Thursday, January 31

First Day of School at Brent

Aren't they cute?!

Nick is quite the clown!

Nicholas with his awesome teacher, Mrs. Reyes. She is so wonderful!

Wednesday, January 30

Playing with Sydney

After school today, Sydney & I went into her room to play with her baby dolls. She had set them all up & announced it was feeding time. I asked her if I could feed her newest baby doll that moves her mouth & makes drinking sounds. This was our conversation:

ME: "Can I feed that baby doll, Sydney?"
SYD: "No."
ME: "Please. I like to watch her mouth move."
SYD: "I am the mom. You are the ya-ya. I will feed her."

How quickly they learn!

Tuesday, January 29


Today, January 29th, my Grandmother is 96 years young!!! NINETY-SIX!!!

She is unbelievable! And feisty! And incredibly healthy!

Can you imagine what she has seen in her 96 years on this earth? Seriously... think about everything she has been through, seen, experienced. It's mind boggling to me! In honor of my sweet & wonderful Grandmother, here is a list of major events that have occurred each year of her life:

1912 - Titanic sunk; New Mexico & Arizona were admitted as the 47th & 48th states of the US
1913 - The first known crossword puzzle appears in the New York World. (This is considered a major event if you know my Grandmother & her love of crossword puzzles!)
1914 - Her future husband was born, Granddaddy; WWI begins; Federal Reserve Bank of the US opens
1915 - Construction of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. begins
1916 - Woodrow Wilson is US President
1917 - USA enters WWI
1918 - WWI ends; Daylight Saving Time goes into effect
1919 - Treaty of Versailles is signed, "officially" ending the war; 18th Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, prohibiting alcohol in the US
1920 - 19th Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, allowing women the right to vote
1921 - First Miss American pageant held in Atlantic City
1922 - USSR declared; Reader's Digest debuts
1923 - Time Magazine published for first time; Walt Disney company is founded; Hollywood sign is erected
1924 - Lenin dies & is succeeded by Stalin; First Winter Olympics held in France
1925 - Adolf Hitler publishes Volume I of Mein Kampf
1926 - US troops land in Nicaragua; Calvin Coolidge is US President
1927 - Charles Lindbergh makes first solo, non-stop, trans-atlantic flight from New York to Paris; First trans-atlantic telephone call from New York to London; Ford produces the last Model T; Carving of Mount Rushmore begins
1928 - Herbert Hoover is elected US President; The first television is sold for $75
1929 - Stock Market crashes on Wall Street, beginning "The Great Depression"; First Academy Awards Ceremony held
1930 - The planet Pluto is discovered; Construction begins on The Hoover Dam & on The Empire State Building
1931 - "The Star Spangled Banner" officially becomes the US national anthem
1932 - Amelia Earhart becomes first woman to cross the Atlantic solo in a plane
1933 - Adolf Hitler becomes German Chancellor; Albert Einstein moves to US; Construction of Golden Gate Bridge begins
1934 - Alcatraz prison opens; Adolf Hitler becomes the "Fuhrer" of Germany
1935 - The board game Monopoly is released
1936 - She married the most wonderful man, my Granddaddy; Olympic Games held in Berlin; Hoover Dam is complete; First edition of LIFE Magazine is published
1937 - Golden Gate Bridge is complete
1938 - Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia; Orson Welles broadcasts his radio version of The War of the Worlds, creating widespread panic
1939 - Germany invades Poland, beginning WWII; Gone With the Wind premiers
1940 - Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister; Woody Woodpecker cartoon first appears
1941 - Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, bringing the USA into WWII; Carving of Mount Rushmore completed
1942 - Japanese forces take Manila, Philippines; Bataan Death March occurs on April 9
1943 - Allies defeat Germans in North Africa; Jews launch anti-German uprising in Warsaw Ghetto
1944 - Grandmother's only son was born; Allies land in France in what is known as D-Day; US forces invade Philippines
1945 - Franklin D. Roosevelt dies; Hitler dies; US bombs Hiroshima & Nagasaki, ending WWII
1946 - Grandmother's only daughter is born; The Philippines becomes independent from the USA; The bikini is first introduced
1947 - "A Streetcar Named Desire" opens on Broadway; Howdy Doody makes its TV debut
1948 - Mahatma Gandi is assassinated; Apartheid is introduced in South Africa
1949 - NATO is formed
1950 - Korean War begins; The Jack Benny Show makes its TV debut
1951 - UN headquarters opens in NYC; I Love Lucy makes its TV debut
1952 - US test first Hydrogen bomb
