Kyla turns THIRTEEN

On Saturday, my first-born niece, Kyla, turned THIRTEEN! She is officially a teenager and I am still in denial. Kyla is the only granddaughter in my immediate family… until next month, when my sister-in-law gives birth to the second baby girl in our family! Kyla has been my baby since she was born. I was in the waiting room the night her mom went into labor, I babysat her as a baby, and she has been my mini-me. Now, she is a teen. I just love her so much. While she has her rough days, she is still as perfect as one can be. She is smart, beautiful, kind-hearted, and funny. Where has the time gone?!

For her birthday, she wanted a jump house for her and all her friends to enjoy. She invited her classmates and friends, and everyone just had a ton of fun. Sheesh, a house full of teens and preteens can be crazy. Who knew? Hah! We had a lot of food and delicious ice-cream cake! Yum!

She’s a TEEN!

Life Lately

It’s Thanksgiving week and I am getting all the feels! More on this later. 😉

Since my last update, a few cool, fun-fun-fun things happened!

We had visitors from the Philippines and Singapore! Two of my mom’s sisters, their husbands, and my cousin came to visit us for a week. Because the visit was quick, we tried to make the most of it and did something every day they were here. It was such a joy to see my mom so happy spending time with her sisters. Of course, the goodbyes are never easy, and it wasn’t easy this time around.

Welcome (back) to California! I’m pretty sure this was the only picture with all of us!
Sisters at Apple Hill! ❤

We also attended two of our good friends’ wedding at the Bentley Reserve in San San Francisco. It was a great day celebrating two amazing people and a beautiful wedding! The bride’s family came all the way from Brazil! Too bad the only “couple pic” we took with the bride and groom was dark and you can hardly see us. Oh well, haha! Congrats, David and Nayra!

Photo Booth photos from the wedding, of course!

During Veterans Day weekend, we flew down to San Diego to celebrate my good friend Randy’s birthday! We were only there for the weekend, but it felt so much longer. I’m pretty sure my liver was not ready for that. Hah! We also stayed at an AirBnB for the first time. We shared a two-bedroom flat on a hill, and aside from the complicated parking arrangement, it was pretty neat experience! Of course, when in San Diego, you go to the beach and eat at Hodads. Yum!

Serenity… take me back!
F & M Reunion!

So hey, about all those feels?! One year ago, my family and I were doing last minute errands, arrangements, and touristy things in preparation for my wedding! AHHH! All the memories. Ohh my gosh!

Karen’s US Visit

When family come to visit us in California, we try our best to make it as fun and as memorable as we can! We forego hours of sleep just to maximize our time with one another, and we will go the distance to make sure everyone has a great time. The past week was no exception.

In a week’s notice, my family and I found ourselves laughing our butts off while spending time with my cousin, Karen. She lives in Qatar, but has been on an extended holiday from work. After her stays in London and the Philippines, she booked a ticket to LAX. Mike and I set out to meet her and her friends at Disneyland, and then took her back to the Bay Area with us that evening. Her time was limited and planned out, so over her weekend with us, we took her to Napa Valley and Monterey. She also went to San Francisco and other local places for a quick shopping. I felt horrible that we couldn’t accompany her to Las Vegas and Arizona, but the brave girl in her, she made the trip alone.

When I found out that I could get Saturday (9/2) off, I got in touch with her friend in LA. I knew she was going to be picking her up from the bus station and then taking her to the airport for her flight back to the Philippines. Mike and I set out late in the evening and met Karen and her friends on Melrose Avenue. As predicted, she was overcome with so much joy that she started crying. Ah! We had limited time, so we took her “LA Wall” pictures and had breakfast at The Griddle Cafe. After a quick stop at Party City, it was time to finally take her to the airport.

It was full of tears and at the same time, so much promises of seeing one another soon again – whether in the US, the Philippines, or elsewhere in the world. Gosh! I love visitors, but I love it even more when it’s super close family. Also, today happens to be Karen’s birthday… HBD, Citizen of the World!

Paul Smith’s Pink Wall
The Birthday Girl!

Movies and Dinners

It’s Sunday and I can’t wait to already finish my upcoming four-day work week. Yes, yes… I am taking next Friday and Saturday off. 😉

For now, though, let’s do a quick recap.

Last week went by so fast and it was so much fun!

Mike and I watched a movie in the theatre for the first time since Cars 3, and it was a Filipino movie, Finally Found Someone. One of our occasional guilty pleasures is watching “rom-com” Filipino movies. Hah! It’s really more mine than his, but he’s so kind enough to take me. Anyway, the most annoying part of the movie is the audience thinking it was appropriate to talk during the movies, make comments about every little scene, and opening & crumpling bags of chips/popcorn/candies/etc. I mean, I can honestly tolerate babies and (very) young kids babbling but adults? Come on! We managed to tune them out and enjoy the movie.

