Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Santa,

Ty wrote his first letter to Santa the other day. He and I sat down, picked out the paper and color of marker. I gave him a sheet of paper to draw what he wanted. I'd post the picture, but it he used a yellow crayon on white paper.

Ty's List:
- A yellow remote controlled race car
-Boco the Train (From Thomas and Friends)

I was impressed that he had such a short list, when I was his age, mine looked more like a shopping list.

Things I want for Ty:
-Tickets to the Little Big Show featuring Barney, Thomas, Angelina Ballerina, Bob the Builder, Pingu and Fireman Sam (we got these yesterday!)
-New clothes. This kid outgrows pants like it's nobody's business.
-Soccer lessons at the nearby park
-Thomas and the Carnival set (It usually costs 4k but we got one second hand at only 1k)

Hero's list:
-Not really sure.
She likes getting involved in whatever game t is playing, and that sometimes upsets Ty. But they get on well for the most part. We remind Ty to share and he usually finds something for Hero to play with. She does enjoy playing with any musical instruments. I guess I’ll look for that.

My list for her would include:
  • A cooking set
  • A dollhouse (I convinced my sister to get her this, yay!)
  • A soft doll (I gave her one that I found at a bazaar recently. It fits my requirements perfectly—It does not pee, poop, blink, drink, move, cry or make scary crying sounds. AND it is not blonde.)
  • A doll stroller (So maybe she can learn to love the doll, since she won't give it the time of day)

Last year, I gave Hero a little toy to hold (she was only 6 months at the time) and helped her give the gift to Ty. I really want them to think of each other when doing things. This year, Ty’s started to get into Chuggington and we found some die cast toys in Market Market. I bought one and labeled it from Hero. I’m going to take Ty to shop for a present for her later today.
As for me, I'd love to get any of these things (hint hint, hubby!)
  • A small point and shoot camera that takes video too
  • A trip to the spa or parlor
  • Some pretty bracelets or necklaces, I've fallen out of the accessory habit since they'd always get in the way when nursing.
  •  Craft materials (good needles, crochet lessons, more thread and TIME to craft!)
  • Patience. Oh Santa, lots of patience please.

Monday, November 29, 2010

questions, questions

I'm a teacher. 1st grade to 5th. I love my job.

But they often ask really, really dumb questions. I don't mind questions about the subject matter, but when they are in the midst of doing something like say... making a poster and I hear,

"Can I draw a hat on the person?"


"Should the words be big enough to see?"

I get frustrated.

Especially since I was exactly like that when I was their age.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


My son gave himself the chickenpox. With a permanent marker. We realized this soon after he started making clucking sounds. Apparently, that's one of the symptoms, heheheh.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

coffee craziness

Why do I even bother drinking coffee? I have not had a cup in about 2 years and today, I decided I needed one. A grande a that. I hate how it makes me feel, nervous and jittery. Out of control. At the height of it this morning, I felt as if I were standing in the middle of a highway, cars whooshing to my left and right.

I barely slept last night because both my kids are sick and I'm compelled to check on their temperatures and breathing. So when I tore myself from bed this morning, I felt like I'd collapse during work today. No choice, coffee. Now, my back hurts and I'm second guessing each thing I say as if I were a different person.

As much as I love the taste and warmth, it must hate me. My chemistry rejects it.

But it is delicious.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3 days of Halloween

This year, Halloween lands on a Sunday. Manila has found  way to spread the holiday (is it really a holiday?) over the span of 3 days.

The village we live in had their Halloween parade in the park followed by trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. Since my dad's siblings all live in the same area (genius move by my grandparents to gift each of my uncles and aunts with a parcel of land near each other) we had a family merienda/dinner together. My cousin had her three kids there too and we all went around the village together. There were grand aunts and uncles who each came bearing pre-packed goodie bags, so the kids didn't have to walk all the way to their houses.

Hubby and Hero

Ty wore the fish hoodie I made for his Christmas show in his school last year. It finally fit well enough that his tail didn't drag on the ground. Hero was dressed in a ladybug dress handed down from her cousin in the states. I wanted both of them in homemade costumes, but she is a difficult one to measure and fit!