1953 - Stalin dies; Korean War ends
1954 - US Supreme Court rules against racial segregation in schools
1955 - First McDonald's restaurant opens
1956 - Elvis Presley ushers in rock and roll music with Heartbreak Hotel
1957 - Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite
1958 - USA creates NASA; USA launches its first satellite, Explorer 1
1959 - Fidel Castro becomes Prime Minister of Cuba; First Barbie doll introduced; Alaska & Hawaii admitted as US states; Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper are killed in a plane crash on "the day that music died"
1960 - FDA approves sale of birth control pill in USA; First successful kidney transplant performed
1961 - World Wildlife Fund is formed; Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba fails
1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis; Johnny Carson debuts as host of The Tonight Show
1963 - Martin Luther King, Jr. makes his famous "I Have a Dream" speech; President Kennedy is assassinated
1964 - The Beatles make their first visit to the USA; Ford produces its first Mustang car
1965 - Vietnam War begins; Gateway Arch in St. Louis is completed
1966 - Grandmother's first granddaughter is born
1967 - First Super Bowl is played; Sesame Street debuts on TV; First Earth Day celebration
1968 - Grandmother's first grandson is born; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Robert Kennedy are both assassinated
1969 - Grandmother's middle granddaughter is born; Neil Armstrong is first man to walk on the moon
1970 - The Beatles disband; Monday Night Football on ABC debuts
1971 - 26th Amendment of the US Constitution lowers the voting age to 18
1972 - J. Edgar Hoover dies; Terrorists kill 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics; Richard Nixon is US President; Goodyear Blimp flies for the first time
1973 - Burglars are caught at Watergate; Sydney Opera House opens in Australia
1974 - Richard Nixon resigns as US President
1975 - Altair introduces the first personal computer; Microsoft is founded
1976 - Apple Computer, Inc. is founded; Concorde makes first commercial flight
1977 - Grandmother's last 2 grandchildren are born; Elvis Presley dies; Scientists discover the planet Uranus has rings; Star Wars opens at theaters
1978 - First test tube baby born in Britain
1979 - Saddam Hussein becomes the president of Iraq; Sony introduces the Walkman; Garfield comic strip debuts
1980 - Start of Iran-Iraq War; Mt. Saint Helens erupts; John Lennon is assassinated
1981 - First launch of Space Shuttle; Ronald Reagan is US President; Prince Charles & Lady Diana marry
1982 - First artificial heart transplant
1983 - US forces invade Grenada; Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space
1984 - Miami Vice debuts on TV; Miss America Vanessa Williams resigns after her nude photos are discovered
1985 - First Blockbuster store opens in Dallas, TX; Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is published for the first time
1986 - Challenger Space Shuttle explodes on live TV; Oprah Winfrey show first airs on TV
1987 - Stock Market crashes on Black Monday
1988 - Iran-Iraq War ends
1989 - Berlin Wall falls; Ring around Neptune discovered
1990 - Nelson Mandela is released from prison; Hubble space telescope launched; Tim Berners-Lee invents "The Worldwide Web"
1991 - Operation Desert Storm begins (a.k.a. The Gulf War)
1992 - Los Angeles riots occur
1993 - Branch Davidian religious cult siege in Waco, TX; First World Trade Center bombing; Bill Clinton is US President
1994 - Nelson Mandela is elected President of South Africa; Rwandan genocide; NAFTA comes into effect
1995 - Oklahoma City terrorist bombing; OJ Simpson trial; The Million Man March occurs on Washington, D.C.
1996 - Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced; FBI arrests Unabomber
1997 - Princess Diana dies in car accident
1998 - Granddaddy meets Jesus on New Year's Day
1999 - Y2K scare, All computers are predicted to crash at the end of the year
2000 - George W. Bush narrowly wins 2000 Presidential Election
2001 - Enron files for bankruptcy; 9/11 terrorist attacks occur - Terrorists crash 4 airplanes in the US, 2 of which destroy the World Trade Center
2002 - DC snipers kill ten people
2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia is destroyed over Texas as it re-enters the atmosphere; US captures Saddam Hussein
2004 - Martha Stewart goes to jail; A major earthquake in Asia results in a huge tsunami that kills atleast 290,000 the day after Christmas
2005 - Hurricane Katrina destroys the city of New Orleans; Saddam Hussein is put on trial
2006 - Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death
2007 - Democrat Nancy Pelosi becomes the first woman Speaker of the House
2008 - Grandmother turns 96!!

