Tuesday, July 31

Posing with Dolphins

I have a whole post to go along with these pictures, about each of the kids riding their bicycles through the very nice, very professional condo lobby while crowds of businessmen/women were checking in and walking past us, then riding them across a very busy street in Manila while Mom & a policeman stop the traffic so we could all cross the street in a town where you never see kids riding their bikes... but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm tired!

So, for now, I just want to post the cute pics of the kiddos posing with the dolphins at the fountain across the street from our condo (where we attempted said bike ride... ugh!):

Sunday, July 29

Back to Reality

About Wednesday of last week, I finally switched from "vacation" mode to "reality" mode. It happened after I attended a luncheon with the American Women's Club of the Philippines. (Which was really great, by the way!) But, during that luncheon, I learned that I had better get my rear in gear if I intended to enroll the kids in school here. I had better start taking this move seriously! So, after that meeting, I came home & immediately started doing whatever I could at the time to get them registered and enrolled in Kindergarten at the International School of Manila (ISM). We started inquring about leasing a car & hiring a driver. I also enrolled Nicholas in a preschool across the street from where the twins will be attending.

However, there was so much I couldn't do from across the ocean. So, I called on my good friend, Stephanie, to help out. Stephanie also happens to be a secretary at our church, Richardson East. So, she's got all the connections... a local fax number, a scanner & email! She has helped me get dental records, medical records & now, the twins' preschool information. I owe her BIG time!! Stephanie, thank you for everything you have helped me complete! You know that I could not have done all this without your wonderful help!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

So, the vacation is over & we are working on adapting to our new home environment. The kids & I, along with our new friend, Malay, hired a car & driver the other day to run some errands around town. It got us out of our comfort zones & around the city a bit more.

Nick & I also visited his preschool. So far, he loves the playground & is anxious to return. His preschool is a little more primitive looking than some others that we visited, but the teachers & kids all looked like they were having so much fun! When Sammy & I met the director back in June, everybody was happy & active & smiling! So, that wasn't a hard decision for us. It's more important at this stage that Nicholas have fun at school & enjoy his time there. I am looking forward to that for him.

Summit School of Manila

Once we complete the Kindergarten application process for the twins, then we will have an interview with a counselor so that he can visit with Sydney & Samuel & evaluate where they are in their learning skills. I've requested that they be in the same classroom, so I'm hoping they will honor that. We'll see...

Tomorrow will be a day full of more swimming, I'm sure. Then, Tuesday, I have a lunch playdate set up with an Irish lady I met at the American Women's Club luncheon. She has a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old (starting Kindergarten at ISM also) & a 1-year-old. We are hoping that our 3 Kindergartners will become friends so they will have a familiar face on the first day of school. (Which is literally right around the corner, on August 6th.) I'm praying that goes well. Then, we shall see what the remainder of our week brings.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Saturday, July 28


The other day, I had a terrible migraine! Terrible!! When Sammy finally got home from work, I begged him to get me some medication. He asked what was wrong & when I told him my head was pounding, he said he probably knew the reason why:

I had decided to sleep in Sydney's bed sometime during the night, because she got in my bed in the middle of the night. (I'm not a huge fan of sleeping with my kids these days! As you can see, they move & kick way too much!) Apparently, at one point, Nick discovered I was in her bed & decided to join me. (I had no clue, as I usually sleep right through this game of musical beds!) So, when Sammy woke in the morning to leave for work, this was how he found Nick & I sleeping. And, of course, being the kind husband that he is... he decided to take a picture, rather than move Nick's foot off my face!!

Saturday Night Happy Hour

It's Saturday night & I can hear the thumping from the club around the corner again. This time, I can hear a large group of people chanting & singing along with the music. It sounds like they're singing along with a song, "Hey... Ho... Hey... Ho..." Over & over & over!! Whatever they're doing, they are having a great time!

