Finishing out February….in April

23 Apr

One of our good friends left the PI to chase love in Canada, so to see him off in style, we gave him an official McDonalds party! To make it even more special, it was a Barbie party!



We took Polly for a little car ride and she loved every single minute!


She especially loved her vanilla cone!


Michele and Abby came to visit! More on that later…

Mackenzie picked out this gigantic pink swan for Christmas, so we had it shipped to Abby so that the two of them could catch up in the most comfortable way ever!


Michele arrived on her birthday, so we rounded up the crew for a fun girls night at our favorite restaurant.



Outdoor Ed

8 Apr

This was my second year on the kitchen crew for Outdoor Ed. This year, the middle school spent a week in Bataan, one of the turning point battle grounds of WWII in the Pacific. The kids always have a great time exploring the guns and caves that still give us a hint of life during the war.

I didn’t get to stay the entire week this time, because it was the very same week as the girls ACSC basketball tournament, which not only were Josh and Mackenzie participating in, but we were also hosting at our school, so I needed to get back for that.

The week started terrific with little traffic as we left the city. But that’s where the easy breeze ended, as my engine light popped on an hour away from our destination! Thankfully, God took great care of us by making sure that literally the two most mechanically inclined fellow OE staff came behind us about 15 minutes after we pulled off the highway! They followed me to the closest town and went in search of a mechanic while my friend and I camped out at a gas station. A few hours later, the car was in the hands of someone else, we had made it to base camp, and jumped right into OE prep activities! It was definitely a HUGE wrench thrown into our day, but I’m so thankful for the guys help, for my friend who stayed with me the entire time, and that we still got everything done, albeit many many hours later than we’d hoped!

This was what I took off of my face that night…ew.


The grounds were beautiful!





Our accommodations….not as nice as the grounds. I never¬† like when the shower isn’t separated from the rest of the bathroom. The toilet is always wet, the floor is always wet, everything is always wet!


I love our kitchen crew t-shirts. “Don’t hate me just cause I’m a little cooler.” Coolers are our saving grace during OE!


We have two days of prep and then the best part is when the kids first arrive!



My favorite camper!


My first time trying cashew fruit! I can’t believe each cashew tiny nut comes from just one of these fruits! It was delicious, and was accompanied with some fun facts, but I cant remember what they are, which is why I need to be up-to-date on this blog!


OE isn’t just educational for the kids. We learned how to get a charcoal grill going full-force in just minutes, thanks to using a handy dandy hairdryer! It works way better than blowing on the coals!


As always, OE kitchen crew is exhausting, but so rewarding! While it was a pain that my car was in the shop, God worked it out perfectly for it to be ready to go the morning that I needed to get back to Manila. In addition, there was a student joining OE who had been sick when the rest of the school rolled in, and her driver brought us back to the town where my car needed to be picked up. On top of that, he was also a mechanic, so he double-checked it all for me! The car wasn’t back to tip-top shape, but it got us back to Manila with enough time for me to shower and grab a quick nap before our first game of the tournament!




Sadie Hawkins

8 Apr

Mackenzie was excited to do the asking for the Sadie Hawkins banquet this year! She and I made a poster that she gave to him, along with a basketball gift, a lunch one day.




They went with their group of friends and had a great time together!


Our beautiful girl with our favorite guy!


Josh and Kenzie and Basketball

8 Apr

We had a really fun basketball season this year! They finished 26-9, so yeah, it’s always fun to cheer for the team that usually wins! (Patriots fans know what I’m talking about.)

One highlight from the season was the Hardeman Tournament, where, in the championship, we played a team that we had lost to once in the season and once in pool play. It was our third game of the day, but Josh figured out a way to beat them and the girls just got it done, one play at a time! IMG_4213

I love Kenzie’s reaction to the win compared to the rest of her team.


She earned an All-Tournament selection!


That game filled the stands, which Kenzie loves, so it motivated me to generate some awesome school spirit for the upcoming ACSC tournament, the big tournament that we got to host this year.

I hate public speaking, but I put together a short presentation about school spirit and delivered it in chapel the week before the tournament. It ended up being so so so much fun with all the students there! Because we’re on staff now and Josh was running the tournament, it was easy to get the strings pulled that needed pulling.

I even created a t-shirt sling shot that was so fun to do during time-outs. I also gave out free drinks and meals at the V (our caf).

During our game that happened over lunch time, I threw out candy (the good stuff from the US) every time a Faith basket was scored.

There’s me on the far left, totally loving being in charge of everyone’s happiness!


That was the game where Kenzie went up against a 6’4″ girl, so our baskets were few and far between, but that was good because it helped me keep the game going all through lunch. Here are the twin towers.


