Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We are back in the States. The travel was brutal. 24 hours of travel is not fun no matter if it's with kids or without. Addie was wonderful all considering. Touching down at Dulles was a relief but the traffic on the beltway was not. Welcome Home! We all are feeling the effects of the 13 hour time change. 3AM meals have been strange but necessary to get us back to sleep. All in all it's lovely to be home; the air is fresh, the weather is cold, the food is yummy, and seeing family and friends is the best part of all. Here is Addie in the business class lounge in Detroit.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A very Merry Christmas

Christmas was especially joyful this year. Maybe it was the anticipation that started at Thanksgiving for us in Hong Kong Disneyland, or maybe is was all the baking and shopping and other preparations that I started early this year. Mostly I think it was being together as a little family far from home that made the day extra special. We have so many blessings in our life and are lucky in so many ways. Being in a foreign third world country helps you realize this even more than usual.

Christmas Eve we were balls of excitement. I was on my feet cooking up a feast all day for dinner. We hosted a co-worker of Justin's who is living here alone. Everyone feasted on delicious comfort food and good company. The guys had wine as well as coffee with Baileys. I snuck a few sips here and there! Addie ate her dinner like a champ then promptly pooped out at bedtime from all the excitement. That night we awoke to a major fireworks display outside our building at midnight welcoming Christmas morning. It woke Addie up and all three of us stood at the window watching the show. Justin and I were so anxious for the morning that we weren't even that irritated by the midnight interruption. I felt like a little kid wishing away the hours before Addie woke up that morning. Santa Claus found our house in the Philippines because the next morning our little girl had a special surprise waiting for her. She quickly caught-on to the concept of ripping the paper off the packages. We opened gifts, ate homemade sticky buns, and talked to all our family. At one point Addie hit present overload and refused to open anymore. She decided to focus on playing with what she had open. Later in the afternoon I convinced her to open the rest. Santa must have thought that she was a very good girl this past year because she received some great gifts. Her favorites are her new Corolle baby doll and baby stroller, as well as her new wheely bug. The joy on her face after opening some of her gifts was priceless. She was so animated and excited about everything. All her grandparents sent wonderful gifts and she is still going from toy to toy playing with her new things.
Christmas night Addie was so plum-tuckered out that she asked for "bubbles" (a bath) and then wanted to go straight to bed without a story. She was one tired little girl. Justin and I were exhausted as well. We had a very special Christmas day just spending time as a family and helping Addie play with her new toys. Christmas is definitely more fun with children!

Monday, December 22, 2008

getting ready for cold

We are taking our first rest and recuperation trip (R&R) back to the States starting on December 29. We will be in MD/VA for three weeks, soaking up all our friends and family and everything we miss about home. I ordered a coat as well as hat and mittens for Addie so we'd have something right away when we get to DC. She tried them on last night and walked around in them for quite some time. I'm sure in her head it was equivalent to a costume. When we pealed her out of it she was unhappy. I guess better that then I can't get her to wear it when we get to the cold weather. The chilly winter on the East Coast is going to feel extra cold to us since the weather is still warm, muggy, and 80 degrees every day. I'm jealous to hear of the almost 2 feet of snow my folks in Washington are experiencing right now. I would love some snow right now, I'd even take sleat! Maybe I'd settle for a cool enough day where I could see my breath outside. East Coast winter, here we come.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hokie Bird 2 is a...girl!

I promise we didn't cave! It was an accident that we found out the sex of the baby. We had the congenital scan on Saturday (ultrasound room slightly different than Fairfax 30 years difference). The doctor slipped and just started calling the baby "she" and "her" after he'd determined the gender. We never confirmed it with him just to leave a hint of a mystery (Justin was sure he was referring to the baby as one would refer to a ship). Then at home I pulled out the detailed results from the scan and plain as day beside "gender" was the word "female"! We both couldn't stop smiling at the scan. She (so strange to know Hokie Bird 2 is a she) is a healthy and active baby. Her arms were up by her face just like Addie and her profile looks just like her sister's at this stage. Everything is perfect and healthy. I couldn't be happier that Adelaide is going to go through life with a sister only 2 years younger than her. My sisters are my closest friends and I'm so happy that Addie will always have that in her life. Justin said he grew a few new gray hairs the moment he found out he was going to be a sucker for another woman in his life. He's completely thrilled to have another daughter since Addie melts his heart on a daily basis. Now we are just getting used to the idea that the baby is not going to arrive for another 20 weeks and we already know it's a GIRL! Crazy!

