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    Charmed Life
    Thank you for visiting this blog. I have recently transferred all my post in my new blog. I will not be blogging here anymore. I hope to see you there.
    Life’s a Charm!

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How to Eat Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. ~ Proverb quotes

Mark's Apple Mark's Apple

Mark's Apple Mark's Apple Mark's Apple

Mark, 18-months

Click photos for enlarged view. Click here to view more photos.

How to eat apple, Mark style: In the kitchen, in the drawer, with a spoon.

Mark SO loves this drawer. This drawer used to store our produce, but he kept emptying it, throwing all the produce to the floor and bruising them. I stop bothering with this drawer, and he made it his special place. Unfortunately, this drawer became his way to reach the counter, too.

And Mark loves apples, too!


Odd Habits and Conversations

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Playroom Regulars, Matthew (4) and Mark (13-months)

Mark, my 13-month old, has this habit of pressing his ear against the dishwasher that’s running. He does the same thing by the washer and dryer, when we are doing loads of laundry. A few days back, I caught him sticking his tongue out, pressing it to the door of dishwater, also while it’s running. It’s such an odd behavior, and yet, it’s so funny!

They say, you get maximum sensation through the mouth.

Mark’s favorite these days, saltine crackers! I give him these crackers when he’s being fussy, and it quiets him down. He would munch on it and walk away. When I don’t see a trail of crumbs of it, I figured that he’s eaten them all. But yesterday, I caught him dropping the little pieces of the cracker to the vent at the floor. I looked at the vent, and there they are, all the crumbs from the previous days. Sigh!

Conversation with my 4-year old Matthew, after this GEICO ‘Do you live under a Rock’ TV commercial, [View commercial here]…

Matthew: Mommy, do you want to live under a rock.

Me: No, Matthew.

Matthew: Why not?

Me: I don’t want to live under a rock.

Matthew: But I love it.

After this Uloric TV commercial, [View commercial here] …

Matthew: Mommy, do you want gout?

Me: No, thank you. (So baffled! Of all the words from that commercial, he picked ‘gout’ !)

I have a lot more funny and most of the time odd conversations like these with Matthew after watching commercials. Commercials certainly take his attention.

On a not-so-odd but very proud note, Matthew can now spell his firstname and his lastname. YAY!

Our Family Portrait

IF the family were a container, it would be a nest, an enduring nest, loosely woven, expansive, and open. IF the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable—each segment distinct. IF the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles. IF the family were a sport, it would be baseball: a long, slow, nonviolent game that is never over until the last out. IF the family were a building, it would be an old but solid structure that contains human history, and appeals to those who see the carved moldings under all the plaster, the wide plank floors under the linoleum, the possibilities. ~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Family Portrait

Mark (12-months) and Matthew (4) with Mommy and Daddy. (Photo Credit: Stan Winslet)

I am so happy with how our family portrait turned out. This was taken at the Military Ball last week. There are only very few photos of the four of us together. And nothing beats a photo taken by a pro. I could have done a lot more to my hair, got Matthew to wear a lighter-colored shirt, and Mark to smile and look at the camera, but otherwise, it’s perfect!

I am so excited about this photo. It will definitely make its way into a frame to a wall somewhere, and copies of this photo will definitely be sent to family and friends, even if they don’t want it!

The Great Easter Truth

The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death – that is not the great thing – but that, we are to be new here and now by the power of the resurrection; not so much that we are to live forever as that we are to, and may, live nobly now because we are to live forever. ~ Phillips Brooks

Have a great Easter everyone!

My Hopes Too

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. ~ Movie, The Curios Case of Benjamin Button, Letter to his daughter.

Among many others, these are my hopes too for my little ones.

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

View more Playtime Photos.


Every year it seems to me I hear complaints about spring. It is either “late” or “unusually cold,” “abnormally dry” or “fantastically wet,” for no one is ever willing to admit that there is no such thing as a normal spring. ~ Thalassa Crusso

We certainly have those abnormal spring weather. Sometimes it’s chilly and sometimes it’s too hot, dry and humid, and then suddenly it hails. Crazy weather! But it’s all good. After a long winter, mostly coop up in the house, we were finally able to get out without being worried about wearing three layers of clothing. And of course, I am not complaining about the colorful flowers in bloom this season. They are just so lovely to look at. Thank goodness, I have no allergies to Spring’s pollen, neither are my kids.

