Monday, 29 June 2015

Our Wedding Story

Since it's the wedding month, my roommate (my husband, btw) and I reminisced our very own wedding two years ago (2013).

I tell my friends who are about to get married that they should prepare for whatever happens and simply just enjoy the day...because after all, the day will still end. I added that the success of the wedding, no matter what possible glitches that could occur, depends on how the couple sees it...yes, I'm Ms. Perspective now.

Our wedding was not perfect (although I did dream of having one), but it was beautiful...and hilarious....and crazy. It was sooo us. 

All the possible things that could possibly go wrong, well....went wrong. 

Let's start with the venue. Initially, we wanted San Augustin Church and Patio Victoria in Intramuros for a more intimate celebration. Besides, they're very accessible to many of my friends and classmates here in Manila. Everything was settled (dates, payment, coordinators), but lo and behold (!) my mother, the mother of all parties and such, wanted the celebration in Batangas. Period. 

We couldn't get our payments back from San Augustin and Patio Victoria anymore of course. Friends insisted that we continue with Intramuros because it was our wedding anyway; I was tempted, but we didn't. It wasn't just our wedding. It was a celebration of the union of two families, our families, and we simply couldn't celebrate if our families would not be there. It was my roommate's idea, btw; I was #TeamIntramuros. 

But we decided to move the celebration to Batangas. 

So yeah, you could say we made a HUGE donation to the church then. Lord, please remember I was generous once. :) 

Aisle ba kamo? 
Our aisle - 88.6 m long! 
Since I didn't get the church of my choice, I demanded a long aisle. I wanted to take my time going to the altar and get people to admire me and my wedding gown. To make sure, my roommate said, that the aisle would be long, he'd put the red carpet by the parking lot where I would start walking and I could just text him when I'm near already. Haha! Very mature.  >:(

But, he did get me a loooong aisle - 291 ft (88.6 m) long. It was long. I don't know how long, basta I know it was long. Basilica of St. Martin de Tours in Taal, Batangas is the largest church in the Philippines AND in Asia. Burgis! 

The long-ness (to emphasise that it was indeed long; I know it's "length") excited me, and I couldn't wait to walk down it. The church coordinators invited me to have a rehearsal so I could feel how long it would take me to walk down it. 

But, no, nope, I ain't gonna ruin that perfect exact moment of my wedding day of walking down the aisle the first and only time with our bridal song. 

Speaking of our bridal song
We have chosen "Panunumpa" by Fr. Jboy Gonzalez, SJ, as our bridal song. It was simple and truly spoke of our love story. Taal Basilica coordinators were pretty strict on their wedding regulations and wanted to impose that only their choir could play and sing in the wedding. However, I had my own wedding singer whose voice was just perfect for my song. So, after much pleading and begging and attempted suicide in front of them, they finally agreed - just one song. No more no less. 

Come wedding day, I was impatiently waiting outside the church door for my cue to walk when a vendor offered me candles. I nearly hit him with my bouquet because hello!! I was wearing a wedding gown, did he seriously think I needed candles then? 

"Uhm, sorry kuya medyo ikakasal po kasi ako ngayon," was all I could say, and then I was cued to enter the church. 

As I was walking, my mind was just focused on two things: the oh-me-god-super-long aisle and my wedding song sung by wedding singer. It was just perfect until my wedding coordinator asked me to stop because one of our ninongs and ninangs  had just arrived, and they had to walk first. So I waited until they finished (it was really a long aisle), but when I was cued back to walk, the singer was also finished with the song - with just one song we were allowed to! Aaaagghhh!! 

Yes, I walked down the aisle without any bridal song. Tissue please. 

People, meet Monsignor M - the priest who hates me
Okay, it was a little of an exaggeration, he didn't hate me. He couldn't hate me. Priest aren't suppose to hate people, but this priest probably did. We were looking forward to his homily as he is known to give lovely ones especially during weddings...but not on my wedding! 

