family

Canyonlands: Island in the Sky & Mesa Arch, Etc.

This is a summary of what we have accomplished in a short period of time after traveling long hours. We just had a quick breakfast and loaded our mini cooler with some blueberry muffins, an apple for the boss, Poochie, beef jerkies, gatorades and water and off we go to this vast land filled with nature’s wonders.

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This is Utah’s largest national park, Canyonlands National Park located in the Moab, Utah. We had to prioritize what we want to visit and come back some other time for other scenic areas.

Names easily catch my attention so I chose Island in the Sky and it’s surrounding attractions. It’s surreal! It’s one of those things that you don’t normally see on a daily basis. It’s breathtaking to see these rugged canyons carved by Colorado river.  It was made more spectacular when we watched how the sun sets down and makes the canyons’ color turn golden. The clouds and snowy mountainous backdrop, the texture of the rugged canyons and crevices are so picturesque. canyonlands1

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Only a short mile hike going to this awesome view, the Mesa Arch. If short hikes are like this one, everyone will be more motivated to hike regularly. The arch looked small but in reality, it’s big. If we have the luxury of time, it’s nice to just sit and relax here the whole day.
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We passed by this Wooden Shoe Arch going to the visitor’s center. It really looks like a shoe. Unique in it’s own way.

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In the back is Newspaper Rock, a petroglyph site located along Indian Creek in Southeastern Utah. It’s really cool how people from old days connect to us through art and some form of writing. canyonlands9

This is really a cool roadside attraction going to Canyonlands. It’s called Wilson arch. We decided to stop by and have some pictures. What seemed like an easy hike turned out to be difficult and impossible for me to go up with Uggs on. It’s scary to go up some more so I settled in this spot and had selfie with the rest of the gang.

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Ocean Beach = Doggie Beach

 

A day in the life of Pooch… It was the head of the house’s forty something birthday and we decided to drive the Pacific Highway Coast til we get tired. We were beach hopping. First stop was this beach, my happy place called Dog Beach (Ocean Beach). A little trivia about this beach: It’s one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States (according to Ocean Beach San Diego official website). Woohoo! Everybody’s having a great time here. But before I have my great time, they would not let me go around unless I pose for them. So here it is, with this giant umbrella that resembles my grandma’s color wheel. Maybe she would paint me sometime. Hmmm. What do you think? Look at me, I don’t have a leash and I am just obeying them to stay put and smile for the camera. I am a good boy.

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After striking a pose here and there, they let me be free but with one condition, no barking! I should be friendly with people and with pets like me. By the way, I heard Zena (my doggie friend neighbor) sometimes visit this beach. I hope one day we could see her here. It’s gonna be paw-some fun!IMG_2355You see, I am the youngest member of this family and they won’t let me be alone in the house on this special day. They love to play with me while the mother of the house is busy with photographing our moments together. They want me to play catch but sometimes I am overwhelmed with so many things. I want to chase other dogs and I want to run freely as fast as I could. 
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This doggie beach is perfect for pets like me. I just love going here. People and dogs like me co-exist peacefully and wonderfully here. What a wonderful world! Woof! Bring me often here. DSC_0271

Moonlight Beach

It was one of those days we get to spend time with new friends. We love to meet people and look forward to lasting relationship with people who loves the Lord. We had BBQ, bonfire, friends, cake for Laurence, ukulele playing by Michelle & a chance to see for the first time, Chinese lanterns afloat the night sky at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. I was so thrilled to see those lanterns especially it was so dark in the beach. I love Tangled the movie because of the lantern scene. It was so pretty watching in 3D (that makes Tangled one of my most favorite movies of all time) & it’s so pretty in real life!

We are thankful to our friends who secured a place and fire pit early in the day so we could hang out in the evening. They even brought this bag toss game for couples (with Mr. & Mrs. on them to be played by two teams). So cute!

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Mich spent much time digging the sand while Ad was busy taking photos. moonlightA

We’ve never heard about Moonlight beach until this meet up. We were surprised that there’s such a beach in San Diego! It’s quite small compared to the more popular beaches but it’s more family friendly.
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When I was a kid, I don’t like sunsets. It signals the beginning of night and you don’t get much to do when it’s dark but to sleep. I am talking about sunsets in our province. That was the kind of sunset I have in memory. Sunsets in the province are way too different! They make me feel melancholic and I don’t like it. But now, I love sunsets! It brings the dark sky with twinkling stars. And it’s another time to enjoy. I love it when my boys love stargazing. It makes night time enjoyable and interesting.

