Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Khristine,

For so long in our marriage, we weren’t allowed to celebrate Mother’s Day. All we had was Rossi, Dixie, and the dreams of one day becoming parents. God knew that in our hearts, we wanted nothing more than to have a child of our own. I remember praying endlessly, lighting the Holy Family statue, and waiting. Lo and behold, He responded with Evan.

Since Evan has been a part of our lives, I have had the privilege of witnessing you grow and change in many ways; the most prevalent being the inspiration you’ve experienced as a mother. I have also seen your heart open up to the love and vulnerabilities that a child can expose you to. I have seen you encounter so many new things since Evan has been here, and as your husband, it is a blessing to watch you handle life as a Mother.

Although I try to thank you every day, even on behalf of Evan, I don’t think we can thank you enough. We want to thank you for bringing comfort into our home; we thank you for prioritizing our family, our health, and our future. We thank you for your hugs and kisses, meals and walks afterwards. We want to thank you for listening to our complaints and for your patience when we are frustrated. We want to also thank you for your limitless love and affection. We thank you for being our best friend.

On Mother’s Day, Evan and I want you to know that we honor the woman you are. We love you more than anyone in this world. God has certainly blessed Evan’s life by asking you to be his Mother, and I am definitely blessed to be a part of yours as well.

We love you, God Bless you, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Yours only and always,

Randy and Evan

Evan giving me my Mother’s Day present : )  What a cutie!

A custom calendar! Just what I wanted : )

A mother’s love liberates.
~ Maya Angelou

DISCUSSION

  • How did you and your loved ones celebrate Mother’s Day?

Share your story, your story matters.

How To Lead a Meaningful Life…at 105!

My husband’s paternal grandmother celebrates her 105th birthday today! Our family calls her “Apo” which means grandparent in our Filipino native language. Apo is a wonderful and sweet woman. She is gentle, hospitable, caring and adores her grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are very happy and thankful to celebrate her 105th birthday today.

Five years ago, when she turned 100, we commemorated the special occasion with a huge birthday party at a fancy dance hall. When asked what she wished for her 100th birthday, she replied, “I wish to live to be 105!” Well, thank the Lord, here we are today : )

Despite her very old age, she maintains a relatively good bill of health. As expected, she needs help getting around with a walker and sometimes she is forgetful, but otherwise, Apo is amazingly more healthy than one would expect for being 105 years old!

Apo’s doctors are in awe that she doesn’t suffer from any chronic health problems. Apo doesn’t have any heart conditions, diabetes, or hypertension – the common culprits in our family’s health history. She doesn’t take any medications nor has she even had any surgeries! It’s truly amazing.

So what’s the secret to Apo’s long life? How can someone living beyond her second century still live such a defiantly healthy life?

  • A lot of LOVE: Apo’s health and well-being can be attributed to her two daughters who tirelessly care for her. I believe the loving way in which her two daughters care for her is the reason why Apo is still thriving at 105.
  • Diet: Apo’s two daughters prepare her home-cooked meals daily. They have several meals throughout the day but their meals are always well-balanced. What is worth most noting is that they almost never ever go out to eat in restaurants.
  • Simplicity: Apo and her daughters lead a very simple life. They enjoy simple activities such as gardening, cooking, cleaning their home and watching their favorite TV shows. Apo doesn’t have many stressors in her life. She values her humble way of living.
  • Activity: Apo gets light exercise daily with her stationary bike pedal. She also walks around the house regularly to keep good circulation in her body. She keeps up her motor skills by coloring! Also, when the weather is fair, (which is pretty often here in San Diego) Apo goes outside and gets fresh air.
  • Faith: Apo attends mass every Sunday. Even though her legs are frail and it can take up to 10 minutes for her daughters to help Apo get from the church parking lot into the pews, Apo is determined to get her weekly Sunday blessing. Apo even loves to clap and sing along with the gospel choir!
  • Positive Attitude: Apo is still cheerful and loves to smile!

What I gather from Apo’s 105th birthday today is not just celebrating the advantage of getting to live to be 105. The true lesson is in understanding how to live a healthy and meaningful and purposeful life, at any age.