We wanted a solemn simple wedding where everything could simply just go as planned. But, no! Not that day. Father didn't look serious at all. He was smiley and giving funny side comments once in a while. Father, nakadrugs ba tayo ngayon? Saya natin, ah. I remember his homily very clearly. 

He said to my groom, "Look at her face. Look at her. You think she's an angel? She's not! There's a devil inside of her!" He laughed. People laughed. I laughed. 

I was thinking he's just a funny priest (who was on drugs that day), and he would give me my moment of returning the joke, but he didn't! He said the joke twice. 

"Look at her! She's no angel!" He laughed. People laughed. My groom was uneasy. I was like, "Father, yung totoo. Anong problema mo sa kin?" 

Stop the wedding, my commentator was missing! 
For a good few seconds, there was a little commotion on who's gonna be my commentator. I did have my commentator; I had asked him few days before I went on leave. As I searched the sea of people (I didn't recognise many since they're my Mom's guests), I realised my commentator wasn't there. In fact, my friends from Assumption weren't there at all. I was panicking, but thank heavens the church coordinators volunteered. 

But where were they? 

They were lost. My Assumption friends were lost. My Grammar family and my commentator got lost. They came right after the ceremony and were just there during the photo op. 

Speaking of photo op
My Ninong Ronnie Lazaro almost stole
 my spotlight in mah wedding! 
Two things happened during the photo op. First, as we were fixing my wedding gown for that perfect kodak moment, one of my friends from Assumption grabbed the microphone and started calling people for pictures. Friends and wedding coordinator tried to get the mic from her, but (wait for it) no. *sigh* 

We were wondering, too, why not many guests would ask for pictures with us, and then we saw that they took the opportunity to have pictures with one of our ninongs, Ronnie Lazaro. He's a local actor and director and a good friend of ours. Uhm, guys, kami po yung kinasal here! 

I could literally count our guest with my fingers
What happened last January 2013 was not my wedding. It was my mommy's event. She's so happy that I was getting married that she seemed to have invited all of the residents in Batangas city! I had literally less than 20 guests of my own, yet the whole garden in the reception was filled with people. 

My roommate nearly fainted when he saw that the Assumptionistas were standing and didn't have any tables at all. We reserved tables for them, but they were already occupied by "the others". Good thing the hotel manager was able to give us more tables for free, and everyone got to enjoy the food. There were tons of food. In fact, a waiter approached us and asked if he could give Ronnie some chicken to which he did. 

Our cake took a bow
We had two cakes in our wedding: one was provided by the caterer and the other was especially made and beautifully designed so that guests would know who we are as a couple. It was a big brown luggage with stickers of the places we have been to (we love to travel). The toppers included a brown-eyed groom giving the bride with pony-tail a piggy back ride. She was holding a teddy bear (Hendree, our prized bear) and wearing a red converse sneakers. It was chocolate cake. It was lovely, and I was truly in-love with it. 

Me and my friends from Manila
figuring out how to get home 
My friends from Manila picked up the cake from Hearts and Bells, commuted with the cake on a bus from Manila to Batangas (2 hours), rode with the cake on Montero from Batangas to Taal (45 mins), slept with the cake (literally because it could not fit in the fridge), brought the cake to the reception, and marvel in awe with the beauty of it. 

During the reception ceremony, we were about to feast on the cake when (kapit, guys!) our helper lifted the gifts from the table creating an imbalance; thus, toppling the cake, my beautiful cake that had been to so many journeys, over. Destroyed. Inedible. Ruined.

She tried to explain, but sssshhh just leave before this hungry bride became a bridezilla. 

After the celebration, it was time for us and the guests to go home. It was a long day, and it was still a long drive to Batangas City. Also, we needed to make sure that our USTe friends and two of my AC friends (a total of 9 plus lots of bags!) had a ride to the bus stop, and we informed our friends with cars and our families about it. After several minutes, we were looking for the Montero, the green car, the red car, the black car, the jeep, the Adventure - anything at all that could bring us home, but the parking lot was empty! 