We stayed home to rest all morning, anticipating a frenzied and nap-less afternoon at my friends daughter's birthday. The party was autumn harvest themed and the kids were asked to come in costumes. Ty begged to be in the Woody (from Toy Story) costume I'd made him. I was originally planning to have him in his store-bought train costume, but decided against it. My friend is a crafty mom, and I thought it would be nice to have him in a home made outfit. As the kids had lunch, I realized that Hero only had cowgirl pants and a plaid shirt as a costume. I was sure she wouldn't wear her hat, so I whipped out the glue gun and made her a vest. I think it came out very well.
With Tita Yen at Marion's party

After making the vest, I ran off to Landmark Department Store (5 minute walk from the house) to get a shadowbox for little Marion's present. I had been working on this sampler on and off for a few weeks and was finally happy with it. I got home, cut up a sheet of scrapbooking paper for the background and it was done. Phew.

I can't seem to rotate this...
The party was so much fun! They had old Charlie Brown cartoons playing on a big screen, coloring pages, and carnival games. I loved that there were fresh apples to snack on and a photobooth to goof around in. It was a simple, non-competitive, and not overly stimulating (for the kids) party. They played with soap bubbles, and danced with each other. There was a table of goodies (stickers, crayons, rubber ducks, and scratch-off leaves) that kept the kids entertained.

After the party ended at around 5:30, we headed over to another friend's house where he was hosting our church group's costume party. The house had been decked out in the creepiest decorations. There was a casket in the front yard, horror movies projected onto the living room wall, spiderwebs everywhere, and the entryway was illuminated by black light. I was worried that the kids would be scared but after the kid's room filled with orange and black balloons, they forgot all about the creepy stuff.

We didn't get to stay long because we were all tired. I miss partying like a single girl sometimes.

Needless to say, we were exhausted the next morning. We lazed around for a while and hubby and I forgot we'd promised to have lunch at his brother's house in Alabang... and that we'd cook quesadillas. So we rushed off to the grocery while the yayas bathed and dressed the kids. We got the ingredients and headed home to pick up the kids. When we got home, one of the yays told me that the kids didn't have costumes for that afternoon's round of trick-or-treat.

It's really just a decorated apron.
So I grabbed my ever-faithful glue gun, all my felt and a few other things, and we headed off to Alabang. We got there a bit before 1 and I started making Hero's costume first. The simplest thing I could come up with was a flower pot. I wanted to make something feminine because she'd been mistaken for a boy so many times the day before.

I'd originally made plans to make Ty a cookie jar, but when he saw the red felt, he insisted on being a car. Not bad for 30 minutes of rushing, I think.

Since Alabang is such a gigantic village and the houses are pretty far apart, we hopped in my bro-in-law's van and picked houses where we knew the people, or less populated (with kids) areas. One of my BIL's neighbors is a movie producer so he usually gets props and decorated the front of his house witht hem. They had a big Alice in Wonderland setup this year.

Thi kids with their Achis (big sisters)
I loved the house with the 4 moms who were sipping wine as they gave bottles of soap bubbles to the kids with nicer costumes and Mentos to the kids without costumes. Hehe, my kids got bubbles. There was another house where the whole place had life-sized cutouts of horror movie baddies (Freddie, Jason, Chuckie and the Clown from It) peeking out from the bushes, and a huge "Bates Motel : vaccancy" sign over the garage. I wish I'd gotten a picture of it, it was obvious they'd put a lot of thought into it. There was a "We have candy, ring doorbell if you dare!" sign by the front gate.  We didn't dare.

So now the long Halloween weekend is over. Ty hasn't quite gotten used to the idea of Christmas coming up next. Hero is just happy she gets to wear her ladybug outfit whenever she wants.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Customer surveys and true customer satisfaction

Whenever we go to restaurants nowadays, we always seem to be given customer survey cards. Now, I've noticed that not all the tables are given these surveys. I have to wonder why they give them to us. Is it obvious I'm that much of a complainer? I've been known to cry in frustration when a salesman at the hardware store talked down to me in his "little missy" voice. I'm a girl, I'm not stupid.

So I complained. I told the manager how I'd been treated and then walked out, promising to buy from their direct competition even if I had to walk 2 blocks in the rain. I did.

There was a span of time where I kept finding hair in my food. It became an awful joke. I'd dig through pastas, salads and cakes to see what my "prize" that day was. I sent back each plate and had the food replace. I'm terrified to think of what invisible things I've eaten.

