Thursday, September 17


Maybe I should just aim for once a month blogging. It's definitely not priority any longer, but every now & then I want to document something good to remember. Like this...

This is Nick's Bible memory verse at school this week:

I John 3:16
This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ lay down His life for us.

This is Nick's version:

I John 3:16
This is how we know what love is. Jesus lay down his Christ for us.

I don't have the heart to correct him. It's too cute.


We have been getting a lot of rain lately! A LOT! Which, in my opinion, is great! I don't mind the wet weather. I've heard several people complain & long for the sun again. I'm actually enjoying the cooler weather... the clouds... the drizzle. I think because it seems to match my mood these days. I just don't have that "sunshiney" feeling...


I'm sharing some pictures that I haven't had the time to blog about. They remind me of times when we are all a bit more carefree & things were much less stressful. We really miss those days...

Nick with his good friend & neighbor, Ava

Nicholas & his best bud, Chan Woo

Sydney with her friend, Rania, at Nayong Pilipino

My handsome Samuel taking a trip with Daddy to visit historic Corregidor Island

All the sweet girls loving on Heather at Camayan Beach

Me & MP at Anvaya Cove

Sunday, August 16

California Family

We recently visited Sam's family in San Diego during our June trek back to Texas & while there, we were able to meet up with some of my family from the Los Angeles area. This was my first time to meet several of my family members & I was so excited to finally connect with my cousins!

Our entire clan...

Cousins - Mike, Amberly & Debi

The little guys
Alakai & Samuel standing
Nicholas & Sydney sitting

I was thrilled to spend an evening getting to know my family better. I can't wait to see you all again soon & meet even more family members!

All the pictures from our fun evening can be seen here.

Wednesday, August 12

Wishing for a Wii

This afternoon, Nick & I were tossing a ball to each other down the hotel hallway. (We do what we gotta do to keep from getting bored!) While we were playing, Sam called me from work to pass on some good news. So, while we were still playing catch, I exclaimed on the phone, "That's great, Sammy! I'm so happy for you!" Nick immediately looked at me & excitedly yelled, "Daddy got a Wii?"

Guess what Nick wants for his birthday...

Monday, August 10

Booty Bonking Twins

Our Monday morning so far...

Samuel comes limping in my bedroom, holding his "private" area.

Mom: "What happened?"
Sam: "Sydney kicked me."
Mom: "In between your legs?"
Sam: "Yep."
Mom: "SYDNEY... come here please."
Syd: "Yes, Mom?"
Mom: "Did you kick Samuel in his private parts?"
Syd: "Well, he stuck his butt in my face."
Sam: (laughing) "It's true. I bonked her with my booty."

This hotel life is making us all a little crazy!

Wednesday, July 1

American Idol Finale Party

In a final effort to have one last get together, Sam & I hosted an American Idol finale party in Subic. Everyone came over to eat, drink & watch TV. The adults watched in the family room, while all the kids were sent to the master bedroom. We had a blast teasing each other & arguing who should win. The pictures say it all...

The Espinosas
The Gulleys
The Men - Matt, Garth & Martin
Heather cuddling with Eva & Rebekah

Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for:
And, the shocked reactions:

These ladies were devastated!

Tamra & Jackie - Rivals til the bitter end!
(Tam signing "A" for Adam & Jax signing "K" for Kris)

We all had a great time, as usual! I miss all of these people tremendously & can't wait to get together for a reunion sometime soon. We love our Subic crew!!

Tuesday, June 30


I had one other realization about life in the US vs. life in the Philippines...

11. Portion sizes at restaurants in the States are HUGE! Or maybe it's just Texas. Ha! But, the amount of food served on one plate is enormous compared to portions in Asia. I have only been able to finish half of my orders anytime we go out to eat... which is definitely not a bad thing!

One last comment about restaurants here... it's nice to be back in the land of convenience. Picking up a quick lunch or dinner at a drive thru fast food place is great! We are totally taking advantage of this!

Top 10 Moving Back Realizations

Our Top 10 list of realizations after moving back to the United States from the Philippines...

10. Daylight Savings Time! We are not used to the sun being out until 9 pm. We are used to it getting dark at 6 pm in the Philippines. Needless to say, my kids have not been in bed anytime before 10 pm since we've been back to the States.

9. People are in such a hurry in the US. Life is way more laid back & leisurely in the Philippines. It is completely the opposite here in the States.

