Thursday, December 1, 2016


Psalm 136: 1 - "Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever."

Over the past several weeks, life has been throwing us curveballs.

First, my maternal grandmother died from stage 4 lung cancer. All her family -- from my grandfather, their children, in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, plus her extended family, bereaved when she passed away last month, just a couple of months since her diagnosis. I was really saddened by this. She was a very selfless, caring and loving woman -- the epitome of a mother/grandmother. She cared for all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and even until her last days, she remained selfless. Through the pain she was experiencing, she stayed strong and maintained a good disposition. She was calling out the names of her grandchildren on her death bed, and at one point in her confusion probably, she even asked to go and see me. My mother was telling her that my brother couldn't come and visit her then as he was working in Clark, Pampanga at the time. My grandmother thought my mother was referring to me, so she said, "Puntahan natin si Karen. Malapit lang yun. Ganito na lang ako, hindi na ako magbibihis." ("Let's go see Karen. She's just close by. I don't even need to change my clothes; I could go dressed like this.") AND that really broke my heart. I wish I could have visited her and talked to her personally before she died, and not just over video chats BUT circumstances just didn't allow, which I would explain below.

Second, my husband and I are currently in the process of transitioning with regards to our status here in the US. While our visa application is ongoing and in process, we are limited to stay here in the country. We have been wanting to visit our family in Canada as it has been a while since we last did, however, we don't want to jeopardize our return here in the US. The same reason why I wasn't able to visit my dying grandmother in the Philippines. Sigh!

Third, we've been trying to convince my parents to come and visit us here in the US soon. A week after my grandmother's passing, we spoke to my mother and she requested that we hold off on any plans of them coming here soon. She said that my grandfather is also having health issues and she needs to take care of him and accompany him to doctor's visits. Vince and I understand but just the same we couldn't help but feel disappointed that they might not be able to come and spend time with Vonn Kaleb anytime soon.

Last month, we were in California for a week. That vacation was intended for Toronto in hopes that we would have received visa approval by then. Needless to say, we didn't get the answer we were hoping for. Last week, we were also on vacation. We again had planned to go to Toronto in anticipation of our application being finalized around that time, but alas, close but no cigar! So at the last minute, we booked our trip to Chicago, and celebrated Thanksgiving Day there.

In lieu of Thanksgiving Day, I want to reflect and contemplate on the blessings I am thankful for despite the curveballs and hiccups we have been experiencing:

I am thankful to God for His love, mercy, grace, and faithfulness. Amidst the hurdles and dilemmas my husband and I face each day, He has kept us safe and secured in His arms. He truly is an anchor -- One who keeps you afloat amidst sinking seas. He has never left us nor forsaken us. He is true to His promise that He will take care of His children. His blessed protection in our lives is incomparable. I am thankful to God simply because He is the Great I Am.

I am thankful to God for my husband. The Lord has been tremendously blessing Vince in all aspect. By God's grace, his practice has been doing so well. His colleagues and patients love him. He is hitting his goals and going over and beyond some -- all glory to God! I am grateful to have been given a very loving, supportive, caring, responsible, generous, kind, tenderhearted partner in life. I'm thankful for the kisses and hugs I get from him each day. It's such a blessing to be in a harmonious relationship with your husband during this day and time when a lot of married couples don't stay together forever anymore.
Twin Peaks, California - October 2016
I am thankful to God for my child, Vonn Kaleb, whom He has always kept healthy, strong and smart. I am blessed to be present and witness my son grow each day. I am grateful for the kind of relationship we have. The bond between us keeps getting stronger each day. He is growing up to be a very sweet, thoughtful, sensitive, and genuinely caring person. He never passes up a chance to say "I love you" to us. He is truly precious -- one of the greatest blessings I've ever received.
Millennium Park, Chicago - November 2016
I am thankful to God for my life. Every day that He wakes me up and allows me to spend with my family is a blessing. He has blessed me more than I could imagine and what I deserved. God's love is truly overwhelming! He sustains me each day. He is my strength. He is my Comforter.
Monterey, California - October 2016
I am thankful for my church, friends, family, and relatives. We are truly blessed to be surrounded with good people.