I'm usually very truthful on these cards, if I see a roach, I write it down. I find that very few of the cards have enough space for my comments.

Last week, we were at a Chinese restaurant and I diligently filled out the card. My son seemed to disagree on how I graded them.

Here he is, erasing all my marks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mother as translator

My little Hero has been growing so quickly these past few weeks. She's a year and 5 months old and I can't believe how much she says!

She enjoys putting big books on the floor and standing on them, like a little stage. As soon as she steps onto one, she says, "eeeh--- full!" (Trans: "Careful!") And then she busts out her own version of Eensy Weensy Spider.

Even her brother understands what she's saying. He used to resist listening to her, insisting that whatever she was speaking was not English. "Maybe she's talking Chinese, Mama. I don't know that."

 Recently, she's been mimicing the last word of our sentences. So conversations go a bit like this:

"Hero, do you want taho?"




And so on.

Then there are moments when she repeats a word, pointing and emphatically gesturing towards nothing. This moring, I was carrying her out of the bedroom, telling her about what we'd have for breakfast and she began clucking like a chicken.

"Bukbuk buk!"

"No Hero, we're having pancakes! You can dip it in your yogurt, it's yummy!"

"Keee- ken!" (That means chicken)

"You want to have chicken for breakfast?"

She then squirms out of my grasp and reaches for the stack of books by the door. I take them down and she moves some aside, pulling out a lift-the-flap book that we had read together the night before. On the cover, a group of animals. No chicken. But as she turns the book over, she points to the spine. A rooster. Content, she takes my hand, look up at me and says, "Ooohgut? Ummy."

That means, "Yougurt, yummy."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

losing it

Last night, I lost it. I mena, really really lost it.

I am a fairly even-tempered and calm person. I don't shout too often and when I do, it is usually follwed by taking the person aside and calmly talking about it.

Both kids are sick right now and I stayed up with them the previous night. My kids have a predisposition towards febrile seizures (convulsions when they get fevers) and my son has already had 3 in the past. Sleep-deprived, I trudged off to work. I wanted to get a coffee (I probably have only had 2 coffees in the past 2 years) because of the chance that I'd nod of while working with my 1st grade students. But the line was too long and I was going to be late. So I left the coffee shop and rushed to work... only to find out that my 1st period students were on a field trip and I didn't even have to be at school that early. Pisser.

So I did some work and lost track of time. I was late to my 2nd period class. Grr.

The rest of the day went ok, but my lunchmeat had spoiled and I only had dry toast for lunch. My hubby wasn't going to be home till almost 10 because he had class for his masters.

When I got home, I find out that the kids had not been put own for naps and my son had been allowed to play on the computer for 3 hours. 3 hours! He'd even been given his breakfast in front of the computer.

So my wired son and my feverish daughter were (needless to say really) very demanding in the afternoon. It was too late for naps, and the chocolate (chocolate!) that they'd been given while I was at work was not helping. (Ok, seriously, who gives a kid with a cold and cough frozen chocolate??)

So after a fairly calm dinner, they had their medecines, baths, and milk, they went wild. My 1 year old was howling, inconsolable. My 3 year old was jumping on the bed, throwing pillows and running everywhere, refusing to listen. Bouts of coughing, noses wiped on my tshirt and one minute in his "quiet corner" came soon after. There was no quiet. They both wanted water, and when I brought them out to the icebox, my mom came out to see what the ruckus was about. Upon seeing that their audience had expanded to ever-doting grammy, the other antics came into play. Ty took all the pillows and blankets from my and my husband's bed, and tossed them onto his. He'd then jump into the pile, screaming, "Whee! I'm having so much FUUUNNN!!"

Did I mention that it was almost 10pm? We'd been in the room from 8:20pm. And I'd only had 3 hours of sleep the night before?

My mom laughed, saying that he was adooooorrrable! Not so much. Now the 1 year old wanted to join in and stumbled onto the pile... quickly followed by my son on top of her. Pain and screaming follow.

I think that's where I snapped. The baby howled for her water bottle, and she didn't want me to open it for her. Howls of frustration, and I grabbed the top and threw it across the room. I shouted, "Stop it!"

My mom was livid. She scolded me for shouting at the kids like that. I'd had it. I literally pushed my mom out of the room, but still politely saying that I'd got it covered ad she could go.