She is an absolutely amazing woman & I am so blessed that my kids & I have her strong genes!

Grandmother/Gigi, we love you so very much & we hope you had a wonderful 96th birthday! You are an inspiration!

Monday, January 28

Monday, Monday...

So good to me.
Monday, Monday
It was all I hoped it would be...

In honor of a great Monday, I'm going to post about some things that made me happy today:

* Getting to school early this morning.
* A new blow dryer.
* Finding my way to a new part of town without being stopped by a policeman! A major accomplishment for a westerner in the Philippines.
* Catching up on my laundry. No small feat!
* Cleaning my kitchen.
* Being able to help out a friend in need.
* Having kids in Sydney's & Samuel's class ask if they could come over to our house to play. It means the twins have made good friends in their new school & that is a huge relief!
* A nap this afternoon.
* Listening to Sydney sing High School Musical 2 songs in her room.
* A successful evening of homework.
* Eating dinner at The Pancake House. Sounds crazy, but they have the best tacos that I have tasted in Subic so far. And, of course, the kids inhale their waffles!
* What made it even better was that Sam was home in time to eat with us!
* Being able to sit down at the computer tonight without being interrupted.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday as well! Enjoy the beginning of your week!

Wednesday, January 23

It figures...

Just like when you take your car to the mechanic & all of a sudden the "funny noise" you've been hearing is gone... my midnight sounds have disappeared! I told Sam all about the creatures running around on our roof every night that he has been gone. I explained when they started, what they sounded like & how long they ran around up there. Could be rats... could be monkeys... I have no idea! But, I was sure counting on my brave husband to investigate & clue me in. So, tonight, we waited... and waited... and waited... and I'm still waiting. Sam drifted off to sleep long ago leaving me to listen for the late night party to start up on our roof. And, of course, it is not happening. Stupid critters!!

Monday, January 21


I feel like I can relax again now that I know who won The Amazing Race! I don't watch much TV, but this is the one reality show that I really get involved in. I love a good race! Thank goodness for the Asian version that still has about 2 or 3 weeks left.

We looked onto our back porch tonight to find a large lizard chilling out. By large, I mean LARGE! I called the kids to come take a peek & Nick announced, "Mom, that's a baby crocodile!" I'm afraid he might have been right! That is exactly what it looked like.

Tomorrow, I will be playing tennis with a few of my Korean neighbors. They are very sweet, but we have quite a hard time communicating! Their English is minimal & my Korean is... well... nonexistent! Should be an interesting match.

Some large creatures just came bounding across my roof. Sounded like it could have been monkeys by the pattern of the footsteps... or something else that I don't even want to venture a guess at. Whatever it was, it weighed a pretty good amount to be making all the raucous that it did on top of my home. (Or, maybe it was the mother crocodile searching for her baby...) If Sydney were awake, she would be petrified!

Speaking of Syd, I thought I heard an owl a bit earlier, so I stopped my typing, cocked my head toward the direction of the sound & realized it was my sweet daughter snoring!! Poor thing! I guess atleast I didn't mistake her snoring it for a warthog!

I'm beginning to wonder what is worse... the strange jungle noises that keep me on my toes at night or the sounds of city sirens that keep me awake. I'm not much of a big city girl, but I don't think I'm a big fan of living in a tropical rainforest environment either. I think what I need is a good 'ol dose of back home Texas!

