Having Fun Anywhere & Everywhere

15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim. – Ecclesiastes 8:15-16 NLT

FUN. Defined as a source of enjoyment, amusement, diversion, playfulness. I believe that there’s a time for everything and that includes having fun. Over the years, I captured some photos of my family having fun even in the most mundane routine task of daily living. Some have secrets (for us only) why we considered them so amusing. :) Everything here is priceless!

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This was during a heavy storm that made electrical posts in many areas within Metro Manila collapsed, thus many people experienced brownouts for days. In the Philippines, we know how to cook rice using wood or charcoal and pop open a canned food then a meal is done.

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It was an all white snow white kind of day and was our first time to visit a park with snow in Utah. No matter how cold it was for us, Asians, it’s still a nice day to play and run. Those were the days when you can bring your tripod and take unlimited photos without kids grumbling. Just let them be and we’re good!

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Silliness at its best. After a very long day driving, we arrived at our hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona. We rushed to go to the nearby theme park. Upon arrival, we learned that they just closed. Hah! Then we thought of having a nice dinner. Ice cream. Yeah! On a scorching heat weather, we felt like we’re inside the oven so this was the best option. @ Swensen’s, AZ.

bibingkaonplaneHow can it not be so fun when you have a yummy bibingka (rice cake) and Hunger Games book while others are having pretzels on a plane to spend winter in Colorado? :)

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What happened after this was a classic, family joke that will be kept as a secret between the four of us. :)

 

Total Solar Eclipse in Oregon

With my boys so heavily into outer space and celestial bodies, we made our way to go on a long drive to Oregon to watch and experience the great American total solar eclipse which happened August 21, 2017. I was not much excited about the eclipse but my excitement was for what interesting places to see in Oregon. Lots of pine trees? Pine scent? Love it! But no, we didn’t smell the pine trees, haze yes. Too bad, it’s brush fire season. We got to see some along the highway on our way home.

We had to get the best possible spot that would make our 14-hour drive trip worthy. Best, meaning no traffic, with cellphone signal, not cloudy and not hazy. First, the mandatory welcome to Oregon picture. We’re about an hour away from the border of California and Oregon but the main driver was so sleepy so I decided to drive. Not fond of the road as it’s just a two-lane roadway that sometimes has a passing permitted markings and sometimes no passing zone. And you have a truck with a trailer in front of you, oh boy. All my passengers were sleeping and I was droopy eyed but my brain said I should be wide awake. When the a/c blows it made me sleepy but when I look to my left, the view was fantastic. I feel like seeing Mars! Too bad I can’t take pictures. To make the story short, I was able to let them sleep and wake them up when it’s time to have our pictures taken at Welcome to Oregon sign.

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So many things happened and I can’t squeeze them all in here. Maybe in a separate entry. We were able to pick the best spot (based on our requirements) and it was in between John Day and Mt. Vernon, Oregon. We got a dry camping spot at Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site by the pond for just $11/night. Dry camping meaning no water, just portalet for potty. I’m so glad I brought our own camping potty. Anyway, it’s just for the night and the following morning. The main campground has showers and bathrooms. So it’s not a big deal. Here’s our set up.

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The park gave us 4 eclipse eyeglasses for free! We paid $50 for 6 pairs of glasses of the same kind. But it’s okay. Who would go on a 14 hour drive to view the eclipse without glasses on hand? But still, we can bless the people of Chile by sending our used eclipse glasses.

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I appreciate the fact that Oregon prepared for the eclipse. They even had a presentation in the middle of the campground.

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On the morning of the eclipse day, while others head out to town to get some breakfast, my family just chilled and waited for a hot breakfast. Hot, meaning, hotdogs and squished bread that I grilled and some cup noodles and green tea. Glad to have used our camping stove that’s been with us since 2012. Very useful!