I sat on the floor and broke down. In Tagalog, hagulgol. Cries game in coughs and gasps. I hit the back of my head against the closet door several times.

And it was silent.

My kids were watching me.

Ty came from across the room and sat beside me. He took my hand and cooed, "It's ok Mama. Ty's here."

Little Hero patted me on the head and said "Sowi, sowi." She wiped my tears. She used the hem of my night shirt, but still.

I took them in my arms and apologied poured from my mouth. I promised to try harder, to be more patient.

"Mama, I'll sing you a lullabye." said Ty.

And as he sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Hero swayed and hummed along.

It was only when my hubby got home that the kids fell asleep. I was exhausted. But I learned something very important last night.

No matter how crazy things get, my kids are tuned into what really matters.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

sandboxes part 2

Here are the kids playing in a sandbox at their cousin's birthday party. The little kids had to use a sieve to find little jewels.


We found a huge sandbox at the mini-zoo.
Every time Ty visits me at work, he runs into my classroom to give me a hug and then runs off to the pre-school area to play with their sandbox.

Hero wasn't quite sure what to do with the sand. We often call out, "eee, dirty!" when she touches things like the bottoms of shoes, the dog bowl or picks things up off of the floor. I think she was waiting for me to shout in these pictures.

She got into it after a while.

Ty was an old hand at it.

I like it when my kids get to experience new things. For years I've been begging my hubby to let me build a sandbox for Ty. His answer always is, "And what will we do with all the cat poop we collect?"

He's right.

Unfortunately because of the huge population of ferral cats in Manila, a sandbox is just an open invitation to COME, POOP HERE!

Not a good place for kids to play.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


We found a huge sandbox at the mini-zoo.
Every time Ty visits me at work, he runs into my classroom to give me a hug and then runs off to the pre-school area to play with their sandbox.

Hero wasn't quite sure what to do with the sand. We often call out, "eee, dirty!" when she touches things like the bottoms of shoes, the dog bowl or picks things up off of the floor. I think she was waiting for me to shout in these pictures.

She got into it after a while. I love it when they get messy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My birthday celebration at the petting zoo

A few days after my birthday, hubby and I took the kids out to the petting zoo. Not a typical celebration for a now-34 year old, but we had fun. Here is a pic of me with my little man and the carrot on a stick that we fed to the guinea pigs.

Hero and I got some use of the carrot too. Or maybe Hero and I started with the carrot...
We moved on to goats and kangkong (water spinach). This ram had beautiful curved horns.

In the vermin pen. I admit, I'm afraid of these little buggers.

Hubby, not letting hte carrot go to waste.

Ty and the goats.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I guess I just needed some space. I was able to take a walk while the kids slept this afternoon and I'm coming to terms with the big 34. I don't really know why it is such a big deal, It isn't even one of those numbers that shout "milestone!"

At 30, I didn't get to do a lot of celebrating as I was pregnant with our first. We had a quiet dinner in some restaurant I can't remember. I don't remember any presents, just that there was the big storm, Milenyo and there was hardly any place that had electricity. Hmm, I'm begining to remember it now... we ate at Masas. Reasonably priced Filipino food.

See, all I needed was space.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


So I turn 34 in two days.

I've been through a whole range of emotions in the past few days. I've just finished with sadness, dreading, fear and worry.

Today, I'm just pissed.

I'm pissed that I will be at work for an extended day. I'm pissed that my hubby won't be home til past 9pm. I'm pissed that I moved my family celebration from Sunday to Tuesday because in-laws couldn't make it on Sunday... then they inform us last night that they won't be around on Tuesday either. I'm pissed because hubby and I are buying a new car, so I'm pressured to pick a cheaper restaurant and not go to the one I really want to.

It's just birthday  blues, I tell myself. *sigh*

Friday, September 17, 2010

candy at noon

My son was eating one of these orange candy slices for the first time today. He rushed into the room to show me what Ama (Grandmother) had given him.

"Mommy, look! I have a (drops voice to a whisper) candy!"

I don't allow him a lot of sugar.

"It's orange and yummy and... has little yummy sands on it. Can I eat it?"

Seeing as it was 10 minutes to noon and he hand't had his lunch yet.... I said yes. He rushed off taking little nibbles and licks.