8. So MANY choices in the grocery stores! So many different kinds of cereal... salad dressings... Pop Tarts... toilet paper... makeup... It's completely overwhelming to go shopping!

7. Our family has a TON of laundry! Okay, so I knew this before we moved to the Philippines, but I'm sadly getting reacquainted with this fact. I can't keep up.

6. So many new rules/laws to learn. For instance, they changed the booster seat law, so my 7-year-old twins now need to sit in a booster seat until they are 8. I also learned last night that all riders in the backseat are required to wear seat belts, regardless of age. What else is new??

5. Traffic is much more manageable in the States! Drivers follow the rules here, use turn signals & stay in their own lanes! I still have moments when I want to pass a car illegally or use my horn at any given time & I have to constantly remind myself that these actions are either not allowed or highly frowned upon in the States. In the meantime, keep an eye out for me...

4. I don't have to ask for a check at a restaurant. Which kinda goes back to the fact that things are so rushed in the States... waiters/waitresses are in a hurry to get customers in & out of their restaurant. Before you are finished with dinner, your bill is already waiting to be paid. We haven't had to hold up our hands to make the common Filipino signal for "check" at a restaurant yet... although we've been tempted to try just to see what would happen.

3. The heat!! It is so unbearably hot in Central Texas! It was hot in the Philippines, but the humidity helped, in my opinion. This dry heat is scorching. I want to go to the beach!!

2. I'm in shoe heaven!! I can find shoes that fit my size 8 feet! And, I'm not looked at like a freak when I ask for my size. (Well, except from my petite sisters who have dainty little feet.) It's great to feel (somewhat) normal again. :-)

1. Sticker shock! Wow... we are paying a LOT for things that were so incredibly cheap in the Philippines! I miss inexpensive (but delicious) mangoes, foot scrubs & pedicures and fresh fruit shakes/cocktails, to name a few. We were definitely spoiled in the beautiful Philippines!

Monday, June 29


Sam & I just returned from a fun weekend getaway to Chicago. His brother, Jacob, got married on Friday evening & we enjoyed helping him celebrate the start of his new life with his new wife! (It was nice to finally meet our new sister-in-law before Jacob moves her away to Hawaii!)

We tried to make the most of our short visit & enjoyed a sampling of many tourist attractions. But as in all our travels, we realize there was so much we didn't see & do. We'd love to visit again someday to see all the wonderful museums & parks that we missed on this visit.

On Thursday, we arrived at Violeta's (new sis-in-law) house to meet her family. Afterwards, we checked in at our hotel in the charming little community of Oak Brook. It was a beautiful town with beautiful old homes! Our hotel was on the grounds of the McDonald's headquarters, but little did we realize we were staying right next to Hamburger University! No lie...

That evening, we met Sam's family & the wedding party at the church to participate in the wedding rehearsal. Unfortunately, the air conditioner in the church building was not working, so it was beastly hot during the entire rehearsal! We could NOT wait for the rehearsal to be over so we could enjoy the cooler air outside!

These cute kiddos did their best to keep their minds off the stifling heat inside the church building:

Friday, Sam & I slept in late, then enjoyed shopping & exploring around the small town of Oak Brook. We spent most of our time inside a Borders Bookstore... something we didn't have in the Philippines. I browsed for a gift for the soon to be married couple, while Sam enjoyed the cafe upstairs. We then headed to the wedding, only to find out that the air conditioner STILL was not working! (Those poor men in their suits!) Other than that minor glitch, the wedding proceeded beautifully! The groom was beaming & the bride was glowing. And, the rest of us were sweating profusely! But, it wasn't about us... so we sucked it up & celebrated the start of Jacob & Violeta's marriage. They made a beautiful bride & groom! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of them, but got a nice one of Sam & I after the wedding:

On Saturday, we checked out of our McDonald's hotel & checked into a neat little historical hotel in downtown Chicago... Hotel Blake. This hotel is located in the old Morton Salt building & was renovated into a great little contemporary inn. We loved our overnight stay here!

After checking in, we met up with friends for lunch at the Chicago House of Blues. The hostess gave us a tour of the concert hall after we finished eating & was full of fun information about the House of Blues. We really enjoyed our time there!