Amazing, amazing sunset! How can you not love that specific day when you have everything needed for a perfect beach night? This is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in the US so far. I’ve always been chasing sunsets in America whenever there’s a chance but this was so special. It feels like you’re closer to the water and sun. The sky was filled with bright red, orange and yellow. It was a happy sunset! Everybody paused for a while and took photos (a lot!) of the lovely sunset.moonlight2

After the sun had set, it’s time for bonfire! It was cold so our bonfire was a refuge. We had a blast! I can’t believe that almost all the groups with bonfire had birthday celebrations each or at least something to celebrate. Hoping for more of this kind of activity with my family and some more friends. :)moonlight1_edited-1

Tree

Trees are my favorite. My husband knows about my favorite tree. I had the chance to show him my first ever favorite tree. We were young then (in our 20’s) and not even in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship when we went on vacation in my grandparent’s house in the province. The view from my grand’s big kitchen window was lovely to look at. There was this lone tree in the middle of the vast field that I find so beautiful. The sight makes my chores easier to do. It’s just sad that I had no actual photo of it but saved a virtual copy of it in my mind instead. Only my husband knows how it looks like and why i love it. So whenever we see a similar tree, he would point it to me and say “that’s your tree.” Yes, I have several trees around the world. Trees “I own” that they didn’t even know I own them. Haha!

Now, for my second favorite (in the picture), this tree was my favorite view from our bedroom in Utah. We had so much memories with this tree. We have designated this tree in front of our apartment as the waiting spot in case of emergencies. If something happens inside the house like fire or anything that need us to go out of the house, we will meet at the tree. Just like what the family in “Puppy Place” have talked about meeting at an apple tree outside their house when their kitchen was burning.

This tree was a witness to many of our family activities such as homeschooling, playtime, picnic, playing music, painting and many more. Mich used to practice violin under this tree. It had become a subject of her painting too. Fallen leaves were a source of happy times as my kids play with them.

It’s so refreshing to see trees after the rain. They radiate vivid colors once the rain finished watering them. They look so fresh and happy. It’s so fascinating to see trees when in springtime they show different shades of greens and sprouts. It’s so lovely to look at trees during autumn with leaves of different colors. Though during winter, it might be depressing to look at seemingly lifeless trees, but when they’re covered with snow, they’re still lovely.

Trees are givers of life to those who are in gloom. Just by looking at them in any season, you’ll see life and hope. Trees are not only beautiful. One can learn so many things from them. Even from a tree that do not have fruits but can give a shade to a weary person is a fruit in itself. Even a tree in its loneliness can provide a picturesque scenery that can inspire and motivate the viewer. A stump can give a seat to a person who can’t make another step due to his long journey. And even a dead tree floating on a body of water can be a lifesaver. In parallel, we can be a giver to those around us. No matter how we think insignificant our small deed is to another person, we can be like the tree that can inspire. Just being kind to another person could save a life who is in the verge of death. One might be undergoing some difficulties in life but overcoming adversaries and becoming victorious could paint a beautiful scenery that others can appreciate as they look at life…

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom
Blessed is the one who gains understanding,
She is a tree of life to those who hold her close
Those who hold on to her will be blessed – Prov. 3:13 and v 18 NIrV
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This is Michelle’s painting of the tree above during spring time.

St. Regis Monarch Beach

St. Regis is love ! This premier resort in Laguna Beach, Dana Point has so many to offer for the entire family. Named after the Monarch butterfly, St. Regis Monarch has championship golf course, private beach, kids activities, spa, butler service, and more. st regis orange

Refined. Luxurious. Private. This resort is also popular for weddings and honeymoon. st regis orange9

This massive fountain is magical at night, romantic for a night walk.st regis orange2

Chocolates with butterfly wrapping, teas and cookies with gold dust were some of the welcome treats that we enjoyed!st regis orange3

It was summer when we stayed there. St. Regis boasts of more fun activities for kids than any luxury hotels. They held this “Butterfly Release” every Saturday that summer. It was to commemorate the breeding ground of monarch butterflies which is within the resort’s property. It started with a little procession from lobby to the ocean terrace. Then the butler read the story about the legend of monarch butterflies. Then butterflies were released. Some kids are afraid like this little boy. Some kids want to catch all. st regis orange4Another butler walked around giving butterflies in envelope to kids. He told Michelle to make a wish and then release the butterfly. Welcoming the adults to the venue, there were unlimited champagne offered by the servers. Cheers! st regis orange5

At night, kids and parents alike are treated to some storytelling and unlimited s’mores. Awesome night for guests!st regis orange6

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Pools are big, warm and has music underneath the water. Really cool! Mich didn’t want to go home.st regis orange8

To go to the private beach area, you have to schedule a golf cart service. It’s quite a drive going to the beach and one can’t just go there by foot. It’s so nice that even toys and sand buckets are provided for each child guest. St. Regis, one of the best! Till next time. :)st regis orange10

Sequoia National Park: Land of the Giants

Sequoia National Park is home to giant trees including the world’s largest, General Sherman tree. This park lies side by side with Kings Canyon National Park in Southern Sierra Nevada in California. This place is magical. It’s not ordinary to see humongous living things like what you can see here. You’ll be in awe. You’ll try to comprehend. And you won’t forget. seq2

We were already amazed at how big the Sentinel is, but it is just an average-sized tree here. Oh, well, biggie size in America is a usual thing. :)seq1

The visitor center shows how big the trees are in comparison with famous monuments and things. The giant trees here are compared to the size of the Statue of Liberty, Titanic, the great blue whale, and regular trees. People are mere dots.

