Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Three-year old Sunshine's prayer: Thank you Papadios for not letting... Mom, what's his name again?... Not letting King Herod kill the Baby Jesus.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Upper row, from left: Sunbeam's cowgirl boots, Sunshine's single-wheel skate shoes, my yummy super-high heels with the pink soles, S' big-as-a-boat shoes; Lower row, from left: Sunbeam's yellow hand-me-down crocs, Sunbeam's green fake crocs.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have cooked up the idea of of the comfort and joy of our little family.

Happy Thanksgiving.

*Forgot to post this entry on Thanksgiving!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Our neighbors have really nice kids who are a few years older than Sunshine and Sunbeam but always take the time to greet and play with them.
Several weeks ago, they were the only ones left in the playground but they were having a blast taking turns on the bike: one would ride while the other one would pull on a length of rope attached to the bike.
They had fun running around, I had fun watching them, and they were exhausted afterwards and got ready for bed with minimal whining.


Both kids were running through the department store, touching everything in sight. One announced she had to go poopoo. Ran through the floor to buy a pack of wipes, made it to the bathroom but right outside she saw a car she wanted to drive and refused to go to the potty. So we left. After two minutes, he announced that he had to go poopoo. We made it back to the bathroom in time, and then they were off again, pulling toys off shelves to show me they wanted to buy it for this friend or that cousin. They were tugging opposite ways on their harnesses and then Sunbeam runs up behind me, tugs my shirt and says softly, shyly, "Love you, Mom."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Openness, acceptance & non-judgment can bring love to anyone - Deepak Chopra
I received some painful, shocking news today. It doesn't affect me directly, I am but on the fringes, but it concerns a family very close to my, to our, hearts.
How do you handle a life-changing event, unforeseen, and completely uncontrollable?
"We are a team, and this is our mission." These are unprecedented fighting words of peace and unity and love.
When the ball's in your court and there are tough decisions to be made, you can waver and continue undecided or you can take the more difficult paths of love and reconciliation, stand your ground and carry through in faith and prayer.
Thank you Papadios for this courageous woman, whose strength and determination and pure love are a quiet example of what it means to be woman, wife, mother, and true Christian in the 21st century. She is an inspiration, a reminder that all you really do need is love.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I've always been an avid bookworm: reading books over meals, late into the night, in the shower (!), on the throne, pretty much anywhere except in a moving car (I get horribly sick). I much prefer to read than to talk.
Well, for someone who once couldn't go a day without devouring several chapters, if not an entire book, I realized that the past few years were filled to the brim with being married, raising kids, trying to run a household, trying to make money, endless surfing online, and the iPad... pretty much everything except reading. I've recently just started once again and it's a relief and a comfort to hold a good book in my hands: the anticipation of the world awaiting within, the feel of the pages, the cover design, and the smell! The smell of books (and magazines) should be bottled and sold!
Growing up, there was just a handful of bookstores in Manila, and these stocked more office supplies than books. My mom would lug home dozens of paperbacks each time she travelled, and that's how I met Anne Shirley, Ramona and Beezus, Judy Blume, Enid Blyton (The Naughtiest Girl in School, Famous Five!), Laura Ingalls, and countless others.
Thankfully, it's much easier to come by good reading material in Manila these days. There is a second-hand bookstore close to us. It's tucked into the corner of a decades-old grocery. A tiny place with books on shelves, stacked on the floor, overflowing out into the aisle. It's no Strand, or Three Lives, but it does get a surprisingly good selection of children's books. The kids know they get unlimited treats there as long as I deem the books are suitably educational, and entertaining but not silly (I try to steer away from character books).
Yesterday though, it was my turn. One of my favorite booknooks was on sale, so N and I walked over after lunch and I picked up a stack of books for myself: favorite authors, some new ones, a parenting book highly recommended by N, and one that I haven't decided whether to keep or to give Ninong M.
What a blessing, to find and be able to afford these treats! I can't wait to burrow down in my cozy armchair with these. And hopefully it's the push I need to get out of this reading slump.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Home becomes a zoo each evening when S comes home. The kids (and dog) are so excited to see him and it gets pretty wild in our tiny flat. Any calm which I had managed to restore after their afternoon in the playground is erased by his arrival, and somehow these little people find their second wind and turn into individual monsoons. Exhausted as I usually am, it's a lot of fun to watch S join in the fray, alternately shielding himself from their agitated approaches (they're like affectionate battering rams) and chasing them for the dreaded tickle attack. It's loud, but these are happy, irreplaceable noises of home and family.
Today I had lunch with N, someone I can always count on for sympathy and wise words, during which we discussed being married vs. being single vs. being separated at our age of nearing-forty.
And over our shared slice of key lime pie, we concluded that being married takes work and care, but that playing tic-tac-toe (hers), coming home to dinner (mine) and happy voices shouting, "Mommy!" (ours)... these are things to be grateful for everyday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Sometimes family is not composed of people bound by blood or law but by the bond of laughter and tears.
In the past months, I have been witness to upheavals and tumultuous events in the lives of K and I who are like family to me. The pain they are going through is incredible. Friends are unable to fix circumstances but we can walk through it with them and even cry with them.
Anyway, in the midst of all this, those two friends, plus another, threw at me the age-old cliche: Count your blessings. They repeated, with voices raised: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. So I cried with K, went home and yes, I counted my blessings: this and most especially this.
Thank you, Papadios!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Standing in line in the crowded grocery, Sunshine stands up in the grocery cart, throws his arms around my neck, gives me a dozen slobbery kisses and announces loudly: Can I marry you when I grow up?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