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How to make green tea? Boil water, then add the teabag. Wait for a few minutes. Easy peasy. :) The sound of the stove makes me feel like we’re in a youtube cooking video, Almazan kitchen. IMG_8099

Since total eclipse will be around past 10, we were in no hurry to prepare our stuff. Mich was busy with every BTS songs and everything kpop. Ad had been setting up his telescope and camera while hubby was preparing his binoculars with improvised eclipse lens filters. And I got to sketch too!

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From time to time we this was how we look. :)

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I can’t remember ever experiencing a total solar eclipse. Hubby said, when we were in high school there was a total solar eclipse in the Philippines so I consider this my first.

The great American total eclipse was promoted in all possible media coverage and social medias. It became a huge tourist event (people from different places flew and drove to the path of totality), family affair and an avenue for celebration and reunion of some sort. Lazy towns became lively. Bouncy castles and playgrounds were set up for kids. All sorts of BBQs were being sold. Concerts and festivities were all over. It’s fun!

I can’t explain the feeling of excitement and much anticipation of what it would be like. And the 2 minutes and few seconds of total eclipse happened. It became dark like a night. Birds chirped. I was awed by God’s creation. In ancient times, it could be a source of bad omen, talk about superstitions. But now, it’s a feeling of happy moment that when you see something unusual like the moon covering the sun, we could see how powerful the sun is for us. And that perfect timing of rotation and revolution only comes from the master of the universe who created it. So glad we could experience this event as a family. Something to cherish for the rest of our lives. That happy feeling inside of me is unexplainable. We thanked my husband for pushing this family trip that he planned since April of 2016 and we thanked God for His provision in everything for us to be able to come here.

This is the picture I took using my Iphone at the exact time of the eclipse.

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Photos of the eclipse that Adrian took using Nikon DSLR attached to Celestron telescope.

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And here’s the time lapse video of the before and after the eclipse. We truly enjoyed our trip.


Newton’s Law

Instruction: Imagine an elephant and a mouse jumping on a trampoline. Considering Newton’s Law, how will you imagine this to look like? Draw me an incredible picture below.

At the end of every school year, I save photos of my favorite papers/schoolwork of my kids. This one was Michelle’s. Every time I see it, it cracks me up. :) She’s really a good illustrator. Look how scared the mouse is while holding a cheese. And the young elephant is looking prim and proper. Weee!

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Why Volunteer?

I was fortunate to have been showered with lots of notes from my kids when they were young, back in the days when cellphones are not available for children. Looking at one of those notes I got, I was reminded of those sweet and memorable times I get to spend with my children’s school class. Once every week I allot one day each for both of my kids to do what the teacher would ask me to do. Most of the time it’s listening to the kids’ timed reading. Seeing improvement in each one of them by the end of the year makes my heart satisfied because I know that not all of them were taught.

I volunteered so many hours in my kids’ schools in different stages of their elementary school life. I won’t forget some of the most innocent questions I got. Young kids have unique abilities to melt someone’s heart. Instead of being burdened or tired after serving them, I find it invigorating. They put a smile on my face all the time. And those were my favorite days.

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Though I’ve been to many volunteer work, I find myself lacking in that area and still would want to improve. All of the voluntary work I did from when I was a young kid up to now, I would do them all over again given a chance because of the enjoyment and fulfillment. But what about when it is inconvenient, unpleasant and unglamorous?

Today as I was reading a book about praying for my children, my desire for my kids to have a servant’s heart became a prayer focus. That cultivating a servant’s heart in them is important and worth every prayer. It’s a call to selflessness. I was led not only to pray for my children but also for us, adults as well. That even in today’s culture of self-centeredness, we may find ourselves serving because we want to follow the example of Jesus. We are all called to servanthood not only within the confines of a church setting, but on an everyday living. It is in the giving up of our lives — time, talent, effort, resources and comfort at times when an opportunity for service comes.