We then ventured over to Sears Tower, which is now officially renamed Willis Tower. Since the new glass Skydeck was being remodeled, we could only go up to the 99th floor. But, that was enough for some amazing views of the beautiful city of Chicago:

When we returned to solid ground, we took off towards Navy Pier & Grant Park to enjoy the 2009 Taste of Chicago. We enjoyed a leisurely ride on the ferris wheel & snacked on ice cream, cotton candy & popcorn at the Pier. After chilling out for a bit & resting our tired feet, we ventured on an hour long river boat tour. We chose the architectural tour & enjoyed listening to the guide tell us all about the rich history of the buildings in downtown Chicago. It was truly fascinating! We then trekked over to the Taste of Chicago to listen to the Counting Crows free outdoor concert. We arrived just in time to hear their last song & watch Adam Duritz's famous dreadlocks walk off the stage. Huge bummer! We spent a bit of time sampling some yummy local food before heading to Millenium Park. Afterwards we walked back to the Pier to meet up with Sam's family for the Saturday evening fireworks show. It was a jam packed day full of Chicago fun!

View from top of ferris wheel:
Some interesting buildings along our architectural tour:

Millenium Park
A huge thanks to my parents & my sister for keeping the kiddos busy & happy while we were gone. It's so wonderful to be back in Texas with family nearby! We are blessed to be home!

Friday, June 12

Back in the US

Well, we have been back in the States now for 6 days. We have done the following so far:

* Ate Sonic - YUM!!! I downed my Cherry Limeaid like it was gold!
* Ate Taco Bell - Not as good as I was hoping. Not sure why I expected much...
* Ate Papa John's Pizza - Sam was on Cloud 9!
* Okay, we have eaten a lot! I can't really list them all here. That's what happens on vacation, right?
* Shopped at a grocery store with tons of different options & choices in food... and all of it IN STOCK!!

We have NOT done the following:

* Shopped at Target! Why have I not done that yet?! I passed by one yesterday (on my way to Sonic) and didn't stop! It took all the willpower I had in me not to grab the steering wheel out of Sam's hand & turn the car into the Target lot. That is on my "to do" list today!

It's been great being back in the States so far. We are looking at everything with wonder again... through new eyes. And, we are appreciating it all!

Thursday, May 28

Home Sweet Home

Tomorrow, we leave our Subic home for good. We have enjoyed a great year & a half in this home. Many parties + many kids = TONS of fun! We have been truly blessed to have the opportunity to live here. We will miss our home, we will miss our school, we will miss our friends & we will miss Subic Bay...

I will really miss this kitchen...
And this backyard...

I have loved our life here! Thanks, Sam, for bringing our family to the Philippines.

Language Barrier

I posted a status update on Facebook that started an interesting discussion... I was wondering if I'll still use common Filipino phrases when I return to the States. I thought it would be fun to list those that have been mentioned in my comments section on FB. I'll update as more people comment:

US Version vs. Philippines Version

* McDonalds vs McDo
* Diet Coke vs Coke Light
* Last Name vs Surname
* Bathroom/Restroom vs CR (Comfort Room)
* Air Conditioner vs Air Con
* Refrigerator vs Ref
* Asking for your meal "to go" vs Asking for your meal "take out"
* Black Out vs Brown Out
* Clorox vs Zonrox
* Turn the lights on vs "Open" the lights
* Turn the lights off vs "Close" the lights
* Flip Flops vs Slippers
* Tennis Shoes vs Rubber Shoes


One other thing I realized yesterday as I was bargain shopping at the local market is that I won't be able to haggle when I purchase items in the States. I'm finally getting good at bargaining for a price I want. However, I'm betting that won't get me very far at all in Target...


Samuel asked me today why all of our family & friends back in Texas couldn't move to the Philippines with us. That way, we could stay forever. This is coming from my most sensitive child who had previously been begging us to move back to Texas. Now, he is having such a hard time leaving his group of wonderful friends behind in Subic. If nothing else, this experience will definitely help him learn to be more flexible and open minded in life... which is definitely a good thing! But, I honestly can't blame him. We are leaving behind such a beautiful country & terrific little town. Who wouldn't want to live here??

Wednesday, May 20

Future Hair Stylist?

While cleaning out the toy room earlier this week, I ran across Sydney's work of "art"...

All of her ponies got trims (some even got scalped!) sometime recently. I'm betting this happened at the same time she took the scissors to her own lovely head of hair.

My Little Pony sports a mohawk! It's about time these seemingly innocent ponies let their wild side show. We could be on to something big here...

Even the Barbies received a makeover...

People may really go for this cut. The angled, blunt razor cut. I bet some women somewhere pay big money for this style. Sydney's future is looking bright...