During Sunday Mass at Mary the Queen. Unfortunately I didn't get the priest's name, but he spoke about gratitude and thanksgiving.

"To be grateful is to have faith."

What a beautiful thought. Simple clarity in these often murky waters.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


“We're not grateful because we're happy.
We're happy because we're grateful.”
~ Brother David Stendl-Rast

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Today I am grateful for the presence of beautiful women in my life. I saw some of them for dinner last night. They are intelligent, funny, beautiful on the inside and gorgeous on the outside. We reminisce, argue politics, gossip, and always always find the laughable side to our problems.
They are a large part of my childhood and adolescence, and being with them is always like coming home.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


EIGHT! 8 years, 2 kids, one dog, two fish, one turtle, same spouse.
Just celebrated over a delicious dinner at Mamou and S is now snoring away beside me, knocked out after consuming the entire bottle of wine (save for my one glass).

Monday, April 19, 2010


From left: Nana at my wedding (she was nearly 91 years old here); mushing somewhere in Europe (she loved dogs); Nana looking down at my newborn sister in her arms (at 62 years).

I hate eulogies and am deathly afraid of speaking in public, but if I were to give my Nana's eulogy, it would go something like this:
98 years. Wow. That's 9 kids, 26 grandkids, and 16 great grandkids. Not to mention 2 world wars, and countless inventions of things we take for granted today. Despite the years behind her, my Nana always looked decades younger than her actual age. She was the most beautiful woman I know. If you asked her to reveal her fountain of youth, she would probably tell you it's her nightly application of Pond's Cold Cream, lemon only.
If you asked me, I would tell you her youthful beauty was due to her ability and decision to approach every potential problem with equanimity and humor. She had an uncanny ability to remain unfazed by pretty much anyone or anything, and she always had a quick retort for the most sarcastic of comments.
Nana was for a time my roommate, living in my mom's house after our Dodo died. During that time, she was the loudest champion of S, who was my boyfriend then. I'd come home in the wee hours, and she would open an eye and comment on the lateness of the hour or ask where we had gone. When we got married, she was as thrilled as a bride and as beautiful as one.
From Nana, I got a birthmark on my thigh in the shape of a seahorse, my love of books and all things canine, the unequaled pleasure of munching while feasting on a good book, and, I think, some measure of her emotional detachment and ability to let things just pass by. I may look like her, but her elegant beauty really was unparalleled.
Despite her age, I held a secret hope for a miracle: that she would stand up and walk and just be with us like she used to. To think that I will never again enter a room and see her reading one of her romance novels or watching a sappy movie, that I will no longer hear her laughter or feel her gentle hand in mine or hear her from the next bed say, "Gute nacht"... it was inevitable and yet it is inconceivable. The rest of my life will be peppered with memories of this last grandparent who was such a bright light in my life.
And now, we have one more of us resting in peace, yet another angel in heaven watching over us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Sunbeam had been sick since Thursday, possibly since Wednesday but it was so hot, I thought she was warm due to the weather. Anyway, sick with fever ranging from 40.2 down to 38+. She was happy and active between fevers and medicines would bring the fever down after about half an hour or so.