Friday, December 19, 2008


We've had so much fun getting to know new friends here in Manila. We have a few good friends including adorable Stella pictured here with Addie. We try to see eachother once a week so the girls can play while Sunny and I can chat. They are expecting baby number two as well. Soon the play date will be a bit more crowded.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

busy week

I started off my baking week enthusiastic and ended it exhausted. I'm not sure that spreading out the baking made it any easier. Let me just say, baking with a toddler (even with a yaya) is tough. I finished all my goodies and even tried a new one. It's the French lace cookie. They turned out OK but I think next year I'll use real butter not the shortening it called for. Now I'm packaging up the goodies as gifts. This plate of cookies is going downstairs to the building administrators office for all the employees at our building that keep us guarded, safe, comfortable, and happy in our condo.
This week we also had Justin's office holiday party which was on the 33rd floor of the Tower Club here in Makati. The view was spectacular and the venue super posh. I almost forgot we were in a third world country. I had a lovely time chatting with the three other pregnant wives in Justin's office. We claimed the few chairs in the room and sat there chatting about all sorts of ailments and our other kids. It was loads of fun.
Justin is off on a business trip so Addie and I are keeping busy at home and with friends. Here she is pretty in yellow ready for her play date with a new friend we made at the park.
Dinner time has been a battle for the past week or two with Addie. She'll sit down and take a look at her plate, maybe take a bite or two and demand to get up and play, even if she's hungry. I just let her go for a while but then forced her to stay seated even if she wasn't going to eat out of principle. Screaming fits ensued and every meal was a disaster. I always had cold food and indigestion later. So for the past two days I haven't given her any snacks between lunch and dinner. Success! Last night she sat and ate almost her entire plate of brown rice and chicken and vegetable stir fry. She was quiet and concentrating on using her fork and drank her milk. It was so peaceful. I was so proud of her she got a cookie for dessert. I think I'm on to something with the no snack rule.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas spirit

Today started off our week of Christmas baking. I have to admit, it is lovely to spread out the baking since I am not working this year. In past years I scramble on a Saturday to do everything. All my cookie recipes are my Mother's. We've been baking the same cookies every Christmas since I was a little girl. There has never been a need to search out new Christmas cookie recipes because these are honest-to-God, the best selection you will ever find. I started out with the Spritz cookies, impressing my helper with my old fashioned cookie press (discovered at an estate sale no doubt by my folks). It's in the original box with the paperwork. The receipt inside states that the original owner paid $3.50 for it new! Too cute. I'm not sure what year it was made but on the side of the box it says that it was approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute in 1920.

Anyhow, I got a little off-track. Addie helped with the maraschino cherries and the green sprinkles. She favored the Christmas trees once they were out of the oven. We listened to Christmas music and burned a mistletoe candle while baking. I was grinning just from the happy feelings making these cookies gives me. It's even nicer that now I have a daughter to pass on the tradition to. From her avid interest in the mixer and ingredients, she will most likely prove to be a very good student. She's already figured out that when the mixer is off she can sneak her finger on the edge for a taste. Smart girl.
The cookies turned out pretty like every other year. On to the next cookie tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Party #2

Today was a day for Addie (as if all our days aren't really devoted to her). After our breakfast with Santa we came home and after a nap and lunch had some serious Duplo building time. We built a castle and a huge tower. Justin and I were more excited about it than Addie. Duplos are our favorite new toy! Then it was on to party number 2 at the British School Manila for the Mothers and Darlings group we belong to. We made some Christmas crafts, watched the kids on the bouncy castle (Addie was fascinated but too scared to get in herself), ate yummy snacks, watched a bubble show, and a really cool acrobatic routine.

More than any of these things Addie loved the huge gymnastics mat in the middle of the gym. She wandered over on her own and started dancing to the music. Soon enough other kids were joining her. She wore herself completely out and was asleep on the car ride home. She rarely does this and always wakes up when we bring her inside. Tonight she was so tired she stayed asleep and we had to finally wake her up for dinner. It was a fun filled day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breakfast with Santa

This morning we had a special pancake breakfast with Santa Claus. Addie started crying and grabbing Justin's leg immediately when Santa walked in the door. She adamantly said she didn't want to sit on his lap but as we waited in line the idea didn't seem as horrible to her. When it was our turn she wasn't happy about it and squirmed through a few photos. I also took a great photo of her grumpy "I'm a stubborn independent toddler" face. Along with one of her sweet angelic face.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Miss Independent

Addie has mastered the word "no" and uses it as she sees fit during the day. She really likes to do things on her own now and shoos us away with a quick "no" if we are trying to help her with something that she wants to do on her own. Before bedtime she gets in her rocking chair with her books and reads them to herself. It's adorable to watch since she really animates her voice and turns the pages.

