July 2014

London Bridge in the US

London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London bridge is falling down, my fair lady. The rhyme dates back from the 1100s when the foundation of Old London bridge was being constructed, replacing the timber foundation. London bridge is a very important structure spanning the Thames River. It became a choice business and residential site in London. From the medieval times, there had been many calamities and repairs that undertook.

A bit of history here…

“In 1962, London Bridge was falling down. Built in 1831, the bridge couldn’t handle the ever-increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale, and Robert McCulloch, Founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000.

The bridge was dismantled, and each stone was numbered. Everything was shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California, and then trucked to Lake Havasu City.” – See more at: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/havasu.htm#sthash.7s6Dwnzv.dpuf

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Part of one of our camping hopping trips was supposed to be an overnight camping at Lake Havasu City. We didn’t like the Lake Havasu  State Park because of the ants that made the campground their home. The lake is stinky and the weather was so hot. There are times when in camping you hit the jackpot (when you have an awesome campsite). But this one was a bummer. Though it was not nice to be here on a 100+ degrees temperature, it’s nice to have a quick tour of this part of the city and learn history. Here are some of the pictures before we drive back to California.

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UK flag waving there!
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This area of the Lake Havasu City is a haven for people who loves to hang out in bars and water sports. There’s a lot of resorts in the area.
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US flag waving here!

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There’s a European feel around London Bridge in Arizona. They maintained European style of structures. Maybe it’s nice to explore some more next time but definitely in the fall or winter.
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Camping @ Flaming Gorge

I was hoping that this year will be a year of camping since we started early. In January, we went camping with the crossroads ministry. We are looking forward to this summer to go to the wilderness but circumstances won’t allow us so I’ll just write something about our extraordinary camping experience few years ago.

It all started upon learning that we will be going to Manila, Philippines. We decided to visit the other Manila, which is in Utah. Manila is a small town in the Northern Utah and Southern Wyoming boundary. It is named after the Philippines’ capital, Manila, in honor of the US victory at the Battle of Manila Bay.

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Contrary to Manila, Philippines, this Manila which is the home of the Flaming Gorge, is a less populated area. At 5pm we can only see a few people. I can’t believe that there were only 300+ people residing in Manila, Utah according to 2000 census. Let’s say it doubled in the next 10 years, it’s only 600 compared to Manila’s million population. Anyway, we love both Manilas.

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We camped at State Line Cove Campground on the sandy shore of Flaming Gorge on the boundary of Utah and Wyoming. But before we enter the campground, we literally went in and out of Utah and Wyoming border as we drove along curve roads.

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The scenic views and geological sites are plentiful. As the sky changes color from blue to gray then to bright sunny yellow, the views change as well as we drive along winding roads, from lush green to red/brown rock formations. flame4

I love trees! Any place that has beautiful trees such as this is a paradise for me. There is no entrance guard or staff here to check in so you’re on your own to find your reserved spot.
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I’m glad that my men know what to do. My husband is such detail-minded and good in logistics, so we just let them do their job while Mich and I explore and take photos everywhere.

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My husband checked the weather and it will be raining at night. We have to prepare for the challenge. Unfortunately, our camp spot was very open so this is the best location to pitch our tent. As usual the boys pitched the tent and the girls took charge of the kitchen to prepare our very fancy dinner, Spam. Haha! 😛flame6

These two young trees have proven themselves to be strong, resilient and dependable. I admit, I laughed and questioned their ability to withstand strong winds but I was reminded of the verse in the bible that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12. I should have not looked down on these skinny trees because God used them to protect us from calamity. flame2

This tent was not only a room for us but also a refuge. It shielded us enough and didn’t make us wet even under very strong winds and rain. It didn’t even get damaged or suffered any broken part. This tent has served us many camping trips until this day.  flame12

I don’t know if we should be glad that these friendly antelopes here were not intimidated by humans or should we be sorry that we were “intruding” their somewhat commercialized habitat. We didn’t know that there’s a lot of pronghorns and other types of deer and antelopes roaming around here.

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There’s plenty of them around the campground. And Mich tried to follow them. flame9

This was the last picture taken before we sleep. Dark clouds gave us warning about the coming rain. We were joking and laughing. We even played bingo and watched a movie inside the tent. Would you believe that? We were just so secured that God will not let any harm to go near us. Psalm 4:8 says “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Thankfully, God allowed us to have a good night sleep and let the storm pass in the morning. That night we kept our belongings inside the car and left only what’s needed inside the tent. A tray of Red Ribbon ensaimada (so every time I see this bread, I am reminded of manna from heaven) given by a friend and some bottled water saved us from hunger during the raging storm. As far as I can remember, we were the only tent in that area of the campground. The nearest to us was a small RV camper that left earlier than us. Around 8 AM, the storm was gone. The sky was clear and the sun shone brightly as if nothing happened. We prayed and thanked God for His covering, protection and provision.

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Finish Chelsea’s Run

This is my very first home-grown sunflower. The seeds came from Finish Chelsea’s Run last March. Adrian and I were part of his school team consisting of almost a hundred people. Finish Chelsea’s Run is an annual run in honor of Chelsea King who disappeared and later murdered while running in Lake Hodges in Rancho Bernardo in 2010.