I overhear Ama asking him in the other room: "Did mommy say you could eat it?"
"Yes, Ama."
"Ok, what do you say to Ama?" (She must have been fishing for a thank you.)

"Good job Ama, you make good candy!"


My friend Yen  wrote about fears on her blog, and it got me thinking. I used to have a phobia of plugging things in after I blew off the skin from 3 fingers. That's why hubby calls me Sparky. I'm over it now, but my breath still catches when a spark pops out while I'm plugging.

My son hasn't shown any prevalent fears yet, luckily. Maybe it's because he's a boy (I don't mean to be sexist, but they're REALLY different). I wish he'd be more afraid, really. Last week, he refused to leave the toy store so we left him there. I watched him through the window while Paul, Hero and the yayas went off to the restaurant. 20 mins later, he was still happily playing. I even had the salesman try to scare him, but no dice.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

a little project

My son is a big fan of maps. He's got a terrific sense of direction and knows exactly where the toystore is in any mall we frequent. When we eat at a restaurant, I've always got a pack of crayons ready to draw him a map or set of train tracks on the back of the paper placemat (because the restaurants we like are classy like that). Hubby and I have drawn approximately 100 maps, we estimate. Each getting soggy and wet at the end of each meal.

I recently found a scrap of tarpaulin (sp?) left over from our daughter's birthday party. We used it as the backdrop of her photo booth (a present from godparents). The tarp is really durable, we used it underneath a picnic blanket to keep our butts dry (but it was too slippery), underneath finger painting projects and it's final incarnation (or so I thought) was to cover the unsightly corkboard in my classroom. The scrap was from the bottom end that was longer than the board.

So I took my handy permanent markers and drew him a map. The houses have numbers or letters (he's learning them now) and there is a gas station, bakery, bookshop, zoo, hospital, church and swimming pool in the neighborhood too. And a river runs through the town.

I brought it home and he ran to the toy cabinet to find his cars. There was no talking to him for the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

church going

We don't get to church as often as I'd like. With two little kids, it's pretty crazy to have them there and allow me to concentrate on what's going on.

Living in a predominantly Catholic country, affords me some opportunities I would not get anywhere else. I can go to mass virtually anywhere I want to because there is mass EVERYWHERE. The hospital, all the malls, parks, you name it. And the churches in my city are only about a 5-7 minute drive away from each other. I really should not have an excuse.

So we went to mass at the mall  yesterday. We got there 30 minutes early (it gets full, fast) and had to be satisfied with 3 seats in one area and 2 seats in another.

I has my hubby walk the kids around to get them a bit tired while the nanny and I saved our seats. I hoped it would keep them calm for at least PART of the mass.

And it succeeded... for a while. My daughter hummed through most of the songs, even if she hadn't heard them before. and midway though the homily, my son heard (I know! He was listening!!!) the word "Bible" and he perked up, started squirming in his seat. I asked what was wrong and he burst out with his rendition of "God Made Me."

After much shushing and laughing, he quieted down. He laughed at the mention of pigs (the gospel was the prodigal son) and and asked me what a fatted calf was. I whispered a quick explaination, followed by his aghast, "We eat cows?!"

I must say, my three year old is pretty darned funny. But then again, I'm biased. :)

early mornings

Monday morning after a 3 day weekend. I actually have Mondays off, being that I only work part-time, so this is a 4 day weekend for me.

I had planned to go to a big bazaar this morning with some friends but one of the has started work and the other didn't plan on waking up in the morning AT ALL. Haha, the life of an unemployed single person. I don't think I miss it really. It looks like I'll be going to the bazaar with mom, sis an my daughter. We're all self-serving shoppers so I doubt I'll get any decent opinions on my "how do I look" queries.

I enjoy the mornings, though I may complain about it often. The temperatures are cooler, my bed is snugglier and the kids are asleep. Hehehe. I quietly slipped out of bed and started preparing my son's snack and lunch for school. Today I boiled shrimp, peeled them and put them over his rice. His snack was cheese cubes, apple slices, cheerios and 3 foil wrapped chocolate coins.

My daughter is "nagpapalaki" according to her nanny. Loosely translated that means she's growing. She sleeps much longer these past few mornings. I wake and breathe in the smell from the top of her head, letting the fine hair tickle my nose.

Today is going to be wonderful. I can tell.

