February 14, 2018

Just like my girls, I love to celebrate. I love special days for showering my loved ones with something special, making special requests and getting treats, but sometimes, when life is busy and you’ve been married for almost 13 years, you’re cool with a mellow Valentine’s Day too. I have no gift for Ben and I’m not expecting anything from him, except maybe for ice cream. The last few months have been a bit more stressful for us, so we agreed to keep it chill this year. We did sneak in a quick date on Sunday afternoon, which was nice because we don’t do things like that often, and are pretty content with our Friday evening date nights on the floor of our bedroom (with homemade sushi and movie!). The last couple years have been a time of growth and change in different ways, but what I notice most from him is His deepening love for God and growing desire to lead our family well. He also reminds me of what really matters and tries to get me to refocus on kingdom and eternity things (I often just see the here and now, and get stressed out by it).

We certainly don’t have a perfect marriage. In fact, Sunday morning we fought on the way to church gathering. As he was driving, he heard a rattling between us, and wanted me to figure it out to make it stop, so during my haste, I was touching his coffee cup, then he got mad I was touching where he puts his mouth to drink. Then, I said, “Next time, you do it yourself.” We tried talking about other things after, but we definitely weren’t kind with each other, so regular petty marriage fights like that do happen and we fight about some not so petty things too. We’ve got the regular stresses of family life, time management, trying to make sure we’re giving the kids attention, prioritizing each other, trying to stay within our budget, taxes, house stuff, staying involved with church family, and all the normal stuff you likely have going on too. With all the busyness going on in this particular season for us, we’re trying to keep our head above water, so it will be a simple Valentine’s for us. We have a gift card to a local sushi place, he’ll pick up food on the way home, and we’ll relax together once the kids are in bed. As long as I’m with Ben (and have ice cream after dinner), I’d say it sounds like the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.

So if you’re spending today with your friends, kids, or your significant other, going all out or keeping it simple like us, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the ones you love!

See some of our past Valentine’s celebrations: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 here and here, 2013, and 2012. I could go back even further as I’ve been blogging since 2007, but I think that’s good for now. It’s fun to look back and see how we’ve grown and changed. 


February 9, 2018

It really hit Ben and me that we are now in a new stage of parenting, a particularly crucial stage. Really though, every stage is pertinent. True and Brave are at the cusp of their teen years and this tween thing does feel like something else. All my bad parenting habits have become even more glaring. My bad habit of being quick to anger and slow to speak is coming back to haunt me full force, and I better learn fast how to be slow to anger cause otherwise this is all going to go south real fast. As mom, I know I kind of set the tone at home, so I really need a lot of  “tuning my heart to sing thy grace.” This means I ought to be spending lots of time in prayer and reading God’s word. I won’t survive if I’m not feeding my soul. In addition, I must intentionally go about my day depending on God and not trying to control everything myself (hard for a control freak like me to do).

There’s a lot of emotions going on at home, especially for my biggest girls, and I can see the changes in them and between them. I’ve been their mother (and obviously, still am), but now is the time where they also need me to be their friend. Ben and I have spent the last (almost) 12 years setting the tone, rules, routine, expectations, but now, during this particular stage, I’m learning they also just need me to be their friend. They need me to listen and talk through things instead of simple tell them things. So we’re working on it, we aren’t doing it perfectly, and they’ll be lots of messing up along the way, but I’m glad these mess ups point all of us to the cross. It always gives us an opportunity to talk about how we can’t do it, but we can trust in Jesus Christ who did.


January 17, 2018

***WARNING*** If you don’t care to read about someone’s monthly menstrual cycle and lady parts don’t proceed any further. This is my second review on using the cup and period panties.

So I’ve officially used the cup for 3 cycles and I’m loving it. I’m still using the blossom cup (large size) and I’m pretty happy with it. On this last cycle, I think I got better at placement. I’m learning that while you put it in and up, you kind of have to tilt it towards the back to seal it too. It wasn’t until I did that move that I experienced less spotting.  On my second cycle, I did the C-fold and the cup wouldn’t open up properly, so the origami fold works much better for me (read about different folds here). I’m pretty comfortable putting it in and taking it out now, and not so weirded out by feeling my insides (okay, maybe still slightly weirded out, but it gets a lot better each cycle). Using the cup feels so much cleaner and fresher while Aunt Flow is here, so I think it’s definitely worth it.