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil. ~ Reginald Heber

I chanced upon taking photos of the blooms in our front yard after my boys and I are walking in the campus. The photos turned out great with the pink flowers in full bloom, the freshly mowed green grass in front of the white house. I wished I had taken photos around the campus. A lot of areas in the campus are still filled with Spring blooms.

Spring 2011


Spring 2011

Matthew (4) and Baby Mark (11-months)

Spring 2011

I shoot a lot of pictures just to catch the two of them looking at me, preferably smiling, at the same time. I get lucky SOMETIMES. But MOST of the shots are like this - the two of them looking away to the same direction at the same time. What a joke!


Spring 2011

The house at Spring.


Photos taken on April 4, 2011. Click photos for enlarge view.
Click HERE for more Spring 2011 Photos.

And guess what, the night when these photos were taken, there was a thunderstorm, and temperature dropped again. Sigh! And now, it’s back up again.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter. ~ Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

Spring, love it or hate it?

I love Fall, my favorite! And I love Spring, second.

Gift to the Heart

On my birthday this year, my thoughtful younger sister, Jessica, wrote this for me.



the last time i saw my sister was summer of 2007. she and baby matthew went to the Philippines to visit the Filipino family. back then, my sister as a mother was not yet evident. i still saw her as the rational elder sister. now though, as we communicate through her blogsite and facebook, i see a mature, happy and lovely mom in her. i just know in my heart that my nephews would grow passionate and embrace life with positive eyes just like their mother.

i miss my sister. she’s one of the few people i truly trust. being around her makes me want to hope more and not be worried with where my life is heading. she is one of the people who can really see the goodness in me. i know that she will never give up on me no matter what happens.

i wish she continues to be positive in life. i wish that whatever she has right now will be there always, but if it does not, i wish she knows that we are always here no matter the distance.

~ jessica

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,
a golden thread to the meaning of life.
~ Isadora James

I grew up with a younger sister, 2 years younger than me. It took us our teenage years to finally get along and became each other’s best friend. Our teenage years was the time we had to rely on each other, cover up for each other, and listen to each other’s stories on crushes and heartaches. What a heartwarming and memorable time that was, especially when shared with a sister!

I can not remember a significant event in my childhood, or my younger years without my sister in it. And although we have been living in different countries for too long now, I just can not go by a milestone or experience in my life without telling her about it. ~ I Carry Your Heart With Me

It’s been a long time since we saw each other, too long! And while I miss her so much, she remained the one true old friend I can’t get rid of, the one who truly gets me, the one who wishes good things for me and I deeply hope and pray all good things for, and the one whose fragile heart, if only, I want to put in a glass box to shield from heartaches and pain.

As she celebrates her birthday tomorrow, April 4th, at her side of the world, I hope it will be a fine day!

Have a great birthday, Sis! I Love you! ~ Manang

Celebrate Life

Matthew and Baby Mark

Matthew and Baby Mark

Feel the ease of being playful, the excitement of being alive,
the joy of embracing your life.
~ Philip Berk

Devastating times, especially when it hits close to home, always, always never fails me to put my life in a greater perspective. Amidst the trying times in Japan and unrest in the Middle East, I am here with my family in the safety of our home, watching my boys and  enjoying the leisure of life.

I have always been a glass-half-full person. I live life for all its positives and I always try not to be shaken by the negatives. And today of all days, I shall aim to continue my life in humility, gratitude and celebration.

I continue to hope and pray for the continued safety of friends in Japan, who are still experiencing big aftershocks until this day. And may those who have been affected so much find greater strength in facing the devastation of the earthquake and tsunamis and its effects including the possible nuclear meltdown.

Read ‘In Sympathy, Humility and Gratitude‘.

Dance and Hand-me-downs

There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. ~Vicki Baum

Can you tell he’s dancing?

What Baby Mark wants to do most these days are on the couch, just sitting up like a big boy, and bouncing up and down, that’s his dancing.

