Go West (by going east!)

15 Jul

A couple of days after school got out for the summer, I jumped on a plane BY MYSELF to visit my best friend who moved away from here about a year ago. My entire family would’ve loved to join me, but the math doesn’t work. 1 plane ticket x 7 = no food for a few months.

After years of being in charge of many little ones during the 24+hours of travel, it felt heavenly to travel by myself!

Once I got through all the annoying stuff, I sat down at a quiet Starbucks (which I didn’t think was possible to find anywhere in Manila, much less the airport) and chatted with my friends, called my parents, and most importantly, just did whatever I wanted!


I flew Japan Airlines and I’m happy to report that I would totally fly them again! My plane was a brand new one, so all the features were up-to-date and shiny. My favorite feature was the window tint that has replaced the pull-down shade. Sometimes, mid-flight, you just want to check out what’s going on outside, but when you lift the shade, the entire cabin lights up and your fellow passengers glare at you for the rest of the flight. Problem solved with these tints!

The food was pretty nice, the highlight of course, being the chocolate chip cookies and Haagendazs ice cream!


The flights were great, and thanks to Advil PM, I slept a good chunk of the time! When we hit Chicago airspace, I started looking for landmarks from my marathon. It was fun to see Wrigley field lit up for the evening game!


It was a beautiful time of year to be visiting! Chilly in the evening, and comfortable in the daytime. We spent most of the time on their back deck.


My first day there, the kids wanted to take me to their local fave, Beefaroo. It was a good ol’ American burger for this overseas gal.


Deacon’s best bud and I were twinning!


I also got lots of snuggles with Donut!


Always a must-do, we went to an authentic Mexican restaurant for dinner! Table-side guacamole prep was the highlight!

This is how I had to spend the rest of the evening on the deck!



The next day, we went walking/biking on the river. It was so beautiful out and the conversation was terrific and the company even better!


We had a little traffic!


That afternoon, we went to another local favorite, Dairy Depot. It was stupid delicious.


I’m realizing I have more food pics than anything else!

So why stop?

Because of the beautiful weather, we thought grilling was completely called for.


The next day, the kids and I had a totally small-town day. We rode bikes to the local grocery store to buy some snacks and then we went to the park!


I finished my Chicago-trip with their hometown specialty! Lou Malnati’s deep dish. It was spectacular. I even brought back two frozen ones for Josh’s Father’s Day gift.


It was such a short trip, but so worth it, in so many ways! I’m so thankful that the Lord provided every moment that we got together!


Last Day

27 Jun


The beauty of posting weeks after pics are taken is that I can see Mackenzie was ticked about something, but I can’t remember what it was! Oh well….

Here we are on the morning of the last day of school! Bella was at a sleepover with all the girls in her class, so we missed her in this pic


Once I finished my classes and had all my grades in, I laid down on my couch and let it sink it that I completed a year of teaching! It was a fun moment.


Bella’s small group had a special senior girl leader who they are all going to miss from now on!


The traditional flag lowering ceremony (only they didn’t lower the flag, so I’m not sure why we’re calling it that anymore…)


The last day of school at Faith Academy is ALWAYS filled with lots of tears, as so many friends come and go each year!


That night, we decided to celebrate by waiting in the lllooonnngg line to get into…..Popeyes? (face palm emoji) It opened a few weeks prior, and we tried twice already to go, but there was a two-hour wait both times! This time, we waited in a short line outside for about thirty minutes.


Everyone was excited when we finally made it into the door! It took another thirty minutes to get our food, but when it finally arrived, it was (mostly) worth the wait!


Unfortunately, when we got back to the car, we realized the battery was dead from leaving our lights on. (another face palm emoji) Thankfully, because school was over, everyone was in good moods so we all ran around a nearby monument while Josh waited for a jump.




Bella’s Big Finish

18 Jun

Bella finished out her school year with a bang. It started with an undefeated season in PRS basketball!


After the championship, I sent kids home with Mackenzie (have I mentioned how AMAZING it is that she can hold down the fort now?) and Bella and I hit the salon to get her hair ready for her middle school banquet.

I sent this picture to Josh, who was in Australia. He normally buys the girls flowers for their banquets, but since he was out of the country, he told me to buy Bella a frappiccino (which I think she’d prefer anyway!)