Except for the Owner type jeep. 

9 people fit in this crazy owner type jeep -
yup including the newly weds 
It took a while before anyone could react. We just stood there... trying to process the situation and making sure it was real. 

It was real. 

So that's our ride home? 

How could we all fit in? 

Who's gonna drive us? 

Yes, it was our ride home. 

Yes, we all fit in. 

Yes, my roommate, the groom, whom the celebration was for, was the driver. And no, he didn't have a valid driver's license then. It got lost. 

Guess who didn't have a change of clothes? 
After assessing the situation, we decided we would be okay. We would squeeze ourselves in the vehicle with the bags and some of the gifts. Okay lang yan, parang MRT lang! My roommate would just make sure that he would avoid any traffic violations, but we prepared our excuses just in case. 

Since it could take us an hour to get to the bus station in the city, we decided to at least have some decent clothes, but when we checked our bags, guess what? (kapit ulit, guys!) Our families brought our clothes home except for my backpack with my laptop. 
Yes, I had to carry my stuff, too.
No bride privileges for me!  

So, yes, I carried my backpack around with me. 

And yes, we drove to the city with our bridal gown and Barong Tagalog on. 

And yes, my roommate still drove the vehicle. 

We did fit it. 

And we got hungry 
I wasn't able to eat much at the reception. The food was delicious, but we were so busy talking to people and being restrained from running amok from the ruined bridal march, the crazy priest, the destroyed cake, and the lost cars that we had forgotten to eat. 

We all did forget to eat. And we all got hungry. I had three very close friends with me who should never get hungry, or it would be the death of all. So we decided to look for a McDonald's drive thru. We prepared our orders and our money (roommate and I would be "libre" since his bags were already in Batangas), and when we reached McDonald's...(hingang malalim!) there was no drive thru. The store was under renovation. 

We all sat in the car (not allowed to move a muscle because it was sooo sikip!) in disbelief.  

Ordering Siomai at SM Hypermarket 
God must have been bored up there and decided to play Sims on my wedding day. 

We were all hungry. We all needed to eat. 

We thought maybe we could all go to my roommate's house and just eat there. However, wouldn't it be awkward if the groom brought home 6 girls and 2 boys on the first night? 

Yeah, it was awkward. And we're hungry. 

Imagine our relief and our extreme joy when we saw SM Hypermarket where there were Hen Lin and Pao Tsin and Shawarma and Buko Juice. 

We were sooo happy, we all went down and ordered food. We forgot we were still on our wedding gown. 

There was a moment of embarrassment because people were staring at us already, and I was not wearing my heels anymore, but I was hungry so I didn't care. 

One customer said, "Ay JS Prom na pala." 

Yes, friends, on my wedding day, someone thought we were still in High School. 

And yes, the siomai satiated me. 

The End? 
After we drove my friends to the Bus Station, we went home to pay respect to his family and to get decent clothes. We went back to the hotel (using the Adventure, this time) for some time for us. 

God is a funny bored God during our wedding 
As we reflected on what a day is had been, I was already teary eyed because it was not perfect like many brides dreamt of their wedding to be. I thought it was a failure, but my roommate said, "God, that was fun!" 

And it was fun! Crazy and fun! We had a good laugh afterwards. It was indeed very, very fun. 

I realise now, that many things had gone wrong, but at the end of the day, it was still about me, my roommate, and our God (who was probably laughing out loud in Heavens as He was watching over us).ü

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Ten Habits of a Happy Couple

I came across this beautiful article from FamilyShare that listed ten habits happy couples have. Here are the habits according to Dr. Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist, writer, and an international speaker.

1) Go to bed at the same time. 
I think going to bed at the same time is already part of our bedtime routine. After putting Baby Charley to sleep, we have dinner and long kwentuhans, then it's usually bedtime for us, which is usually around 8pm. Rarely, I need to sleep earlier than him since he has something else to accomplish.