So why we volunteer? It’s because of love. Only if we love, we can serve others without ifs and buts. And the motivation for that love is because we love the Lord. That in everything that we do, we do it with all our hearts, as working for Him, not for people. :)

Let us serve others in love. – Galatians 5:13

A Love for Reading

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.”  – Anne Lamott

I remember the days when we used to go to our local library and borrow as much as 30 books in a single transaction. Our kids were exposed to so much library resources and best of all, they’re free! I enjoy every bit of time spent reading our borrowed books wherever we find it comfy to read.

But among all the books that we’ve ever read, about to read and cherished to read over and over, there’s one that stands the test of time. It’s the most precious of all, the Bible, simply because it is the written word of God. No matter how many times you’ve read it, there’s still so much to know, learn and understand. You will find yourself gaining not only knowledge but wisdom. And if you get deeper, it could change you.

Here’s why. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

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photo credit: Ritrato Photography

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Some of the books we love way back homeschool days.

Portrait by Michelle

Created in May of 2011, this was my first ever portrait and one of the best any day gift I’ve received. One day, Michelle was intently looking at me while I was doing house chores. I never paid attention to what she was doing at that moment. After a few minutes of repeatedly looking at me, she gave me this portrait she drew. Sweet!

“A portrait is like an ornamental headstone. It is not for the subject, but for those who look upon it. For those you want to remember.” ― Julie Klassen, The Painter’s Daughtermommypic

Arizona: Upper Antelope

 

Sometimes you’re in the mood to have someone take a groupfie photo, and you pose with peace sign unconsciously. It happened in a snap. Later on, you realized the camera belongs to the other group in your tour. Then the owner of the Iphone saw the picture, laughs at the outcome, thinks of how to send it to you coz she thinks you got a nice photo. And to break the embarassment, you let her send the picture but she doesn’t know what airdrop means. After that, everybody’s talking about airdrop. So there was a quick tutorial inside the 4-wheel truck ride to the tour site. What an ice breaker! Everybody’s laughing. Lesson learned: Know who owns the camera before posing. :)

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Now talking about Upper Antelope, personally, I like Lower Antelope better because it’s more challenging to be inside an underground canyon and cost-wise, much cheaper. But for this trip, we considered a senior friendly tour. Our nanay marveled at the sight of the terracotta like swirly formed slot canyon. It is formed by sand, wind and water over the years. Both Antelope slot canyons are located on a Navajo nation near Page, Arizona.
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What was posted in Facebook about expectation versus reality of tourists in some of the most popular tourist spots in the world is true. See the people? You have to take selfies without photobombers in 1-2 seconds or else.

Here are some of the photos we took using cellphone:

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Welcome to Upper Antelope Canyon! upperantelope4What do you see? I can see skull. Creepy! But yeah, that’s the narrow passageway that can only fit one.

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Now, this is heart.

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Teenage mutant ninja turtle mummified version? That’s just my observation. :)

upperantelope7I see an Indian chief here.

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End of the hike. Time to hop in to our rugged ride. Til next time!

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The funny thing here is, they learned how to do the peace sign. Look at the grandma on the right.:) Below is selfie with our Navajo tour guide. Then airdrop everyone! I bet he got some good gratuity that day.

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Courageous and Victorious

Today, we celebrate Michelle’s courageous attempt at being her school orchestra’s principal chair. It takes a lot of courage and determination to step out and let the whole class know that she wants to be the first chair. She accepted the responsibility to become their leader not only in class but during performances.

As parents, we can only encourage her to be patient and exercise her faith. Several times she could have been in that position but it was given to another kid. This time, she didn’t let it happen. For three days she prepared diligently. It took her hours of playing violin. And today, she’s victorious! So glad that she got what she was hoping for but more importantly, we are proud that she did it without any effort on our part. We let her evaluate the situation and take big steps to achieve her goals. We celebrate all kinds of victories in our family because we acknowledge that those victories are from the Lord. He alone can free us from our struggles. Way to go Michi girl! Your performance last February in SDYS is just the beginning.:)

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photo credit: Ritrato Photography

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photo by mom

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