"Blessed are the Mothers who love to fight life's battles bravely with a strong and steadfast faith in God,
for their children shall know where to find strength in time of need."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beatitudes for Teachers

Blessed are the teachers who set a good example before their students in all things:
for this is what Jesus asks of us all.

Blessed are the teachers who strive to update their knowledge and skills:
for their students will also learn the value of seeking truth.

Blessed are the teachers who share with their students their life-wisdom:
for the young are our future.

Blessed are the teachers who strive to include and welcome all students and parents:
for Jesus calls us to look out for each other.

Blessed are the teachers who make provision for differences in individuals:
for their students will learn compassion and consideration for others.

Blessed are the teachers who model peaceful and just ways of relating:
for they shall influence their students to do likewise.

Blessed are the teachers who construct learning tasks that are interesting and relevant:
for they understand what true learning is.

Blessed are the teachers who negotiate good relationships in class:
for they are leading their students how to live in community and as a Family of God.

Blessed are you, all teachers and students, when others devalue what you strive to do,
for you seek not only knowledge, but the wisdom to know what to do with it. Your reward will be great, because you are creating a better world where justice, peace and harmony will prevail.  Rejoice and be glad, for God is on your side!

Source: www.stjosephskpt.gld.edu.au

Thank you dear teachers (including Matt's previous teachers!) God bless you all abundantly.

Sir Jan, T. Lanie, T. Kit, T. Cynch, T. Liz and T. Jorge (D' Center Optimal Group)
T. Shine (OT) and T. Weng (Speech) Trails Center for Children
Ms. Sol Flores (Belle's Casa teacher)
Nanay Lita (grandmother and a retired teacher)

Three stories of God's miracles

D' Center Optimal Group Inc. is where our son Matt studies.  It is an elementary school for exceptional children.  The school believes that children have their own cups that need to be filled individually and holistically in a nurturing environment. They aim to make a difference in the life of every child. All children are duly afforded the same opportunity for education, regardless of any disability they may have. Each student grows and learns in an atmosphere of dignity, trust and love. 

Last Saturday, March 24, the school held it's 1st Commencement Exercise and Matt was one of the graduating students along with his classmates Kyle Benauro and Thea Bataller.

The graduating students - Thea, Kyle and Matt
I would like to share my husband's testimony during the graduation ceremony.  He was the first of the three parents of the graduating students who gave the Commencement Address.  I was so emotional (as always) especially when we talk about Matt's journey. That time I was shedding tears of joy and gratefulness because of God's goodness and love for our family especially to Matt all these years.  We were also blessed with kind words from other parents and teachers who were inspired by our story

After my husband, Thea's mom, Marie Bataller shared her daughter's story.  She was not expecting to get pregnant anymore because she's already 41 and her youngest child was already 12.  She thought she's on menopausal stage and only realized she's pregnant on her 5th month.  In between sobs, she said that Thea was dead when she delivered her but was miraculously revived after a few minutes.  She was severely malnourished and weighed less than 2 lbs. It was not mentioned but I guess that she has Global Developmental Delay. They had their own journey of pain and sacrifice but love and faith prevailed. Their family is so thankful for Thea's achievements.  Mommy Marie brings Thea to school and waits for her for more than 5 hours everyday. Thea is so blessed to have a caring and loving mother like you. I share your happiness!

It was then Mr. Nonoy Benauro's turn. Kyle's dad works in Singapore and comes home for a few days every 6 weeks to be with his family.  It was the first time I met the dad of Matt's best friend. Kyle has been diagnosed with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder but it's unnoticeable if you didn't know about it.  Kyle is such an amazing boy.  He excels in ALL subjects and he's a great pianist too. I see him every single day in school (except when I have to attend to some errands,) he has perfect attendance for this school year! The younger kids look up to him as their leader and big brother. We will definitely miss him if he'll be transferring to another school this June. Congratulations Kyle, Daddy Nonoy and Mommy Mack!  Thank you for the friendship.

Aside from Matt, Kyle and Thea, there are 9 more undergrad students who have special needs.  They are all achievers in their own special ways.  To our fellow parents, we made the right choice of entrusting our kids at Optimal Center.  As my husband said, "While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about. Our special children taught us to be happy, let's make them happy."

The Optimal Kids during their Hats off party (Mar 20)
Congratulations to everyone! God bless you all :) See you in June at the Optimal Academy.

Special thanks to the teachers of Optimal Group -- Teachers Lanie Basilla (Principal), Cynch Manlulu, Jorge Flores (Matt's Shadow Teacher), Kit Lallana, Liz Oro and Sir Jan Basilla (President) and to the other shadow teachers T. Ems, T. Den and T. Sol. The children are so blessed to have dedicated and loving teachers like you!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Belle's CASA Culminating Activity

A few weeks ago, Belle's teacher gave me 2 Poems (each with 4 lines x 3 stanzas) for her to memorize and practice at home.  We really have no idea what they are going to do during their Culminating Activity. Belle just told me that they're practicing the poems (group recitation), they will also sing and dance. Some of her classmates will act/narrate in a play.  I was really looking forward watching her!
"Let's Make The World Better Together"
The big day finally arrived, March 16 at 3pm.  We also invited the proud grandparents to watch Belle. I told a mommy-friend that I might cry and she said "Ano ka ba? Our daughters are only Prep!" (After the ceremony, she told me she also cried after seeing her daughter on stage!)

