Friday, May 30

Summer Summary

We had another fun day on Friday. I'm thinking we need to pace ourselves. I can't keep this going all summer...

Friday, May 30

* I met 2 girlfriends to go on a hike Friday morning. One of the ladies is a very outdoorsy type & hikes all over the Philippines. She has actually paid a few men to clear a hiking trail in the jungle. They clear out the bamboo & vines so that we can enjoy the challenging & shady trek. However, there were a few fallen tree trunks that we had to climb over and some very tall grass at certain areas. All in all, it was a fun form of exercise! We hike different trails every Friday & it's a great way to see parts of the Philippines one wouldn't normally see.

* The boys had 3 friends over to play. And, Sydney went to a classmates house for the day. The kids are staying happy & busy... which makes me happy!

* Several of the ex-pat ladies here got together for lunch. One of the Fed Ex ladies is moving to Hong Kong & it was her last luncheon with us. She & her family have lived here for 5+ years, so it was quite an emotional afternoon.

* Yesterday evening was date night for Sam & I. Before meeting some friends at a Japanese restaurant for dinner, we stopped by another couple's home to say goodbye. They are in the plane now as I type heading back to the states & Canada for their summer vacation. The wife is a teacher at Brent & her husband is the principal. Their youngest son & Nicholas are classmates & good buddies. We have all become great friends & it was sad to see them leave for 2 months. We enjoyed chatting with them for a while. Afterwards, I was finally able to convince Sam to eat at the Japanese restaurant with me! (He is not a fan of unfamiliar food.) The food here is delicious & I constantly crave it, but have never been able to drag Sam along with me. However, I think he really liked it last night. I hope to have many more date nights there!

* After dinner, we went to an outdoor area called Pier 1. They have live music on the weekends & it's fun to just sit & enjoy the music. We enjoyed visiting with friends & enjoying the cool evening breeze.

Today, we have fun afternoon plans. The great thing about living here is that the lifestyle really requires you to rely on friends and neighbors on a daily basis. There is no mall here. There is nothing much in the way of convenience. So, we spend our time with friends! We play outside. We go to the playground. We ride bikes. We go to the pool. And, we get together with lots of other people to keep life fun & interesting! Which is what we're doing again this afternoon. It'll be great!

Thursday, May 29

Our Summer So Far...

My goal is to type up a daily recap of our summer activities, but I seriously doubt that will happen. There are days when I don't even see the computer, much less have time to spend blogging on it. But, I do want to remember what all we did while living abroad, so I will give it my best shot.

Since Friday was our last day of school, I will start with Saturday...

Saturday, May 24

* A friend & I went on our Saturday morning walk. About 3 times a week, we walk the neighborhood loop, which equals 5 miles. It's great to have a friend that is willing to commit to this with me. The sad thing is that her family is moving to Canada in mid-June. Makes me sick to think of them leaving!

* After lunch, Sam & I took the kids to the school pool. It was a beautifully, sunny day & the pool was completely empty! Both of those instances have been very rare lately. We had a great time! The kids learned to dive from the diving blocks. Nick mostly did belly flops & with his large tummy, it must have really hurt! Samuel & I raced down the pool trying to stay right along the black lines painted on the bottom. He almost beat me. Lap swimming is definitely not my strength! After we had been there for a while, most of their classmates started showing up. The pool got crowded very quickly. So, Sam & I enjoyed sitting out under the shade while the kids played with their friends.

Sunday, May 25

* Sam had to go into work Sunday morning, so the kids & I enjoyed a lazy day around the house. I read for most of the afternoon. Around 4:30, we joined a few other families at the school football field to play some sports games while the little kids played at the playground nearby. We had such a great time! We played tackle football with a varied group of people... men, women & teenagers. It was so fun! After football, we decided to play ultimate frisbee. My first time to play, but I had a blast. Lots of running, though! Whew... I was exhausted! The kids brought their bikes & showed off their riding skills all around the playground. We finally left close to 8:30, sweaty & tired!

Monday, May 26

* I walked my 5 mile loop in the morning.

* Nick went to a friend's house to play. Five of his classmates all got together & he had a great time!

* I had a group of ladies over to play board games. We do this every Monday & it is so much fun. My games are finally getting lots of good use! I can't wait until my kids are old enough to play board games with me.

