Monday, September 29

Speaking of Lizards...

This is our new backyard "pet":

We've seen him around our yard a few times, but I was never able to get the camera in time. Well, yesterday, he hung around for much longer than was necessary. In times past, he has quickly run off when we move towards him. Yesterday, he did NOT!! We hit the window, I stomped my foot outside, the kids yelled at him... NOTHING!

He likes to hang out in our little drainage ditch that surrounds our patio

and poke his head out periodically to look around.

Which, as you can imagine, is quite unnerving if this is your first glimpse of our lizard friend. I thought it was a snake & about flipped out when I saw him by myself a few days ago. Then, I saw him slowly lift one leg up out of the grate, then another & crawl out completely.

The kids think he looks like a baby alligator. I have to agree!

So, any ideas on what it is? I've done a little research & he looks to be a water monitor, which is common in the Philippines, but I'm not entirely sure. Maybe some of my Filipino readers can help me!!

Either way, he needs to go. Not a big fan of mini alligators in my backyard.

Uninvited Guest

Most parties have atleast one guest who people look at and question their presence. This was ours:
This is the toko that I mentioned in my post quite a while back. (As you can see, it's shedding it's skin.) Who would've thought an overgrown gecko could make such a loud noise!!

Sunday, September 28

Nick's 4th Birthday Party

For Nick's 4th birthday, we hosted a fun pool party at his school swimming pool. The weather had us a little concerned since we had not seen the sun much the days prior to his party date. But, thankfully, we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day & no rain during party time. It was perfect!

I wanted to do things super simple for the party (which is VERY unlike traditional Filipino birthday parties!), so we set out several bowls of chips & candy & iced juice drinks/sodas. (Several times, I had to remind my sweet helper, Rosalie, that I would not need her assistance making spaghetti or pancit or rice or any other dish that is typically served! Simple all the way!) I also purchased several blow up beach balls, blow up whales & octopus, water guns & bubbles. Instead of handing out party favors at the end, each kid grabbed several items as they arrived so they could play with it during the party. The pools were filled with plastic, inflatable toys! Kids were running around squirting each other with water guns. And bubbles were floating amidst all the chaos. It was fun!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day & the rest can be viewed here:

Nick attempting to blow 2 party horns at the same time!

Samuel after devouring Daddy's yummy chocolate cupcakes!

Cute girls: Ava, Sydney, Phoebe & Rebekah

Titan & Griffin

Nick's best bud, Chan Woo

Sweet Sumin enjoying her lollipop

The whole crew wishing Nick a "Happy Birthday"

Dad, Mom & Nick with his "4" candle

Wednesday, September 24

Nicholas Stories

I wanted to remember a couple of stories about my recent birthday boy...

Last week, we were talking in front of the school with a few other friends. One of my girlfriends was sitting on the bench with her children, while Nicholas & I were standing in front of them. Nick bent down to get something, lost his balance (as usual) and smacked his forehead hard on my friend's bent knee. She immediately helped him up and searched for a beginning bruise or raised bump that might be forming where he came in contact with her kneecap. Instead, she told me, "I can't tell where he hit because he has so many scars already." Sad, but true.

Today, Nicholas came up to me and sweetly announced, "You are my best mom in the whole world!" Nothing melts my heart faster than hearing words like those spoken from my children. I eat it up!! Love that sweet boy!

Tuesday, September 23

Four Years Old!

Happy Birthday, Nicholas

It is unreal how quickly my baby has grown up! I vividly remember my LONG pregnancy with him... all the complications & scares he gave us while in the womb. It should have been my first indication of how often he would scare me outside of the womb. One hernia surgery, two sets of stitches, two "dead" teeth & numerous scars later, my new 4-year-old is still going strong! He is definitely a tough kid. And, also a sweetie.

Here are some pictures of my birthday boy:

Drinking lemonade at a stand he set up with his classmates

Nicholas & Samuel at Nick's pool party

His new Power Rangers mask

Eating ice cream at McDonald's

Wednesday, September 17

Like Mother, Like Sons

Sydney, my budding photographer, took these photos of us on Sunday. See any resemblance between my sons & myself?