Now onto period panties, I use it as back up to the cup and on my light days (day 5-6) when I don’t use the cup, it’s pretty great. I’ve told some friends, who have daughters who just got their first cycle, about them, so I know they’re excited to have their daughters try them out. I use Thinx, which I love, but for tweens/teens I think Panty Prop will work better based on the reviews (they have tween/teen sizes). When my day comes for my girls (not in a rush to get there), I will be stocking up on those for sure, and I’m glad they’ll have these to prevent the same leak/stain worries I had at their age. Not a fun time. I wish period panties were around when I was a teen!

Part one review here, if you care to read. And if you have any questions about it, leave it in the comments and I’ll answer them. If you’ve been thinking about it, I encourage you to give it a shot. It takes a bit of time to adjust, but it feels so much better when it’s that time of the month. With the cup, there’s no nasty chemicals going inside you, environmentally friendly, lasts 12 hours, and saves money on feminine products… I’m all about all those reasons!


hello 2018

January 2, 2018

Hello! I think that was the longest disappearance I ever had. Christmas came, then the flu, and then New Year (with half the family still with the flu, and one with the man-flu), so life felt put on hold for us with us holed up at home for a week. So many plans didn’t happen thanks to a nasty virus (these little buggers we can’t see can really wreak havoc!) and we’re slowly starting to get back into some norm today.

Girls are doing some school today, I’m trying to get the house back in order, and Ben went back to work (still feeling man-flu under the weather). This week is a big week since Ben starts a new work schedule that we’ve been praying he’d get, but with Monday being a holiday, and him going in late today, I don’t think we will feel the major change yet. He now gets to work 3 – 12 hour shifts weekly, with an added 8 hour shift every other week. I’m really looking forward to when he gets his 4 day weekends every other week. Anyway… new year, new changes, new memories. Cheers to 2018!

what I thinx about the cup: menstrual cup review part one

November 30, 2017

***WARNING*** If you don’t care to read about someone’s monthly menstrual cycle and lady parts don’t proceed any further. This is my review on using the cup and period panties for the first time.

So… Aunt Flo came and went, and I got to take my cup and Thinx out for a spin. I was mentally preparing myself for the weeks leading up to it. In my head, I would say, “Okay, you popped out four kids, you could get this cup in and out.” Over and over again. Also, I watched lots of YouTube videos and read all the things to prep myself, but I would still get the heeby jeebies imagining a cup up there. Then, the day finally arrived (and she came 3 days early!). And let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it is to put in, and that’s what I was most afraid of. What caught me off guard was taking it out! I thought it would be as easy as a tampon, but yeah, nope. It takes a little more maneuvering than that (and can be messy at first), but by day 3, I think I got a system down.

After one cycle, do I believe in the cup? Yes! I had light spotting, so Gabe told me that maybe I didn’t go high enough (even though I’ve never met her, I feel like she should be my best friend with all the personal cup questions and fears I was relaying to her via instagram). And since it was my first time, I’m definitely still familiarizing myself with it and my (inside) parts. On day one, I couldn’t feel the cup, but thought I did, but I think it was because I was thinking so much about it. I panicked a bit when it came time to take it out; this part takes patience and skill. By the way, the C-fold doesn’t work for me and I found the punch down fold the best way to get it in. On day two, I couldn’t feel the cup at all, and I felt so much cleaner, and loved that I didn’t have to change it that often (or worry about chemicals all up in me). For day one and two, I had to get in awkward position to take the cup out (one leg on the tub). It’s weird. Day three… it felt natural going in and coming out, and all this was done over the toilet. Easy peasy! I mentioned the light spotting, so I think it has to do with placement, but other than that, it almost felt like Aunt Flo wasn’t even here. If you’re thinking about it, give it a try. After having kids, I no longer got menstrual cramps, but some say that using a cup somehow lessens them. After one cycle, I’m already a fan and I’m looking forward to it getting easier with time. I’ve been preaching the cup gospel to all my friends and trying to convince them to at least try it. (Most cup vendors, like Blossom, say love it or your money back, which is not a bad deal.)

Now, let’s talk about Thinx. First night of my cycle, I wore the cup to sleep and regular underwear. No issues. I was impressed, though still weirded out knowing I had a cup inside me. Second night of my cycle, I was brave and did the period panties alone (I got this hip hugger one). Lo and behold, there were no incidents to note the following morning. Night three, did traditional pad and panties route because I was feeling lazy, and it was a big mistake. Let’s just say things got messy. Then, for part of day 3 (during the day), I wore Thinx out and about while doing errands for a few hours, and again, no problem.