Today was all about the wives!! We went to the spa downstairs to get a pedicure & foot scrub. (A whopping $10!!) Then we called Cat (our friend we made at the relocation office) to ask her if she wanted to join us for a Girls' Night Out. She agreed & said she'd pick us up in half an hour. (She drives in Manila, which is still beyond my comprehension!! The traffic is unbelievably crazy!) So, she took us to a fun little Irish pub, where we were able to enjoy some happy hour drinks & appetizers. The margaritas here taste different than they do in the states. Apparently, they use a local tequila, which has quite a different flavor to it. Not bad, just different. During happy hour, you pay $6.00 for unlimited margaritas. So, we kept 'em busy! And, we had a blast!

The Four Musketeers - Julie, Malay, Amberly & Catriona

Julie & Malay

Amberly & Catriona

(In my defense, Cat said we should cross our eyes. So, I did! And, she did also, but you can't see them. Now I know where Sydney gets it from...)

After our drinks & appetizers, Cat took us to a different restaurant known for its excellent Thai food. It was very fancy schmancy, but very affordable! We tasted various delicious dishes... chicken coconut salad, stir fried chicken with holy basil, grilled pork & chicken skewers with a peanut dressing & cucumber salad, and of course, pad thai. All of it was wonderful!!

One final stop at the grocery store for some Oreo cookies & we were on our way home.

It was so, so, so nice to get out of this house for some girl time with friends! I am so blessed to have these neat ladies with me on this journey!

Tuesday, July 24

The Mystery of Socks

No... I haven't figured out how it happens. But I have learned that even in a small, 2-bedroom apartment in the Philippines with a tiny stackable washer & dryer, you can still mysteriously lose 3 different socks, leaving you with 3 unmatched socks that will never again see their other halves! I'm honestly baffled.

Monday, July 23

Goldfish Pond

We walked to a goldfish pond on Saturday & the kids loved watching the fish. They would throw in some fish food & watch them all fight for a piece of it. Then, they were entertained by one particular fish who must have thought his only mode of transportation was by jumping, because that is all he did. He jumped & flipped & flopped all over that pond. It was pretty funny!

Christmas in July!

Our air shipment arrived today & the kids are ecstatic!! I'm telling you... that idea of packing up half your toys & rotating them really works! The kids are digging through all the boxes that were delivered today & they get so excited when they find a box containing their toys. It really is like Christmas morning!

One of the first boxes they opened was full of their dress up clothes, costumes, etc. My kids LOVE to play dress up! (Especially Samuel.) In fact, almost every morning at breakfast, one of them (usually Samuel) will go downstairs dressed as a character. The condo staff has become accustomed to greeting him according to his outfit for the day:

"Good morning, Batman... Spiderman... Zorro... Flash... Cowboy... Policeman... etc."

So, when the remainder of our dress up clothes arrived today, Sydney had a blast outifitting Nicholas, as you can see in the photos below:

Captain Nicholas Sparrow (with a Spiderman apron)

Pink Ballerina with Tinkerbell Slippers

Right now, I'm watching a chunky little 2-year-old in the same pink ballerina costume running around with a toy gun, shouting, "Hands up!"

Today is fun!!

Saturday, July 21

A little of this & that...

Sydney has had another allergic reaction to something. We have no idea what caused it. Could be the new scent of Irish Spring soap that I bathed her with the night before she broke out. Could be something she ate. Could be something the condo washes their sheets with. Who knows ?? However, it's not the same reaction as when we discovered her egg allergy. That time, she had huge welps forming all over her body. This time, she has very small bumps (similar to goose bumps) all over her body & is red all the way down to her thighs. She's constantly scratching, which isn't helping. So, she's been doped up on Benadryl for the past few days. It's getting much better. But, I just wish I knew what caused it so I can avoid it in the future.