2) Cultivate same interests. 
This is kind of tricky since we don't exactly share the same interests - he likes basketball and inspirational videos while i like cats, reading, and writing. He's an extrovert while I am otherwise; however, one thing we both love is travelling, which is something we're passing on to Baby Charley.

3) Walk hand in hand or side by side
If our baggages are not stopping us from doing so, it's automatic for us to HHWW - hold hands while walking (minsan pa-sway sway pa). We've been together for more than a decade as a couple, but we never get embarrassed to walk hand in hand. Personally, it's my safety blanket when we're together.

4) Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.
We're working on this one - I mean, I'm working on this one. I truly value trust, that's why I don't trust people right away, and I make sure I will never break their trust. Forgiveness has never been an issue, but it's a matter of forgetting and moving on from breaking the trust. That's why, we have completely forgiven ourselves from things that happened in the past, but we have yet to forget that .5. Actually, it has become a private joke already, and we get to laugh about it, but nope, not yet forgotten.

5) Focus more on what he/she does right rather than he/she does wrong
A speaker from a conference once shared that when you get 99/100 in a test, you will remember more that one item you got a mistake on rather than the 99 items you got correctly. I think, this is also true in any relationships. Sometimes, no matter how good your partner is for 300 consecutive days, once he/she commits a mistake, all those good deeds are forgotten.

Still, I'm working on this one, too. My roommate (my husband, btw) is not perfect, and there are times he forgets things he should have done. When that happens, (and after tons of apologies, sometimes), he'll patiently remind me that he has done more good than wrong, and that snaps me out of anger...because it's true.

6) Hug each other as soon as you get home from from work. 
This is very automatic to us already. No matter how busy we are at home from taking care of Charley or how exhausted we are from the traffic in EDSA, we make sure that once you're home, you're home. We give each other a tight hug, a quick peck on the cheek, and a "welcome home, boss" smile before we ask how each other's day are.

7) Say "I love you" and "have a great day" every morning.
My roommate lets me sleep longer during weekends, and I super love him for that. When we wake up, he's usually the one to greet me a good morning while I tell him what I dreamt of, or what I think about what we talked about last night. Yes, usually, it has a continuation in the morning.

This is us back in 2005! 
8) Say "good night" regardless of how you feel. 
They say, never go to sleep angry; settle what needs to be settled. We do follow this sometimes, but sometimes, it's better for us to just pause from an argument and just talk about it the following day. That way, we could discuss it like two mature adults we are. Of course, when I'm mad at him (he has never been mad at me, ever!), I would just go to bed and ignore him the whole night. He, on the hand, God bless his loving forgiving heart, would still make sure to kiss me goodnight even if I avoid him, even if it's really my fault, even if I've said things to him. It's a habit, and I love him for that.

9) Do a weather check during the day. 
Thanks to technology and unlimited call and text from Smart, we're able to check on each other while we're at work. It could be a simple, don't forget to eat lunch, bring umbrella, or I think my boss is mad at me again.  It feels like we're boyfriend-girlfriend again.

10) Be proud to be seen with him/her. 
I've always been proud of him, and he knows it. I love being around him, and my heart swells in pride when my friends talk fondly of him. I do hope that he feels the same way, too.

However, two habits that we think the article lacks are the following:
11) Be grateful. 
We are a grateful couple. We may not be rich, but we're happy with what we have - a healthy, loving family. We thank each other for every small thing one has done for the other - opening doors, setting the table, preparing what to wear. And because of that, we're happy to be with each other.

12) Pray together and for each other. 
Our wedding - 2013 
A beautiful habit we have is praying the rosary every night...sometimes, together when he doesn't have the night shift. We also lift our own personal intentions before we pray, and they vary, too. Sometimes, we pray that we could win the lottery, or that Cavs would lose, or there'll be class suspensions the following day, but our usual intentions are health and blessings.