Friday, September 10, 2010

the events surrounding the birth of our little Hero 1

Hubby and I were completely surprised that I was pregnant. We were sure we wanted a 2nd child, but didn't think it would happen so soon. We'd been having a few little fights here and there, and I guess it was "the honeymoon's over" kind of phase.

I was hesitant to tell my friends and family. Our son was 1, but he'd be 2 and 3 months when the baby was born. I wasn't sure I was ready to have two kids in diapers.

But I took a deep breath, and a few days, and the nausea struck. Along with it was the thrill. A baby!

Our friends and family welcomed the news, some had even guessed before the announcement. Perhaps it was the eight shades of green I fluctuated between throughout the day. 
Hubby and I took every teachable moment to tell our son that he's soon be an ahia, a big brother. We showed him the fun his cousins had together. we bought books with siblings in them. For the record, "The Bobsey Twins" are not for 2 year olds.

But he somehow learned, and he loved the idea.
Our friend took this picture for a slideshow on how our church group is growing. (photo by Cres Yulo)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

can't beat it

I'm sitting in my classroom, taking a break. Having a chicken parmigiana roll and sea salt chips.

Enjoying the quiet.

Monday, September 6, 2010

bad karma

I was really upset yesterday and lashed out by posting a mean (albeit nameless) status message on facebook.

Today, I will try to rack up good karma. Things I have done so far:
-bought chocolate pretzels for my 3rd grade students as an apology for letting them off late last time
-sat by, and quietly explained a video to a "lost" 2nd grader
-held my tongue when I wanted to say something snarky.

I'll keep going God, but I still don't think the world would be a better place if that girl passed the bar exam.

Foxley and Isley

My son has a toy fox that he loves. He named it Foxley. My daughter wants it. So, yesterday, I bought her a similar toy. She calls it Isley.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On A Whim

I was in the mall the other day and stepped into Lucky Brand. I love/hate that place. I love it because the clothes fit beautifully, they are just my style and the designs are just beautiful. And of course, I hate it because a t-shirt costs a third of my monthly salary.

Yes, I live in the third world, and I'm used to foriegn brand name clothing to be pricey. But a a hoodie for Php 10,000? Jeans for Php 20,000? Really?

The only reason I went in was the huge "50% OFF!" signs in the window.

My "on a whim" project"

I saw a stack of hoodies laid out on the sale table, and the design interested me. It was an embroidered hamsa. Hippie, timeless. 10 thousand pesos. I can't afford that. But...

I could MAKE that.

And so I did. Well, I'm almost done.

When I was at work the next day, the kids were quietly writing. I sketched out a hamsa and liked it. So I grabbed the washable markers I had for the students and proceeded to draw it onto my hoodie.

At first, I embroidered the hood with a stylized sun, and now I'm working on the hand. I've got a mad urge to finish it quickly. I have to finish this soon, because those mad urges tend to fade quickly. I've got unfinished stuff lying around. *sigh*

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Date Nights

Hubby and I have been trying to do a weekly date night. Not easy when you've got busy schedules and two little kids. After about a year without "us" time, we realized that we lost each other somewhere along the way.

We usually go out on Saturdays, so we leave the kids with his parents and head out for what we call our "adventures." We pick a direction to drive and find a restaurant we've never been to before. There have been some misses along the way, but my favorite one was our first adventre date on opening night of this year's World Cup.

Korean food has always been a favorite, ever since we lived with a large Krean community up in Subic. So we were set on heading to the Korean area in BF. We passed on a few restaurants based on their looks. Our criteria included: number of cars outside (other people wanted to eat there too), it NOT looking like a girly bar (after all, we didn't know what the signs meant), and if it looked like there were Koreans there (they're the best judges, right?).

We finally settled on a restaurant and entered, there were several empty tables. Perfect! Amazing smells enveloped us. Sizzling plates of pork, the sharp scent of kimchi, metal bowls of hot, steamy rice. We'd found the right place.

Only, they didn't have room for us. At 5:45 in the late afternoon, they were fully booked. Every table had a reserved sign, and save for one table of rowdy (drunk) men, the place was empty. We begged for them to seat us, since the signs had 7:30 or even 8:00pm reservations. They finally gave us a table in a large private room in the back. The waitress told us, "You sure you want to sit here? You won't be able to watch the game!"