Last week, we bought an inexpensive umbrella stroller for Nicholas. Since we walk everywhere we go, I needed something to easily keep all 30+ lbs. of him contained. And, even though I liked my cheapy stroller that I had in the US, someone decided not to bring it with us. (I'm not naming names, but he starts with an "S" and ends with "ammy"!) So, we found one that was fairly cheap, but had all the features we liked. (And, we were in a HUGE hurry, since Nick was fast asleep on his Daddy's shoulder the evening we bought it.) However, after using it for a few days, I've realized how difficult it is to recline, to fold up & even to unfold. Basically, I HATE it!! So, this evening, Sammy took the stroller & the receipt back to the store to return it. But, they refused to take it back. They said since it had been used, they couldn't accept it. I was furious!! There is no stated return policy anywhere, so I figured with the receipt & a basically new stroller, we wouldn't have a problem. Sammy had to kindly remind me several times that this was not the US & they can pretty much make up their own rules day to day here. Lesson learned! (But, it still infuriates me!)

I discovered today that Nicholas loves Pad Thai! We went to a restaurant called Banana Leaf, where your plate is an actual banana leaf. The kids thought it was pretty cool. (However, Sydney did loudly pronounce that her banana leaf was "very stinky"!) I wasn't sure what to order for them, so I stuck with a simple Pad Thai dish. Samuel was more tired than hungry, so he laid down on the bench to rest. Sydney pretty much ate only fried rice. (Which, by the way, does have bits of scrambled egg in it. So, we'll see if she has outgrown her egg allergy or not...) But, Nicholas scarfed down the noodles! He loved them! And, I realized how much I loved it also. I've had Pad Thai several times before, but not anytime recently. It was delicious!! Nicholas also ate an entire plate of dried mangoes this morning. I got a plate of dried mangoes & dried banana slices, set it down on the table, then went back to get some bacon for Sydney & Samuel. I had to wait for a little bit while they cooked up more bacon. So, by the time I got back to our table, I saw that all the mangoes were gone. And, he was asking for more! Good thing they're plentiful here!

Sammy finally bought me a new cell phone & I think I've gotten the texting stuff down! Apparently, the Philippines is the texting capital of the world. Or, so I'm told. It's much cheaper to text here than it is to make a phone call, so that's what everyone does!! And, I mean EVERYONE!! People walk down the mall, typing on their phones. In America, people are constantly talking on their cell phones. Here, they type on them! It's about 8 pesos/minute to place a phone call, but only 1 peso per text. On the back of taxis, it will say, "How's my driving? Text to 12345". When I bought my contacts here last month, they asked me for my cell phone so they could text me when my contacts arrived at the store. You text your driver when you need to be picked up. It's very different!

It's Saturday evening & you can hear the music from the dance club around the corner. Thankfully, it doesn't bother the kids. They're good & asleep & I'm heading that direction. I think I might lose my night owl status! I tire very early lately.

Have a great weekend!

** As a side note... just so you don't think I'm an irresponsible parent... Sydney's allergy doctor did tell us to go ahead & introduce eggs again just to see if she has outgrown her allergy. So, we did it today!

Friday, July 20

Mail Restrictions

For those that have asked, the only mailing restrictions are no liquids, chemicals & fresh fruits. The rest is fine, as far as I know.

And, yes, Frosted Mini Wheats would be a HUGE hit with the kiddos!! They miss their "white cereal", as they call it.

Rizal Park

Earlier this week, we decided to do something "touristy", so we took the kids to a well known city park, Rizal Park. Numerous websites talk about how this is an excellent park with so many features, blah, blah, blah! We did read about a fun children's play area, so we asked our driver to take us to that part of the park. Well, he obviously had no idea what we were talking about, because he dropped us off near the waterfront (Manila Bay). We thought it would be fun to let the kids see the ocean, so we went ahead, got out of the van & walked over to the water. However, on our walk over there, we realized that this was probably not the tourist hot spot we'd been reading about. Unfortunately, I think it was actually a gathering area for the homeless community. When we finally got to the waterfront, we watched 2 huge rats the size of opossums racing around the heaps & mounds of trash piled on the shoreline. It was disgusting!! And, it was also terribly sad. There were people digging through that trash, hoping to find something salvagable. There were also fisherman hoping to catch their next meal in that nasty water. Once again, I realize how blessed I am!