I am thankful for the tangible things and pleasant life experiences we have been blessed with. They are icing on the cake and do make life sweeter for me!
Downtown San Francisco, California - October 2016
BUT most importantly as now we are currently going through a storm, I am thankful that we can be still and know that He is God.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly." 
Today, we learned about one of God's lovely creatures, the BUTTERFLIES:
  • Some people call them "winged flowers."
  • Although it may seem that butterflies have two wings, they actually have four wings (two big and two small).
  • God gave them a job to do, and that is to spread pollen!
  • Butterflies start as caterpillars. An adult butterfly would lay egg in a leafy spot. A very hungry caterpillar would then come out of the egg. It would eat and eat leaves for about 14 days. It will then wrap itself with a blanket called chrysalis. One day, the chrysalis felt so tight, and a beautiful winged creature then broke free out of the chrysalis. What happens inside the chrysalis, no one knows! How a caterpillar changes into a butterfly is a miracle. A miracle is something that only God can do.
Using this plastic orchid and butterfly decor, we demonstrated how a butterfly sucks nectar and then spreads pollen from one flower to another.

Speaking of miracles, although not included in the book, I mentioned to my son that he is also a miracle. My womb was his chrysalis for nine months until he was ready to be born. How he changed inside me over time from a very tiny cell to a fully formed little human being was a great miracle of God!

We then played a little game. I wrapped my student in a big comforter and pretended that he was a caterpillar trying to come out of his chrysalis. We then pretended to be butterflies fluttering around the house.

For arts and crafts, we painted a butterfly garden. I pre-cut a "stencil" and my little boy used washable paints and sponges to paint a garden scene.

My little boy insisted on writing the word "butterfly." So proud of him!

We also did a little coloring, and he practiced writing his name:

My boy was wondering why we didn't practice writing letters today. I just thought I'd give him a break especially that he was the one who initiated on writing the word "butterfly" and I saw that he had put great effort in doing so and accomplishing the task :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Yap, we talked about bears today.

Among the "beary" things we learned are:

  • God made black, brown and white (polar) bears.
  • Bears are covered in thick hairy fur to keep them warm.
  • Bears are DANGEROUS!
  • Bears live in a den in the mountains with rivers or forest.
  • Bears have sharp claws for climbing trees and catching fish.
  • Bears have sharp teeth for eating meat, and flat teeth for eating berries, plants, and bugs.
  • Bears love honey!
  • Bears hibernate during winter.
  • Baby bears are called cubs.

We also learned the song, "The Bear Went Over the Mountain."

For reading time, I brought out a bunch of bear books we have at home. Vonn Kaleb chose to read Bear Snores On, and Bear Feels Sick, both by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.

For arts and crafts, we made a "fuzzy wuzzy bear" using cotton balls, construction paper, glue, marker, wiggly eyes, and brown watercolor paint:

We also did a Numbers and Skills with Button Bear workbook activity:

Finally, we practiced writing:

Whew! We survived another homeschooling day. There are so many challenges along the way, that's why we always start our lesson with a prayer. We sure need more of God's grace now that we've been homeschooling!

Enjoying screen time after homeschool! Cuddling the brown stuffed bear we used for our lesson, a bowl of Mini Oreos, and The Cat in The Hat on TV. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Before I start talking about our homeschool lesson today, let me just say that I can't believe I'm back blogging again. LOL! Amidst the pile of clothes for ironing as tall as me, basket-ful of clothes for laundry, basket-ful of clean clothes for folding, beddings that I haven't finished drying (for the 2nd time!), and all the other chores and duties I have on my plate, here I am blogging. Priorities, Karen, priorities. Hehe!

Anyway, let's get this on and be done!

We learned that God made the world we live in. It is round, and has lands and bodies of water surrounding lands. We learned that we live in Georgia, in the United States of America, in North America. For today, we talked about another big mass of land far away from where we live. We talked about the continent of AFRICA.

We particularly discussed some of the animals that live in Africa, and we learned that:

  • A camel has a hump for it to survive the hot desert. God also gave camels special eyelids and eyelashes to protect their eyes from sand.
  • Elephants have big ears that they use as a fan to cool themselves down. They have trunks that they use to pick up food and feed themselves, drink water, and squirt water to give themselves a cool shower.
  • Giraffes have long necks so they can reach the leaves on treetops. They have spots to "camouflage" from predators far away.
  • Gorillas and monkeys have long arms and long legs to swing from trees. Some big gorillas can build a "house" for themselves using tree branches.
  • Daddy lions have beautiful "manes" around their heads.
  • Zebras can run fast if they need to escape enemies.
  • God has provided each animal the body parts it need to survive and live in African grasslands and desert.
We made our own version of African jungle as we went along our discussion. We used Mega Bloks and wooden animals to portray a jungle scene:

For arts and craft, we made a lion face using cardstocks, wiggly eyes, glue, paint and markers. I let my little boy play with molding clay and animal-shaped cookie cutters while I cut out a lion's mane for our craft. When I finished cutting out a mane, my son then used brown, yellow and orange watercolor to paint the mane. We then made the lion's face and ears. My son glued wiggly eyes on the face. I drew the nose and using a marker, he shaded the lower part of the nose. He then drew the lion's mouth. My son wanted to play with the lion face and use it as a mask, so I taped a plastic spoon at the back of it for him to hold. Here's what our finished project looks like:

ROAR!!! We then spent the next five minutes or so playing pretend. We pretended that we're lions and giraffes but we're best friends. We were roaring and running around the house, eating leaves from pretend trees, and hugging each other and holding hands because even though he was a lion and I was a giraffe, we're friends. BEST. PART. OF. TODAY'S. LESSON!

When we were done playing, we then moved on to writing. It was actually my son who decided to stop playing, "Now let's practice writing." He kept the lion close to him while he was working on the letters K and A, and was roaring every now and then. He kept referring to himself as the Baby Cub and me, the Mommy Lioness. He seemed to be in a very good spirit while tracing the letters. He kept hugging me and had told me so many times, "I love you, Mommy Lioness," while working. That right there was all the validation I needed. He sure had enjoyed his lesson today.

He insisted on writing "CUB" at the bottom of the page as he said that he was a baby cub and I was the Mommy Lioness.

Monday, October 10, 2016


For today's homeschool lesson, we learned about ants. Some of the things we learned about ants are:

  • Ants live in underground cities called colonies.
  • Body parts include head, thorax and abdomen.
  • They have six, legs, two eyes, a mouth, and two feelers called antennae.
  • Ants work hard to do the job their meant to do. The biggest ant is called the queen. She lays eggs. Some ants work to build underground tunnels and keep the colony clean. Some gather foods. Some protect the queen and baby ants.
  • Aphids are "cows" of the colony. They suck honeydew juices from plants and store them in their abdomen for the other ants to feed on. Honeypot ants eat so much that they can't walk anymore and so all they do is hang on the ceiling and other ants can feed on from their big bellies.
  • Ants grow fungus in their "garden" for food. They chew on leaves, spit them out, and fungus then would grow from there.
  • Ants are helpers. The tunnels they make underground help keep the soil soft. Ants are also snack for some animals such as frogs and birds.
  • God wants us to learn from ants. Proverbs 6:6 says, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:" 

For activities, we first did a little counting with the use of Numbers and Skills with Button Bear workbook. While coloring, my son said, "Mom, I'm gonna be like an ant. I'm gonna work hard." It made me so happy to hear him say that.

We then reviewed the parts of an apple from our previous lesson. After that, we crafted a paper ant using black cardstock, wiggly eyes, and markers. I cut out three circles, and my son glued them together on a white cardstock. We then glued wiggly eyes to it. He drew the legs and antennae, and added a smile on its cute face for a happy touch to this rather big ant :) He then wrote the word "ant" underneath it.

We then moved on to practice writing -- one of my son's least favorite things to do. He needs constant motivation when it comes to this part but the pushy mom in me tries her hardest not to push him so much to the point of burnout. The struggle is real for both of us. Whenever I feel like nudging him a little further, I have to remind myself that he is only 3, and he can write and read already.

So that concludes our lesson for today. I prepared him some "ant snacks" using Mini Oreos and a couple of marshmallows, but I didn't think they were pretty enough, so I didn't bother taking pictures of them.

Oh, and since the weather is much nicer and cooler now, Vonn Kaleb and I spent a couple of hours outside to play ball before we started our homeschool lesson. We saw some bugs and we also gathered branches, twigs, leaves and acorns while outside -- these are a few of my little boy's favorite things! 

Friday, October 7, 2016


Our homeschool lesson for today was all about APPLES.

We are on our third week (already?!), and we have been using mainly the Abeka curriculum. For additional activities, I just search the net. There are so many freebies available online, so all I basically do is download and print off whatever I need.