DISCUSSION:

I invite you to ask yourself:

  • How can I ensure not only longevity, but also a great quality of life?

Share your story. Your story matters.

Nominated For The Sunshine Award!

I am ecstatic to announce that I have been nominated for The Sunshine Award!

I want to thank Rachel for her very flattering nomination! I’m very grateful : )

I encourage you to check out her blog called rayannsom. Rachel’s posts are really inspiring, uplifting and just full of positivity!

This is only my second week blogging and I am so thankful that there are readers like Rachel who find my contributions here interesting. I still have a TON to learn about blogging and I look forward to connecting with more amazing bloggers!

My goal is to write valuable posts that come from an honest and helpful place, and hopefully readers will find my offerings gainful.

I am more encouraged now to continue working hard on cultivating Mama Bear Matters to connect with and celebrate stay at home mothers.

I offer my Sunshine Award Nomination to all the other incredible stay at home mothers out there who work tirelessly and selflessly in order to be the source of light for their families!

As part of the nomination process, here are the 10 questions I’ve answered about myself:

1. Favorite color? Red. I also love calming earth tones (beige, cream, gold, mauve).

2. Favorite animal? Pandas.

3. Favorite number? 25.

4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink? My Glowing Green Smoothie!

5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter? I have neither : (

6. My passion? Enjoying my blessed life as a stay at home mother to my lovely son, Evan. And of course, building Mama Bear Matters.

7. Prefer getting or giving presents? Giving presents. There is definitely more value in giving to others (especially those who are in most need) than receiving.

8. Favorite pattern? I like modern floral too Rachel : )

9. Favorite day of the week? Saturday morning, when Randy, Evan and I can sleep in together as a family!

10. Favorite flower? Cream-colored roses and cream-colored hydrangeas.

Being new to blogging, I don’t have many blogs that I follow (yet) but here are the blogs that I nominate for the Sunshine Award. I find these blogs interesting, helpful and their authors to be really talented writers.

{Mrs. Buena Vida}

Travel With Laughter

Stray Thoughts

Musings of a Stay At Home Mom

Speak in Love

As I continue to explore other inspirational blogs, please visit Mama Bear Matters again to see who else I will nominate!

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If you’ve reached this post as one of my nominees for The Sunshine Award, please see below:• Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.
• Answer 10 questions about yourself.
• Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers.
• Link your nominees to this post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
• Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

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A Fantastic 32nd Birthday

To My Amazing Wife, Khristine:

First let me wish you a wonderful and blessed birthday! I pray that you have a beautiful and memorable celebration with me and Evan. I also hope that this day brings you happiness, because you deserve it.

Thank you. There are thousands of things I can thank you for, but I am especially grateful for you as a wife and as the mother to our son. When we first had Evan, I had no idea how we would learn to raise a child, but day after day you prove to me that we’re doing a great job – you make life a beautiful experience for all of us.

I pray that in the next year, you continue to find inspiration in the simple life that we have. Evan loves you more than the world, and I love you in the same capacity.

God bless you and your SAHM dreams, God bless your health and happiness, and God bless you with many, many years to come.

I love you!

Happy Birthday,
Your Husband Randy

Thank you to my husband Randy and my son Evan for giving me such a lovely birthday morning. My life is rich because of you.

“There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  – Edith Wharton

DISCUSSION:

  • How does your partner express gratitude for your role as a stay at home mom?
  • In what ways does your family support your “SAHM dreams”

Share your story, your story matters.

We’re a family of three, I mean FOUR! Why we changed our minds about having only one child

When anyone asked me and my husband if we planned on having another baby, our answer was always, without hesitation, “No. We are happy to be a family of three.” Friends and relatives often teased us by hinting, “Time for another one!” But Randy and I always remained convinced that Evan would be our only child.

