Jan 29, 2012

Midnight Surprise

It happened minutes before midnight last January 18. From Toronto to Manila for a meeting, my brother made a 36-hour side trip to Cebu for a short (really really short!) visit. Our parents, who are now staying with my family, didn't have a clue that my brother was arriving that night.

I unlocked their bedroom door and Junnie snuck inside and lay down next to our Ma. She thought it was one of her grandkids so she gave more space but continued to sleep. Pa stood up and wobbly walked to the door and headed for the comfort room. I momentarily blocked his way.

"Ma, sino yan sa tabi nyo? (Ma, who's that next to you?)", I asked to pave the way for the reveal. Both she and Pa squealed upon seeing it was Junnie. LOL. Hilarious!

I love hearing them belly laugh like that! Props to Junnie for making that moment possible.

Straight from a delayed flight, younger brother Junnie with Ma and Pa

Jan 25, 2012

Role Reversal

I learned to drive when I was in high school after Pa taught me one summer. He might have gotten tired of me pestering him about it. Yeah, I could be persistent like that. Pretty soon, Pa would let me drive our red hatchback to the grocery store, the church or a relative's house, on weekends. Getting behind the wheel then was exhilarating and felt like new-found freedom.

However, when the mishaps became often... like when I hit a parked Nova, a (parked!) motorcycle, our gate, and when I drove around the small village with the handbrake on... Pa decided to just send me to take formal lessons. Then I learned more about safe driving and road courtesy. Looking back, it's hard to imagine it was almost 30 years ago!

Pa has always owned a stick-shift vehicle. Now that he gets occasional debilitating gout attacks (blame bad diet), he wants to replace his old one with a car with automatic transmission. So yesterday, I invited him to test drive our car and went around IT Park.

30 years after I learned to drive, I find it amusing seeing Pa on the wheel and taking pointers from me. Hehe... I guess life just came full circle.

Role Reversal
"Look to the left, then to the right"... Pa behind the wheel...

Jan 22, 2012

Backtrack - The Annual Assembly I Always Look Forward To

Mid-year of 2011 brought about major changes on the home front. Some were planned and eagerly awaited, while some of the changes were not as welcome. Anyway...

The annual school assembly for parents and honor students of the previous academic year gather every June of the succeeding schoolyear for recognition. This assembly is something I jokingly tell my sons that I would want to keep attending every year. Haha! Pressure!

Last June 2011, our second son, Kyle, received his silver medal for his academic performance during the preceding schoolyear (when he was in 2nd year high school). It was a validation of all his hard work and a proud moment for all of us.

He is now in 3rd year high school and his grades are teetering between high and not so high. Hmm... Would he be going up the stage again for a medal come June 2012? I'm hoping and praying (because I'm certainly of no help) while he is currently battling it out in Chemistry and Geometry.

*breathe in-breathe out*

Honors' Assembly 2011

Honors' Assembly 2011

With Kyle's Lolo and Lola
with proud maternal grannies

Jan 21, 2012

Backtrack - Why We Passed Up On Travel Plans in 2011

It may not be much to some but for a family like ours who lived for 7.5 years with my in-laws, the next 7.5 years in our condo (a first acquisition back in 2000), and the next 4 years in a townhouse (after selling the condo), moving in to a modest house is surely an upgrade of sorts. Where before we only had 2 bedrooms, a tiny plot of garden and a single car garage, now we have more rooms and storage and slightly bigger spaces to move around and tend.

Here are a few pics during our move-in...

The ritual before we moved in
for luck right before moving in...

What we brought first to our new house
the first items we brought in...

minor finishing touches ongoing

no need for gates in this neighborhood

The kitchen
the kitchen was modified and made slightly bigger than the contractor's design

The floor-to-ceiling storage and view of the dining room from the kitchen
floor-to-ceiling cabinetry in the kitchen area because one could never have enough storage...

The ex-powder room, now toilet and bath
the ex-powder room, now toilet and bath

Maple closers instead of a huge dark piece of fixture in the room
maple-colored closets in the blue room instead of having a huge dark piece of fixture

the living room, dining area, guest/tv room

This was a major project in 2011. And with it came more expenses too - amortizations, real property tax, insurance, maintenance and higher utility costs like power, water, etc. We all consciously remind ourselves to delay gratification and just live within a reasonable level. Not that we are the type to splurge but no outrageous expenses like designer bags, expensive trips or other doodads here for the time being. :)

Jan 20, 2012

Backtrack - Dinner with the Yus, Lims, Shrimskis and Rapeses

The packed holiday schedule rendered us unable to join my in-laws (on my SIL's invitation) for dinner last December 29. I usually say yes to opportunities to bond with family and relatives like this one, (especially if it's dinner at Tin Gow! Haha!), but that was the same night we were at Marco Polo with 2 other families (the Khos and Villaruels) for an overnight stay...