After this very quick picture, we hightailed it outta there...

We decided to walk across the street to try another area of the park. (This park is HUGE! Think Central Park in NYC.) We were hoping that maybe we would run into the children's play area. After passing more homeless people, a little boy peeing on the sidewalk & a lady washing her face by a tree, we gave up. We asked a police officer if he could point us to the children's park, but he was VERY vague & was hard to understand. He mentioned something about "not disturbing the family". I asked him if we were disturbing a family & he said no. Then, he repeated it again. All I could make out was "do not disturb the family". I was so confused, hot, tired & just plain irritated by this point. I turned away from the police officer, looked at my friend, Julie, and said, "Just forget it!" I was ready to go! We walked to a central meeting point, while she called our driver to come pick us up in the van. While we were waiting for him, we finally ran across some friendly people who gave us very simple & clear directions to the children's play area. So, when our driver arrived, they explained to him how to get there. Ahhhh... now we're getting somewhere! We all got back in the cool, air conditioned van & he drove us far to the other side of the park where the huge children's play area was located!!

The kids had a great time. They were hot & sweaty already by the time we got there from all the walking we did earlier, but they enjoyed playing. We tried to make it all seem like an adventure... we were exploring the park. So, that evening, after I put the kids to bed, I overheard Samuel telling his siblings, "I really had fun on our adventure today. Did you guys like our adventure?" That made it all worth it!

Tuesday, July 17

Speedos - No thank you!

Another interesting tidbit about life in the Philippines... all the boys & men wear Speedos when swimming. (This must be a European thing.) In fact, my boys are typically the only ones wearing swimming trunks when we go down to the pool. This includes young kids all the way up to older men. It's a bit disturbing at times. For instance, today we went down to the pool after Nick's afternoon nap. There were just a few people there, including an old, white guy with his young, Filipino... girlfriend? wife? mistress? (I have no idea, really.) Remember the "old farts & young tarts" phrase that our relocation assistant, Cat, taught us? That described this couple to a tee! Here was this older man with a long, white hair combover & a beer belly wearing an eency weency tight black Speedo! It made me nauseous. But, to top it off... when he was helped out of the swimming pool by his young Filipino companion, we all got a lovely image of his backside, where his Speedo was not covering all it should be!!!!! That's what I mean by disturbing!!

We'll stick with our American swimming trunks!

Monday, July 16

New Foods & Foot Binding

Every morning, we all go downstairs to the restaurant located in the lobby. Our original arrangement with the condo was two free adult breakfast buffets. Nicholas was already free, because he is under the age requirement. So, that meant we'd have to pay for both Sydney & Samuel's breakfasts, if we chose to eat at the restaurant. However, Sammy somehow finagled a deal for us, which ended up getting 2 additional kid buffets for free. (When it comes to food, Sammy gets serious!!) So, for the remainder of our stay here at this condominium, our entire family gets to eat breakfast entirely free at the restaurant downstairs. At first, we weren't thrilled about this buffet, because they didn't have waffles, like they had at the hotel Sammy & I stayed in last month. However, being that it's FREE, we're not complaining. We have learned to try new foods, which has been exciting, for the most part. Even the kids are trying new foods (without knowing it)! Here are some of the different foods we've tasted recently:

* Carrot & cumin pancakes (We didn't tell the kids they had carrots or cumin in them, but smothered with butter & syrup, the kids gobbled them up!)
* Pistachio pancakes (Same concept... although the kids could see the pistachio nuts in them, I don't think they minded.)
* Curried cauliflower (I tried this & it was REALLY good! One thing to realize is that Filipinos also serve what we would typically consider lunch or supper dishes for breakfast. It is very common to see lasagna, tortellini, green salads, etc. on the breakfast buffets.)
* Half a hard boiled egg smothered in Indian spices (They had a fancy name for this dish, but I forgot. But I did try it at the urging of the chef & it was very good.)
* Dried mangoes (These aren't that unusual, but my kids had never had them before & Nicholas LOVES them!)