Why sunflower? “The sunflower ~ It is resilient, It is bright and always follows the sun. It stands out in a crowd. It is surprising, towers over others in uniqueness and splendor, and the closer you look, the more amazing its depth and beauty. Chelsea’s favorite flower, the sunflower has come to symbolize the light and hope that continue to shine brightly.” – chelseaslight.org

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Springtime. That week was raining terribly especially on the morning of the run. The sky was so dark with heavy clouds then going to the venue, the rain poured hard. This was the visibility when we were driving. We stopped by the nearest 7 eleven but they ran out of ponchos. I know we have some ponchos but don’t know where we put them so, rain or shine, we were ready to run. But we asked God to calm the stormy weather.

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This was the result of our prayer. Voila! Sunshine. I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot of people who prayed for the rain to stop and let the runners run safely.
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As expected, parking was difficult with almost 10,000 people around. Adrian and I went ahead because in a few moments, 5k run will start. We wore yellow leis to identify our team. In the picture was Adrian’s history teacher, wearing blue beanie.

Before the start of the run, a mom whose child was also a victim gave words of encouragement to all the supporters of Chelsea’s Run and it’s foundation. You can’t help but cry when you hear stories like that of Chelsea and other kids who lost their lives to some bad guys. chelsea3

With this number of people, you can’t run even if you want to. The first quarter of a mile was only for walking. I realized that I can be more effective running without my jacket and cellphone. chelsea4

I was trying to run and go ahead of the pack. I finally saw where my husband and Mich were. A little of hellos and then off to my official business. It’s my first 5k this year so I better be serious.

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After the run, it was drizzling. We just had some pictures and some sunflowers. Then heading to the parking lot, it rained heavily again. Chelsea’s Run this year surpassed last year’s registrants. Year after year, more people are becoming supporters of Chelsea’s Light. Chelsea’s life doesn’t end when she died in the hands of a murderer. Her family and supporters continued her legacy by establishing a foundation that focuses on uniting people and protecting the innocents.  chelsea7

 

4th of July: Hiking to Fireworks

It’s so much fun when you hike with a bigger company. Twas my second time hiking up Cowles Mountain and first time for our kids and visiting friends from Utah. Cowles Mountain has San Diego City’s highest peak with 1,593-foot (486 m) summit. It is also one of San Diego’s most famous hiking area because of it’s easy trail and easy access though parking is a bit challenging. The 360 degrees view of San Diego is awesome. Going up is 1.5 miles with an elevation of 950 ft. It took us more than 2 hours for the whole hike. cowles2 Our kids are not raised to be hikers so we know they would complain if only the four of us so I took the opportunity to include hiking in our summer itinerary. Since it’s 4th of July, we brought some American flags to join America as they celebrate their independence day. Flags sold out at Dollar Tree a day before the 4th. I was fortunate to get some (on sale!) from Albertsons before going up. Patriotic huh? Mich was getting ahead of us. She is revved up…for something.

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A man offered to take a photo of us with our dramatic pose. Haha! :) We are building memories here. Someday when we look back we will remember this fourth of July hike. Who knows? We might have a “then and now” picture years from now.
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Here are the machines of 4th! Our hearts, muscles and bones were happy that they got to work a little better today. We don’t want the machines to get rusty! We had them work extra on a sunny Sun Diego day!

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Looking forward to more hikes with you. Potato Chip, next? I so love it when we hike together. Cheesiness? Anyway, after the hike, we had a very nice excuse for pigging out. Chopsticks! Then we rested for a while and got ready for the fireworks at downtown San Diego.

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Seaport village is one of my favorite places in San Diego. I love spending lazy days here walking around, watching sunset, people flying kites, sailboats, yachts and many more. This place has a lot of cute stores and restaurants. I so love the gourmet Top of the Market.
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I’ve never seen this place crowded as today. Later on I found out why. It was a good idea to park near a train station and just use the train going here. Though our train ride reminded us of jam-packed LRT in Manila, it was still a better choice. Business was good that day for a peddler like this one (photo below). Mich was hinting me to buy because they accidentally left the glow sticks at home.

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We had the best view of the four simultaneous fourth of July fireworks in San Diego that’s why it was overcrowded. Our eyes feasted on the beautiful blasts and sparkles in the night sky. We’ve even seen something new but was not able to capture. It was a long day for us, a beautiful long day. :)fireworks5

Four Corners USA

Interestingly, there’s a place in the US where you could be in four different states at one point. It’s called Four Corners. Since we love to explore and we love geography, we took the time to visit this place. There’s not much to see but to feed your curiosity and experience how it’s like to be there is enough.
4corners6 Most of the Four Corner regions belong to native Americans like this one, Navajo Nation. So when we entered this area, we are in a semi-autonomous native American governed territory. According to wikipedia, The Navajo Nation has one of the largest and most involved North American tribal governments, with organic institutions that include a judicial system, and large law enforcement and social service agencies.