(And, by the way, can anyone tell me what kind of bird sounds like a donkey? This bird periodically makes a call that sounds eerily familiar to a donkey's hee-haw, only without the "h" sound. This is what it would look like typed out, "Eh ah (pause)... eh ah (pause)... eh ah (pause)... eh ah..." It makes that repetitive sound about 5 or 6 times, each time getting slower & slower until the last sound you hear is, "ahhh..." Then, that's it. About 30 minutes later, it does it again! Same pattern every time. It starts every evening once the sun goes down until the early morning hours. It's fascinating! I've never heard a bird sound even remotely familiar! HELP!)

Sunday, January 20

The Green Monster

That's right... I am jealous!! Most of you who watch The Amazing Race will soon know the winners. I have to wait about 13 more hours. Which means, I have to stay off the Internet all day today so that I won't accidentally run across someone posting about the finale or a news blurb announcing the winning team. (Which also means I'll probably get more housework done today than I have in a long time, since I won't be sitting at my desk.) I have already planned out my entire evening to ensure the kids will go to bed early. (Sam is out of town for a few days, so I have to be organized!) It's mac & cheese night! Easy, fast & I never hear complaints about having to eat mac & cheese! So, if all goes my way, the kids will be good & worn out from playing outside all evening, they will be nice & clean from their warm shower & their bellies will be full from a yummy carbohydrate enriched dinner! All that should ensure an early & easy bedtime. Atleast, that's my goal. We'll see how it really plays out!

I was talking to Sydney about some upcoming birthdays for people in our family. I asked her what she wanted to give Aunt Erin for her birthday & after thinking hard for a while, she finally announced, "A puppy! Aunt Erin needs a new puppy! Mom, can we get her one? Pleeeeeeease?" So, how about it Erin? Maybe for your birthday, I'll just send Dallas to live with you for a while!

When I asked her what she wanted to send her Gigi, thankfully she did not say a puppy, but instead a princess TV. What 96-year-old great grandmother doesn't want a princess TV?!

By the way, I have decided that all these wonderful & beautiful jungle sounds that I love to listen to at night are not near as enjoyable when my husband is out of town. Then, they become a bit creepy!

Enjoy the finale tonight! I'm off to the grocery store to get our gourmet Kraft dinner...

Saturday, January 19

Our 1st Week in Subic

Well, it has definitely been interesting! Here's the rundown:

* I have already been pulled over... by a security guard, of all people! Thankfully, I was just a bit off track. I did nothing illegal & quickly realized my mistake, but not before the guard noticed me hesitate. I think he was just really bored & was looking for something to do. After telling me what I already knew (that I was going the wrong direction for my destination), he told me to "be careful" & sent me on my way. Nice start to my week.

* I went to the store to get some much needed groceries only to find the store closed at 5 pm. When I asked, I was told they were closed all day due to the company Christmas party... on JANUARY 14!!!!

* All 3 kids started at their new school on Tuesday & they love it! Thank goodness! Sydney adjusted MUCH MUCH easier than I anticipated! She absolutely adored her teacher in Manila & was sad to leave her, so I expected this transition to be rough on her, but she proved me wrong. She has done so well & is making new friends again. Samuel, of course, jumped right in & never looked back. They are both learning to adjust to new situations quite easily, which is so great for their shy personalities!

* The kids (and I) are THRILLED they finally get to be outside more often to ride their bikes & scooters! The condo life was great, but a bit stifling. We spend every afternoon & evening playing outside, enjoying the clean, fresh air of Subic Bay. It is a very nice change of scenery from the overly polluted Manila air.

* We are within walking distance of 2 great parks, so we have also spent our evenings swinging, sliding & see-sawing. The parks here are not like the ones we played at in Texas. The equipment is old & certainly would not pass the safety standards set by the parks departments in the states. But, the kids love it! The playground equipment reminds me of the parks I grew up playing at in my hometown. Everything is metal & there is a merry-go-round! I had not seen a merry-go-round in years, until we moved here last week. So, the kids have discovered the joy of that playground toy. They love going as fast as possible & watching me get dizzy after spinning them! Fun times!

* Yesterday, we had our first close encounter with the local wildlife... monkeys! We've seen them from a distance & from our car, but they actually came into the playground with us yesterday. (The kids thought it was pretty funny to see a monkey playing around the monkey bars!)