So behaved while waiting for the program to start
Here are some of the highlights of the ceremony.  It's very obvious that everyone worked hard, all the CASA kids ages 5 to 6 did a great job! 

Opening Song
Belle was one of the two kids placed in front of the microphone :)

DANCE - "Responsibility"

Closing Song - "I'd like to teach the world to sing"

Belle mentioned that she has a surprise for me and his Daddy.  We have to wait for their culminating activity until we know her little "secret."  The surprise she's talking about is the compilation of the work for the whole year she and her teacher arranged in an album.  It was given to the parents during the ceremony.
Ms. Sol handing her album
You did well, Belle!  So proud of all your works :)
Just a few days before their culminating activity, Belle's teacher told me that she's assigned to read (much better if she'll memorize) and say the closing prayer.  We're very proud that she was able to pull it off.  Only a handful of kids were given the chance to stand in front of the microphone.

I really cried several times during the program. Belle has been very diligent in practicing the poems assigned to her.  She has memorized them easily and never got tired reciting in front of me again and again. Her prayer touched my heart and it was overflowing with pride and joy! She has accomplished so much even if she's only 5 and 10 months. She's the youngest among the ending CASA students. 
Group picture taking - Congratulations kids!

with Ms. Sol (CASA teacher for 3 years)
Proud Daddy and Mommy
With Lolo Dolfo, Lola Maring and Nanay Lita
with BFFs Sophie and Joeke
Congratulations Belle! You made us the happiest parents that day!
Dear Belle - You're turning 6 on May 26.  Too young yet already qualified and accepted in Grade School.  Daddy promised to work harder just to give you and Kuya Matt the best education that we can afford. We will always be there to support you both all the way. Keep up the good work and enjoy your exciting journey in Grade school.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daddy's Special Day

Today is the birthday of the most generous and patient man I've ever known.  I just have to write something about his special day otherwise he might get jealous. My husband may not be expressive in words but his heart is as big as he is!  He works silently, whole-heartedly and gives the best of himself to everyone. 

He doesn't ask for any material gift but I know that he will be happy with just a special cake and a simple dinner especially prepared for him.

Homemade birthday cake with "Daddy, Matt and Belle" edible toppers
Homemade dinner - Carbonara, Baked Salmon and Focacia bread (store-brought)

Daddy, since it's your day which only happens twice a year (the other is during father's day,) let me blog about the wonderful things about you.  For a change, I will not complain this time ha.  *wink!

So let me start by saying "Thank you ...
  • for being a responsible man.  You've been so consistently hardworking since we've met 19 years ago. I knew that I am in good hands when I decided to marry you 6 years later.
  • for being an almost-perfect employee and boss. I always hear only good words from your bosses, office mates and subordinates (including our helpers too!)
  • for being a good son to Tatay Dolfo, Nanay Maring and my Nanay Lita and a good brother to your siblings and to my siblings too and the list goes on and on....
  • for being a great friend to your old friends and to my own friends and to all our common friends (super redundant!)
  • for being an appreciative eater.  You can eat anything served on the table (even nuts which are bad for you! Sorry, I promise not to say anything against you.) and you always have nice comments to say.  Maybe you really have "MSG" in your palate.
  • for being a good provider.  You really work hard for our family and we are very grateful for that.
  • for being a supportive father to Matt and Belle.  You make it a point to come home as early as possible to be with the kids before they go to sleep, attend school programs, PTCs and other school-related activities and most importantly spend quality time with them even if you are so tired and stressed from work.
  • for being a husband the way God wants you to be. For the little and sometimes big surprises for me.  I do not worry because I know you are the wall that I can always lean on to.
  • for being a man of God.  You live by faith and you strive hard to carry out God's plan for yourself, our family and others.
This quote describes you best, Daddy...
"God gave a gift to the world when you were born; a person who loves and cares, who sees a person's need and fills it, who encourages and lifts people up, who spends energy on others rather than himself, who touches each life he enters & makes a difference in the world. May the love you have shown to others return to you multiplied."

They always say that you are blessed (or maswerte ka) because I am your wife.  Sige na nga,  I am more blessed (mas maswerte ako) that you are my husband. Happy happy birthday! The celebration has just began. 

Sa birthday ko ha, ikaw naman mag-bake ha :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Angry birds: The Making

They're back and still very popular!

I was able to take some pictures when I was doing these famous characters.  They are made of gum paste and fondant and just want to share to my readers how I made these toppers for a very special Angry Bird cake.

The most-loved Red Bird
Will be incomplete without their enemies
Enjoyed making these
It became easier as I progressed.  It's like molding with play dough. Anybody can do this! Just need the right consistency of the fondant to make it pliable.

I baked a moist chocolate cake with yummy chocolate frosting shared by a friend.  Here are more pictures of the details of the cake.  I am just disappointed with the cracks in the fondant (it maybe because of the weather or I just need to find a better recipe.)  I am challenging myself to practice some more during the summer break.

My husband enjoyed helping me in kneading the fondant and doing the grasses and stones.  Ok ba ang bonding time namin?  We really had fun doing this together.  Thank you for being my # 1 fan, supporter and assistant :)

Finally, here's the final product... It was (very very) tiring and time consuming to do this but the most rewarding part is thinking that somebody will be very happy during his special day.