Anyway, we talked about apples. We learned a new action poem. We learned that some apples are red, some are green, and some are yellow. We learned about the different parts of an apple - peel, flesh, core and seeds (shaped like a star). We learned that apples grow from apple trees, that blossoms appear in spring, and fruits are ready for picking in the fall. We also talked about different methods of apple picking/harvesting. We learned that you can make a lot of yummies from apples including apple pie, apple jelly, apple cake, apple butter, applesauce, apple cider, and of course, apple juice! :)

Now, for a little game, we played Apple Treasure Hunt.Using my Scan 'N Cut, I (with help from my student/son) made apple cutouts way ahead of time:

I hid a few apples all around the house. I then printed riddles/clues as to where to find them. Some of the riddles I made myself up, and some I copied from the Internet:

And the hunt began! The little boy found apples on his bed's head board, under the dinner table, on his toothbrush holder/cup, in the laundry room/on the washer, and in the fireplace. Because this was his first time to play a treasure hunt game, I had to help him a little by giving out few details to some of the riddles/clues, but he pretty much figured them out on his own.

When he had found all the apples, we did a little project:

I cut out white construction paper to stick on the apples to show the "flesh" part. My son then stuck the cutouts together using glue, and then using a brown marker, he traced and colored the seed "star formation" in the core. I did the one on top as an example for him to copy. He did a very good job and I'm so proud of my boy!

When we have finished our project, we moved on to counting and coloring apples using his Numbers and Skills with Button Bear workbook:

As you can see, he can write his name very well now. With understandably short attention span for anyone his age (3), he gets distracted easily, so I have to redirect him several times for him to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.

I also love the fact that my 3-year-old is a very good reader. I can just write on the board, say, a new poem we're learning, and he will read it in a breeze. I can now very well utilize our tiny white board as I discuss whatever topic we're studying about.

It was a fun day of learning for both of us. I'm very proud of my boy because like any other preschooler, he encounters daily challenges, and at times, he feels lazy and bored with school work but with the right amount of nudge and push, he keeps on and does his best to complete a task.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Jekyll Island, May 2016
It has been a while since I last updated my blog. I've been adulting a lot lately (hashtag motherhood) which I'm enjoying to bits but I do miss blogging. You know, just putting my (half-crazy half-sane) thoughts out there in cyberspace, documenting happy and pleasant memories, or even just to vent out and rant at times? I miss doing those!

Anyway, House Valencia is going on a getaway yet again tomorrow. Just for four days in an island close by. Mini-vacation but we are very excited. We haven't been out of the country since last year, and we've been itching so much to escaflage. Unfortunately, USCIS has been holding us back from Carribbean-ing, Canada-ing or Europe-ing (I wish!), so for now, we have to settle with exploring the little gems within our reach. There goes my little #rant for the day.

In that regard, I needed to catch up on my church treasurer duties before we go on vacation this weekend. I procrastinated updating the records, hence, I had a three-month backlog. I'm happy to say though that I have completed the essential 80% of it in a span of two days. Only by the grace of God! #whew

Working on the church records, I had to use a laptop, which by the way I haven't been doing since gadget and tablet ages. I took the chance to look into old, old emails of mine, which then led me to writing this blog entry. Actually, I wanted to blog initially about my adorable son who tickles my fancy to the bones, but then when I checked my email and read some of my old messages with the love of my life (yes, the equally adorable father of my son), I couldn't help but smile, and feel kilig to the bones, and wear my heart in my sleeves. So here I go writing about some sweet nothings which is I know personal, but hey, this is my blog (AKA online diary), and I've written similar posts in the past. #archives

Grand Canyon, November 2015
Eight years ago (few weeks shy) was when I first met Vince. We have common acquaintances/friends from medical/pre-med school. He and my best friend in Toronto were also schoolmates back in grade school. Small world indeed! What brought us close to each other though was our work. We were roomies at work. Little did we know then that we would be forever roomies in the future.

Although we hit it off immediately, it wasn't a love-at-first-sight thing. Coming from an emotionally traumatic relationship, I was a total mess. Meanwhile, Vince was in a happy and seemingly strong relationship, though separated by distance. We weren't looking into pursuing anybody then. We became friends. Close friends. Chummies. Buddies. Besties.
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, February 2016
About a couple of months since our first meeting when we realized that we were having feelings for each other. We might as well blame the snowstorm of December 2008, the defining moment of our jowa-jowa-an days. Well, jowa-jowa-an because we weren't official though somewhat exclusive. Anyway, those were the days, but yeah, well played Cupid, well played.

