Saturday, January 30, 2016


"I'm turning 3 in February." - Vonn Kaleb at 2.5 years

It's crazy how super fast time flies when you're a parent, and whenever I realize that my pint-sized boy is no longer the tiny, fragile, fussy, unable-to-talk baby I used to cradle and carry like Roo-in-Kanga's-pouch, I get sentimental. *sniff sniff*

Sigh. The cycle of life. So surreal at times... (and another sigh!)

Anyway, emotional dramatic mother feelings aside, I am joyful and thankful beyond words to see how my precious child grow each day. I am in awe of his growth, and his development have truly been leaps and bounds. It's simply amazing how a child can transform over a short period of time, and to be there to witness it happen right before your eyes every passing day is truly a blessing.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most children at age 3 do the following:

  • Copies adults and friends
  • Shows affection for friends without prompting
  • Takes turns in games
  • Shows concern for crying friend
  • Understands the idea of "mine" and "his" or "hers"
  • Shows a wide range of emotions
  • Separates easily from mom and dad
  • May get upset with major changes in routine
  • Dresses and undresses self

My son does everything in the above checklist except "dresses and undresses self" which he can do but still with assistance from adults.

The most challenging milestone we have met in this aspect was "separates easily from mom and dad." He has always been the clingy (untouchable by others) baby. Recently, he has been attending Sunday School and Nursery on his own without resistance. We also has had success leaving him with his grandparents a few times for date nights. He understands now that "grown-ups come back (thanks to Daniel Tiger!)"  when he is separated from us, his mom and dad. Honestly, knowing how clingy my boy is, I didn't really expect we'd get to this point this soon, where we can actually leave him in a Sunday School class without him bawling his eyes out. I'm the proudest momma in the whole wide universe every time I bring him to Sunday School and he willingly joins the class and not run after me when I leave.

  • Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps
  • Can name most familiar things
  • Understands words like "in," "on" and "under"
  • Says first name, age and sex
  • Names a friend
  • Says words like "I," "me," "we," and "you" and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
It overwhelms me how my son's language/communication skills has been evolving. I was so concerned about his speech being delayed. He didn't say a word (Daddy) until he was 21 months old. I prayed and prayed to God to help us in this regard because the thought of my child being unable to utter not even a single word when most kids his age were already engaging in conversation with their parents was getting too concerning for me. So, you know, now that he's turned into a very cheeky, chatterbox, who talks and sings nonstop all throughout his awake time, my husband and I would just shake our heads and tell each other, "We asked God for it." His language and communication skill for his age is pretty impressive and amusing at the same time. He never fails to entertain us and his grandparents with his witty remarks. Actually, he is a little bit advanced in terms of his language/communication skills, and I'll get to that in detail later at the end of this entry.

Examples: This morning I asked him to put on his sandals and his reply to me was, "Maybe later." The other day he told his friend, "Miss Isla, you have to use the potty before we take a nap." His most used expression? "I don't want to!" 

Also, he loves playing with his words. He conjures and twists words to make new words. He intentionally changes word pronunciation. He talks nasally in purpose. He is so silly!

BUT, my favorite is when he randomly sings and hums tunes. To say that he loves to sing is an understatement. Really. AND I'm not saying this because I'm his mom, but our friends in church have already noticed his singing too. Sooooo sooooo precious! He reminds me of a quote I read before, "A bird in the house is like sauce to meat." With all the talking and singing he does all day, there's just no dull moment with him.

COGNITIVE (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • Understands what "two" means
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds towers of more than 6 blocks
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle
My boy's pretend games are so creative. His make-believe games are so "vivid" that an adult could easily jump into the story. The other day, he was playing with his friend, Isla, here at home. He was riding his tricycle, when he said, "There's a train! We have to stop." Isla didn't budge. She looked around, stretched her neck, wondering. After a few seconds, she asked, "Where's the train?," and you could see in her face that she thought Vonn Kaleb meant an actual train. Vonn Kaleb replied to her pointing to a direction, "Right there, over ahead of us!" These toddlers are so precious.

Puzzles - he has been doing 12-piece jigsaw puzzles for quite a while now. I've been wanting to get him 24-piece ones but I just hadn't gotten to buying them yet.