* I have become fascinated with all the beautiful sights & sounds of the numerous birds I can see & hear from my bedroom window. Beautiful Blue-naped Parrots (I had to look that one up!), small neon yellow birds & some other bird (atleast, we think it's a bird) that makes a VERY strange call all throughout the night & into the wee hours of the morning. I have searched online, but cannot find this particular bird sound anywhere! I am going to record it soon & post it, in the hopes that one of you can identify it for me. It is driving me crazy!

We will be in our temporary home here until we find a more long-term solution. Hopefully, very soon! We are all so ready to settle down... atleast for a little while longer.

If I ever locate the camera cable, I will post pictures of our tropical home. It really is beautiful!

Sunday, January 13

A warped thought...

I am seriously thinking I should start a tally of how many times people Google "public urin*tion" and find themselves looking at my blog. I would have never thought my little 'ol post about it would become so deadgum popular!

On a completely different note... Nicholas just got out of bed for the umpteenth time, walked down the hall to my room & stated very matter of factly, "Mom, I promise I'm not going to get out of bed. I promise! Okay?"

And, we have a new pet in our new home in Subic... a gecko. He sleeps behind my bed on the wall. I just discovered him tonight, but apparently he slept behind me last night also. When I yelled for Sam to come get him, he acted like it was no big deal, "Oh yeah. He was there last night too. I just didn't have the heart to tell you about him." Thanks. We have decided to leave him where he is. Since we now live in the jungle (practically), we figured he was a good bug eating addition to our family. As long as he stays off my face in the middle of the night, I'm good. (Karen, I bet I will never convince you to come visit me now!)

Thursday, January 10

I Am Legend

I realize this may be old news to those of you living in the states, but I Am Legend was just released at the theater this week. And, I saw it tonight with a girlfriend.

FYI... if anyone tries to tell you that this movie is not scary DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!! They are flat out lying to you!

I learned my lesson the hard way. I think I finally took a breath once the movie was over. The rest of the time, I held my breath because that's what I do when I'm scared. My heart was racing. My toes were curled. My hands were covering my eyes. My jaw was tense & my teeth were clenched shut.


I'm too old for this stuff...

Wednesday, January 9

Manners Police

It's pretty pathetic when my son has to remind me to use my manners!

Nicholas & I each devoured a delicious chocolate chip cookie right before bed this evening. I washed mine down with a huge gulp of soda. Immediately afterwards, I burped & went about my business. Nicholas waited for a while, then looked at me almost incredulously & stated:

"Mom, you're supposed to say 'excuse me' after you burp."


I guess that makes up for what he said earlier this evening:

"Mom, kiss my booty!"

Can't win 'em all...

Happy Days

The kids & I have had fun this week. If we were still attending school at ISM, we'd have started back already on Tuesday. However, since we'll be moving this Saturday (YIKES!), their new school doesn't start until Tuesday, January 15. So, we decided to take advantage of the slower days & do some fun things.

First off, I ran across something so exciting in another blog!! I was reading about an American woman who is living in the Philippines and saw a post about her eating at Taco Bell IN THE PHILIPPINES!!! WHAT?!?! How come I never knew about this? So, I searched online & found FOUR Taco Bells in the Manila area. I planned a lunch date there the very next afternoon. It took us 20 minutes to get there, but it was worth it! The kids had cheese quesadillas & nachos. I had a Mexican pizza & Baja beef burrito. Yum, yum, yum! Now, I would normally NOT get excited at all about a Taco Bell, but when you haven't had any in 6 months, it becomes enticing again. The Taco Bell restaurant itself was the nicest fast food joint I have ever been in. It was a very chic, modern place with cool circular booth seating & barstools throughout. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. I am just sad that we just discovered Taco Bell & now we are moving away from the area. But, we did have a fun afternoon discovering the new area & munching on nostalgic Mexican food.

Then, this afternoon, I took the kids to see Bee Movie. It was a cute movie & the kids enjoyed it. But, one thing I have realized is that there seems to be no standards regarding movie previews shown at a children's movie. For instance, the kids saw a very violent & scary preview for this movie and this movie. It's just not a trailer I expected to see at a kids, animated movie. I don't think seeing the trailers has quite warped them... yet. (I'll let you know when bedtime approaches in a few hours how that goes. With my luck, they'll have nightmares just from the preview.) But, I definitely would not let them see the movie itself. Which is why I am shocked at why they would advertise it at a children's movie. I know these movies are not targeted for kids. Just doesn't make sense...