Tuesday, May 27

* I took Samuel to the optometrist only to find out that we can't get what we need here in Subic. So, we will have to make a trip to Manila this weekend to replace his glasses for the 3rd time!

* After lunch, the kids & I headed out to the beach to meet friends there. We stayed until 6 pm. It was another beautiful day! Perfect beach weather. Right before we left, we listened to a local band play some tribal music on their goatskin drums. The kids danced around on the sand & created quite a show of their own.

* Sydney's friend, Rebekah, spent the night with us after the beach. We were all exhausted by the time we got home!

Wednesday, May 28

* I picked up Nick's friend, Griffin, to come spend the day playing at our house. He & the boys had a great time running around outside.

* Sydney, Rebekah & I decided to spend some time in the kitchen. We made grape Jell-O and chocolate chip cookies! And, I probably undid all that walking I had done earlier in the week!

* Later that afternoon, I met up with a couple of girlfriends to walk our 5 mile loop again. One of the ladies will be leaving Saturday for the summer, so it was great to spend some time with her before her family leaves.

* The kids & I spent the evening outside riding bikes & waiting for Daddy to arrive home from work. They love riding their bikes these days!

Thursday, May 29

* My friend, Julie, and I met to walk again this morning. It was HOT today!

* After showering, I headed out to do my grocery shopping. In Subic, you can't find everything in one store, so you have to visit multiple stores to get all you need. It's such an ordeal. I went to 3 different stores, then finally headed home with a car full of groceries. I don't like doing that very often, so I try to stock up as much as I can each trip.

* At 3, I took the kids to a birthday party for one of their classmates. They had a little magic show at the party & the kids were thrilled by it! I think 5 and 6-year-olds are the perfect age to enjoy a magic show.

* We got home at 6 pm & enjoyed a relaxing evening.

We'll see what tomorrow & the rest of the week holds...

Tuesday, May 27


A bit ago, Nick & I went to pick up a friend of his that was coming to spend the day at our house. I was waiting in the car for Nick who decided to do anything but obey me. I finally asked him:

"Why can't you obey me?"

He responded:

"Because I'm not supposed to."

On days like this, I wonder if all my kids think that. 3 days into summer & counting...

Monday, May 26

Daniel in the Lion's Den

The kids' school holds a 30 minute chapel service each Wednesday morning. Every class takes a turn at presenting a special message during this time. A few weeks ago, it was Nick's Toddler Class' turn. Their wonderful teacher, Mrs. Reyes, prepared a little skit for the 3 and 4-year-olds, which they performed beautifully! We were all amazed at what a fantastic job these little people did on stage. Truly a testament to their awesome teacher!

Nicholas excited to be "The Jealous Advisor"Nicholas & his lion friend, Juwon

Nick & his fellow classmates... or castmates

The Jealous Advisor making his way on stage

Getting excited to start...

Two adorable lions - Fletcher & Min Seo

KC as a guard, Alyssa as Daniel, Griffin as the King & Nicholas

Performing a special song after the play

Class Photo

Terrific Twins

I love this photo!

Summer of '08

The possibilities are endless:

May 30 - The Click Five in Manila, Philippines (I have no idea who they are, but that is beside the point...)
June 12 - Air Supply in Subic Bay, Philippines (WOO-HOO!!! We are definitely going!)
June 14 - The Osmonds in Manila, Philippines
July 11 - Disney's High School Musical on Ice in Manila, Philippines
July 29 - Chris Daughtry in Manila, Philippines
August 1 - Rick Astley in Manila, Philippines

And, I'm sure there are some other loser American Idols thrown in here & there. Because those are the ones that always seem to make the Philippine tour. Like Taylor Hicks late last year. Oh wait... he was a winner right? I can't keep up...

Anyway, the Philippines is definitely THE place to be this summer!!

And, to think... some people actually prefer to spend their summers elsewhere away from the torrential rain & plethora of "has been" artists the Philippines has to offer. Not us! We are riding it out here in the land of over 7,000 islands!

Here's to the summer of '08! (Say a prayer for me...)

