Wednesday, September 26

More Beach Pics

Here are more pictures from our time at the resort in Matabungkay last weekend.

Remember the Nestea plunge commercial? Well, apparently, it was filmed at the resort we stayed at... or so they told us. The pool was very large & had the Nestea logo painted on the bottom at both ends of the pool. However, I'm betting this is the commercial that was actually filmed there... not the one from the 70s that we all know.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the kiddos at that pool, having a great time!

My Water Babies

Sydney in Action

Samuel in Action

Enjoying the ocean...

The boat we all (13 of us, plus 3 guides) piled in to ride to the beautiful coral beach:
(This was, without a doubt, the scariest part of the entire weekend! That old boat was rockin' on the rough sea... and not in a good way! I was quite worried!)

A sweet picture of my big boys making their way to the swimming pool all by themselves. They are growing up so fast!

Mommy & Sydney

And, lastly, here are a couple of my favorite close-up photos of Samuel.
He is just the most handsome 5-year-old boy I know!

(A little dirt & food on the face, but that's always a sign of a good time, right?)

In two days, we are heading to another beach a couple of hours away. It's incredibly cheap to stay at these resorts & especially now, since this is non-peak season. So, we are definitely taking advantage of it while we can! I'll be posting more pictures next week!

Tuesday, September 25

Beach Bums

We went to the beach last weekend & had a blast! Here are a couple of really cute pictures:

Nicholas & Samuel
Sydney & her friend, Rebekah

Thursday, September 20

My Neighbors

These are my neighbors - James Yap & Kris Aquino


And, they just witnessed me lecturing my kids out in the hallway about not pressing the elevator buttons. Loudly. I'm sure they have heard much more since we share a wall between us, but this is the first time we have come face to face. What a great first impression. Geez!

Wednesday, September 19

Mt. Pinatubo Ash

In 1991, Mt. Pinatubo erupted, burying most of Angeles City & Clark Air Force Base... where we will be moving in January. Hmmmm...

Fast forward to 2007, when Texas Instruments decides to construct a new facility at Clark (now called Clark Special Economic Zone or CSEZ). Sammy & his team went to visit the new site a couple of weeks ago to see how much progress had been made on the construction. He took a picture that I thought was pretty darn cool! (Of course, I always wanted to be an archaeologist growing up, so I kinda dig dirt. Ha! Pun intended.)

* The top, dark gray layer is fresh dirt they recently turned over
* The second, light gray layer is older, packed dirt
* The third, white layer is solid volcano ash

Little bit of history there for ya... and geology!

Thank God!

Another fantastic day today!! I cannot express how grateful I am! I am overjoyed that Samuel is behaving better at school.

I realize we will always have bumps & obstacles along the way, but seriously... he had 4 rough days in a row! Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Monday! I thought something was terribly wrong. I thought we were going to get kicked out of Kindergarten during the second month!

So, thank you for your prayers for him (and for me!). They are truly appreciated!

Two more days to go. If Thursday & Friday continue to be fantastic, then he will get to go on a fantastic Daddy date to the local video game arcade. He is already pumped about that!

Tuesday, September 18

What a difference a day makes...

Today was great! Wonderful, terrific, beautiful, superb and as Samuel said, FANTASTIC!!

Samuel has had a few rough days at school this last week & on Monday. I won't go into details, but he has kept me in tears and on my knees during most of my waking hours. (Why does it take rough patches in life to force me to open the lines of communication with God?) We have been doing a lot of talking about our feelings lately & have been setting some boundaries. I'm hoping that all the positive reinforcement, along with the constant cries out to God will do the trick. No, scratch that... I'm confident that it will do the trick!

Today, when I picked him up from school, I cowardly hid behind all the other moms, not really wanting to see the teacher, just in case she needed to tell me about another "incident" that occurred at school. I sent Sydney in to go get her brother. (I'm telling you... I am a wuss! I truly did not want to see his teacher!) But, when Samuel's teacher saw Sydney, she looked around for me & caught my eye. My heart stopped! "Dear God, please let it be good..." Then, I held my breath. I was so relieved to see her holding the thumbs up sign to me! WHEW!! She pulled Samuel to her & hugged him & in her Australian accent, asked him, "Samuel, did you have a good day today?" He looked back up at her & replied, "It was fantastic!" Music to my ears!