On Saturday, no fever for several hours, so I thought she was ok and decided not to take her to the doctor. I was able to speak with the pediatrician and she warned me that a trip to the emergency room was a possibility if she was no longer active and happy. Of course, as soon as the clinics closed, she was hot again, and was getting more lethargic. I gave her some medicine and the next bout of fever came too soon after to give some more. She got weaker and only wanted to sleep. So my only recourse, other than the hospital, was a quick, intense prayer to Baba to please take care of her great grandchild. Well, in ten minutes, her fever broke. After an hour, it was completely gone. The next morning, she had a low 38+ fever which went away with some paracetamol. And since then, nothing. Thanks, Baba!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This evening, I cleaned out my ratty red wallet, transferring everything to an old but barely used one. I tried to slip a card into one of the card pockets, but it wouldn't go through, despite forceful wiggling. After several minutes, I stuck my fingers inside and felt a piece of paper. I pulled it out: a neatly folded, crisp $100 bill.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Sometimes gratitude is difficult. I try to give thanks daily but there are some days when I'm so worn out physically and emotionally that it's a stretch to find something to be thankful for.
Like today. Sunbeam has been sick but quite active and cranky. The heat has been incredible. It was difficult getting anything done when holding Sunbeam with one arm and juggling Sunshine's questions and attempts to take over the computer.
But last night, Sunshine slept without a nappy and I actually got up every 3 hours to bring him to the potty. Despite my disturbed rest and Sunbeam's fever, I actually did get some work done today. And I had some leftover yummy cocoa cookies (hazelnut and Lindt mint).
Sometimes I have to think hard to find the smallest things to be grateful for, but there is always something.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


An old friend contacted me. She needs some work done and was wondering if I'd be interested. Wonderful to catch up with her, and grateful for the opportunity to flex my wings.


This has always been one of my favorite Bible passages:
Matthew 7:7-11
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Yesterday I was caught between a rock and a hard place, or between two bills that had to be paid immediately. They were not large amounts, but my funds have been extra tight recently. So I prayed and asked God to send me money. I told him I didn't know how, but these had to be paid, and to please help me.
After praying, I called Bill #1 to find out the exact amount that had to be paid. They asked me to call back because the bill was being prepared. I called back and twice they asked me to call again. The third or fourth time I called, the woman finally told me that she had prepared the bill but couldn't find it, and would I mind just settling the bill at some future date.
God answered, and in the most unexpected way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


My food loving family did not have the traditional egg hunt. No pastel colored shells for this bunch! The kids hunted for itlog na maalat, balut and Mary Grace cheese rolls!


We heard the Easter Vigil Mass this evening. So Lent is officially over. Time for dessert!


Good Friday sunset by the Bay.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


*Sometimes I will be posting individual photos that capture something I am thankful for, shots that don't need much explanation. This is the first.How can you not be grateful for a view like this one? No, this is not from our window. I took a day trip today and snapped this along the path to a hidden, miraculous spot.

Monday, March 29, 2010


From left: The whip; crown of thorns; S carries the cross.
This is the second time we walk through this amazing, interactive, Lenten experience set up by Church Simplified. The Walkway installations had the Stations of the Cross brought to relevance in our 20th century lives.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


New friends, good food, the setting an oasis hidden in the middle of the city. Great way to start the summer!