Here are some of the reasons we wanted to only have one child:

  1. Taking care of an infant is so difficult! Especially the first three months, the sleep deprivation is just brutal! I have no desire to go through those foggy and zombie times again.
  2. We finally feel like we could manage our lives now. We currently have a good setup in how we share our parenting responsibilities.
  3. I now have my pre-pregnancy body back : ) Thanks to yoga and my healthier eating habits, I feel even more confident with my body after having a baby.
  4. Although we have a tight budget, we feel financially stable. We don’t feel like we’re rich, but at least we have a good handle on our bills and savings.
  5. As part of our sacrifice and downsizing in order for me to be a stay at home mom, we live in a studio. How are we going to fit a family of four in a studio?!?
  6. In addition to working 50 hours a week, Randy is back in school getting his second Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. What time do we have to take care of another baby?
  7. We could give Evan more resources and more one on one attention as an only child. Saving for two college funds?!? Yikes!
  8. I read this very convincing article which highlighted the benefits of having only one child. See, even experts agree that one child families may be beneficial.

After reading this list, it seems evident that physically, spatially, logistically, financially, and regarding timing, the “wiser” decision is for us to have only one child. Totally makes sense, yes? It would definitely be more prudent for us to “quit while we’re ahead.” We’re doing great now, why change our family dynamics? It’s not like we feel as if our one son is “not enough.” Evan has already given us more joy we could ever imagine! We couldn’t possibly be any happier than this. Right?!?

So why in the world did we change our minds?

Well, about a month ago, on the morning of March 19 to be exact, Randy and I woke up and revealed to one another that we both just had a dream that I had given birth to a baby girl. But that wasn’t the first time I ever had a dream about having a second baby though. So what’s the big deal? I mean usually, we would scoff at such dreams, they were just silly fantasies, “Hah, what a funny dream” we would often say.

Then I realized, March 19 was St. Joseph’s Day! St. Joseph is the patron saint of families. Randy and I have always had an affinity and adoration for St. Joseph. We realized that it couldn’t be just a coincidence that he and I both had the same dream, on the same night, and to top it off, it happened on the Feast Day of St. Joseph.

Those signs were too powerful to ignore. We were then summoned to discuss the possibility and so we asked each other, although jokingly at first, “So what do you think now, do you want another baby?” When normally, we would say, “Haha, very funny! What a wild idea. Of course we’re not having another one!” This time, Randy and I similarly said, “Well, actually…Yes.” We mutually agreed that we would love to have another child and that we now wanted to expand our family! It was an unexpected shift, and although it felt scary and overwhelming, it felt right.

Just to be sure that we were making a thoughtful decision and not just an emotional decision, Randy and I referred to our one-child-only-list above, highlighting all the “smart and obvious” reasons why it was better that we have only one child. And after reviewing the list over (and over and over and over again), we still ultimately decided that we were definitely going to try to have a second baby.

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

“The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand.”
Robert Valett

“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.”
Blaise Pascal

Although all the reasons didn’t completely make sense to us, God somehow led us to the decision to have another baby. God placed the desire in our hearts to expand our family, rightfully and perfectly aligned with St. Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of our family, to whom we always offer our prayers and intentions. We had to respond to this calling, and although this sudden decision didn’t match up with our previous plans, we concluded that we would be even happier to have an addition to our family. We had a sudden change of mind, but more important, we had a compelling change of heart.

The most striking part of our comprehensive conversation was when Randy said, “It’s like our future baby is knocking on our hearts.” That profound sentence quickly ended our discussion. We looked at each other with tears welling up in our eyes, and held each other reassuringly. We knew at that very moment, our family is meant to grow.

Our baby was knocking on our hearts, how could we walk away? Randy and I wanted to open the door, answer our next baby’s call and together, take that leap of faith. We decided that no matter what happens, we were going to find ways to make it work as a family.

The following evening after dinner, we announced to Evan that Mommy and Daddy wanted to give him another sibling. Evan smiled widely, not really understanding what our statement implied, but he was still happy (probably because Mommy and Daddy looked so happy telling him!) We then asked Evan to help us finalize our family decision. I handed him the plastic compact case containing my pills, he willingly took it, and ceremoniously he placed it in the trash bin. The three of us cheered and clapped jubilantly. It was such a touching moment for our family!

Evan rejoiced with me and Randy, again, not fully comprehending the implications of what just happened, but nonetheless he cheered along with us. Evan knew that something great, a joyous moment, just took place for the three of us.