And that's when we realized that Korea was playing the opening game of the World Cup! We'd totally forgotten, thrilled to have grown-up time together.

We had our (very) private dinner in the back room of Bi Won Korean restaurant. We talked and laughed like we werestill just dating. It was a blast.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

rainy Manila mornings

I usually wake up at around 6:30am to get my son's school snacks ready, have some quiet time on the computer and maybe even a few minutes with the hubby before he leaves for work.

With the start of our rainy season, it has gotten harder and harder to get up. Today, I was up at 7 and it took all my strength to pull myself ot of bed. The clouds were thick and dark and the rain was coming down steadily. I wanted to crawl back under the covers and cuddle up next to my kids, and spend the day making pillow forts.

Apparently, my son had the same idea. It was crazy trying to get him out of bed to go to school. He, king of "I don't want to sleep," whined and begged and pleaded for me to let him get back to sleep. As my mother in law was picking him up to go to school, I didn't see a chance for the little guy. She owns the school, so he's gotta be there ON TIME.

In full pajamas, I picked him up, carried him to the car and buckled him in. I handed her his school clothes and waved them buh-bye, the sad whines of a sleepy boy still in my ears.

Sometimes I love rainy days, sometimes I just hate them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my sewing box

I bring my sewing box to work with me. I have a friend that teasingly tells me I'm such a sewing nerd.

Yeah. I guess I am.

Monday, August 30, 2010

oh waiter!

Oh, waiter!!
Is it obvious that she is used to being in a restaurant?

One of the thing we enjoy doing together as a family, is sharing a meal. Seriously, I'm amazed that we don't weigh 500 lbs each with the frequency of our restaurant visits.

We don't feed the kids unhealthy stuff, but they get to try different sorts of cuisine when we go out. They both love Japanese Agedashi tofu, rice, carrots, fish and all sorts of fruit. Though I must say that they have not been deprived life's special treats (Oreoes, Nutella, salted pretzels, french fries and pizza).

Food is good. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Plato is depressed!

Handsome, isn't he?
Meet Plato. My first child. He's a 5 year old sable-red colored Siberian Husky. He weighs around 50lbs and is the handsomest dog around. Well, until this past Wednesday. We were battling with awful ticks and the vet finally said that it was time that he get... *sigh* shaved. We'd done baths, the drops between the shoulders, sprays, a shot and a collar. We scrubbed his area, doused it with some strong toxin, and nothing.  They're horribly smart and persistent little bugs.
He won't even look at me!!

And now, our Kuya (Tagalog for "big brother") is depressed! He hides under the driver's bed, shivers at my touch. Gone is the cocky look as he watches us take our bags from the car. Sniffing, as if to inspect the bags for potential edibles. His happy little trot, his attempts to get into the kitchen or zip out the gate to terrorize the security guards, all gone. He still eats his meals and treats though, I'm thankful for that.

I hope that he returns to his normal naughty self soon. Say a little prayer for him please?

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Ty was scheduled for a shot and I packed a prize bag for him. I was worried he'd kick and scream like some other kids, traumatizing himself and (I admit it) scaring me. I told him ahead of time that we were headed to Dr. Pia's. He likes her, she's great with kids. He asked if he was sick, and I told him, "No, but you will be getting a shot today."


"Then we go to the toy store after?"

I told him that we cold, but only if he didn't fight nurse Steph when she gave him the shot. He nodded.

As our turn came near,  I knew he was anxious. So I distracted him with the prize bag. In it was a Hotwheels car, a pack of Thomas bandages, a few gummy bear vitamins (he doesn't know they're good for him) and a little coloring book.

As you can tell, he picked the bandage.

He was so brave! He asked to hug me, and I told him to squeeze me if it hurt.

He barely had time to squeeze, it was over so quickly. :)

marker love

These came in my school order box. If the picture isn't very clear, they are a pack of washable "multicultural" markers from Crayola.

One things my students learn is that people are not all the same color. And that's ok!


This just put me over the edge. I love it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

sunday naptime

Almost every Sunday, when my little family is tired and sleepy from savouring the weekend, we nap. All in a row, one cuddled into the next.

I'm not at all sure when this started, if we'd nap before our daughter was born, but I like this.

