Springtime

Can’t wait for spring to come! I love to see spring flowers. I’m super excited to plant. So please no more frost okay? A day of frost last week wiped all my tomatoes. 😢

Photo here was taken in Layton, Utah when Mich was in kindergarten. So many lovely memories with Mrs. Moon, right, Mich? Remember the time you told Mrs. Moon that your favorite food is rainbow rice? 😂 And you explained to her why. Also some bad memories of when a boy bullied you? I think that was the time when you got bruises and wounds because of that bully. That’s when I decided that my kids would learn martial arts. So you know why you got enrolled in Aikido. 😀 Anyways, any season in life is good as long as we have God’s grace and love. When dry season passes, there comes another season, which is a beautiful one like the flowers in the fields.
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Drink Your Milk

No glass? No problem. We got milk but we don’t have a cooler, so Mich had to finish the whole thing. 😂 This is the reason why she’s tall. Kidding! This was taken during one of those camping days in San Jacinto mountains in 2012.
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Drinking milk is not my thing. I struggle a lot with milk. Be it producing or drinking. 😂 I know it’s healthy but I can only tolerate it when I was pregnant with my kids since I need calcium for myself and my babies. I had to trick myself into making a 🥛 glass of milk alluring and appetizing. It had to be ice-cold and in a big Starbucks tumbler. For at least 6 months each, on a daily basis, I endured drinking milk. Thanks to Starbucks for stepping up the game in making beverages. Yes, we have Starbucks in the Philippines during my first pregnancy. That was almost 19 years ago. I love milk. Only on pancakes. And that’s a secret. 😜

 

Winter Olympics

Due to our busy schedule, we decided not to join this year’s winter olympics. 😂 So, I’m posting this in honor of all dreamers who made their way to Pyeongchang Olympics. Salute to all of you for your undying commitment to achieve your dream to win or to even qualify and be your country’s representative.

Here’s our family picture taken many years ago at US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. :)

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Hiking: Mt. Gower

This hike deserves immediate posting to remember the pain it caused our bodies. 🤣 Though there’s a shorter route to hike Mt. Gower, we gave the longer version a try since it would only be a once in a lifetime (probably) hike. Why? Because there’s still so much to hike in Southern California. So we’d rather hike other trails than repeating a hard hike. A difficult hike for me is something that has not much shade that you have to bring lots of water to hydrate or you’ll be like a melted candy🍬.

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Here, Laurence stands over some big granite boulders with backdrop of mountains we’ve already conquered hiking namely Iron Mountain, Mount Woodson and Palomar Mountain.gower2

Along the trail you’ll see some interesting rock formations as this one below. We called it “The Fangs” of Mt. Gower. The next photo shows the base of the next challenge to reach the summit of Mt. Gower. The challenge was to look for the actual trail and how to get there without scratches.

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Above picture shows the base of the two summits. What’s next? Scramble up the steep mountainside to reach the summit. Three teenagers went there fast and the two decided to sleep to recover.

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That’s the middle summit people! I’m here at the real summit. Good job husband for taking a little “quiet time”.

gower5Pictures don’t do justice as to how high we’ve gone up. If you just know how our hearts were exercised that day.

gower6At the summit where we had our lunch were different species of 🦋 butterflies mingling happily. It’s so nice to be there and experience the breeze and seeing that extraordinary view of San Diego County. gower8-1My Garmin watch was accidentally stopped when we’re more than 3 miles going up. So our hike was in between 8.4-9 miles @ 70s F weather. Going back was harder than we thought because we underestimated the need for water. We should have doubled our tank. The sun was up and draining us. That’s when we realized that this hike is not really moderate as what we perceived it to be.

Hiking list: Mt. Gower ✅

More hikes to conquer!

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Snow Play

The coolest thing to do when you’re in a snowy place is to play. It’s cold but you’ll sweat. Living in Utah for more than 3 years brought us so much memories of playtime in snow that we miss from time to time. I tried to ski and ice skate but it’s a big no for me. I can’t balance and I don’t want to injure my weak back. At least I tried. I don’t have the determination and motivation to learn snowboarding and skiing. So here’s a throwback to our sledding and tubing life.  This was in the backyard of an elementary school where Ad & Mich went. So so much memories there. I’m about to cry. One of the best moments of my life happened in Kaysville.

These pictures are so lit. photo credit: Chevie B. snowplay1 snowplay2

Crab Monster

We just love eating crabs. Crabs are ♥. Right? Crab Monster? 🦀🦀🦀
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Enjoy Your Seoul

We chanced upon an interesting Korean drama called “Let’s Eat”. At first, we thought it’s a documentary show like the one in Arirang channel. We were drawn immediately as we saw the preview because the food looked savory. Since it’s about food, Mich became interested too. Any drama that shows food and pet, she’s in. It’s like egg and rice for her. :)seoul We are fond of watching K-dramas, eating yummy Kfood, and hoping to visit South Korea again. Let’s Eat is entertaining especially the eating part wherein the actors would describe the food and show how to properly eat a specific dish and the reason behind. We always drool and dream about the food we see in the show and hope that when we go to Seoul we will be able to try the authentic ones. IMG_0281

If eyes are windows to the soul, then food is the clear window into the culture. When in Seoul, we ate at this authentic looking restaurant with no chairs. The waiters don’t speak English, so based our orders on the pictures in the menu. That time, we were not yet familiar with Korean food. So we copied what the others were doing. They gave us a plate full of onions and we didn’t even know what to do with them. Haha. We enjoyed our yummy food anyway.
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The above dinosaur looking pancakes with red beans are a must. Below, was the yummiest street bought grilled squid I’ve ever tasted. Sooo good!letist5 DSC_0343

Pancakes deserve to be eaten again and again…kittydrink

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kittydrinkMatcha green tea hot chocolate from Hello Kitty cafe tastes like the sea. That’s how Mich would describe her drink. :)

Dissection

 

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Among all the school open houses I’ve been to, this one was the least favorite of mine. But I think it was Michelle’s favorite because she proved that she’s braver than me. She gets the bragging right. Fine. Way back in high school, we didn’t do any dissection. And I’m forever grateful to my science teacher. It was all theoretical or else, I won’t do it. I know, I was born not to be a science major. Or I could dissect any animal except snakes and worms. :) Good job Michelle! You don’t need your mom’s help here. You’re very independent. :)

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.


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