Friday, April 15, 2011

My Birthday Gifts

I woke up with excitement for it was one special day. First reason, I’m going to visit my ob-gynecologist for an ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy. Second, we are going to give away thirty-six brown bags with sandwiches to beggars and street children. And third, it’s my 36th birthday! That explains the thirty-six brown bags.

My husband and two-year-old son, Gian Timothy, greeted me as soon as I woke up. Our little boy even sang the birthday song. I read the card my husband gave me over breakfast, glanced at the bouquet of roses displayed in our living room and smiled with tear-filled eyes.

I have decided to celebrate my birthday in a simple way this year because it fell within the observance of Lent. Instead of enjoying a cake and ice cream, I’ve chosen to share whatever little that I have to the poor. We just had pancit and barbeque delivered to our house and we had a simple family celebration. After that, we went to the hospital for my check up.

I could feel my heart beating faster as we approached the very same hospital where I gave birth to our first-born. It was quite far from where we live now but I still decided to stick to my ob-gynecologist because my experience with her and the hospital was very good.

Then came our turn for the ultrasound. I was glad my husband was allowed to go inside and see for himself the little baby growing slowly in my womb. It was one great birthday gift from the Lord, indeed! Just a month ago, my doctor said that I might need to undergo a procedure to clear my uterus and to prepare it for conception. I prayed hard that it would not be necessary and that God would grant me another miracle. What perfect time to have my ultrasound! I got confirmation of the miracle I asked for on my birthday. God is so good!

The doctor prescribed some vitamins and told us when my expected due date for delivery will be. We then proceeded to the church nearby to hear Holy Mass as a family.

I felt a sense of nostalgia while praying during the Mass. This was the same church where I used to hear Mass as a single lady waiting for my bridegroom to come. This was the same church where I cried buckets of tears to God to heal me from my condition (of having polycystic ovaries) and make it possible for me to lead a normal and healthy life.

I was back at St. Joseph Shrine.
I was very happy to be back in that church and be reminded of God’s faithfulness to me. I recalled how God answered my every prayer in His own good time. Then, I realized that the psalm for the day is the meaning of our first-born’s name – the Lord is gracious and merciful. Wow!

I remembered how costly it is to be pregnant when we paid for my ultrasound at the hospital and when my doctor listed the vitamins I need to take for my pregnancy. As with my first pregnancy, our bank account is not prepared for this kind of expense. But unlike the last time, I am no longer worried. I already learned my lesson. I only need to look back at our spiritual landmarks and I could go on with courage once more.

I remembered the string of blessings and answered prayers we got during my first pregnancy. I remembered how God took care of all my concerns up to the littlest details. I thanked God for making my faith stronger. I thanked Him for the psalm during my birthday which gave me His assurance that in the same way that He has been gracious and merciful to us during my first pregnancy, He will be gracious and merciful to us again this time. This is truly one glorious day!

It was already late in the evening when we started distributing our brown bags but we still found many poor people on the road. We were still able to distribute all thirty-six. I was very happy!

As I lie in bed that night, I breathed a prayer I’ve grown familiar with over the years. “Make miracles for us, Lord, as in the days when You led Your people out of Egypt.” I adapted this prayer from Micah 7:15. It has been my prayer every time I needed something quite big from God. It has never failed me.

I know that as we welcome another baby into our life and our family, we will be welcoming more blessings including financial blessing into our lives. So, last week, when we received financial blessings from God, I was no longer surprised.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Three-Letter-Word Picture Puzzles: A Product Review

My husband and I decided a few weeks ago to look for puzzles for our two-year old son, Yanthy. We wanted to give him these kinds of toys to help increase his attention span and to increase his patience in finishing certain activities. We found what we wanted at National Bookstore.

We found several kinds of puzzles but what we liked the most was the Spelling Fun 3-Letter-Word Picture Puzzles by Joytoy. It was less than a hundred pesos, very cheap compared to the benefit that our son would gain in playing with it.

We liked this puzzle because Yanthy is at a stage when he can already read and spell a number of words. He started reading at age two and he has experienced a growth spurt since then because by this time (5 months after), I could no longer keep track of the words he has learned to read and spell. He’s just learning very fast and I could not keep up in recording or documenting the words that he learned to read and to spell daily.

We started giving him one word at a time which consists of 3 puzzle pieces. Then, when he learned what to do (which took only a few seconds of instruction and demonstration), we added one more word until there are four to five words with puzzle pieces mixed up on his table. He learned how to play with it right away and in a matter of minutes was asking for more words to be given to him. It was amazing to watch him build the puzzles quite fast considering that he was playing with it for the first time.

The puzzle has become one his favorite toys in the following days and weeks and before I knew it, Yanthy has learned to read and spell more words through his 3-letter-word picture puzzle. Then I realized that this puzzle is somehow similar to his favorite show Word World where the characters are made of letters and they form pictures of the animal or object. No wonder, Yanthy liked it right away.

Not only has this toy improved our son’s reading and spelling ability, it has also increased his attention span. He can now sit long enough to form seven to eight words before thinking of going around the room or going down from his high chair. I’m so glad we found this puzzle! Yanthy has almost mastered all the 16 three-letter words and we are excited to get him the four-letter-word picture puzzle next.

I highly recommend this toy puzzle to parents who want to increase their kid’s attention span and who want to teach their kids how to read and spell without the pressure. With this toy, kids learn while having fun.