Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Date Night Restos

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here, but my husband and I have this small but significant goal of going out on a date every week. We got the "practice" from my parents who, for decades now, have been going out every Thursday night. Quality time kung quality time!

Anyway, we put a twist to this goal this year by challenging ourselves to try 12 new restaurants by December 2014.

I'm happy to report that, thanks to our Bacolod FOOD TRIP and our US vacay, we've maxed out on our 12.

Mejo madaya, noh? Hehehe.

Ok fine. We've maxed out even if we don't count the necessarily-new-coz-you-were-out-of-town restos! Hindi pala ganon ka-hirap yung challenge eh. Hehe.

Still, I think we're doing a pretty good job. Here's a round-up of the restaurants we've tried so far with our TeaPot level of satisfaction:

1. Poco Deli - 3 out of 5 tea cups
2. Shrimp Bucket - 5 cups
3. 100 Revolving Restaurant - 5 cups
4. Mamou - 4.5 cups
5. Saboten - 4 cups
6. Cafe Shibuya - 1 cup
7. Magnum Cafe - 1.5 cups
8. Tsuru (Davao) - 1 cup
9. Green Pastures 3 cups
10. Detalye - 2 cups
11. Hyatt's Market Cafe - 4 cups
12. Sarsa - 3 cups

Twelve by July. I hope this doesn't mean we'll stop looking up new places to try!
From our most recent date: 100 Revolving Restaurant. I'll always be a fan of Chef Jessie :)
Next on our list... Todd English Food Hall, Vask Gallery, Black Sheep, Maria Luisa's Garden Room, Donosti. What else should we try? :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wifely Submission

Whenever I talk with women and the discussion veers towards married life, I am invariably asked about the value of wifely submission. I do--with neither ifs nor buts--believe that wives should submit to their husbands, just as the Bible says.

Isn't that unfair? This reaction is almost automatic, especially among my empowered female peers. And I get it.

As a woman living in the 21st century, I feel like I can do everything that my husband can do. I can work, and excel at it. I can pay my bills. I can drive. I can change busted light bulbs. I can run a marathon. I can even shoot hoops.

As a matter of fact, there are moments I feel I can do more. I can work and run a household. I can manage a legal team and raise a brood of kids. I can run in the morning and make my breakfast too. In short, I can handle a career and a home and a life.

So why the need to submit? And why should it be the wife?

Any organization, regardless of size or purpose, needs structure. And its members must recognize and accept their roles in the system. Significantly, too, every organization needs a leader or a head.

It is the same with family. Whether we admit it or not, every family has a structure and the members each have a role. I surmise that this is why, in our culture, we have such things as haligi ng tahanan, ilaw ng tahanan, etc. Embedded in these are our implicit recognition of the role of our fathers (as "haligi" or wall) and mothers (as "ilaw" or light) in the family.

God's ordination of husbands as head of the family is neither random nor biased. I do not believe it is meant to extol men or, conversely, to degrade women. To me, it is simply an assignment of equal and co-dependent roles, perhaps according to the different psychological and emotional make-up of men and women.

In my opinion, the whole plan of marriage underscores how well the Lord knows His people--male and female alike. I once read that men crave for respect, while women crave for love

In God's design of marriage and family, the husband is assigned the role of head, a designation that is a privilege, and one that commands...yes, respect. (I'm convinced this is partly why we wives must submit. We fill a need in our husbands when we submit, and I'd like to believe this makes them better men.)

But we should also not lose sight of the fact that headship is also an enormous responsibility. The same passage that calls for wives to submit likewise exhorts husbands to love their wives--and not with any kind of love, it is to be the same love as Jesus has for the church.

Just what kind of love is that? It is love that is utmost, to say the least, because it is the love that made Jesus give up his very life. It is a love that longs for wives to be "holy and clean, without a spot, wrinkle or blemish". It is a love that strives to make wives beautiful, even perfect. (Yes, ladies, this is the love that your husbands must have for you!)

Inasmuch as men like to quote "Wives must submit to their husbands", I feel it is essential to put their duty into the equation too. The bias many people ascribe to the Biblical role assignment between spouses is largely rooted in the overemphasis of the wives' role, and the convenient understatement of the husband's.

In other words, dear husbands, you've got your work cut out for you too, you know! ;)

Viewed this way--that is, viewed in the context of the Biblical design of marriage-- I can say that wifely submission makes sense. It's not a call for hierarchy or competition between spouses, but rather a call to harmony, selflessness, and grace to make ourselves and our respective partners better persons.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our DIY Rainbow Party

My sister, Kai, is set to get married sometime this month. Before this, of course, her dutiful maids (i.e., my and my 2 other sisters) threw her a most unconventional bridal shower. Unconventional, mainly because it included our dad, uncle, and Mister Teapot! Hehehe. (So maybe it should've been a despedida de soltera from the family?)

Anyway, regardless of the designation, we really just wanted to have an intimate gathering especially for our dear bride-to-be.