We're not a perfect couple, but we sure are a loving one that could make Baby Charley proud of us.ü

Friday, 19 June 2015

Baby Charley's Trip to Hacienda Sta Monica

On Charley's 6th monthsary, Team Hernandez was so fortunate to have joined my Grammar family to a road trip to Lipa, Batangas - Hacienda Sta. Monica.

Preparing for a trip with just my roommate (my husband, btw) is completely different from preparing with Baby Charley. There were so many things we had to consider and one of which was Charley's comfort through out the trip.

A comfortable Baby Charley meant a comfortable trip for all of us.

Before the trip
One of my favourite responsibilities as a mommy and a wifey is to prepare all our bags whenever we travel. I'm more comfortable when I do so because at least I know specifically where our things are. My roommate, on the other hand, is just happy to carry the bags to the car.

For this particular trip, we had three bags: the pink (baby) bag, the brown (hand) bag, and our blue (Jansport) backpack. Believe me, colour-coding our bags is much easier when you live with a man who thinks that all our bags are just bags and anything can be a baby, hand, or backpack bag.

My roommate made sure that the car we're gonna sue, Ford Ranger this time, was on its perfect condition - brakes, tires, lights, diesel, and all those car stuff I have vague understanding of. Although Ranger could sit in 5-6 people comfortably, we were just five adults and bags++ in the car. The other car, Innova, sat seven adults and bags+++++++++++++.

We had soooooo much food in the excursion, and we made sure that Baby Charley had her own set of food, too. We brought a new can of Nan HW Two, 1500 ml of Wilkins, and six baby bottles. The adults, on the other hand, had 2 crispy pata, embutido, pesto, barbeque, baked mac, liempo, java rice, leche flan, pichi pichi, egg pie, chocolate cake, ice candy, and Coke galore! It was such a sinful Wednesday. :)

Guess who's the happy baby
On our way there
Manila-Batangas would take an average driver 1.5 to 2.0 hours, but my roommate could get us there in 30-45 minutes especially on an early morning drive.

We had to stop at Petron SLEX though for a quick breakfast at Mc Donald's. It's also essential for Baby Charley to stretch a little and for our passengers to realize that they're still alive (given my roommate's driving skills).

Baby Charley was very behaved on the trip; she's okay looking out to the window, playing with her books and rattles, and have some squealing fit disguised as a meaningful conversation with her Tita Jaizel and Tita Becca.

Finally, Hacienda Sta Monica! 
When we reached HSM, we were awed by the beauty of it. The Estacios had a small farm of siniguelas, mangoes, and other fruit-bearing trees. The house was quaint and beautiful, and the whole Grammar family fit in just perfectly.

Baby Charley loved the attention she got from all her titos and titas since she was used to seeing just me and her dad all day long. She would squeal in delight and engage in conversations with them - only she knew what she was talking about. One thing we discovered about Baby Charley was that she wanted to have her "Me Time", too. She became fussy and no amount of playtime could calm her down until we decided to put her to bed and hoped that she would sleep, but she didn't. She just played on her own, and that was it - me time! Imagine.

Unfortunately, Baby Charley wasn't able to join us in the pool since she fell asleep after drinking her milk. I think it's because it was pretty cold that afternoon and there was a soft rain, too. Yup, perfect for Baby Naps.

On our way home
It was almost 6pm when we got home, and although Baby Charley caught a few Zzzz's on the way, she was still very sleepy already. After all, it was a long day for her. So I gave her a quick washup, changed her nappy, and changed her into her bedtime pj's. Pretty soon, she was sound asleep.

I bet Baby Charley had a wonderful day in Lipa, Batangas since she saw a lot of things, talk to a lot of people, and experience new joys. Travelling with her was a little challenging, to be honest, but it was worth every second. We can't wait to travel more with her.ü

Our beautiful Grammar Family with Team Hernandez