Wednesday, September 10

This & That Thursday

Today is September 11 here in the Philippines. This day just comes and goes without so much as a television news special on the tragedy that occurred 7 years ago. (WOW... 7 years!!) I do have a good friend here that lived in New York at that time and we have talked a little about her experience on that day, but I'm thinking today might be a good day for us to go get a foot massage and chat some more. We were both pregnant on September 11, 2001. Her oldest daughter was born about a month later. And, my twins were born 6 months later. Such an important time in our lives and yet what seems to stand out is the sheer devastation on that day and afterwards. I feel for those families who lost so much.

Going back to the Philippines... tonight is the premiere of The Amazing Race Asia, Season 3!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am to watch! I LOVE The Amazing Race! And, I've talked to several people here that have agreed we think the Asian version is so much better than the American version. I have built it up so much in my mind, so it'll probably be completely anti-climactic when I watch tonight, but then again, maybe not...

I finally have a house full of healthy kids! I didn't realize what a luxury this was until I had almost 3 full weeks of sick kids at home. As of today, the kids have had 24 school days, but combined they have missed a total of 9 of those days. Sydney was first. And, she is my healthiest of the 3, so I know when she gets sick, all of them are bound to get it. She ran a fever for a couple of days then had the weekend to recover. She was back in school the next Monday. Samuel started exactly one week after Sydney, on a Thursday also. I was hoping he would follow the same pattern: sick Thursday, sick Friday, recover on weekend and back to school on Monday. But, unfortunately, he was sick throughout the weekend as well, so he also missed school on Monday. But, he was back on Tuesday, while Nick stayed home with a fever on that day. Nick missed Tuesday through Thursday, then returned to school on Friday just in time to help his class sell lemonade at a stand they set up in front of their cafeteria. Nick was pretty down and out over the weekend, but we couldn't figure out why. He slept quite a bit and didn't eat much of anything. (If you know Nick, you know this is not his personality at all!) He never ran a fever over the weekend, so I took him to school on Monday, even though he did not want to go at all. (That was another red flag because this kid loves his school!) He cried and cried and I cried as I left him in his classroom crying for me. At the end of the day, his teacher told me they took him to visit the school nurse because he did not play at all on the playground and would not eat any of his snacks. But, the nurse could not find anything wrong, so they sent him back to class. That evening, he slept from 1:30 pm until 6:00 pm!! That's when I really worried. Living in a foreign, third world country, you just never know what kind of diseases, amoebas, parasites, etc. your kids will encounter. I had already made up my mind that we were going to a pediatrician first thing Tuesday morning to run some blood tests. However, at about 10 pm Monday night, Nicholas vomited chocolate milk ALL over my bed! He had been complaining that his stomach hurt for a few days, but nothing ever came of it. Until Monday night. He slept after that, but threw up several times Tuesday morning. So, of course, he did not go to school on Tuesday. But, by that afternoon, he was able to hold liquids and oatmeal down. On Wednesday morning, he announced he was all better and wanted to go back to school. Thank goodness! Today is Thursday and I am thankful all the kids are back in school and are healthy. I hope this streak continues for a long time!

Enjoy your Thursday... whenever it may come for you!

Wednesday, September 3

Bed Hog

This is why I do not enjoy sharing a bed with Nicholas...

Before I took the above photo, I was laying on the left side of Nick & Sam was laying on the right side. We barely had any room to breathe. He just can't sleep vertically.

(Normally, we don't sleep with him, but he has been sick for the past few days & comes to get in our bed when he wakes up in the middle of the night. At that time, I'm way too tired & lazy to take him back to his room. And, to be perfectly honest, Sam & I usually sleep right through any bed intrusions from our kids. We love our sleep & don't like interruptions!)

Such a bed hog!

Homework... ARGHHH!!!

Confession time...

I loathe doing homework with my kids! We get it done, but it is rarely a pleasant experience. I just plain don't have the patience needed to get these basic concepts through to my children. Which is why I knew I never wanted to be a teacher in the first place. God bless the awesome men & women that have taught my kids & that will teach my kids in the future. I admire them! But, it is definitely not a profession for me!

I am hoping & praying that this learning how to read business will eventually "just click" as I've had so many people tell me it will do. In the meantime, I think it's really best to leave the teaching to the professionals at school that know what they're doing. Surely they have more patience with my children than I do... I hope!