it. She also drank the vietnamese iced coffee we ordered, coffee lover in the making! Next stop was horseback riding for the little one. It was great that she agreed to go on her own with the horsehandler, who rode with her. She cried though when the horse galloped a little faster (upon my request!), and didn’t want to horseback anymore. My mistake, I didn’t ask her if she wanted the horse to keep on walking or to walk faster, hehe. On our way back, we finally got to drop by Mr. Moo’s milk station, which selled carabao’s milk, cow’s milk, and even goat’s milk. They also have a variety of milkshakes available. Delish!
Me at Bawai

Me at Bawai

Zoe and her dad waiting to ride the horse

Zoe and her dad waiting to ride the horse

Zoe on horseback

Zoe on horseback

  • Zoe and I got to bake a chocolate cake as our surprise birthday gift to hubby. It was Zoe’s idea and I couldn’t resist. Never mind if my baking skills are zilch compared to my cooking “prowess”. A few hours before his birthday, we got a home service massage from Orange Spa, a massage he badly needs after days of flying. Hubby says the massage is great! And for a price of 250/hour (promo price), really not bad at all. He liked the massage so much that he asked for a 30-minute extension (Php375 for 1 1/2 hr). After the massage, while hubby was still resting, Zoe and I prepared the cake and lighted the candles and we surprised hubby by singing the birthday song. Hubby was delighted! I wouldn’t have baked a cake if not for Zoe’s idea. She thinks I can do anything, haha. Akala nya napakadali to bake a cake! For someone like me who prefers to cook than bake, it’s close to impossible!
The chocolate cake Zoe and I baked for hubby

The chocolate cake Zoe and I baked for hubby

Zoe with the cupcakes she baked

Zoe with the cupcakes she baked

Obvious ba that she has something in her mouth?

Obvious ba that she has something in her mouth?

September 21, 2008. Family, General. 10 comments.

Happy Wednesday!

I’m giddy, I’m happy! Heard this first from Happy Slip and checked YouTube (I’m becoming an addict eversince our Internet got faster!). I just love it! It lets me forget that I’m nursing a bad cold, that I have tons of things to do, and that the price of gas is never-ending. The song also feels so close to home, hubby, and family…that’s the feeling I get listening to it : ) Have a happy wednesday!

July 9, 2008. Tags: , . Family, General. Leave a comment.

Finally!

We’re pregnant again with Baby #2!  We’ve been waiting and praying for months, even years, for this moment, and we’re ecstatic! When my period was delayed for 3 days already, hubby and I decided to check if we were, indeed, pregnant. We didn’t want to get our hopes up because my cycle can be quite erratic. The pregnancy test revealed 2 lines but one of the lines was still a bit faint, so we told ourselves to take one more preg test today, just to confirm. Now it’s official, the two lines are clear enough. I have yet to visit my OB though.

We already told Zoe that she’s going to be an ate. I’m just not sure if she comprehends what that means coz when I told her there’s already a baby inside my tummy, she was dubious because my tummy wasn’t big daw. Kids…And when we asked her if she likes a baby brother or a baby sister, she puts out two of her fingers and says, “I want both.” Oh my.

Right now it’s still too early for morning sickness, although I feel a bit more woozy lately, and I’ve been experiencing some cramping. I’ve also been craving for Chowking’s green mango with Chinese bagoong, hehe. I’ve also been resisting that cup of coffee, buti nalang there’s such a thing called decaf. It’s the taste I’m after anyway. Hope you’d include me in your prayers for a safe and worry-free pregnancy. Expect more pregnancy-related posts in this blog : )

May 18, 2008. Tags: , . Family, Mommyhood. 27 comments.

Grandma’s Home

You might be wondering why I haven’t been in the blogging circulation lately. I still have a lot of tags to work on. Thanks to all who tagged me : )

Aside from the deadline I had to beat at work, my mom arrived from Cali for a one-month stay. It’s been almost 2 years since her last visit here and she’s super excited to spend time with Zoe, her one and only apo. I’ve been preparing Zoe for Mama’s arrival for some time now. At the airport, Zoe was still a bit shy and aloof. But when we got home, and grandma opened the balikbayan box with lots of pasalubong or Zoe, the little girl started to warm up. A few hours later, she was already giggling and laughing around with grandma. It’s such a lovely sight to see my mom and Zoe having fun together. The other day, Zoe and my mom went outside to play baseball. My mom is such a sports buff and I hope Zoe will grow up to be as athletic as her. The mag-lola still have a lot of catching up to do. Sometimes I wish my mom could just stay here in Manila for good so she can be close to her grandchild all the time. One month is just not enough. But then again, that’s wishful thinking for now, so we just have to make the most of this one month.

March 13, 2008. Tags: , , . Family. Leave a comment.

My Zoe Valentine

My husband, Suerte, wanted to surprise me with three red, long-stemmed roses and dark chocolate for Valentine’s. I guess he got the hint from my previous post : ) His plan was to give me the flowers come midnight of February 14 while I was busy catching up on my e-mail and blog-hopping. He had to avert his plan because Zoe pestered him about the flowers. Apparently, she wanted to be the one to give me the flowers, so as much as hubby wanted to be romantic and all, well, he just handed Zoe the flowers with clear instructions to “give the flowers to mommy, okay? Tell her it’s from dad and tell mommy that daddy loves her.” Zoe then rushes to the study room, surprises me with the roses, and says, “I have flowers for you mom! I bought that for you cosos (because) I love you.” The little girl didn’t even mention her dad at all! Hilarious.

February 16, 2008. Tags: , . Family, Zoe stories. 3 comments.

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