He does know what "two" means, so as three, four, five and even up to 20. He can "subitize" up to 6. I used dice to introduce him that technique when he turned 2, and I really wasn't expecting him to get it right away. The dice were much more enticing to him as a toy than a mathematics learning tool, so I didn't really pursue, but I guess, the concept did click on him, because now he can easily count objects up to 6 with one glance.

His building skills have gotten more creative too. This morning, he made an elaborate ship out of his Lego Duplo blocks. I thought it was just me who noticed that but his grandmother did too.

  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step
He loves riding his tricycle! I didn't think he'd learn to pedal before he turns 3, but lo and behold, he did! I'm soooo proud of my boy :)

In conclusion, my son's developmental milestones are on track, and as I mentioned above, in some aspects, he is actually ahead. Just out of curiosity, I checked what 4-year-olds usually can do, and out of the checklist, here are things that my son (shy of 3) can do now:

  • Is more and more creative with make-believe play
  • Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using "he" and "she"
  • Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or the "Wheels on the Bus"
  • Tells stories
  • Can say first and last name
  • Names some colors and some numbers
  • Understands the idea of counting
  • Starts to understand time
  • Remembers parts of a story
  • Understands the idea of "same" and "different"
Again, as I have observed (all bias aside) he is very creative in terms of pretend play.

His grammar is impressive, considering his parents, whom he learns majority of his communication and interaction skills from, are ESLs. He uses past tense and plural forms. He knows basic pronouns. 

He sings songs, and I'm not talking about nursery rhymes or children songs - songs with different verses, choruses, refrains, bridges, etc. He sings Kids Praise songs, Sandi Patti songs, church hymnal songs, good ole' nursery rhymes, TV show songs, Christmas songs, etc. Sometimes, he knows the words to a song more than I do. He would even correct me when I sing the lyrics wrong or got them mixed up or even with just a word that I didn't get right. This boy loves to sing, he picks up songs so quickly.

He loves telling stories.

He knows his full name.

He knows his colors and numbers and letters, too! Uppercase and lowercase both. I haven't taught him how to actually read yet. I'm taking it slowly as I don't want him to get burnt out, so right now, whenever we read books, I throw a word here and there, for him to "read" and spell, and he has been doing very good so far. He actually can spell and "sight" read a bunch of words now. I keep a list of those words and I add whenever he learns to spell or "sight" read a new word.

He knows how to count. This afternoon while I was so busy cooking, I heard him count 1 to 20. When I turned to look, he was counting block "pegs," and to my surprise, he was right! I had to do a double take to make sure there were really 20 "pegs." 

He sort of has a concept of time now. The way we do it at the moment is we tell time by saying where the hands of the clock point to and what does it mean. For example, we say, "It's pointing to 8 and 6. That's 8:30. That means, it's time for bath." He follows that pattern whenever he talks about time. This morning, I told him that we need to get up from bed already as I have to cook for lunch, and he said to me, "I want to cuddle for 5 minutes." So I said okay to him but I told him that when the clock points to this and that, we have to stand up then because that means 5 minutes is up.

His memory is very sharp. He is keen and very observant. He is particular to details. He has no trouble remembering parts of stories.

He knows what same and different are.

So yeah, there you go! I know this post is way too long and self-serving, and I meant it that way. If only we could install a camera that will capture ALL of his moments a la THE TRUMAN SHOW, we would definitely do it, just so we could document everything. With him growing so fast and changing each day, I want to keep a record of his milestones even if only thru this blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


This is just to keep tabs of the places I've been and the miles I've racked in hopes that in the future I'll be able to document here in my blog and share a memory or two from each of my travels near and far. Having said that, this entry will be updated every now and then.


My hometown.

I grew up in an era when tourism wasn't as affordable and accessible as it is now, and for that I wasn't able to travel as much as I should've. Being raised in a city at the South, our family took pleasure on summer outings to the hot springs and resorts in Laguna.

Tagaytay was the next option especially when the weather got scorching hot, and I remember having been there a few times with my family, one time with high school batchmates on a retreat, and another time with my college friends.

My paternal grandmother was Ilocana and if my memory serves me right, I think I've been to Ilocos Sur twice or thrice. I have memories of going to Vigan very quickly on our first trip to Ilocos when I was about 6.

