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...

Tadpole Club

We have a water fountain next to our house that doubles as a breeding ground for toads! I love listening to them croak after a good rain. The sound is soothing & calming at night. And, we have definitely been receiving quite a bit of rain here lately. So, the frogs are out in full force!

One of the kids favorite things to do is go fish out the tadpoles from the stagnant water. (I know... sounds sanitary, huh? They're kids... they're supposed to be dirty!) They have watched these little creatures grow from tiny specks to even bigger specks with legs. Every time they show me a cup or bowl full of tadpoles, I make sure they return them to the water so as not to hinder the frog population in the Philippines. I want the next person living in this home to enjoy the same toad symphony that we hear on a nightly basis.

Sammy dubbed the kiddos The Tadpole Club. Enjoy their cute pictures!

The Tadpole Club - Eva, Cade, Samuel, Rowan & Sydney

The handsome ring leader

Important meeting...

Mission complete!

Tennis Wednesdays

International Tennis Center - Subic Bay, Philippines

Every Wednesday, I meet up with my Subic girlfriends to play tennis from 9-11 am. These ladies have been playing long before I arrived here, so I'm very thankful they allowed me to join their group. And, I'm also very thankful they allowed me to stay when they realized what an amateur player I was. We have a great time together every Wednesday! I wake up on hump day looking forward to a few fun games of tennis, which is saying a lot for someone who is NOT a morning person! I will miss these ladies dearly, but look forward to playing tennis with them again someday soon. Let's plan on it!

(I took some fun photos from my last tennis Wednesday today. You can see them here.)

Wilma, Susan, Ratchinee, Amberly, MP & Heather

Action Pose

Tuesday, May 19

New Mommy Blogger

I have to share with you one of my new favorite blogs... Texas Parenting Adventures. Jamie is a fellow mom & friend from my Wylie Moms group back home. She writes about a wide range of topics that can be downright hilarious & very thought provoking.

Great job, Jamie! Congratulations on your new writing adventure... keep it up!

Saturday, May 16

Dive #8 - Coral Reef

On Friday, Sam & I embarked on dive #8. We visited a coral reef in Subic Bay near Grande & Chiquita Islands. The reef was beautiful & amazing! We spent about 40 minutes exploring the corals & the colorful fish swimming among us. We saw several sea cucumbers, sea snails, a large crab & a medium sized cuttlefish. We also saw several clown fish, including the tiniest one I have ever seen. It was smaller than my pinky fingernail.

We had a great time, as usual!

Our destination when we arrived at the dive shop...

Our destination about 30 minutes later...
Thankfully, we only felt a few sprinkles.

One underwater shot before surfacing...

And Sam...

Heading back to the beach

Mother's Day

I enjoyed a nice, relaxing Mother's Day Sunday with my wonderful family & great friends here in Subic Bay. I slept in after spending a fun Saturday night at a beach birthday party. And, after a late lunch, I got a 2 hour foot spa & pedicure with 2 fabulous girlfriends! My feet felt wonderful afterwards! (More fun pictures from our time at DBS Spa here.)

For dinner, we met Brad & Heather at their favorite Indian restaurant. The kids ran around & played outside while we enjoyed catching up with good friends.

I hope every mother had just as wonderful a day! I am indeed blessed!

Friday, May 8

Ocho de Mayo Recipes

We threw a late Cinco de Mayo party last night with so many of our wonderful friends from Subic (and Angeles). It was so much fun, despite the fact that I clocked my sweet daughter in the face with our camera. OUCH! Not my proudest mommy moment.

The food was delicious!! And, at the request of a few friends, I'm sharing my two favorite Mexican recipes...

This first recipe was given to me by one of my dearest girlfriends back in Dallas. Her husband and Sammy were friends at TAMUK, then they both got jobs in the DFW area after graduation. Now, they both work at Texas Instruments. His wife, Rocio, and I have been great friends since their move to the Dallas area. And our daughters are now the best of friends. Sydney cannot wait to move back home and see Rebecca again! And, I am excited about spending time with Rocio and her family soon.