Maxie (Mike’s sister-in-law) and I finally found time to have dinner together and catch up! We had Mexican food and spent more time in the restaurant talking than actually eating. It was great and we figured that we definitely need more time together. However, with her nursing school coming down to its final stretch and my work just so busy, we know it’s going to be a more conscious effort on both parts. Cheers to success!

Yesterday, we said bye to our friend, JR, who is moving to Southern California to pursue his Master’s Degree. We are super proud! 🙂 We also can’t wait to maybe visit Disneyland with him. Hehe. After, we went to dinner with my family for my brother’s birthday. We also officially received news that my sister-in-law, Sharon, is pregnant! I’m going to be an Auntie (and Nina) again! Blessings are pouring upon our families, and we love it.

What was also cool yesterday was that Mike and I woke up to an e-mail with a link to our wedding video preview! We watched it two times during breakfast, and again after dinner last night with the family. We invited everyone to come over for coffee and dessert and a special screening of our video. Haha! We were just so excited.

Another thing we are so, so excited for? We just (semi) booked a trip to Hawaii for February 2018! Well, we really just booked our hotel for now. Plane tickets and excursions are next! Any tips for Hawaii? We will be staying in Oahu. Yay, Aulani! 😉

Wanted: Skills

I need to find a creative or skillful outlet, and whatever that outlet may be, I need to make it profitable. But here’s the problem: I’m not very creative, or skillful. If anyone out there has a tip on how to find relevant hidden talents, please let me know. I will try anything.

Growing up, life was always about doing the “right” things and making “good” choices. Being kind and obedient were the only options. While I’ve had a lot of encouragements and compliments, I also had other opposites. Those discouragements were the reasons I let go some of the things I liked doing.

During one of our school plays in fourth grade, my music teacher busted me out for being a horrible singer. He wasn’t the first to do so, though. A few years before that, one of the church coordinators in charge of the youth’s Easter performance laughed after she asked me to sing the alphabet song. I was out of tune, yet she didn’t bother helping me. One of my aunts also once told me, “You like singing, but singing doesn’t like you.” Ouch. I don’t remember how old I was, but definitely younger than nine. I realized I’m not made to sing. I still do, though… in the car mostly.

During my freshman year in high school, my English Honors teacher criticized the way I said the word “the” during a group project video. She told me, “You’re in America. You have to soften your “th” sound.” I had to apologize for the way I spoke. She gave me a lower grade than the rest of my group, even though we all worked the same amount of time together. While I don’t blame her for anything else besides a crushed self-esteem, she was the reason I decided to stop talking too much. Before that moment, I wanted to become a journalist and a news anchor. Meh, I’m not pretty enough anyway.

Is now also a good time to talk about a horrible time in my life when my “American” cousins decided to outcast me for reasons unknown (to me, at least)? I was ignored during get-togethers, my friends were sent online messages saying mean remarks about me, and now that we are much older, I still feel the hurt every once in a while. But hey, whatever right?

This post was not meant to be such a downer, but it kind of helped typing it all out. I am looking forward to brighter days. It’s coming! 🙂

Happy Resurrection Day! Happy Easter!

Family from UAE

If I could relive last weekend again, I would. My cousin and his family came to visit all the way from the UAE. I hadn’t seen my cousin in about ten years, and it was my first time meeting his daughters. Their USA agenda was so packed, but I am so thankful for the three days I got to spend with them.

Because it was their first time and we had very limited time, we took them to San Francisco, Napa, and Lake Tahoe. I mean who doesn’t want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Union Square, wineries, and snow? Each day, we were home for dinner, which made for more wonderful family memories. Their youngest daughters took it upon herself to make me her honorary “mommy” for the weekend. It was super sweet.

Miss you guys already! ❤

Thank You, Vin!

Baseball is a big deal in my household. Opening Day is always anticipated and festive, but Game #162 is just as important and special… whether or not we’re in the postseason! With that said, you may be able to guess that yesterday was a very important day for us. After all, we are San Francisco Giants fans! #BeliEVEN No, I definitely do not want to get my hopes us. I also do not want to jinx our playoff run. However, I do want to express how excited I am to see my team in the postseason once again. We are probably spoiled with the every other year championship, but I would not mind another one.

But hey, let’s take it back one time. Yesterday was a special day. Vin Scully, the GOAT, has turned off his microphone. He has retired. And there was no better place to be than inside the park that houses his favorite MLB team (the Giants) 😉 playing against his beloved team (the Dodgers).

Front and back of the signs handed out at the entrance.

The Giants handed out Thank You Vin cards as fans entered the park, and you could feel that the day was going to be something else for many reasons and emotions. Although I heard his commentating only while visiting or road tripping to and from the Los Angeles area  and through the replays of The Catch, I will forever remember his poetic narration and voice. The park was quite emotional as everyone sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and the finale montage with Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” as the background song. It was fantastic, and I am glad I could be there. And I think no matter your fandom in the major leagues, you have to appreciate someone who has dedicated 67 years of their lives to the sport, the team, and the fans. What a phenomenal individual.


I’m also thankful for whoever bought our Cowboys vs 49ers tickets through Ticket Exchange. ;D