Most of the world is scrambling to belatedly address earth issues. But the cliche holds: better late than never. This is the second year we've taken part. And we are very conscious about teaching the kids about the beautiful world and generous Mother Nature that they are going to inherit, together with all the problems previous generations have caused.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Sunshine's nursery class was surprisingly tight-knit. The kids were sad about having to move up, and making new friends and having new teachers. One of the moms had the great idea of a post-Moving Up Day activity. She rented a huge inflatable "castle". The kids bounced around for hours! Sunshine and Sunbeam had a blast!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Sunbeam went without a nappy all day. I am looking forward to more days like this! Nighttime is another story, for both Sunbeam and Sunshine. But going without nappies during the day is a breakthrough in growing up and in my grocery budget!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I am not from this part of the city. I grew up in the south, many miles and nearly 2 hours drive away in regular traffic. So when I was tasked with house hunting, S told me which areas were worth taking a look at. I viewed some dumps, and some passable places. And then I saw this one. I entered the driveway in the afternoon. The front entrance and lobby were homey and well-kept. It was breezy and I could hear voices of children playing.
Do you ever get a warm, tingling feeling telling you that something is going to be good? Well, I got that when I walked into this place.
We're right in the middle of this smog-filled, noisy city, but you wouldn't know that by looking out the window. Check out our view:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Before I slurp my vegetable miso ramen, I lift my eyes and thank God for this hearty, soul-satisfying bowl of goodness. It's a rich, spicy broth with chewy noodles, vegetables, large cloves of burnt garlic, topped with a smidgen of bright red chili paste, all cooked by an incredibly cranky chef/owner. He sometimes run out of soup and has to close early- it's that good.
S and I crave this soup every two weeks or so. All other bowls pale in comparison. So we had our fix today over a quick lunch, and I scarfed down my bowl, despite a rather heavy mid-morning snack!

We had some unexpected good news later in the day, and treated ourselves to dinner at an old Japanese favorite. Prices had gone up (!) but the food was as good as ever. It's always nice to come back to a place where they greet you and they know how you like your extra condiments!

Monday, March 22, 2010


It was a good year. It started out with much trepidation, brave attempts to stave off tears, and hesitant forays into the unknown.
Today it culminated with friendship, voices in song, and more tears, this time from the teachers!
Sunshine's Moving Up Day was a simple event which showed off his confidence, sense of humor, and the bonds of friendship he has formed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Cousins intrigued us with their description of this total dump. But they were right. This place does serve the best chicken inasal! The chicken was juicy and flavorful, without being too vinegary or leathery, and cooked from raw over a charcoal grill! The rice was not too oily and had the right amount of the prerequisite garlic bits. Complete condiments to mix your own dipping sauce: vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi, sili. But the chicken itself was so good, I almost didn't need the sauce. Almost, but not quite, because what is inasal without that sauce?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Someone took over my weekly Saturday commitment just for this week, so I was hoping for a longer lie-in. But Sunshine awoke at the crack of dawn, and foreseeing a morning of excess energy, S announced that we would go for dumplings in Chinatown.
From left: Sunbeam dressed to the hilt for her Chinatown jaunt; in shoes way too large and way too gaudy (she insisted on them!); stacks of dimsum steamers waiting to be ordered.
An easy drive, since it's a Saturday, and half an hour later we were choosing from a selection of dimsum carts: shrimp, seafood, siopao, veggie, and others I don't know the name of. Sunshine walloped the siopao and Sunbeam ate all the shrimp, handing me the empty dumpling wrappers.