All in all, it's been a fun week so far. The next few days are filled with several last minute playdates before we move & lots of packing! I really, really hate packing & moving, so I gotta have fun while I can!

Sunday, January 6

Ahhhh... the spa

One thing I'll miss about the Philippines when we move back home is how affordable spa treatments are! I rarely visited a spa in the states because it was definitely a special occasion thing. Here, I can afford to visit one on a regular basis because comparatively, the prices are extremely cheap!

For example, the most expensive facial treatment at a high end spa in Dallas costs $155. The most expensive facial treatment at a high end spa in Manila costs about $65.

Dallas Detoxifying Body Treatment - $140 for 60 min
Manila Detoxifying Body Wrap - $45 for 90 min

Dallas Mud Body Treatment - $125 for 50 min
Manila Mud Body Wrap - $45 for 90 min

Dallas Swedish Massage - $95 for 50 min
Manila Swedish Massage - $25 for 60 min

Dallas Aromatherapy Massage - $100 for 50 min
Manila Aromatherapy Massage - $25 for 60 min

Dallas Full Leg Wax - $90 & up
Manila Full Leg Wax - $50

I recently visited a different spa near our condo to take advantage of their lavish foot treatments. I sat in a soft, comfortable leather recliner. I had a warm towel draped over me as a blanket. The lights were dimmed. Enya was playing in the background. Delicious smelling oils were burning in the corner. And, I had my issue of People magazine that I splurged on. (I almost didn't want to read it so I could just close my eyes & drift off to sleep. But, I paid way too much not to!) It was so relaxing & rejuvenating! I am seriously going to miss these wonderfully cheap spas in the Philippines!!

In the meantime, however, I'm going to enjoy them as much as I can!

Friday, January 4

First 2008 weekend thoughts...

I hate, hate, hate stepping on small toys like Hot Wheels cars or superhero figures with my bare feet in complete darkness. After the first initial painful step, you know you have to step elsewhere, but you could possibly be stepping on yet another painful toy that was left out also. I've done this several unfortunate times... like tonight. I don't like small toys with pointy parts. They hurt!


Today, during a fit, Nicholas asked me for the billionth time if I would give him his stamp back. Again, I told him "no" because he disobeyed me by stamping all over the wall, instead of on paper. He sadly looked at me & said, "But, I'm crying." I calmly told him, "I know you are crying & I am sorry, but you disobeyed Mommy." He turned to walk away, then turned back to me & tried one more time, "But, I'm cute." I couldn't help but laugh! He is cute & he is very sneaky!!


We played 3 different board games with some friends tonight & had such a good time. I love playing board games, but don't do it nearly often enough. Maybe I can make this a weekly event...


Back in the states, buying a People magazine was an indulgence for me. I always found it hard to justify paying $3.99 for an entertainment magazine, so when I did, it was a special day. Today, I thought I would treat myself to the most current magazine available here (which is usually atleast a week, probably two behind the states) on my way to the spa. (Another indulgence, which is very easy to justify here because of how incredibly cheap the services are!) So, I picked up a magazine & encountered sticker shock!! They really jack up the price of People magazine in the Philippines! I paid 395 pesos, which is equivalent to almost $9.00!!! CRAZY! But, I splurged anyway & then felt guilty afterwards. Never again. (Mom, you need to start adding People magazines to my shipments here!)


Have a great first weekend this year!

Wednesday, January 2

Conversation with Nick

Nick says the funniest things sometimes...

Just a minute ago, I was laying with him in bed & out of the blue, he asked me:

"Mom, do we live in Chinese?"

Me: "No, we live in the Philippines."

Nick: "But, I thought I was going to drink chocolate milk and watch movies with my Grandmothers in Texas."

Me: "Ummm... okay. Maybe later."

I never have any idea where his train of thought will lead, which makes it all the more interesting to hold a conversation with him. He's a funny little guy.