No Training Wheels

The twins were inspired by one of their good friends here to learn how to ride their new bikes without the training wheels. So, one evening last week, Sam & I took off the wheels & pushed them on their way. They had it down within the first 20 minutes! We realized then that they were probably ready to master this skill quite a while back. But, they have it down & they are riding around the neighborhood like they have been doing it for years!

Sydney learned how to swim on her own here & now they have both learned how to ride a bike here. The relaxed, outdoor lifestyle we lead here seems to suit us beautifully!


All my kids are pretty darn funny at times, but Nick just really makes me laugh. It's his age. He's too cute!

Friday was the kids last day of school & the day of their anticipated year-end program. Nicholas requested to have "spiky" hair on his special day, so Daddy obliged. After his hair was perfect, he looked at me, gasped & exclaimed:

"Oh my gosh! All the people are going to look at me & say, 'That boy is so cool!'"

I had to turn my head to laugh because he was completely serious when he said it. It would have broken his heart if he saw me laughing. Where does he come up with this stuff? I told Sam I couldn't even correct him for saying "Oh my gosh" because it was just too priceless!

That same evening, Sam & I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie that just released here. (We're a little late here in Subic!) We arrived home a little after 9 pm & the kids were still up watching a movie in Sydney's room. We peeked around the corner & surprised all three. Nicholas jumped up out of bed, quickly looked from me to Sam & wondered aloud:

"Hmmmm... who should I like?"

I was quick to inform him that he should definitely like me & he was quick to respond that he also liked Daddy. I can't argue with that.

Silly boy!

Thursday, May 1

Snorkeling Induced Anxiety

Today was Labor Day in the Philippines, which equals no school! (I've come to believe that the Philippines probably has more holidays than any other country in the world!) So, we joined another fun family for an outing at the beach. It was a beautiful day when we arrived at the beach resort, and we decided to take a bunka boat (shown in the picture) across the way to a small island, known as Camera Island (also shown in the picture, along with the Capones Island). The ride was smooth, the water was gorgeous & the island was nice & quiet. Unfortunately, we didn't bring a snorkeling mask or any gear, but luckily our friends did. After they both swam far out to view the exotic sea creatures below, they swam back & offered their goggles for me to use. Sam put on Sydney's kid sized goggles (not the look for him!), I borrowed our friend's goggles & we swam out pretty far ourselves. However, I did not have an actual snorkel to use... only the goggles. So, between swimming against the ocean current to get out far enough, coming up for air every now & again & swallowing some nasty salt water, I started to panic a bit. I kept looking back at the island which was getting further & further away & that also made me nervous. In turn, as my heart started racing, my breath got shorter & shorter. So, my time enjoying the fascinating sea life was shortened by the constant need to come up for air every second, it seemed. The first time I snorkeled, I freaked out a bit as well because I couldn't get enough air into my lungs. Sam finally advised me to take steady, shallower breaths instead of deep breaths. I practiced for a while in shallow water & finally got the hang of it. This time, however, I was too far gone to stand anywhere. And, even if I could have stood, I was not wearing any flippers so my feet would have been completely exposed to the sea floor. Not a good idea when you don't know what's down there... sea urchins come to mind. (I did see a dried one on the shore, so I know they are definitely out there!) Anyway, we got out quite a ways & decided to just hang out at that spot instead of swimming out any further. Sam, who was absolutely fine, kept diving down to explore a little more closely. I, on the other hand, floated on my back as much as I could in an attempt to slow my heart & control my breathing. When I did feel a little more normal, I joined Sam and explored a bit as well. The water felt great & the coral was breathtaking. The fish were still rather small, because apparently, this area had been previously used by the military for target practice... bombs & such. They killed off all the beautiful fish & plants underwater. Only recently have the fish begun to return to these waters. Maybe by the time we leave, they will be large & plentiful!

We both swam back to the shore & unanimously decided on two things:
1. That we will add swimming to our exercise routine from now on. We were completely out of breath after that excursion.
2. That we will invest in a good snorkeling mask & gear for each of us. This opportunity is just too rare to pass up! We have got to take advantage of the awesome snorkeling that is so easily accessible to us.

I also decided that we need to splurge on an underwater camera. I have kicked myself twice now for not getting amazing photos of what we are seeing under the water. Any recommendations?

We would love for you to come visit! I know you would love the beauty of the Philippines also!