I'm sure I'll think of more later. I've made it a point to try just a little of something different every time I go. Sometimes I find a winner... sometimes not!

A couple of days ago, Sammy's boss's wife made appointments for all 3 of the TI wives here to get foot scrubs & pedicures. I'd had a pedicure done at this particular salon, but never a foot scrub. So, I was looking forward to trying something new. The foot scrub was WONDERFUL!!! The guy worked on my feet & lower legs for about an hour... massaging, scrubbing, lotioning, etc, etc. After a while, he slathered on something that smelled very similar to BENGAY. After he slathered it on each foot, he tightly wrapped a terrycloth towel around them. He tucked in the ends of the towel so that it was securely snug. While he was doing it, I was reminded of the Chinese process of foot binding that we recently read about in one of our latest book club choices, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Although this process was not nearly as painful, I did wince a little at how tightly the towel squeezed my foot. It made me so sad to think that so many young girls endured this incredibly painful process in order to fit into Chinese society. So hard to comprehend!

We're off to try Pizza Hut for lunch today! I'll post about that later!

Mailing Address

For those that have asked, here is our mailing address in the Philippines:

Ascott Makati
Glorietta 4, Ayala Center,
Makati City, Manila,

Room 1525

The kids will be thrilled to receive something in the mail!! Thanks!

Sunday, July 15

Weekend Pictures

Here are some pictures of our weekend... swimming & dinner at TGIFridays with Sammy's TI team:

Sydney & Nick (sporting his "new" bellybutton!)

Samuel swimming with Daddy

"Flash" laying out by the pool
(I joked that he looks like he's allergic to the sun!)

Sydney's new friend, Rebecca

Samuel's new friends, Reagan, Sarah & Eli

Samuel & Rebecca

Nick enjoying Daddy's chocolate dessert

Sydney & her crazy face!
(She has learned to cross her eyes)

Espinosa Kids sitting on the stairs to our condo

Saturday, July 14

First Filipino Dr. Visit

Leave it to our family to be the first to need a doctor! And, no, it wasn't the kids... it was my husband. When I woke them all the other day from their very long nap, he looked at me & said, "Is my eye red?" Well, heck yeah, it was red! And, it was all oozed over! A little disgusting!

So, we all got ready and headed to the pharmacy where they informed him he would need a prescription for any eye drops or an antibiotic. Thankfully, the third floor of the pharmacy is also a medical complex, with numerous doctors. (This is where I bought a pair of contacts when I first visited here in June.) The receptionist kept trying to convince him that he needed to see an eye doctor, who was out for the day. She said he needed to return the next day. He came to me to tell me the news. I sent him back with the instructions that he needed to see a medical doctor... now. Once again, she convinced him that he needed to see an opthamologist tomorrow. So, the on the third try, I told him to insist on seeing a medical doctor today. I said, "Tell her you have conjunctivitis." I think that big, fancy word might have done the trick. I'm not sure, but either way, he was seen almost immediately. While he was in the office, the kids & I went to the mall play area. He joined us shortly afterwards to give me the diagnosis:

(I've learned a thing or two having three kids!)

He got his prescription filled & started on some eye drops right away. Now, here's the great part:

Total Wait Time = 5 minutes
Doctor Visit = $8.00
Eye Drops = $6.00
Sammy's Health = 100%

Can't beat those figures!!

"That's a no-no"

Nick & I were listening to music & looking out the window of our 15th floor condo. We were watching all the people walking around below & all was quiet, until Nick shouted:

"Oh no! He's walking in the street! That's a no-no!"

That's my boy!

There are a few things I can't find in the grocery stores so far:
* Frozen Waffles (Kelloggs would make a killing here if they brought over their Eggo waffles!)
* Refrigerated biscuits or cinnamon rolls (There goes our family tradition of Sunday morning cinnamon rolls.)
* Frosted Mini Wheats (Of course, the only cereal my kids will eat.)