Except, today I'm not sleepy. Both kids are sick and I have a tendency to sit up and watch to make sure they're still breathing. Dreary me.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I was recently approached by a mom of a homeschooler. She wanted her daughter and her homeschool friends to take a creative writing class/workshop. I was thrilled.

I spent the next week putting together a program to present to the moms in the group. I did my research and planned it all out. I worked out the price for each class, and worked it out again after they asked for a lower price. I had a big meeting with two of the moms over merienda and I found out I had to work on vocabulary, grammar, communication skills, and do assessment. I stuck by my guns on my fee (it was seriously reasonable) and even accepted that I'd have come up with all the materials myself. The meeting ended on very positive terms. I went home, did more research, planned more classes. Made a budget for materials. Excited.

Yesterday, they sent me an email.

No, we won't do the class.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

work... or is it?

Perhaps it isn't proper to say that I'm writing this while at work. I sit here, watching over my three 2nd grade students as they create booklets about their religions and I can't help but love my job.

I teach a class called World Religions to 1st to 5th grade students. An amazing class that I wish I could have taken when I was in grade school. Everyday, I'm astounded by what we discuss. Can you imagine going through the intricacies of the 5 Pillars of Islam with a 6 year old? Or debatingthe importance of separation of church and state with a 5th grader? I do that everyday.

Yesterday, my 1st graders and I tried to make our own butter after we read the story of when Krishna, as a child, stole the butter that his mother had made. Hilarious! The kids were jumping around, shaking their little bottles of cream while I played music on my laptop. They loved having sweet buttery toast as I read them another story.

We read Noah's Ark too. My Hindu students really enjoyed it. One of them evenlikened it to God "flushing the toilet on the bad people who were not on the boat." Love it.

a frustrating begining

So I have all these blog entries running around my head, begging to be typed down. Ty holds my hand and begs for me to play with him. He's so sweet and I can't say no.

And yet again, I'm off to play trains.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My little Mimi

Last April, I came across Mimi Kirchner's Hand-Sewn Felt Doll on The Purl Bee blog. I fell in love! How darling are these little ladies? I printed out the template and went out to find felt.

Now, I need to explain the felt situation here in the Philippines. This type of material seems to only come out of storage right before the holiday season. and only in bright red or green. I went to several shops and only one of them carried felt. After digging through the rolls of felt that they had, I found a few yards of non-holiday colors. But the elusive people colors (flesh, tan, beige) escaped me.

After months of scouring the shops, my suki (the person I buy from regularly) at Carolina's in Glorietta 5 proudly showed me a huge roll cream felt that had just come in. They were not going to put it out on the shop floor, but since I'd been so persistent, they brought it out. I was flattered, but embarassed since I only bought a few yards of the stuff.

Finally, I'd assembled all the colors I needed.

But I found myself looking at the pattern, and looking again. Terrified of that first *snip.*

Don't get me wrong, it's a very simple and straighforward pattern. There is a step-by-step photo tutorial too. I just didn't know if I could do it. But after being teased by our yaya that I was just hoarding supplies and did weren't make anything, I just went ahead and DID it.  as the kids napped one afternoon (about 2 weeks later) I pinned, I traced, I cut and there I was... sitting on the floor with a complete set of doll parts around me. No excuses. I had to make it.

I started with an arm, as it seemed the easiest to do. Then the head, and then the legs. I grew confident and embroidered the face. My confidence waned after three attempts. I just could not get the mouth right. So I repeated the entire head. The second time around was easier, as I embroidered the face before stitching around the head.

The rest came farily easily. Connect here, stuff there, sew shut and connect parts! Sorry, no pictures of this as it did go fast!

Here is little Mimi, sitting on the shelf in my classroom.
The dress was the most difficult part, really. I had a hard time deciding how to decorate it. It was, after all, the only part of the doll that I could really design. I'm still pretty stumped, but I put a turquoise running stitch around the hem and the collar. I'll add a belt one of these days. And embroider some flowers too.

Some of my co-teachers saw me making felt food the other night as I waited for parents to come in for PTCs (I'm not going to BS and call it by it's official name). They asked me to bring in Mimi, and that's why she's in my classroom. :)


I guess an introduction is in order. My name is Nikka, and I live in the Philippines. I'm also a wife, mom of two teacher and frustrated crafter/artist.

Let's just see where this takes me.