Monday, December 30, 2013


It's time to say goodbye to our South Pacific island home for a we have been trying to soak up as many 'lasts' as we can...Swimming outside on our back porch in December...definitely a 'Last' for some time...
December sunbathing...enjoying it while we can.
Blowing bubbles! A good end of December activity...
Boxing in an open-air gym with one of my best friends here....gonna miss the punching and kicking but I'm REALLY gonna miss her!
And riding our dog one last time...the kids are quite sad that Bear is not making the trip to the States with us.
And eating some fave foods---the kids love Jollibee...the local version of McDonald's. When you're not ordering the burger, you can also get rice. And sometimes, our kids do.
Yes, definitely worth smiling about.
I had kinilaw twice this last week--my favorite food here. It's the Filipino version of cerviche, and really good.
Saying goodbye to friends--- I have known Ate Nesing since I was a little kid...when she worked for our family.
Leif has heard fresh pineapples (his fave fruit) aren't quite as plentiful over in Midwestern America...
 We also went out to the 'fanciest' restaurant in town one last time. The kids requested it.
It's hard to say goodbye to our home--even though we're excited to see family and friends in the States...Doing some 'Lasts' together makes for good memories for us and the kids--and helps to ease the transition. We're also looking forward to doing some 'Firsts' as we get back to the States...since 3 of our kids have never played in snow, and many, many other firsts will be coming up for them...and us.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bye-Bye Motor!

On Friday, we bid adieu to our trusty motorcycle. It was an emotional roller-coaster for the children. When they found out that we were selling it that morning, there was great weeping and gnashing of teeth. The kids have been going through a LOT of change lately, with their home getting packed up, saying goodbye to friends and toys and clothes and  their whole home...apparently this was one of the proverbial last straws. So we decided to try to make it a little easier by taking a farewell cruise.
I took each of the kids for a short ride so that they could say a proper goodbye to the good ol' XLR 200. It has done a good job for us.
Everybody was pretty excited to get their ride, and it definitely helped to smooth the transition.
Close your eyes, mom. The helmet was too big for our 24-pound 3-year old. Don't worry, I drove SLooooW with her. And she was quite impressed.

Goodbye Honda. You have served us well.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Christmas Ballet Recital

The girls finished out their year of ballet training with a Christmas Recital! Skye was the youngest and smallest dancer there--but she does her best to make her presence known. (Often by running across the back of the stage while other dancers are doing their number...)
Asia has now been doing ballet for 1.5 years here where we live, and she is still loving it. She was in three dances in the recital, and even had a costume change in between numbers somewhere.
Our, (ahem) ballet-loving boys attended to support their sisters, but were more interested in watching some Mythbusters that mom and dad wisely brought along. We were there for almost 2 hours, so it's understandable that any self-respecting 5-year old boys love of ballet can only extend so far. Even if they do love their sisters.
Where's Waldo? And, can you spot Skye and Asia too? Promise, they're there.

Wendel has known our kids ever since we arrived in the Philippines, so the girls were VERY excited that their "kuya" Wendel came to support them and cheer them on.
Asia and Skye have both learned a LOT under the direction of their ballet teacher, Miss Chiqui.
And, we just think they look pretty darn cute in their tutus...but then we are their parents.
After the performance....the boys were a little tuckered out, but it was a great Recital, and we are so proud of our girls!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pasko 2013

Another Christmas come and gone, and our kids continue to grow. We had a special Christmas with our kiddos---and they LOVED it. We started off by reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, and then opened stockings...
Presents from Grampy & Grammy
Then, Christmas morning, we read a different version of the Christmas story, and pulled out the presents.
It's always nice for mom and dad when the kids say, "IT'S JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!!"
Anticipation!!! Mom, can we open them yet, are you done taking that silly picture so we can open them pleeaaze?!?
Those smiles let you know, who cares about my two front teeth...I wanted LEGOS and that's what I got!
Books, for our voracious little Bookworm...I think most of those books have already been read, since it is after all, two days after Christmas now.
And, Skye got some Lalaloopsy and Hello Kitty--- Everybody was pretty stoked with their presents, and mom and dad mostly enjoyed the fact that the kids had a great time.