Sopa de Tortilla

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, without seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. corn oil
1 16-oz. can of original style stewed tomatoes with onions, celery & green peppers (Del Monte)
3 14 1/2-oz. cans of clear chicken broth
1 10 3/4-oz. can of condensed tomato soup
1 pinch of sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
8 corn tortillas, sliced in strips
1/2 lb. of sharp cheddar cheese
2 large limes
2 or 3 large avocados, cubed

Saute jalapeno, onions and garlic in oil. Add stewed tomatoes, chicken broth and tomato soup. Stir. Add sugar, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Leave 1 1/2 hours on low heat, uncovered. When soup is ready, fry corn tortilla strips lightly.

Preparation: In bowl, sprinkle some cheese, add tortilla chips, spoon in soup, squeeze in lime, then top with avocados and extra cheese, if you wish.

Yield: 4 servings

This second recipe was shared by a lady at our church. I think she made this for a ladies' event & sent the recipe for all of us to have. Although I didn't attend that event & never tasted her salad, the recipe sounded so delicious. I have made it several times since then, but this was my first time to make it in the Philippines. I forgot how wonderful it was!! Enjoy...

Layered Southwestern Salad

1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c. lime juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. sour cream
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 large head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. purple onion, chopped
1/2 bag (8 oz.) shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend
1 15-oz. can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 c. crushed tortilla chips

Process first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Layer lettuce and next 7 ingredients in a 3-quart glass bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad just before serving, and gently toss. (I didn't layer the salad because it had to be tossed anyway before serving.)

Yield: 8-10 servings

Sunday, May 3

Labor Day Weekend

We started off this Filipino holiday weekend with dive #7 to the Landing Ship Transporter in Subic Bay. This wreck was deeper than we have gone before, so our bottom time was only 20 minutes. We descended down about 32 meters or 110 feet. But, the visibility Friday morning was excellent & my descent was easy, so I was feeling good! Sam & I were the only ones from our dive shop to embark on this dive, but when we arrived at the site, 3 additional dive shop boats were already there. Our dive master said this typically indicates that something has been spotted in the area & others are hoping to see it. Sam & I got excited!

The descent was uneventful, thank goodness! When we achieved our neutral buoyancy above the wreck, we took off exploring. This ship has some great aquatic life swimming among it, including some really huge & beautiful angelfish that followed us the entire time! Sam said it was like they were policing us, making sure we didn't harm their habitat. I wonder if they're normally territorial?

At one point, our dive instructor pointed to something big on the ocean floor. He made all sorts of hand motions & gestures, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what he was pointing at. I could see a long, skinny sliver of something, which I assumed was an eel. Sam tugged on my fin & questioned what he was supposed to be looking for. I shrugged my shoulders & pointed to the eel looking creature. I wasn't sure if that was it, but it was the only thing in the area. After surfacing, our instructor asked us if we saw the huge stingray that he was pointing to. Mystery solved! We didn't see the stingray body, but we did make out the tail that I had assumed was an eel. And now we know the hand gesture for stingray! Next time, hopefully...

We also saw a school of barracuda swim overhead, although we didn't know it was barracuda until our instructor told us afterward. And lots of other great fish & sea creatures, including the beautiful & poisonous lionfish! On our way back to the beach, Sam told me that bull sharks are often spotted at this dive site. I'm not sure how I would have reacted if I had seen one. On one hand, I think it would be cool to encounter one (from a distance) during a dive. But, then on the other more nervous hand, I'm not sure I could stay calm underwater. It's probably best I don't tempt fate. And, it was a wise decision my husband made to wait until after our dive was over to share this piece of information with me!

Friday evening, we went out to dinner with friends & found ourselves in the middle of a Labor Day celebration crowd! Downtown was packed with people & cars enjoying the live music & fireworks display. Unfortunately, we enjoyed the fireworks show from our car as we circled the area looking for a place to park. After dinner, we decided to visit one of our favorite live music venues, Willis, in Olongapo. This great band, Bojo, plays a few sets every Friday night and we really enjoy their show.