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. ~ Anonymous

In these photos, he wears an still over sized for him long-sleeved onesie, handed-down from his big brother, Matthew. I just love hand-me-down clothes especially those of Matthew’s that I’ve kept when he outgrew them. Digging up Matthew’s old clothes makes me feel nostalgic, remembering those times when Matthew was a baby. At the same time, it makes me glad that my other baby, my baby now – Mark, is able to wear these little treasures, too. Somehow, these hand-me-downs, these little treasures become a testament of the continuity of our growing family. I’m sure when Mark is no longer a baby, he’ll not want to wear hand-me-down clothes even the good ones from his big brother, but until then, Mommy rules.

Inspired by Hearts

You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart. Thus breathing is a natural way to the heart. And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there. ~ Nicephorus the Solitary

We have been inspired by hearts over the past few days. The season of hearts have successfully done that! So I got a bucket of heart stickers and a few craft supplies and got our creativity started …

At the heart of world time is the momentum of history. At the heart of personal time is the mystery and wonder of individuality. At the heart of deep, new time is the creative spirit. But at the heart of our time is love. ~ David Spangler

Happy Valentine Daddy!

Happy Valentine Daddy!

For Daddy, on a canvas –

  • with Matthew’s ever willing fingers, he made straight lines with colors.
  • with his willing left hand, he stamped the canvas with his handprint.
  • with Baby Marks unwilling right foot, his footprint with wiggly toes.
  • with my creative closed fists, prints that looks like 2 footprints smaller than Mark’s Footprints.
  • with glitter glue of lips and circles and lots of heart stickers

… Viola! A colorful valentine canvas card for Daddy!

We were going to make him another canvas card, one that is more color coordinated but he said this one is special and he likes it. So we like it too.

Nourish your Spirit with Stillness.
Nourish your Mind with Knowledge.
Nourish your Heart with Unconditional Love.
Nourish your Body with Living Food.
Nourish your Relationships with Thoughtfulness.
~ Tim Ong

For everyone, on a cardstock –

  • with Matthew’s willing hands, he traced the lines and curves that says, “happy valentine” and “love, matthew & mark
  • with Baby Mark’s willing cooperation, we managed to keep him away almost most of the time by letting him play with the sharpie
  • with lots of heart stickers

… Valentine cards made especially with love.

Ecstasy is a Feeling that comes Only when the Heart is tuned to that pitch of Love which melts it, which makes it Tender, which gives it Gentleness, which makes it Humble. ~ Hazat Inayat Kaan

The template for happiness is to offer goodness to the world for true happiness is achieved when one gives freely of their heart and soul. ~ Micheal Teal

If these valentine cards do not reach you in time, may you have a great valentine’s day!

If these valentine cards do not reach you at all, please bear in mind your hearts that we only made a few. But for your friendship, we wholeheartedly wish you the best and the most beautiful things in the world, those which cannot be seen or even touch, but can only be felt by the heart.

In all things, forget everything
But in everything remember your heart
For thine own heart, has never failed oneself in anything
~ unknown

New Look

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

Not-so-happy Baby

Not so happy baby! It doesn't seem like he likes his new haircut. No, he just doesn't like being in his jumper too long anymore, since he started walking.

Actually Baby Mark is happy about his very first haircut. He is less fussy, and he doesn’t rub his eyes and scratch his ears as much anymore. I am so proud of myself for giving him this new look.

P.S. I know the way I make him wear his pajama-bottoms are funny looking and awkward, but if it wasn’t like that, he won’t be wearing them at all. He knows how to take them off.

The more people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is the best after all. ~ Benjamin Spock

Child’s Play

We are most nearly ourselves when we achieve the seriousness of the child at play. ~ Heraclitus

Click photo to view enlarged photo.

Baby Mark's Play

Baby Mark and his toys.

Baby Mark's Play

This alphabet pal toy has all the colorful buttons to push and makes all the interesting sounds. And yet all Baby Mark cares for is that little ball at the bottom of it that he spins with his little fingers. Sigh!

Matthew's Play

Matthew builds a city.

Matthew's Play

Matthew builds a battlefield, Transformers vs. Bionicle!