Wednesday, December 31

Happy Anniversary & Happy New Year

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my parents!! On December 31 every year, they get to celebrate (along with the rest of the world) their anniversary! Today, they are celebrating 43 years of marriage! WOW!!! You guys are amazing! I hope you both had a wonderful anniversary celebration today. We are so lucky to have you as examples of a loving, Godly marriage. Thank you!


We enjoyed a fun celebration with friends overlooking the Subic Bay. At midnight, the numerous fireworks displays over the water were spectacular! We had a fabulous view from a beautiful deck up in the mountains.

HAPPY 2009!!

Julie, Stephen, Sam, Amberly, Tracy & Heather

More New Year's Eve pictures here...

Tuesday, December 30

Silly Kids...

For the Christmas break, I allowed the kiddos to push the boys' twin beds together so they could all sleep in the same room. Last night, they were having a particularly difficult time settling down, so I closed their bedroom door, which they strongly dislike! After a minute or so, Nick opened the door & walked into my room. This is how our conversation played out:

Nick: (very sweetly) Mom, can we play quietly in bed?
Mom: No
Nick: (even sweeter) But, can we just do this? (He then proceeds to lay on the floor like he's laying in a bed & wave his arms & legs in the air, like a bug stuck on his back.)
Mom: No, Nicholas
Nick: But, can we just do this? (He is still laying on the floor on his back, but puts his arms & legs down & just starts moving his mouth, like he's talking without sound.)
Mom: No. It's time to close your eyes & sleep.
Nick: (very irritated now) Well, can we even breathe?

Nice attempt at a guilt trip. They learn so young.


Today, Nick's buddy, Cade, is over playing. At one point, all the kids & I were in Sydney's room picking out coloring books. Maybe I missed out on some important conversation going on, but out of the blue, Cade turns to me & says, "My mom says I can't say 'piss piss' because it's a bad word." I had to stifle a laugh & turn away before I nodded in agreement. I wonder if there's a story behind this... Tamra??

Sunday, December 28

Nick's Visit with Santa

Nicholas & Mommy

The lower school at Brent was privileged to receive a fun visit from Santa at their Christmas party this year. Each child was called to sit in Santa's lap & was given a wrapped present that Moms & Dads prepared beforehand. Nicholas was so excited to see Santa, but more excited to open his "jet plane" that he had written Santa about. Afterwards, a group of local kids from a nearby orphanage came to visit the lower school kids & receive their gifts that teachers & parents provided. All the kids played fun games together & enjoyed yummy refreshments afterwards.

You can see all the fun pictures of Santa here...

Santa & Nicholas with his new jet plane

Nick's Nursery A class sitting with Santa Claus

Nicholas is excited about his present!

Best Buds - Griffin & Nicholas

Nick's Christmas Program

Nick's lower school grades at school performed a wonderful Christmas program, complete with adorable costumes & a Christmas carol sung in different languages. Nick's class sung "Joy To The World" in Tagalog, the native Philippine language. Other classes sang the same song in Korean, Chinese & even sign language. It was so special & sweet to hear & see so many languages being represented in one auditorium.

Nick's class was dressed as singers in a choir. They sported white choir robes & cute red Santa caps. They sung a beautiful Christmas song, then ripped off their robes & caps to reveal cute matching Christmas tee shirts & red, dyed hair underneath. They then broke into a fun rockin' Christmas song! It was great!!

Nick in his white choir robe & Santa cap reading his music upside down. The boy is talented!!

Nick & classmates rockin' out!

Entire lower school kids on stage

Sydney, Nicholas & Samuel after the performance

Daddy & Nicholas

Papa & Mimi with Nicholas

All the great pictures from his program can be seen here...

Saturday, December 27

Treetop Adventure

Well, Mom & Dad finally made their long awaited Philippine debut!! Sam, the kids & I have anxiously been looking forward to their visit & now the time has come & sadly, already gone. They flew back to Texas yesterday, after spending 3 short weeks with our family. It was honestly way too short!! We already miss them terribly. But, while they were here, we made the most of our time together... showing them a few beautiful beaches, the local markets & some new adventures along the way... including this excursion at Treetop Adventure.

While we meant to go out for a zip line tour in the jungle, the Treetop Adventure park provided a much slower paced way to view the lush area surrounding Subic Bay. We sat in motorized chairs attached to cables suspended from tree to tree. The chairs s-l-o-w-l-y moved from one tree platform to the next, providing us a wonderful & very thorough view of the beautiful greenery below & all around. Although it wasn't quite what we expected, we did have a great time & ended our visit with two very fast paced adventures... the Superman experience & the tree-drop experience. Both so much fun!!

We captured so many great pictures of our adventure! You can view all the photos here.

Amberly, Dad & Mom all harnessed up

Neele, Amberly & Molly as Treetop Angels

Heather, Amberly & Julie

Dad showing his muscles & Mom

They made it across the suspended bridge!
Julie, Heather, Mom & Dad

Heather & Julie - Cable car partners

Heather doing her best Superman pose

Julie, Dad & Mom coming in from their last "adventure"

Amberly rappelling down "Mission Impossible" style... just like Tom Cruise!