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To support the native American businesses, we bought some souvenirs and the necklace Mich is wearing in the picture above. It took us a lot of time for her to pick what she likes best. That has always been the hard part every time we ask her to choose. She has a lot of things that she wants to buy including an archery set. No Hunger Games that time yet but she wants a bow and arrows. 4corners1

So when you visit a native American territory be sure to follow the rules. As long as you don’t violate their rules and you are kind and sensitive to their beliefs and culture you’re welcome to enjoy their land. Visitors are always welcome. navajonation 4corners2 This is the most important photo op. Adrian’s left leg is in New Mexico, right leg in Arizona, right hand/arm in Utah and left hand/arm in Colorado. How cool is that? :) We got here earlier than most visitors so we had the chance to have photos one by one.

4corners4But when it’s about time for family picture, there’s a lot of photo bombers.

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This rock formation is one of my favorite sight in our road trip that day. I remember after taking this photo, we saw a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere and we were surprised. It was time to recharge our bodies with fast-food and use our cellphones because mostly there were weak signals or none at all.

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Matchy Matchy

When I was young, my sister and I would always have similar clothes especially during Christmas. My mother would buy or have us customized dresses that would make us look like twins. Sometimes, it’s annoying but mothers are mothers. You’ve got to love their choices for their children. :) Unconsciously, I did it too but on a higher degree. Haha! Look at Adrian’s 4th birthday family picture. I bought those clothes from three different stores. Effort! There are still more in my hard drive but I’ll just update it when I find them. Keep laughing!

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Upside down

Time flies so fast! I miss the time when I cuddle my babies and play with them. Looking at their pictures when they were young make me remember what they look like when they were little. That’s why I take a lot of pictures whenever and wherever I can. So kids please don’t resent your parents taking selfies with you or taking your pictures while you are doing crazy stuff coz moms are more sentimental than dads. :)

Why do dads like to play rough with kids? And kids would love it when their hearts feel like it would burst due to excitement. Mich loved it when dad would throw her up in the air and catch her. Her reaction would be like a mixture of crying and laughing. Then she would ask for more and dad would give up because of tired arms. The last picture was one of the acrobatic plays they had that she carried on til now.

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Pier 39

A multitude of bees can tell the time of day, calculate the geometry of the sun’s position, argue about the best location for the next swarm. Bees do a lot of close observing of other bees; maybe they know what follows stinging and do it anyway.” – Lewis Thomas

A quick visit to Pier 39 includes people watching. We, or I in particular, love to see diverse people and observe what they do, what they buy, what they eat and many more. I love to see colors and life in every stores and things sold everywhere from souvenirs to candies at Pier 39.

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I would encourage our kids to buy local fruits than candies. But kids are kids. They’re attracted to candies especially the weird ones.

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Funny as it seems, the main reason why I want to go here was to see sea lions but we only saw one. A lazy looking sea lion. Looks like they all walked out. :) Maybe we missed the right time to see them here.

Anyway, to compensate the missing sea lions, here’s one of the best sunsets in the Bay Area. Dining to a very dramatic sunset was a treat!

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Yummy food from Pier Market. It was a long wait because of too much people that time…

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(2 years ago from the time of posting)

Water Play at Carlsbad Lagoon

Life’s been hard the past few weeks. If there’s food that would best describe what we’ve encountered last couple weeks, it would be salad, with its sweet, salty, sour, crunchy, juicy, cheesy, olive oily and flavorful characteristics. We’ve experienced pain and joy the same day when my husband was talking about funeral for his mother after Adrian got his certificate of promotion to high school. Anyway, God knows exactly what we need. We needed time to breathe and laugh and spend time with friends so here it is.

Everytime we pass by I-15 North to Carlsbad, we always see this place, Carlsbad Lagoon, and thought it would be fun to try it one day. It was such a fun-filled day spent kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, boating, wakeboarding and water tubing.

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The most thrilling and enjoyable part is when you mix screaming and laughing while gripping on the handle so you won’t fall on the water. Watching us slammed our bodies against the tube every time we were pulled to the curve and waves splashed on us, our cheerers laughed because of the entertainment we give.

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Adrian got to try wakeboarding due to my insistence. He got sore arms and he was not in the mood after that. If an angry stare could harm. Haha! I felt guilty (I know it killed his joy when we were in the boat) for letting him do it but at least he had experienced wakeboarding. Maybe he needs to workout and strengthen his upper body and arms before doing it again.

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Living in California for a few years, I am still not used to cold water. I’ve always wanted to do kayaking and paddle boarding so during the almost 100s (F) in May I was brave enough to consider trying them out. Perfect day to do it now in the summer with friends from Utah. I got to test my injured right arm for paddling and it was good. I think we can do the open water kayaking in La Jolla next time.

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Mich decided to just be a passenger if you will notice. She doesn’t want to paddle because she wants to look for fish. Below, yay! I’m getting there! This was the best that I can do for now. I need more calm waters. The waves from jet skis and boats make it difficult for beginners like me to stand up and I am not willing to fall. At least I can navigate. :)

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We enjoyed the beach, sand, sun and water for more than three hours of playtime, we were hungry and ready to eat bratwurst and sauerkraut.