This is not the best copy of their music, but it's the best I could find on YouTube. They are really great musicians!  And, the lead singer graduated from Brent Subic, so there's another reason we love them.

Saturday, we spent a good part of the afternoon at the school swimming pool. Our family had the entire pool to ourselves for several hours & we had a great time! That evening, we welcomed a good friend back to Subic. MP's husband, Omar, had been working away for too many months & he is now back home with his family before they move back to the states also. We're glad he's back & we had fun welcoming him home! Too much fun maybe... We finally left their house close to 1 am after wearing out the karaoke machine. Great times!!

Sunday, was a day to chill! Sam & I watched the long awaited, but much too short Pacquaio vs. Hatton fight. We were thrilled to see him win so easily. That guy is amazing! Small, but mighty! Later that afternoon, we met friends at school for some ultimate frisbee. After frisbee, I enjoyed a quick jog around my neighborhood to wind down for the night. I've decided nighttime is the best time for a jog during these hot summer months. And, that Prince's Raspberry Beret has the best beat to motivate my feet to keep jogging up a hill! Those two combinations makes for a great run!

We're sadly counting down our weekends left in Subic... only 5 more to go...

Saturday, May 2

Sydney's Tooth Post

I'm long overdue to write about Sydney's first lost tooth, so here is a post just for her...

Sydney lost her first & second teeth within just a few days of each other. Her first loose tooth was loose for well over a month. I think she was just afraid of the pain of losing it & did not want to yank it out. But, once she realized how little it hurt, she worked hard on her 2nd tooth & got it out much faster. Now, both twins are missing their two bottom teeth. And, they look so grown up! Which doesn't make me too happy...

Right before she pulled her 1st tooth. It was hanging on by a thread... literally!

Right after she lost her 2nd tooth
(Thank you to MP for being there to snap this photo!)

Her new toothy smile!

Samuel's Winning Smile

When I posted about Samuel's first lost tooth, I was contacted by Ms. Sheri Ann Bell-Rehwoldt who was running a photo contest for children. It was called the Toothy Kid Photo Contest. She allowed me the opportunity to enter Samuel's handsome photo in the contest. And, she informed me yesterday that Samuel was one of the four finalists in the contest! He will be receiving his prize in the mail soon.

I didn't tell him he was one of the winners... I just told him about the contest & started showing him the pictures of the winners on the website. I scrolled down until he finally saw his own photo. The excited expression on his face was priceless!

You can check it out here:
Toothy Kid Photo Contest Results

Ms. Bell-Rehwoldt also included a sweet letter for Samuel:


Tooth Fairy Extraordinaire Here!

Congrats on being chosen as one of the four toothless kiddos in my Toothy Contest! Your photo was so darn cute … so go hug your mom for taking the time to enter the contest, because you’re getting this personal letter and a prize. HA!

I wish I could personally deliver your congratulations, but I’m dead tired. I was up ALL night collecting teeth. It’s a tough job, but I love it. And if I might say so, I’m really good at it! My mom had the job before me, and her mom before her. Someday, when I have a little girl, I will hand the job over to her. But she’ll have to be a very special gal (like me!), because this job takes skill! And daring! And lots of courage and smarts!

Congrats, again, Samuel! Keep those teeth coming! Remember to always BRUSH and FLOSS! Right after breakfast, and right before bed. Otherwise you might get cavities. BLEEEEEECH! I hate collecting teeth with cavities!

Your BFF (best friend forever!),

Tooth Fairy

p.s. I’ve enclosed some of favorite toothy Knock-Knock jokes. Enjoy!

The Tooth Fairy’s FAVORITE Knock-Knock Jokes






Thank you so much, Ms. Bell-Reholdt, for telling me about this cute contest & choosing my son as one of your finalists! He is thrilled!

Here is his new, updated photo with both bottom teeth gone:
Such a cutie!