impulse buy

Justin and I haven't done much Christmas shopping for our daughter because luckily she has three sets of amazing Grandparents who all spoil her. One item that we decided to get for her is a little table and chair set so our coffee table won't get many more crayon stains or scratches in it. I've been eyeing this vendor at the American Women's Club Bazaar for a few months and finally bought the set last week. It was a complete impulse buy at the moment but now that's I've done it I'm really glad. The table and stools came with two large toys boxes that are all hand painted. I'll admit it's not as practical as the Little Tykes one I originally planned on getting but what's the point of having a girl if you can't splurge on a few really girly things here and there? I hope Addie likes it for Christmas.

new battles

Adelaide is quickly moving into the terrible twos. She's great at throwing mini tantrums about anything from me not following her when she pulls my arm or like when I refuse to let her play with the finger nail clippers. I know it's totally normal and she's trying to assert her new found independence but it's tough to keep my patience sometimes. I'm rolling with the ignore-it tactic which seems to be working. She'll whine and wail for a few seconds then move on. I try to pick my battles carefully and unless she's asking for chocolate before dinner, a second showing of Barney, or some other unreasonable request I generally don't have a problem keeping her happy (even if it means sitting through the fourth round of taking the stickers on and off the window or pretending like my legs are her trampoline). Anyway, a new battle we have faced is trying to keep her hair out of her face and in pigtails or some other pony tail concoction. She hates it when I try to put her hair up and mostly tears it right out. Only now that her hair really needs to be put back it's kind of a problem. She looks a little messy without. Here I got her hair done for a short while, before she noticed it and rubbed her head on the carpet or pulled it all out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Elf Yourself

Megan sent us a lovely little note wishing us a happy holidays. Along with it she sent us this little clip that had us in stitches. My favorite is Addie as an elf. If you can't figure out who the black furry one is, it's Lucy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

snapshot for the year book

Justin and I have had a really fab senior year together. I finished the year with a solid 3.7 GPA and lettered again for varsity softball. Justin was SGA President and I happily hung out with him and the rest of the administration during third period every day (work aholics my rear). We only snuck off campus a few times for "lunch" and the senior trip down the ocean was raucous! We are both totally stoked for a slammin summer at the lake house before college starts in the fall. Here we are at Senior Prom. I think I totally disguised the bump. Don't ya think?

Stay true,

Luvas 4 eva

JT and S

Thursday, December 4, 2008

19 weeks pregnant

So here I am at 19 weeks. I'm carrying Hokie Bird 2 the same as I carried Adelaide; low and out. From behind you wouldn't notice I'm pregnant until I turn to the side, then belly! Things are going well. The baby is growing fast because I'm starving all the time. The trip to Hong Kong took it out of me so I'm still catching up on sleep. Addie is still rather clueless to the fact that her little brother or sister is growing inside my belly. She kisses my belly but in general she wants to use me as an indoor play gym like normal. She's in for a surprise come May when she has to share me!

Day 4 Hong Kong- Kowloon

We spent most of our fourth day in Hong Kong on Kowloon Island. After hoping off the Star Ferry we picked up some walking maps and headed straight for the big populated streets that led us to the jade market. We passed super luxurious hotels and numerous high-end stores like Prada, Burberry, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and many more. The strangest thing was seeing the ridiculously high-end stores practically next to old China's dilapidated high-rise condo buildings. So much of Kowloon was new and wealthy but in the cracks you could see old China peaking through. We reached the jade market and had a blast bargaining with some of the vendors. I snapped a picture of the adorable couple who sold me a few of the necklaces I bought. The little Chinese ladies were ruthless with the bargaining. In the end Justin and I decided that we got completely ripped off but deemed it a worthy Hong Kong experience and didn't mind so much. My favorite buy was the jade pig and ox for the year Addie was born in and the year Hokie Bird 2 will be born in. Justin already said that the kids can't take them with them when they move out. After the jade market we found some Japanese lunch complete with ice cream for dessert (ice cream in Hong Kong was delicious unlike the filth they call ice cream here in Manila). We spent the rest of the afternoon in Kowloon park at the aviary and the great children's playground. The weather was perfect and it was a great place to get some fresh air and hear the birds chirping (or squawking for the parrots). We took the ferry back to Hong Kong Island after we were sufficiently pooped and ended our last day with another dose of Mexican food in SoHo. We packed up for our early shuttle to the airport and gladly said goodbye to our tiny hotel room. There was a little bit of remorse about returning to Manila but once we got home and all had good a good night's sleep in our own beds we were glad to be home. Oh, and for the record anyone who says that you can't travel the world with small children just doesn't have the patience or imagination. It can be done!