Now I don’t want to create an itemized list of all the benefits of having a second baby. The benefits of having adding another beautiful soul into our family are truly endless and intangible anyway. So instead, here is a proactive list that I compiled to help me prepare my body for a possible pregnancy:

  • Referring regularly to my wellness list
  • Finding ways to de-stress and unwind everyday
  • Refraining from watching violent and disturbing shows on TV
  • Listening to easygoing songs that make me feel relaxed
  • Refining our space and minimizing our possessions to make more room
  • Enjoying every single moment with Evan even more
  • Reciting the following prayer to St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers
  • Having fun trying to conceive again : ) (No obsessing over fertility calendars and ovulation kits this time!) We want our second pregnancy to take place naturally

Randy and I know that the power of conception is not up to us. We can only prepare our minds, create space for another baby and make the decision to try again. In the end, whether or not we are blessed with another pregnancy, we just thank God everyday that He has already granted us with a healthy and happy family.

DISCUSSION:

  • How did you and your partner decide on the size of your family?
  • How do you prepare your life (mind, body and surroundings) for conception?

Share your story, your story matters.

Note: Email me (mamabearmatters@gmail.com) if you would like a copy of my collection of prayers for conception.

Mommy’s Wellness To Do List

Hi friends!

In my efforts to focus more on self-improvement and self-nurturing, I’ve compiled the “Wellness To Do List” below.

The list is separated into different time frames, and highlights the things I need to do regularly in order to fulfill my physical and spiritual needs as an individual (not just as a mother or wife).

MOMMY’S DAILY NEEDS
Get at least 6 hours of sleep (8 if I’m lucky!)
Eat healthy and balanced meals
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
Take my prenatal vitamins and Omega 3 (Nordic Naturals are the best!)
Go outside for some fresh air
Get some quiet alone time (morning coffee)
Relax with some reading time (even for just ten minutes)
Do a daily journal entry for self-reflection time
Spend quality time with Randy
Meditate and count my blessings
Pray to God – offer to Him the hopes and dreams in my heart
Listen to God’s guidance

MOMMY’S WEEKLY NEEDS
Take a relaxing walk as a family
Do a yoga session at least 3 times a week
Take a break, get out of the house by myself!
Organize bills and paperwork
Deep clean our home
Talk and catch up with a loved one

MOMMY’S MONTHLY NEEDS
Add a FUN event on our family calendar
Get a manicure and pedicure
Try a new restaurant
Buy something for myself
Discover a new museum or park or store
Shop at Sprouts (Farmer’s Market)

MOMMY’S YEARLY NEEDS
Have a WONDERFUL birthday celebration (COMING UP ON 4/18!)
Enjoy a nice vacation
Get a new hairstyle
Minimize closets and donate (twice a year)
Take an online course for self-development
Commit to a body cleanse

I’ve been referring to this list for the past two weeks and truly, it has already changed my life in so many positive ways. My Mommy’s “Wellness List” is a positive reminder that I need to be a part of my TO DO LIST as well!

Ever since my husband and I decided (unexpectedly) that we wanted to have another baby (this topic deserves its own post, so come back for it!), I’ve been compelled and inspired to do really great things for myself. I want to prepare my mind and body for the next baby to grow inside me. So I started practicing yoga again and I now make healthier choices with my food. I made an overall commitment to take better care of myself. Creating Mama Bear Matters has been a HUGE part of this lifestyle change, as I strive to be a healthier, happier, and stronger woman.

I invite you readers to do the same thing. Take a few minutes of self-reflection and compile your very own “WELLNESS LIST”.

Breaking it down into a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly list makes it an easier list to follow.

Really, this is a wonderful self-honoring activity. I hope you make one for yourself too!

DISCUSSION

  • What will you include on your Wellness List?

Share your story, your story matters.

Coping with Depression for Stay At Home Moms

"Frazzled Mom" from mommasaid.net

Are you a stay at home mom who sometimes experiences depression or anxiety? Do you ever feel lonely, resentful, or even guilty for being a sahm?

You can tell by my efforts in building this blog, that I want to pay tribute to all the incredible and selfless stay at home mothers out there. But in order to paint a well-rounded picture, I think it’s equally important that I reveal the gray and often undisclosed aspects of being a stay at home mom.