 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Through the Years

Sometimes, it's fun to take a quick look back at Christmas Past. It can make Christmas Present more fun as we realize how MUCH these kiddos have grown, and also gives us some anticipation-- As they keep on growing and we move on to Christmas Future!
2007...Asia's 1st Christmas
Don't have a picture...but this is the year that the tradition of sleeping under the Christmas tree began....then...
2008...Leif & Slater's 1st Christmas.
The boys were newborns...and apparently I have zero pictures from their 1st Christmas...hahaha
I laugh...because I really don't remember the first 6 or so months of their life...
Anyway...I think that picture of the 3 of them is from Christmas Eve...but I'm not was around then...  haha
That's daddy and Asia hammming it up as they get ready to once again sleep under the Christmas tree...
2009...1st Christmas in Manila, Philippines...the boys had just turned one year old.
Sleeping "under" the Christmas tree in Manila. Hey, 3 pack-n-plays are hard to get anywhere near that little tree.
2010-- Skye's first Christmas...still in Manila.

 The Fantastic Four....
2011...1st Christmas in Mindanao...
We had just moved into this house 2 days before...I only hung the stockings...and we got a little "tree" that Asia sort of decorated....
2012...everyone starting to get a little more Christmas "aware" and realizing that presents are a good thing!
Still 2012...Also known as the year we declared that we would NEVER sleep under the Christmas tree again!!!
And, 2013...our 5th Christmas in the Philippines...The kids had a blast, and according to them, got exactly what they wanted...and as we look at this picture, we did mommy and daddy. Four happy healthy kiddos is about  as good as it gets for Christmas gifts.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Little Christmas Elves

 Aaahh...decorating for Christmas.  All four of our little elves are old enough to 'help' now, so it was quite the family affair.
The kids were quite impressed with their mad decorating skills. We sat them all down on the couch and had them get up, youngest to oldest and put on a decoration one at a time. Otherwise, this would be a picture of an upside-down tree with four children on top of it trying to tastefully attach the remaining shards of broken decorations. 
It actually worked pretty's good to remember how EXCITING Christmas and decorations are when you're 5 years old...Reminds me that we DO have a lot to be excited about and thankful for! 
Very determined 6-year old decorator. 
Success!! We are all prepared for some serious yuletiding now. Good job to our young decorating team! This, our stockings and our Little People Nativity Scene is the extent of our Christmas decorating this year. All the decorating took a grinch-like grand total of 40 minutes. Maybe we'll get more elaborate next year.

And yes, mom and dad may have helped a tiny bit...Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30: The Stache

I "mustache" you a question....
I'm super, super thankful that it's the last day of November...
As you have probably noticed by now...Brian has been participating in "No Shave November"(Movember)...whatever you want to call it.  
And I'm thankful it's the last day of the month...because it means that Brian can finally shave off all that facial hair.  YUCK!  haha  We've been married for over 10 years and this is the first time that he has grown his facial hair...and I'm pretty sure that it'll be the last...  haha
Anyway...we had a bit of fun with it today...So, ENJOY.  
People have asked me what I thought about it... first thought was..."It's not as grey as I thought it was going to be..."  haha
I don't like it & neither does, it all works out...
The thing that really made us that he has a large bald patch between his beard and his sideburns on both sides. haha
The other thing that made me laugh was that my darling husband was convinced that he looked sooo much cooler with his sunglasses on.  haha  Seriously...laughing as I write this...  I really love that he's such a good sport and takes my teasing sooo well...
He shave the sides off until he had just the mustache and goatee...the funniest part...he was like that for hours...and THE KIDS NEVER NOTICED!
 Next, he came out like this...  YIKES!  And, lots of this time the kids had caught on...
 And then, this... DOUBLE YIKES!  CREEPY!  haha
And finally...Awww...There's my dear husband that I love and adore!  haha

Anyway..Thankful that it's the last day of the, that Brian could shave.
And, thanks to Bri for shaving all that off today.
By the way...I'm thinking of getting you back by not shaving all winter.  Love ya!  hahaha