My cycle lasts for 3 heavy days and then about 4 light days, so after the 3 heavy days, I was done with the cup and switched solely to Thinx. I ordered 3 pairs to start with, so I used them for days 4-7 (I soaked them in cold water and hand-washed them). Now, we were on vacation during this time and doing a lot of outdoor things. I was nervous because I was solely relying on these period panties to hold me in. It’s kind of weird and I was skeptical, but I’m happy to report, it did its job. Mostly. My only complaint is that I think sizing might be slightly off (for me, maybe I didn’t measure right), so I’m going to try a smaller size and see how that does. The size I got (small) didn’t feel as secure on while doing all the outdoor things.

I know you might be skeptical, but I say it’s worth the try. When I first started seeing the ads for Thinx awhile back, I thought it was a joke. Underwear that soaks it all up sounds kind of weird and gross. Like it was some silly, fake product SNL would make a skit for. Similar to the menstrual cup companies, Thinx says that within 60 days, if you aren’t satisfied, no questions asked, you’ll get your full refund. It’s what pushed me to try it. No harm with that kind of guarantee, right?! You better thinx about giving it a try.

If you order Thinx through this link, you get $10 off and I get $10 credit. I wish I had looked into finding someone online with a $10 off link to share prior to placing my order.

Resources if you’re thinking about it:

This post on New Age Nesting is what convinced me to try and prepare for it.

– A quiz to help you determine which menstrual cup is right for you. Take it here. I bought the Blossom cup before I found out about this quiz. According to the quiz, I should use a Lena cup, but I’ll keep using my Blossom cup for now. I have no problems with it.

– Article on cups for heavy periods.

– Of course, YouTube has a ton of videos explaining how it all works.

– A few tips and personal experiences in the comment section of this post where I first mention it.

If you read this whole thing, thanks for coming here to get up close and personal with me! 🙂 So, would you try out Thinx or the cup?

do you allow shoes in your home

November 15, 2017

Do you allow shoes to be worn in your home? This can be a touchy thing. Just as touchy and difficult to ask someone to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your newborn baby.

I’m Filipino, so culturally, shoes are typically not allowed in the home. Everyone comes over and takes it off in the entry way. When I go to other Asian homes, we know to take off our shoes prior to entering (and sometimes you’ll notice that shoes are left outside of the door). It’s considered rude to step into their home with shoes on. I married someone who is not Filipino, so he grew up wearing shoes in the home, but he has since adopted the no shoes stance.

The main reason we do it is for health and cleanliness. Shoes track in lots of bacteria (read here and here) and we have kids who play on the ground. They roll, lay down, put down blankets all over the ground. Not only do my kids play on the ground, they tend to put their fingers and hands in their mouth (even though I’m constantly on their case for it). So shoes off in the house, is one way to help eliminate bringing in things we don’t want in our house.

We know it isn’t always convenient for people to take off their shoes. If we’re having a big party, we usually won’t say anything, and cleaning the floors just comes with the party clean up. Though most friends already know to take off their shoes, so people catch on when they see a bunch of shoes at the door. When construction people come over, we have non-slip shoe covers right at the door for them to slip on, so they don’t have to go through the hassle of removing their boots. We also have clean (and cute) slippers for guests to wear. Ben can’t walk around barefoot for long periods of time because it’s painful for his feet, so he has a pair of “indoor Nikes” that he wears just for inside the house. I’ve recently started having foot problems too, so I have a pair of Birkenstocks just for the inside of the house too. To avoid having to explain while it’s ok for us to wear shoes in our home, we will typically walk barefoot when guests are here.

I have friends who have put signs on their doors, so we recently adopted that. One friend’s sign says, “Hawaiian style. Please remove your shoes. Mahalo.” Another says, “This is holy ground. No shoes allowed.” The one I saw most recently, in beautiful calligraphy, said, “Kindly remove your shoes.” It kind of saves that awkward conversation when you answer the door and it spells it out plainly.

In a recent discussion on another blog, I saw someone mention if they go to a home where they have to remove their shoes, they aren’t likely to go back to that home, and will prefer to meet that friend out. I thought that was an interesting response.

Imagine where our shoes have been! Public restrooms… eek! I once was at someone’s house recently, and they wore their outside shoes inside, and put their shoes up on the couch and the coffee table. That same evening they laid on the couch and ate dinner on the coffee table, and I just kind of got the heebie jeebies. It’s obviously not my preference to wear outdoor shoes inside!

I know this can be testy subject. I think I’ve discussed it here before, but some friends and I were discussing it recently, and especially since we just put up a sign on our door, it’s been on my mind. Shoes or no shoes? What do you do in your home and what do you expect your guests to do?

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