There are a few interesting things I did find in the grocery store:
* Spaghetti sauce sold in a bag (Most of the spaghetti sauce I saw on my trip yesterday was packaged that way)
* ALL kinds of fish staring straight at me in the middle of the store! EWWWW!!
* The largest selection of rice I could have ever imagined! (I just want the plain white stuff that cooks up in 5 minutes!!)

After serving a cheesy meal of macaroni & cheese with a side of Cheetos the other day, I think I've finally stocked up my pantry enough to have a variety of meal options. We'll see tonight...

Thursday, July 12

Laundry & Grocery Shopping

Well, yesterday, I finally decided that it was time to get some chores done around here.

Laundry first - We have a double decker washer/dryer unit. Which equals VERY SMALL!! Anybody that knows my relationship with laundry knows that I do it ALL the time!! ALL THE TIME! So, when we first saw that unit, Sammy & I both started laughing. The washing machine will probably fit about 1/4 of what my washer at home would fit. I'll be livng & breathing laundry here! But, I'm not complaining. We have a washer & dryer in our condo, so I am thankful for that much. Atleast I don't have to lug it all to a laundromat!

I bought some Tide detergent yesterday (because it's the only brand I recognized), and when I read the directions, I realized just how blessed I am. On the back of the bag (all the detergent here is powder - no liquids - sold in bags), they had directions for both hand washing your laundry & for laundering in a washing machine. It dawned on me how many people here must rely on hand washing their clothing in order to get it clean. Even though we are in a very large, metro area, I am living in a third world country. Sometimes I forget that fact. Maybe I've just never noticed it, but I haven't seen instructions for hand washing your clothing on the back of detergents sold in America. I don't know... maybe somebody there can check that out for me.

Either way, I'm only about halfway done with our laundry, but I'll get there...

We also desperately needed to get some groceries for the condo. They had a few items waiting here for us when we arrived, but our family goes through a loaf of bread in about 2 days! Plus, I needed to get some quick meals/snacks to keep on hand for the kiddos. So, the other wife staying here, Julie, & I decided to brave the grocery store. Since we walk everywhere we go, we first needed to find out whether the grocery store would deliver to our condos or not. So, we stopped at the Customer Service desk to ask a gentleman standing there. After a little communication issue, he finally understood what we were asking & confirmed that yes, they would deliver. He then proceeded to follow us around the store, suggesting certain items/brands. In fact, Julie & I both commented on how it felt like we were being "watched". All the employees were so very friendly, but to the point where I just wanted to scream, "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" I'm not used to having people following me around the store, offering their constant help. I just wanted to explore alone & look at all the different foods/brands without the feeling of several pairs of eyes staring at me. Numerous times, I did say that I would be a while & that I would find Darwin (the name of the guy helping us) when I was done shopping, hoping he would get the hint. But, he didn't. He continued to follow us from one end of the store to the other. So, we tried our best to ignore him & go about our business. He really was helpful, just to the point where it got a bit annoying. We either decided we're going to have to get used to their constant help or get firm about leaving us alone. I hate to come across as rude... we'll see what happens next time we go. (I bet they wouldn't do that with Sammy!)

When I got home from the store, my entire family was asleep! It was after 5 pm & I knew if I wanted the kids to sleep at all at night, I would have to wake everybody up & get them going. So, that's what I did. But, it was HARD!!! I was basically waking them up in the middle of the night (Texas time), so they were extremely unhappy with me! But, I stuck to my guns, got everybody dressed & took them all to the mall playground next door. Once we got there, the kids had a great time. They played hard & really had a fun time. Afterwards, we ate dinner at McDonald's. The kids only ate one or two chicken nuggets before begging to go home & go to sleep again. I think Nicholas made it to about 7:45 & Sydney made it to about 8:15. Samuel was wide awake & wanted to play his Spiderman video game. But, I think he crawled in bed with me & Sammy around 9:30 or so. (He said he was scared because he was the only one awake.) We all slept until 5 am, which is much better than yesterday. (We woke yesterday at 2:30 am & we were up until after noon!) So, I think we're getting close to being on schedule here... we'll see.