Brave rappellers safely on the ground!
Molly, Neele, Amberly, Heather & Julie

Cross Country Field Day

The kids' school recently held a cross country field day. Each grade was able to participate & a great run was had by all!

The Brent school divides the children into two teams... Team Azure & Team Gold. Depending on which team you are on, you will wear that color of shirt on "house event" days. Throughout the year, the students participate in small competitions that pit the Azure & Gold teams against each other. Even the teachers get involved, as they are also assigned a "house color". It is all in good fun & the kids enjoy participating in some healthy competition events.

During the cross country event, each grade was assigned a certain distance to run. The younger kids ran one small lap, while the first graders ran two laps & it increased from there on. The middle & high schoolers were assigned a certain amount of laps to complete around the entire school grounds. It was fun cheering for our family's house color, Team Gold!

Nicholas in his gold shirt before we left the house that morning. He insisted on wearing Mommy's tennis wrist bands, saying they would make him run faster!

Teacher Malen warms up Nursery A with jumping jacks before heading onto the track field

And, they're off! The Nursery kids are running the loop...

Nick proudly poses with his posse of girlfriends...
(L to R: Chan Woo, Seo Jin, Nicholas, ?? & Ava)

Samuel & his friends are patiently waiting their turn to run
(L to R: Lawrence, Daniel, Samuel & CJ)

Samuel & Sydney pose with their British/Filipino friend, Lawrence

The remainder of the cross country event pictures can be seen here...

More Twins!

Thank you for your prayers for my cousin, his wife & their twin girls. Their sweet angels were born on Friday, December 19, 2008. The girls are small, but mighty! And, as cute as can be!

David & Julia - CONGRATULATIONS!! We are so thrilled for your precious new family!

Julia & David holding their Christmas gifts

Ellie Jenay (3 lbs. 3 oz.) & Gracelyn Joy (3 lbs. 13 oz.)

(Although I'm not sure which girl is which in this photo, I'm assuming by the fullness of their faces, I've matched the names correctly. Someone let me know if I'm wrong...)

Fun at Camayan

We spent a recent November Saturday out at Camayan beach... swimming, snorkeling, playing & relaxing! Life doesn't get much better than the beach!

Nicholas (sporting a chocolate ice cream mouth) & Samuel playing hard in the sand

Heading out to snorkel with Daddy

Surfer Sydney - She LOVES to boogie board!

Happy to be chillin'

Sydney's picture of Mommy

See more pics of our beach fun here

Thanksgiving 2008

Sam & Amberly on Thanksgiving evening

I'm trying my best to catch up on my blog posts before 2009 rolls around. I have so many great memories I want to record & I keep procrastinating. So, here is my post & pictures from our 2008 Thanksgiving in Subic Bay, Philippines...

On Thanksgiving this year, we invited several American & non-American friends over to help celebrate this holiday with us. We had such a wonderful evening with so many people from Subic Bay & Clark. We had 3 turkeys, 2 hams & a crown pork roast... YUMMM!! Everyone brought tons of appetizers, vegetable side dishes, salads & desserts. We had loads & loads of delicious food!! Living in a third world country is a constant reminder of the abundant blessings we enjoy on a daily basis. Of these, we are extremely grateful for our many friends that have helped us adjust to life overseas. We could not have asked for better people in our lives!

Sam & his beautiful bird

MP showing off Ratchinee's delicious crown roast

Brad & Heather

Melissa, Tammy & Stephen

Jackie & Garth posing "Filipino" style!

Up With People Visitors

We had the privilege of hosting 2 sweet girls from the world renowned organization, Up With People. Molly, who is on staff with Up With People, is from the States... Ohio, New York & San Francisco. Neele, who is a student with Up With People, is from Germany. We enjoyed 10 wonderful days with these great girls & were blessed to have them become a part of our family. If we have the opportunity to host again, we will jump at the chance!

Neele (in green shirt) & Molly (in pink shirt) with the Espinosa family. We took them to Rali's for dinner one evening after playing ultimate frisbee.

Neele (in blue shirt) & Molly (in pink shirt) with Donnell & Espinosa families. We hosted a fun BBQ at our house & enjoyed the company of several great new & old friends!

Neele & Molly taking a "jumping" picture with 2 fellow Up With People castmates

You can see more pics of our time with Molly & Neele here.

Sydney's Chapel Performance

Sydney's First Grade class recently performed the story of Noah during the school's weekly Wednesday morning chapel service. Sydney was adorable as Noah's wife & sang beautifully with her entire class afterwards. They all did such a great job on stage!

More pictures can be viewed here...

I love the fact that Sydney, Samuel & Nicholas are all required to perform on their school stage so often. I hope they are learning to feel comfortable up in front of a crowd and not shy like their Mommy & Daddy used to be!

Sydney with her girlfriends, Gabie & Phoebe

Samuel sitting behind Sydney in chapel