In the meantime, we would covet your prayers that he continues to have fantastic days ahead of him. I have been so giddy since picking him up from school because he did have such a great day. It's amazing what a difference this day has made!

Wednesday, September 12

The United States vs. The Philippines

There are numerous social differences between the two countries, but this one just makes me laugh... we all want what we don't have:

In the United States, this product is a hot seller in the stores! Many women (and some men) strive for the best, darkest tan. They think it's sexy!

In the Philippines, this product is a hot seller in the stores! Most Filipino women strive for the whitest skin tone possible. The whiter your skin, the sexier you are!

The grass is always greener...

(By the way, is it Thursday for anyone else reading this?? Because it's Thursday for me!! I'm a day closer to the weekend!)

Nick's Field Trip to the Gym

As part of his class study on health for the month of August, Nick's teacher took them on a field trip to a nearby gym. The gym employees were so nice to show all the kiddos the fancy fitness equipment & explain how each one worked & how it helped to build strong muscles. Afterwards, the kids were shown a presentation on healthy eating & one of the instructors gave a dance demonstration. (He really got into it... the kids did not!)

Here are some pictures of our fun day...

Nick's Class
Nick with his good friend, Alice
Lifting weights at the gym
Mom & Nick listening to a healthy eating presentation
The whole gang

Afterwards, one of the mother's suggested taking the kids to Gonuts Donuts to watch the donuts being made. (It's exactly like a Krispy Kreme donut store in the States.) So, basically, we just undid an entire month's worth of teaching about healthy eating habits!!

Nick with his teachers
(The girl in the middle, Teacher Erika, is the lead teacher. She is really great!)
Nick watching the donuts being made
Singing the "Goodbye Song" at the end of the school day

Where to begin...

Shortly after the kids started school, another ex-pat wife told me that even though you think you'll have so much free time on your hands, you will quickly find other things to do to fill up that time. And, I have!

We have also finally hired a helper for our family. Her name is Febe & she is wonderful! She cooks, she cleans, she babysits, she shops for groceries and she takes great care of all of us. You'd think since I don't have to do these chores anymore, I'd have free time to spare. But, once again, I have found other things to fill the void.

I go to the gym every day now. I have a personal trainer who has created a custom tailored program to fit my needs/wants. It takes me 1 1/2 to 2 hours every day to go through my routine. It's insanely long. And, I'm insanely sore. I also take tennis lessons twice a week. It's fun, but it's hard! About 45 minutes into each lesson, I start going downhill. That's about all the tennis I can take for a day. Luckily, our lesson is just an hour long, so I don't slack off for too much of it.

In between those activities, I have spent a lot of time in my kids' classrooms. Nick's school REALLY, REALLY likes parent volunteers & encourages us to be there whenever we can. And, I eat it up! It's great to be there with him, get to know his school friends & work alongside his teacher a bit. I have also been in Sydney's class quite a bit lately. Her class is taking swimming lessons during their PE time this month, so they have asked for parent volunteers to come help the children change into their swimsuits & back into their uniforms once PE is over. I have been a few times & I love it! Since the end of PE is close to the end of the school day, her teacher has invited me to just stay in the classroom with the children. I get to help them paint, make kites, read books & build block towers. I really enjoy the volunteering aspect... all the fun & none of the responsibility!!

This weekend, we are heading to the beach!! I have a friend who is a member of a resort in Batangas. She has reserved some rooms for us as her guests, so we can utilize her member rate. (I LOVE saving money!) I cannot wait!! I hope the weather is beautiful & I hope the beach is, as well.

Here are some random pictures from the past few weeks...

Eating dinner at a 50s diner in Baguio City

Now, the silly pose

The Ultimate Bubble Bath

Nick & his friend, Rebekah, at Chili's

And, finally...

A beautiful Manila sunset view from our condo window