Here are some pictures from yesterday - swimming, playing at mall & Spiderman!

Wednesday, July 11

Soggy Fries

When we got in late Tuesday night (or, actually, very early Wednesday morning), everyone was pretty hungry. So, we decided to order from Wendy's. (They deliver 24 hours here.) Sammy placed the order & after telling them all the hamburgers we wanted, added a couple of fries to the list. I heard him say, "Excuse me? Soggy fries? What do you mean by 'soggy'? Limp?" By this time, I was laughing so hard & he had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Apparently, they don't recommend adding fries to a delivery order, because by the time it gets here, the fries are not the best quality. I told Sammy atleast they're honest & don't just take your money. I wish some of the fast food joints in the US were this honest!

The twin difference...

On the flight from Tokyo to Manila, the Japanese flight attendants gave each of the kiddos a little airplane toy. It was one that you had a few pieces you had to fit together so that it would look like a plane. Similar to a Lego set, but very simple. The kids were very excited to open their boxes & they each asked Daddy almost the same question:

Samuel - "Daddy, can you open my box so I can put my plane together?"
Sydney - "Daddy, can you open my box so you can put my plane together for me?"

They asked it one right after the other & it was so funny to us. If you know my kids at all, this just shows their personality. Samuel would much rather do something himself... Sydney wants everything done for her!

Our New Home

We flew into the Philippines last night (Tuesday) & landed around 10 pm. The flight from Tokyo was completely full, so the lines at the customs desks were unbelievably long. As well as the crowd around the baggage carousel. I watched our luggage go round & round several times before we could inch our way close enough to the conveyor belt to pull it off. Twice, I almost took out the poor lady standing next to me, because I couldn't get my suitcase off fast enough. Which brings me to another thing I have learned about Filipinos... they don't take into account "personal space". They will stand right next to you or right behind you if a line needs to be formed. For instance, when boarding our flight in Tokyo, we literally had to plow our way through the mob to get to the desk. Since we flew Business Class, they boarded our section first, but the throngs of people flying Economy were barricading us from getting to the desk. The poor guy in front of us got hit several times by the same lady pushing a kid in a stroller. She wasn't even boarding the plane at that time... just trying to get to the front of the line. They'll run you over to get ahead! It was a bit insane.

So, because of the crowded flight, we didn't leave the airport until close to midnight & got to our home around 12:30.

The kids did fantastic on both flights! We received compliments from both the flight attendants, as well as other passengers on their behavior. I did almost anything they asked for just to keep them happy & pleasant on the airplane & it was so worth it!

We are now in a 2-bedroom condo. The kids' room has a double bed, plus an extra twin bed squeezed in on one side. So, the boys are sleeping in one bed & Sydney is in the twin bed. They did really well last night & never woke up to come get into our bed. Now, everyone except me is napping. I think it's about 2:15 am in Texas, so we're all pretty tired right now. After I finish typing this up, I'm sure I'll join them all! In one month, a 3-bedroom condo will become available & we are scheduled to move into it at that time. We'll have a little more space to stretch out then. For now, it's nice to be close & cozy. Of course, it is just the first day...

The kitchen is completely stocked... with all glass dishes!! Not a good idea for a 2-year-old. And, as is to be expected, Nick has already broken his first glass. Luckily, it landed on the marble floor. But, we could not find a broom or vacuum anywhere. So, housekeeping came up to vacuum it all up. I'm not used to someone else cleaning up all our messes, but I think it's going to be easy to adjust!! Needless to say, we'll be shopping for some paper/plastic dishware this evening.

Here are some pictures of the twins at the Tokyo airport. (Nick was napping.) Lately, Sydney has embraced her "wild" side & it shows in every single picture! This happened after she spent a few weeks with her cousin, Melea. Hmmmmm...

Here are some pictures I took of Sydney while we were waiting on Daddy & Samuel:

Thank you for your prayers for a safe journey here. We truly do appreciate each & every one of them!