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Some of the causes of death of giant trees are due to severe winter and falling down. It would be scary to witness a falling sequoia. I imagine it would be like how a cartoon show would portray that scene, flat like a card board. Seriously, don’t even imagine it.  seq6seq4

We received more than we sought. It’s not enough to read only what’s in this place or in any national parks. It’s better to experience it and enjoy being with nature. There’s more to it than just watching documentaries or reading blogs like this. We can better appreciate nature and it’s wonders by taking a break from our busy life.

Our world is big. We may be mere tiny objects compared to these natural marvels but we can help protect and preserve them.    seq7

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This is Adrian’s Lego Mindstorm robot, panoramabot which he programmed to take panorama pictures using my cellphone. That’s why we were a bit late from our schedule. Picture below shows us passing through “the tunnel log”. This tree fell down due to natural causes and was carved to let smaller cars pass through.   seq9

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We were practically running to make up for the time lost since wandering the giant forest. We had to beat the time for us to see the biggest tree before it gets dark. We highly recommend anyone going here to bring a bug spray or mosquito repellant. And expect mosquitoes and bugs to be bigger than the usual. Remember, you’re in the land of the giants.  seq13

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What can you see in Congress Trail? Not politicians but trees of course. This is a 2 mile paved trail that goes through the heart of the sequoia forest. You can see the famous House and Senate Groups, and the President, Chief Sequoyah, General Lee and McKinley Trees. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to visit them because it’s getting dark. It was past 6PM when we were in the General Sherman area. One upside here, we get to take several photos with the General Sherman because there’s not much people left. Adrian’s panoramabot was very helpful.seq14

According to NPS (National Park Service), the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world. Massive. Gigantic. Enormous. Colossal. Monster. Humongous. Approximately, this tree together with other giants in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon live between 1,800 to 2,700 years. They’ve witnessed the unfolding of civilizations and they overcame drought & other calamities. What else? They’ve seen how the earth changes.

We salute you, General Sherman tree! You’re awesome! We hope that many more generations will see you. But even more, we salute your Maker, our Maker. :)seq11

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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Honoring Our Mother

If there are treasures on earth that are so abundant yet so priceless, they are what we call mothers. My mother in-law was an example of a simple person who has an extraordinary mothering skills like that of a mother hen. Her inner strength enabled their family surpass the tests of family life. She may not be healthy all the time but she had a strong sense of care for her family. I’ve seen her qualities through the years and I admire her for that. She may not be perfect as nobody is perfect but the skills of motherhood is overflowing in her life. She devoted herself taking care of her family until the very end, a noble task that many mothers can’t do nowadays.

nanay1I have vivid memories of her when we went back to Manila two years ago. I’ve seen how happy and content she was being reunited with all of her children and grandchildren. The picture that left an imprint in my mind was when I saw her watching a television show with satisfaction and laughing her heart out alone while everyone was in the living room during her 59th birthday celebration. It was so nice to see a person happy even if we just had a simple celebration.

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Multiple complications from diabetes and kidney malfunction took her away from us last week. It was a battle of more than a month in the hospital. But God was in the midst of it all. Truly, God’s sufficient grace enabled everyone in the family to do what they can for our mother. And God was so good. We know that she is now enjoying the place where there’s no pain and suffering but pure joy and the presence of our Almighty. We were not able to go back home but we were given the chance to tell her how much we love her, thank her for her life and assure her that we will be living our lives well.

I will not forget how we had snacks one time she visited me in my office. That was probably more than 10 years ago. It was unusual to spend time together during office hours but I am glad we did because most of the time we see each other with everyone else around. I thank her for all the time and effort she made for me and my family. I will always remember how she looked after us whenever there’s an event or occasion. She always made sure that we have seats, choicest food and most of all my kids were treated well.

During our light moments, mother in-law would always share so many stories about my husband when he was young. It made me feel and see how my husband’s childhood was like. She even gave me my husband’s baby shoes and a toy that we let Adrian play with but unfortunately I was not able to keep. I wish I could at least have taken a photo of those (no phone cameras and selfies yet that time). I have so many things to be grateful for her life but the best legacy given to me was giving birth to my husband and raising him to be a fine, gentle and loving person.

Nanay, you are forever in our hearts.

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 Nanay Lydia with her granddaughters (Greenbelt Makati City 2005)

 

 

 

Day 20: Provision

 
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
– Psalm 16:2