After that heavy breakfast, we meandered down the relatively empty streets, popping in and out of various establishments. An egg tart and chocolate gold coins were some of the treats along the way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Here is our grocery list. As we put each item into the cart, I point to the corresponding words and Sunshine ticks off the box.
There was a time when groceries were a luxury. We were scrimping and pinching pesos, finding ways to fill the tummy with enough nutrition without emptying the wallet. Sunshine, then about 2 years old, offered daily prayers asking Papá Dios for rice.
This is only a partial list, but whether partial or complete, rice is NEVER on the list. Because S's office gives us 50 kilos of rice a month. Way more than we can handle. Enough to share with another family.
How's that for answered prayers?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Baba had over a hundred Rosaries, and this was after she had given away several. Baba knew how she got each one, and there's a list floating around somewhere...
I picked out a few to keep after she had gone. Aren't these a sublime remembrance of one's grandmother or great grandmother?
From the left: A one decade Rosary chaplet; one with the St. Benedict medal, likely from the Benedictine fathers who called her Mommy; for Sunshine, a handsome one with square wood beads; for Sunbeam, a heavy silver antique looking piece. They should probably be restrung and the silver one needs polishing, but they are all beautiful pieces.
I will turn them over to the kids when they are old enough to appreciate and care for these special gifts.
The priest said during her funeral Mass that Baba had two passions in life: her children and her faith.
Thank you, Baba, for your lasting examples. We miss you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Here is Sunshine in a white shirt and Sunbeam in the red checked dress listening to Teacher Nica read a story. Teacher Bambie is beside Sunbeam.
What is a good teacher?
I think Sunshine has really great teachers. They're firm and patient but so very loving. Sunshine has grown positively under their care. He started his nursery schoolyear as an introvert and is quite the opposite now.
They are also enamored of Sunbeam, and cross their fingers that I enroll her for next schoolyear. They even let her sit in during class, and she is now used to it and doesn't look for me as long as I don't leave the classroom. These teachers are open-minded and adore kids, two important requirements when dealing with small humans!

Monday, March 8, 2010


S and I were at an extraordinary site today. We took a 2-hour car ride to the mountains, squeezed into a trike and bumped over some dirt roads, then walked a few hundred meters of steps carved into the mountain side to an outdoor chapel sheltered by trees.
We heard Mass, listened to an impassioned homily, and received Holy Communion. After the service, we were each given a scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. They were placed on our necks by someone very special to us who laid his hands on us and blessed us.
A beautiful promise is written on one of the panels: Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.
We filled two small containers with holy water from weeping rocks... our friend has witnessed several people instantly healed with this water.
We took an inclined path on the way back up and were treated to a splendid view of a lake, a volcano, rice fields and forests.
How blessed we have been today.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Not too far away from our home is a branch of Pan de Amerikana 1950s Pan de Sal. Wood-fired ovens, wheat flour, brown sugar... the best pan de sal in town. Sunshine often wakes up at the crack of dawn and yells, "Dada! Let's buy pan de sal!"
Then they come home with a yellow plastic bag inside which is a paper bag filled with fresh, hot bread. And that fills us for breakfast and snacks.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


"Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." - Author Unknown/Rabindranath Tagore
My 97-year old Baba died February 15th. She went so peacefully, so quietly, we barely knew she had gone. Despite my wish that she live long enough for my kids to remember her, it is a blessing that she lived long enough for me to know her in my adult years.
I designed this prayer card to go with the thank you card the family is giving out.

And this written by my dad for our family living abroad:

Mommy died at about 3:15a.m. of Monday, February 15, shortly after her 97th birthday.

Mommy died as peacefully as anyone can hope for.

When she got sick about a week ago, we all sensed that this would be her final episode and we all agreed with Francis that she would be happier dying at her home.

She had round-the-clock nurses and a doctor who was God-sent who attended to her as needed. We told the doctor that mommy had earned her peace and rest and the paramount consideration was her comfort. At the end, we just wanted to be sure that her pain was minimal. Almost up to the time she died, mommy was responsive, to the extent that she could, given her age and physical condition.

Mommy died at the home she cherished surrounded by her children and grandchildren in an atmosphere of intense love. She did not go through the throes of death - she just faded away and we did not really know when she had gone.

CBC and IdB cleaned and dressed her; and FdB, PdB and me (sic) lifted her into her coffin. Her body was not touched by anyone other than her family and nurses.