We snapped a quick pic together before I took her up to her friends. My mom bought her this dress when we were in the US in March. We all felt like champions when she finally found one she liked because she was so SO specific (aka: picky!)


My beautiful Bella!


….and her sweet friends!

After the banquet, we had all of her friends over for a pool party.


Her only request was that we have glow sticks!


Her big finale of the year was getting her braces off about a year after she had them put on! Now she has a beautiful smile and a bunch of retainers!

Oops, Forgot About Easter!

18 Jun

Rather, I forgot to post about Easter. My kids would never let us forget about Easter itself. We try to keep a mindset of celebrating Christ’s resurrection every day of the year, so during Holy Week, our kids are dyeing eggs, looking for hidden stuff (whether we remembered to hide it or not!) and asking for candy around the clock.



All I remember about that day was that it was so doggone hot and all of these outfits came straight off within seconds of getting home after church!


This guy won the Best Dressed award!

Happy Easter

Blast From the Past

18 Jun

One of my favorite friends from high school came to visit the old country with her daughter. Jaime and I only had one year together, but we bonded on the first day of basketball season and jumped straight to close friends. We found that we were alike in so many ways, so much that when we would watch game film, we would mistake one for the other frequently. This is what I remember from our 1998 together.

  • We LOVED Titanic and would constantly sing My Heart Will Go On in basketball practice.
  • Likewise, we loved Leonardo.
  • We both wore blue eyeliner.
  • We had matching shirts and were not at all surprised when we realized that we had similar styles.

We had to take a picture in the place where our friendship began!



Our coach still lives here, so we had a mini-reunion at the pool. He brought all of our old team pictures, along with more stories than either Jaime or I could remember. It was so much fun to hear about our basketball season from a coach’s perspective, because, like I mentioned above, we were busy singing My Heart Will Go On.


She would be an amazing fit at Faith, and her daughter absolutely LOVED seeing the school, so I’m trying my hardest to recruit them to come here!

May the 4th Be With You

18 Jun

Because our staff banquet fell on May 4, the planning committee jumped at the chance for a Star Wars themed banquet. The invitation said to dress in semi-formal wear OR Star Wars costume. I, of course, was in no way NOT going to dress up! I thought because I went with classic Leia, I would look like at least 6 other people at the banquet. It turns out, most people went with the “semi-formal” option, and I was one of only a handful of costumed others, and the only Leia!

One of the great things about living here is that seamstresses are wonderful and inexpensive, so I got this dress made for $10!


She even made the hood that goes on it, but I couldn’t get it to stay on my buns!


They hired a Chewie and a Darth for photo ops, so I jumped in right away! I love that the Filipino Chewie costume has to have platform shoes in order to hit the still-too-short height!


Then I had to make sure I took a pic of Josh with his “costume”


Here is the Han to my Leia – he’s the Physics teacher and his son is Simeon’s best friend!


Here is the group of cool kids who dressed up.


It’s been a month and a half since the banquet, but….

I think there was good food.

I think there was a good program.

I know there were fun friends at my table.

I know I love dressing up for stuff!

It’s Summer!

3 Jun

….so naturally, I’ll write about things that happened in the spring! I’m hoping that I can catch up on all my posts this summer, but that would mean that I can’t do anything bloggable the entire summer. Judging from the fact that I’m scooting over to Chicago tomorrow, that plan is out the airplane window.

The NHS sponsored a blood drive at school, so being staff this year, I decided it’s kind of an obligation! The last time I donated blood was the same blood drive of my senior year. (Of course, I gave gallons of plasma in those college years!)


Around the same time, I was teaching a bowling unit in PE, which included Kenzie, so we decided to go bowling one family night. Simeon was one of the highest scorers of the night. It could be the bumpers, or it could be his awesome follow-through!

The only caption I have for this is that it was 100 degrees out!


We went out for sushi after church one day. Bella and her friend split this “sushi cake.” It was pretty fun and yummy!


I don’t remember why I took this photo one day, but I’m guessing it was the usual – I look up and see a palm tree against the blue sky and find myself so thankful to live in a paradise corner of the city!


We went to school like this one day. That is all.


Deacon competed in a swim meet to wrap up his year of swim club. He didn’t love swim club, but I think he loved competing and really loved the hardware!

He and I worked hard on this pic!