My paternal grandfather hailed from Southern Leyte, so my my family embarked on a road trip one time to go there. This trip is one for the books. It was my first time to go on a looooong drive as such. Of note, this happened in 1993, back when ferry transportation was not easily available. The travel took longer than the actual vacation itself. We drove all the way from Muntinlupa to Liloan, Leyte and back jampacked on a not-so-comfy jeep. I celebrated my 13th birthday partly stranded on the Matnog port waiting for a ferry that would take us across the island. One of the highlights of this trip was seeing Mayon volcano on its active state. It was nighttime when we passed by Bicol, and so the fiery lavas dripping down the volcano's perfect slope was a sight to behold. It looked like a lighted cigarette in the dark. The volcano continuously spat red, oozing lavas out of its mouth, and I can still vividly picture it in my mind. It was just amazing to watch especially for a young urban girl like me. It looked dangerous and scary but so beautiful.

My mother is from Pampanga, and for a couple of years we lived there. I went to school in Bulacan while we were there. I got to go to fiestas on several occasions, and witnessed Mahal na Araw traditional parades and ceremonies.

I visited Baguio twice.

In 2010, when I went back home for the first time after being away for 5 years, Vince and I took my family to Boracay. Another first time for me. We also visited his family in Caramoan Sur. We went island hopping and saw Gota Beach from afar. We also stayed overnight in Naga and visited the Cam Sur Watersports Complex.

Other than the regular pasyal around Manila and nearby urban cities, trips to StarCity, Enchanted Kingdom, and the likes, and mall trips, unfortunately for me, I haven't really explored much of the touristy side of the Philippines.


My home away from home.

I moved to Toronto 10 years ago. I pretty much stayed within Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario. You know, Vaughan, Mississauga, Scarborough, MarkhamNorth York, Barrie, Brampton, Niagara, etc. I occasionally went on camping and fishing trips as well as fruit picking with my church family. I used to play volleyball (beach and court) with my BFF and later on with Vince too. One time I went with few friends to Montreal, Quebec, and spent a day *speaking* or at least pretending to speak French. Hehe! Oh, and one time, when Vince was looking for a job, we were interviewed in Kinmoun, Ontario.

I had a lot of fun in Toronto, AND a lot of heartaches, disappointments, and frustrations as well. It was a coming-of-an-age experience for me, and that is why, Toronto will always be in my heart.


My current home.

The first time I stepped on Uncle Sam's soil was in 2009. It was because of Vince that I hurriedly applied for a tourist visa, so I could come and see him when he moved here. I wasn't a Canadian citizen then and I procrastinated on obtaining my citizenship but when Vince left, I sensed the urgency. Talking about what love can do to someone. LOL.

Anyway, I'll jog my memory the best I can to list the places I've been to around the US. I'd rather not stress myself so much though in making this list extensive, so for states or cities that I've been to several times already, I'd just list the state name and not go into elaborate details anymore.

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania - I lived here for a couple of years.
  • Maryland
  • Washington DC
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina - Anderson
  • Missouri - St. Louis and Kansas City
  • Hawaii - Oahu. Babymoon. I hiked, ziplined, jet skiied, parasailed, snorkeled, ocean kayaked, stand-up paddled, and a lot more fun things I did while there. I was able to cross off a lot of bucket list items in this trip including Pearl Harbor. I was 6 weeks pregnant and it was a rollercoaster vacation for me. My pregnancy hormones weren't very cooperative. I was nauseated and sick for the most part but I was undeterred. Girl power! 
  • Illinois - Rushville
  • California - San Diego
  • Nevada - Las Vegas
  • Arizona - Grand Canyon West/Skywalk and Hoover Dam

You can take me out of the island but you can't take the island out of me. We are water babies!

  • Jamaica - Late honeymoon in April 2010. Came back in May 2015 for my birthday and Mother's Day with our first born. Yeah mon!
  • Bahamas - May 2014
  • Mexico - Cancun and Chichen Itza in October 2015. Chichen Itza is a bucket list item crossed off ;)
  • Dominican Republic - Punta Cana in October 2015
  • Puerto Rico - Carolina and Old San Juan in March 2015


As you can tell from my post above, I have yet to explore a lot of places - Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and even Africa. The world is sooo vast and big but in due time and if God allows, I'm making it my oyster ;) So, in that regard, I'm making a separate post for my bucket list. Stay tuned, and recommendations are very much welcome ;) Let's do this!

You can read more of my travel stories and see pictures here: GLOBETROTTING


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