We had only a couple of days to prepare, but I think we managed to pull off a very pretty DIY rainbow party! #buhatbangko haha

Casa Esquivias has never been this colorful before!
We chose Rainbow as our theme because we thought it'll go well with the July rainy weather... and also because it was easy to execute. Hehe!
For the details, I picked up colored plates and red utensils from the grocery. Then I got colored paper from Jaden's activity box and used them as placemats! This did the trick as the table (covered in white tablecloth) instantly became more festive! For the glasses, I used mason jars with colored daisy lids and paper straws. As a last minute idea, I wrapped strips of colored paper around the utensils and stamped a "K" on each.

At the center of the table, we spread a purple crepe paper (para-paraan haha). On top of that, I put a couple of blue mason jars filled with the red plastic spoons and forks. Ganda ng effect, if I may say so myself. Haha. There was also colored tissue paper and extra plates. Then we scattered the bright paper pinwheels my sisters made.

The dessert table with a K! (K standee handmade from scratch my my sister-in-law!)
We had a mini dessert table featuring kiddie ice pops and Swell Sweets cupcakes and cookies :)

We served carbonara, chicken lollipops, DIY burgers, and mini-cheese sandwiches with creamy tomato dip. Very children's party lang. Hehehe. For drinks, we had different fruit juices selected by color. Lol.

May you have a grace-filled, blissful, and colorful marriage, Kai!
That's it! My very first honest-to-goodness DIY party at Casa Esquivias!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Teapots in Chicago

Cloud Gate aka The Bean 
at Millennium Park

Hands-down, the one landmark that everyone said we should see when we visit Chicago. The Bean, up close, was simple but ingenius! If art is a reflection of life, then this is first-class art! Hehe! I marvelled at how beautiful Chicago skies and skyline were as reflected on The Bean.   

Chicago Architectural River Cruise,
Chicago River

Chicago takes pride in the splendid architectural styles of their buildings. The river cruise was the perfect way to get to know them.

The Sears Tower (black tower in right part of photo), once the tallest building in the whole world.

Children's Museum,
Navy Pier

Jaden went on this Human Wrecking Maching twice!

The dinosaur aficionado teaching his boy how to dig up fossils

Jaden climbed up this vertical tunnel that reaches from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor of the museum! Midway through it, he said, "Mom, I don't think I can do it." With encouragement and coaching from the resident guide, Jaden made his way up and beamed at me with so much pride and self-confidence! "I did it!!! Did you see me??" he exclaimed :) Meanwhile, stage mommy me was so proud that (a) he conquered it kasi ang taas nya talaga; and (b) naintindihan niya yung instructions ng American guide nya.  Hahaha.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A Wonder Called Relactation

After a challenging year of breastfeeding & expressing milk for my darling daughter Sophia, I decided to gradually wean her from the breast and introduce cow's milk at 1 year and 1 month. Although more headstrong than her brother, Sophia didn't make the weaning too difficult. A good three weeks before we left for the US, she successfully transitioned to formula and fresh milk during the day. I continued breastfeeding her at night. Naturally, my milk supply significantly dropped.

When we arrived in the US, however, Sophia seemed to forget that we have been through weaning. Perhaps because of the rather overwhelming changes that were happening on our trip (ie, time zone difference, weather, lifestyle... basically her complete environment), Sophia sought comfort from being close to me and from nursing.

Sophia & Mommy: We were hardly ever apart during our US trip!
I allowed her to comfort-feed with no second thoughts whatsoever. But I still tried to give her fresh milk during the day, believing that my milk wasn't enough anymore.

To my surprise, Sophia consistently refused her bottled milk all throughout our vacation. This caused me anxiety because I presumed she must not be getting enough nutrition. I mean, she ate well, yes, but I've always believed taking milk is very, very important especially at their age. So, whenever she refused her fresh milk, I got so frustrated and worried!

For the entire duration of the trip, Sophia would cuddle up to me and position herself for breastfeeding. Naturally, I nursed her on demand. I nursed in cars, hotels, airports, airplanes, friends' houses, theme parks, restaurants, malls, Targets, etc! In short, we breastfed everywhere!
Sophia nursed every chance she got: while traveling in the car or plane, while taking a break from shopping (as seen in photo), while on It's A Small World... I kinda felt like I had a newborn with me! (Please excuse my super sleepy look! Haha)
All along, I believed that she was feeding for comfort alone and satisfied herself with the little milk she got.

When we came home to Manila, I took a few hours of rest for myself. I then noticed that I was lactating like a full-time breastfeeding mom again! I was so amazed! It was like my body was waiting for Sophia to nurse again--hindi na sanay na mawalay sa anak for more than thirty minutes!

It was then that I realized that all those stuff I've read about relactation and increasing milk supply--they're all true pala. We can relacate and we can increase our milk supply---even after weaning!

It now makes sense why Sophia refused her bottled milk. All those times I tried giving it to her, she was already full from my milk. And all those times I thought she wasn't getting enough nutrition, she was in fact getting the best, most complete milk for her!

I said it above and I'll say it again--I am amazed. The Lord indeed has given me a body that is equipped to nurture the children He has blessed me with. Just that thought blows me away.

Thank You, God! :)

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