The Friday night game was School Spirit night, where everyone who came to the game in Faith gear was entered for raffle prizes. It was so much fun! I got to live my childhood dream of being a Faith cheerleader!!!

Again, being on staff meant that I had access to the costume closet, so I dug this uniform out and brought all of the old pom poms to the game. On top of that, I taught all the students the old Faith cheers. The best part of being in charge of all of this??? It kept me from yelling at the refs!!! Three cheers!

I saved some pics that a visiting mom took.


This pic cracks me up because this team really had a rough time accepting our referees! Clearly they get away with more hand checks in their country!




The girls had a great tournament, losing only to the champion! The 3-peat champion team is amazing, so it was almost a battle for second amongst the other teams. A fun moment during that tournament was that we beat the champion team in pool play! The cherry on top was that it was tied with seconds left in the game, and my baby girl nailed two free throws to seal the win!

I think we gave out pretty fun trophies in our international tournament! Since we compete against teams from Guam, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, HK, and Malaysia, its fun to throw some Filipino culture into the trophies.


She earned All-Tournament honors at that tournament, as well as the Top Rebounder award. She was just 5 pts away from winning the Top Scorer award too!

She had a really successful season and I think Josh really enjoyed coaching her. I’m gradually coming to terms with the fact that basketball might be more in her future than volleyball. (sniff). I told her, “It’s fine with me. Just get Mommy a championship and then you can pursue basketball.”



Holiday Getaway

28 Feb

We were surprised to find out that our favorite hotel here really upped their pool game by adding playgrounds and slides! We went there for two nights over Christmas Break, thanks to a 50% off Black Friday deal!



One reason that we were excited to go there was because a Red Lobster has just opened at the nearby Mall of Asia. We hit it pretty hard, to the point where they said if we wanted more Cheddar Bay Biscuits, we’d have to pay for them!

After dinner, we strolled around the mall and happened upon a virtual reality activity place. Josh and Mackenzie did a scary zombie one, and the rest of us did a fun family one. It was hysterical watching Josh and Mackenzie react to….nothing….creeping up beside them.



Deacon really gets into hotel life.


It was really beautiful outside the pool, but pretty chilly inside the pool! We’ve had a surprisingly cool “winter!” It’s been dreamy in the mornings and evenings! We know hot season is just around the corner, but we are soaking up as much mid-70’s temps as we can!



The next night, we split up and Josh took his girls on a date to the hotel buffet and I took the boys to dinner and an Active Fun place. The mall was crawling with people, but we still had lots of fun together!


Josh won a gift certificate to a derm clinic, so he sent me to go get my first facial! I could get used to a regular regimen!



Finally, we took a spin on the big Ferris Wheel on Manila Bay. Josh stayed on safe ground, Deacon wished he stayed on safe ground, and the rest of us loved it!




In Between Christmas and NYE

24 Feb

After living in this building for 13 years, we realized how fun it is to run around with the dog on our tennis court! Polly loves being chased, and since it’s enclosed, she can be off the leash.






I tend to buy someone a slinky every year for their stocking, and every year, this is what I end up doing the day after Christmas.


The holidays are so fun around here because all the alumni come visit! Since we’ve coached hundreds of kids now through the years, its extra special to see them come back with spouses and kids!



Every NYE, we have alumni games vs. varsity up at Faith. Manila blows up hundreds of thousands of fireworks at midnight, so its fun to be up on the hill, looking out over the city. Anyway, this year was extra fun because I, as alumni, got to play against Mackenzie, the varsity player! (The humbling part was that the next youngest alumni after me graduated ten years after me!)


This was the around the time that our lives were changed forever. Thanks to a Korean friend, we discovered these dumplings.¬† They are amazing! We have a Korean grocery store near our house, so we’ve started having this every Sunday night. We all start looking forward to it around Friday morning!



23 Feb

Up in our condo, it isn’t really Christmas until we decorate cookies!IMG_3899

Each year, I get a little bit better at relinquishing creative control.

Exhibit A


Exhibit B


On Christmas Eve, we made our traditional fondue dinner and it was better than ever!


Sim gives it a thumbs-up!


Here they are on Christmas morning, ready to rip into those presents!


In our house, we do stockings first, then breakfast, then tree presents. Since we’ve been a family, we make overnight french toast on Christmas Eve and bake it up on Christmas morning. Mackenzie raised the bar by making Banana Nutella stuffed french toast. I don’t think we can ever go back to the other recipe. It isn’t stuffed with anything!








Together we made a Christmas feast with roast beast and Yorkshire pudding (my favorite!)


After a wonderful day of excitement, this little guy was heartbroken when one of his new toys broke.