NOT ALL SUNNY DAYS

While there are many wonderful moments for us, there are also a lot of difficult times, incredibly difficult times that one can only understand as a stay at home mom.

Ever since I became a stay at home mom, I have to admit that sometimes I have feelings of depression and anxiety myself. I would like to share with you some of the factors that contribute to my not-so-glorious sahm moments:

  • Sleep deprivation (I swear, my eyes look like they’ve aged so much since having a baby!)
  • Boredom from the same daily routine (the repetition of my weekday schedule and the lack of spontaneity)
  • Frustration with the unending chores (“Didn’t I just do laundry?)
  • Asking myself, “Seriously, when can I ever get a break?!”
  • Pressure from having a baby/toddler completely dependent on me
  • Isolation from other adults
  • Inability to vent and confide in other moms who empathize with me (I don’t know a lot of stay at home moms here in San Diego)
  • Missing the social scene: My girlfriends don’t call me to go out anymore, of course they know I can’t join them for happy hour anyway : (
  • Financial insecurity (Guilt that I am not contributing to our finances, when I have a large income potential)
  • Worrying that my skills in the working world and my creativity will atrophy
  • Having unrealistic expectations (I gotta have dinner ready before my husband gets home!)
  • Suffering from insomnia even though I’m so exhausted (my body is tired but my mind won’t rest)
  • Grieving over my lost professional identity
  • Fear that I cannot keep up with my child’s demands and unending energy
  • Worrying, “Does my child ever get bored of me?”
  • Obsessing over having a “perfectly” neat and orderly household
  • Wondering, “Does my husband resent me for not paying attention to him as much as I attend to our son?”

OTHERS UNDERSTAND

Even though it’s difficult to reveal these issues, I believe it’s important to let others know that if you are battling difficult days, frustrations, insecurities, sadness, fear, anxiety or guilt with any aspects of being a stay at home mom, you are not alone.

Many stay at home mothers, including myself, share your feelings. When you have difficult days, it does not mean (at all) that you’re a bad mother. It’s okay to have difficult days, being a stay at home mom poses a lot of challenges! What matters is that we are willing to explore ways to improve our coping skills.

INSPIRATION TO HELP YOU

Because I know how challenging it is to find that delicate balance of taking care of your family, while also finding time and energy to take care of yourself, I created the Inspirations section in Mama Bear Matters. Here, I share with you my favorite quotes, exercises, movies, songs, and more. These “inspirations” help me feel centered and contribute so much to my well-being. By regularly nurturing my body and my interests, I am able to ward off depression and feelings of anxiety more successfully.

This is a very important part of my mission as I work hard to cultivate Mama Bear Matters. This blog is not just to discuss issues (matters) that are relevant to us stay at home moms. I want to remind you other stay at home mothers that we, as a mother, as a wife and as an individual really do matter. Our needs as a person count too, and caring for ourselves is especially instrumental in creating a happy home.

LET YOUR CUP RUNNETH OVER

Like my mother says, “The husband represents the walls and foundation of the house, but the mother is the light of the home.” In other words, we as mothers must be able to shine and exude light and happiness, so that we may truly brighten the lives of our family.

In closing, please know it is my ultimate hope with this community blog and my posts that you find encouragement to take better care of yourself, and to remind you that your own well-being also matters.

Thank you for your patience as I slowly (but wholeheartedly) build my Mama Bear Matters site. I deeply believe in extending myself to you, in hopes that we can connect with each other and share our stories of strength as stay at home moms.

Disclaimer:  My writings on this post, along with any information included on Mama Bear Matters, are only within the scope of my own opinions, thoughts and personal experiences. Please note that my writings are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information posted on Mama Bear Matters for their own situation, especially if they have any questions regarding a medical condition. Again, I do not endorse any information on Mama Bear Matters to diagnose or treat or replace professional medical advice.

DISCUSSION

  • What are some of your coping skills that help you deal with the challenges of being a stay at home mom?

You can also refer here for some helpful online readings regarding this very important topic.

Share your story, your story matters.