When my SIL invited us again for dinner a few days later at Ginza, schedules were perfect and we made sure to go. Everyone was there and I could see Mommy enjoying the sight of her kids and grandkids (my Jake being the youngest... AND the most talkative in the bunch)... :)

dinner invitation by the yu family  
Jake pretending to be a chef
  one of 2 big tables for the clan :)
  Mommy and my SILs and BIL
  With my other SILs
  at ginza 
my Jake and hubby
About a week prior to this night, we were invited to dinner at the Shrimskis' residence. And luckily, schedules were open for all parties to meet up.

Dinner was just perfect. Food was superb as everything was prepared by BIL, the now famous Chef Steve of Cebu. :) I think I had more than I should have. Tsk. That night, any resolve to eat in small portions just went out the window. :)

  here with the Shrimskis...

Jan 19, 2012

Same Wavelength

She's one of my BFFs and luckily for me, she understands my quirks pretty much as if she's family. I guess she is, in a parallel universe... My question is... because we are always on the same wavelength, must we also have the same fashion preference???

Here we are in one of our afternoon meet-ups dressed (coincidentally) in almost identical tops...

With Dahlia K.

Jan 15, 2012

Turning a New Leaf

It was a long drawn out plan. When our Pa underwent his quadruple bypass in 2002, Junnie and I, being the elder of 3 siblings, wanted to care for our parents as soon as possible. The plan was for Pa and Ma to start taking it easy given their age, to leave Manila (bid goodbye to pollution and traffic) and to just spend their time (if they so wish) shuttling between Canada and Cebu where my brother and I are based, respectively.

I guess Pa didn't want to do any major changes because he couldn't see himself leaving his brokerage business. It was (and continues to be) his comfort zone. We let him be but not without constantly worrying about them health-wise because of the effects of stress in business aggravated by uncontrolled diet...

So when Pa underwent an angioplasty, another heart procedure, in 2010, we all took it more seriously this time. We started the transition for their move to Cebu. A lot of things have happened from then until now but the short of it is, they're finally here with me.

Today being their first day at home, we took them out for an early dinner. We went around the city to see where the Sinulog festivities were. Our last stop for the night was at Radisson Blu where we shared pizza and watched the fireworks competition that could be seen from the nearby mall. I could tell from Pa and Ma's excited chatter (Ma's more particularly, hehe) that they are actually happy about this new chapter in their lives. Whatever reluctance they had with the move, is no longer apparent (I'd like to believe) so much so that Ma even wants to bring her piano to our home!

It wouldn't be easy getting along especially with our extreme personalities. There would be clashes as usual but for sure the good times would outnumber the bickerings. Crossing my fingers now. Haha!

As I peeked into the other room while they slept soundly and cuddled around each other like newlyweds, I could only think of one thing... what a blessing to be given this precious time to be with them! I wish everyone is given the same with his/her own. :)

a fitting welcome, fireworks to mark a new chapter :)

Jan 4, 2012

School: Day 1 Casualty

As a routine, I check Jake's school bag the moment I see him during dismissal. Today as in other days, I made sure he did not forget anything under his desk in his classroom. I looked for his assignment notebook specifically, because yes, he forgets sometimes... :)

I leafed thru his assignment notebook and found the result of his Q3 tests. I was elated when I saw he got good grades. As his immediate reward, he was allowed playtime for extra 20 minutes.

Okay, so his pencils were complete, his books and 10 notebooks too... Except for the food that he wiped out, his lunch bag still had everything in it, thankyouverymuch. The only thing out of the ordinary inside his bag was... his (now) bent METAL ruler. :P

And how is that even possible?


Jan 1, 2012

2012 - Off to a Great Start

It was an eventful year. Like everyone, we / I have gone through so much. And thankfully, the good (always) prevailed, unless you are the type to look at the proverbial glass half-empty rather than half-full.

I have no resolutions written down (was never fond of doing that anyway), nor grand plans, but it is always my goal to be better (than I was in the past year). That alone gives me a lot to do, improve on, learn about for the next 364 days.

(To name a few, reviving my reading plan of the Bible is one of my to-dos. I have no problem with the New Testament. The challenge is in reading the Old Testament. I need to get past Leviticus (hehe) so I could complete reading from cover to cover. Another example, writing a blog post (on the first day of the new year and hopefully on a daily basis after a long hiatus) is one of the things I want to revive as well. Pressure! LOL)

2011 is now in the past. I bring with me all the lessons learned, new experiences and insights gained, and new (and reconnected) relationships made as I move forward to 2012.

And so far, day 1 has been good!


And what could be better than spending the first day of the year with family? Here are photos with the Rapes, Arreza, Matugas, Lim (my side and Jerry's) and Parrenas families...

the waiter / photog directed us to do a wacky pose
the waiter / photog directed us to do a wacky pose

Mr. & Mrs. Parrenas with Mr. & Mrs. Arreza
Mr. & Mrs. Parrenas with Mr. & Mrs. Arreza

here with my MIL, SILs and nephew
here with my MIL, SILs and nephew

at my cousin's house
at my cousin's house