From her home, the hearse brought her to Benedictine church at 6:30 a.m. for the funeral mass. FdB rode with the hearse and she was never left alone. She lay in wake until the 3 p.m. mass. By that time the church, which is fairly large, had filled up (The wonders of text messaging). Ten Benedictine priests - her friends, who all referred to her as Mama Letty - offered the mass for her. We did not ask them, they just came - even the ones who were quite sick. The main celebrant gave a short homily. There was no hyperbole. Just simple anecdotes of how she was as a person. PdB, on his own volition, gave a short talk where he mainly thanked the siblings who attended to mommy's needs. FdB and I were fidgety about this and I kept signaling PdB to keep his composure and not get carried away.

Mommy's passion and career was classical music and CBC had arranged for the Madrigal singers to sing in church and at the burial. They gave a powerful performance and their "Our Father" was moving, perhaps as good as the one I heard about that you sang for mommy.

The services ended at 4:00 p.m. FdB rode the hearse again and we were at Manila Memorial Park by 4:30 p.m. Mommy was laid to rest at 5:00 p.m. (In typical dB fashion, no tears were shed except perhaps by my Ana whose eyes welled-up with tears.) She was placed in the same grave as daddy at the primary area of the family plot. Their burial place is a grassy private enclave that is gated and surrounded by a tall hedge on all 4 sides. Mommy and daddy are buried at the center of the far end of this green open space.

Mommy had a beautiful death. She must be ecstatic about how her body was treated for the burial preparation. And her final rites were solemn and sanctifying.

The death of a last parent is so profound that it is really the passing of an era for the children.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


You probably can't see the scabs and mud on these legs, but they're full of evidence of a very active day. I'm grateful for scraped knees, dirty shoes, and smudges everywhere else because it means my kids are energetic and happy and able to run around and do kid things!


The iPod Nano is the absolute best workout buddy, without which I am checking the clock every minute and feeling every breath and every effort, is S's Christmas/birthday present. I downloaded a bunch of video podcasts (mostly cooking and TED talks) and now have much better workouts!

Monday, January 25, 2010


The amount of my kids' excess energy seems to be increasing daily. A friend recommended a relatively new park. Tiny with just four swings, but clean and nobody else was there. Sunshine had a great time chasing me with the ball, while Sunbeam spent most of the time pulling up grass from the ground and banging on the benches. Pink cheeks at the end of the afternoon!


My kids are city kids. Great as our home is, it is still rather cramped and quite polluted, not to mention bereft of greenery and nature.
Having in-laws living in the suburbs is heaven sent when you've got a 4-year old and a 2-year old. The weather was great: breezy and sunny. We spent Sunday afternoon kicking around a mini soccer ball, climbing monkey bars, and watching some kids playing basketball. In between all that were lots of tickles, exploring among trees and dry leaves, and ogling a beautiful house by the park. Sunshine and Sunbeam had a great time. And since they were exhausted from all the running, they fell asleep during the long ride home, and S and I were able to enjoy a quiet, early dinner of steak, tomato pasta, and green beans. Then we had a home showing of Meryl Streep's It's Complicated. Nice way to end a busy weekend.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