Around eight months since we first met, he moved to the US. I was miserable when he left. There were gazillion of uncertainties up in the air and in my mind. What if this, what if that? It wasn't a perfect relationship to begin with. I was hoping for the best but I had my doubts too. Looking back and reading that one particular email I sent him when I was heartbroken and badly hurting, I just realized now the weight of my words then. Ang bigat pala ng mga sinabi ko noon and I couldn't believe I did email him that. I needed to do that though, and I'm thankful that our love for each other prevailed.

Obviously, we pulled through or I wouldn't be here right now writing about my love story. We weathered the distance. We survived! If I would choose a favorite memory of our pre-married days, it was those times when Vince would drive 16 hours just to spend a day with me. Rain or shine. Wind or snow. He faithfully did that once or twice a month for about a year-and-a-half. Up until now, every time I remember those visits, the anticipation of waiting, the excitement from my end, I still get butterflies in my stomach. He eventually got tired of driving. So one day, he made a surprise visit to me, and before he left, on bended knee and a diamond ring in hand, he asked me to marry him.
Throwback pic from 2011 in our little apartment in Pennsylvania #newlywed
Fast forward to present now, I'm still moonstruck, head-over-heels in-love with my husband. The giddy feelings I had back then during our jowa-jowa-an days have not changed. Every now and then, I would hear about a truly feel-good rom-com level love stories but ours still is my favorite love story of all time. A story that I will never get tired of telling over and over again, and I can only thank God for writing it for us.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa - February 2016
Lately my son has learned to apologize. AND by that I meant not just throwing the word "sorry" meaninglessly but saying it with remorse and guilt. You could tell it by the tone of his voice and the puppy look no mother could resist. He would even apologize repeatedly until he gets a positive reaction from the offended party. That could range anywhere from a smile, a light tap on his head to a hug-kiss-and-tickle make-up kind of thing. His grandparents (my side) were touched and tickled whenever they would hear him apologize to me, his dad or them.

So this morning, my 3-year-old boy was having a rough day. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed. With head full of cowlicks and a sippy cupful of milk on hand, he went to church, looking frumpy, grumpy, and not his usual cheeky self. Not even his favorite church moment, the congregational singing, changed his sour mood. By the time sermon started, he was ready to throw a fit. I took him from his dad as I want his dad to be able to concentrate on the preaching. He was trying to fight me and would not agree going to the nursery, so when I stood up and carried him to take him to the nursery, he burst into tears and started having a meltdown.

Inside the nursery, I tried to calm him. He was sobbing and crying and kept on telling me that he didn't like to stay in the nursery. My friend who was watching the nursery this morning told me that I could leave him and he usually quiets himself after a minute or so anyway once left there. However, when I told my son that I was going to go back in the sanctuary, he quickly told me in between pitiful sobs, "Sorry, Mommy." I knew he was having a really rough morning, so I said to him, "It's okay. There's no need to say 'sorry.' I'm not mad. I just need you to stop crying." I walked towards the door and he ran after me, and said, "I'm listening, Mommy." AND THOSE WORDS THAWED MY HEART.

You see, his dad and I, when we reprimand him, we always tell him that he should start listening more to us. This boy is only 3 years old yet he could be hardheaded and stubborn as a bull a lot of times, and so we always have to remind him that he should listen to us. So, when he told me this morning that he was "listening," it broke my heart in a good way. It is hard to put into words what I felt but I had all different sorts of heartwarming mommy feels. Let's just say I had a motherhood defining moment there. One of the many (and more to come) that I would never forget :)

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa - February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016


Hi there bloggers everywhere! If you happen to be reading my blog now, please take time to vote for my entry. Please click on the following link and vote for my entry - Escape a la Karen (Karen Pagulong):

"My ultimate escape would be a day of underwater photo shoot with my husband in a pristine, blue ocean, where we could both channel our inner water nymphs to depict modern, mythical romance in photos." - Karen Pagulong (Picture credit to Club Med)
Prize at stake is a 7-night all-inclusive Club Med vacation for four, and I really would love to win that! I need all the support I can get, so I'm counting on anyone who has access to Internet to please click on the link and vote for my entry (Escape a la Karen). Contest will end soon on March 7 and the winner will be announced on March 11. You only need to vote once, so please (pretty, pretty please?) vote for me, and if you would be so kind, please also share to your friends and ask to vote for me.

Again, here is the link to vote: CLUB MED: ESCAPE A LA (your name) CONTEST

There are 10 finalists, so make sure you vote for my entry - Escape a la Karen (Karen Pagulong). 

Thank you very much in advance to those who will vote (and share) for me! 


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.


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