When I started having kids four years ago, I decided to close up my graphic design office and work from the house. I still do some design work but I mostly bake desserts, pastries, flatbreads which I sell at a weekly outdoor market. I've been selling there about three years and I've met some great people, made some really good friends.
We had a late Christmas get-together with a headgear theme. Here are a few snapshots of some of the people I work with, or rather, of their heads.
The one with the orange headthingie (it's her daughter's teddybear's hat), has recently become a close friend. She is a fantastic baker, and I'm hoping her meticulousness rubs off on me someday soon. The one in the luminous green wig, she is my image of charity, compassion, and long-suffering, not to mention one of the best put-together women I know. The one in the platinum blond wig is a great listener, an animated storyteller and always, always has wise words to share. The lady in the striped hat taught me how to teach my children faith and prayer. The guy in the haciendero hat (who lacked a cigar to complete the look) has given me lots of early morning cheer, with his always happy demeanor. I admire the one with the fuschia hat for her hard work and persistence.
Great people, great workplace!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Four-year old Sunshine painted this for me today. He used crayons and watercolor. I love the color palette he used!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The kids were wide awake, so we took them out in hopes of getting them to calm down and fall asleep in the car. Late at night, in their jammies, out for some frozen yogurt and orange juice - what a treat! And yes, we had touchdown 5 minutes after getting back into the car.
What's to be grateful for here? That we can give them treats like this once in a while, and that they actually fell asleep right away!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It's simple, small, and the developer cut corners, but we love it. We got some bonuses: golf course view, a playground/garden with paths to wander through, a swing set, some slides. And a taho guy yelling, "Tahooooo!" every afternoon. Two swimming pools! And some of the nicest neighbors you'll find anywhere.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Pasalubong is a Tagalog word referring to a present given by someone who arrives from a trip. I received a call this evening from our neighbor, Sunny. He and his mom had just arrived from a trip to Taiwan, and lo and behold, he brought me back a bottle of sesame paste.
A few years ago, Sunny and I searched Manila for this ingredient but never found it. We both waxed nostalgic over the Dandan Noodle dish in Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong Airport Lounge. I've surfed, researched, and even asked a flight attendant for the recipe, to no avail. Thick, soupy, spicy and soul-satisfying, the closest recipes I've found require a sesame paste.
I know what the next kitchen experiment is going to be! Whether or not it lives up to our CX Lounge expectations remains to be seen. Whatever the result, the thoughtfulness of friends is definitely something to be thankful for.
A side note: Isn't the logo just a reversed fat version of Safeway's? http://www.safeway.com/IFL/Grocery/Home

Monday, January 18, 2010


I love that Sunshine's school advocates learning through play. Playing is called "work" at school. They even have "meetings"!
At a school event, the only toys brought out were these strips of cardboard, and what a BIG HIT they were. They kept the kids busy for hours. The kids made mazes, tracks, runways, costumes, colored on them, cut them up, wore them as hats... endless possibilities for their imaginations.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Saw this apt reminder at the Mary Grace Cafe.
This is for my very own S, especially when he snores.
And to my bouncing bundles of joy, Sunshine and Sunbeam, this DOES apply to you as well, even when you are cranky, whiny, messy, irritating, exhausting, exasperating, nagging.
I'm grateful (often in hindsight, but grateful nevertheless) because the alternative silence would be deafening.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Reading to my kids is a pleasure I often take for granted. Hey, I'm human, and an exhausted one at that! And reading before bedtime means reading many, many books, or reading the same book many, many times. Twelve is not an exaggeration.
But taking a minute to think about it, it's such a comforting, loving experience for both parent and child. The weight of a kid (or two) on my lap, the warm, wiggly body leaning against mine, the head tucked under my chin when relaxed and engrossed in the story, the arms entwined with mine, the hands holding my hands or sucking a thumb... And the questions and comments are funny, observant, and so imaginative!
Whenever S reads to the kids, he always takes the time to explain and ad lib with exciting details and cartoon voices and sound effects. He also correlates the stories with something in the kids' lives to keep things relevant.
I love the contrast between S's large hands and Sunshine's little 4-year old ones!

Friday, January 15, 2010


The world over, the thought of high-heeled slippers makes little girls feel like princesses. Little girls unsteadily clack-clacking across the floor in oversized plastic princess shoes. Here is my pink princess, twirling away. Frilly, swirly, swishy, girly!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We have our own dog, a noisy, aloof, headstrong, possessive, wonderful Corgi who thinks he is a person. He is our constant companion and bodyguard. Once in a while though, we enjoy playtime with our neighbor's Old English Sheepdog, Maxima. The kids often demand to visit Maxi. She is huge, friendly and has light blue eyes! Hugging her is like being engulfed in a fluffy ball of happiness, punctuated by the occasional slobbery kiss.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

Beautiful poetry soars to heavenly heights when set to Whitacre's ethereal music:

Author: e.e. cummings
Composer: Eric Whitacre
Choir: Ateneo Chamber Singers