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Spirit Week

23 Sep

I had to do a teacher self-evaluation last week, and I gave myself an “approaching standards” or a “meeting standards” on every single category, except for the one that talked about getting involved with student activities. I gave myself a big, fat “exceeding standards” on that, and this is why…


It was Spirit Week last week, and I was all-in, every day! When I say “all-in,” I mean, “ALL-IN” to the point where I crash-dieted (whilst teaching the PE1 girls all about nutrition and how crash-dieting isn’t healthy) for the week before, because when I tried on a dress that I planned to wear the first day, I could barely zip it up!

And while crash-dieting isn’t healthy, it works! (shhhhhhh). I was able to zip it up AND I could sit down in it! The first day was Black and White Day, so Kenz and I mixed and matched all of our stuff.


The second day was Squad Day, so my fellow coaches and I donned our coachiest gear.


The third day was House Performance Day, (that’s the first pic) and our house was doing a Greatest Showman themed performance. We came in second out of 4 on that one, mostly because all the fine arts teachers and star student performers were in another house.

Thankfully, our house has the muscle, so we won the Tug-of-War activity!


The 4th day was Fiction/Fantasy Character Day. Kenzie was dressed asĀ  Professor Trelawny until she came into my room the morning of, and saw that I was Katniss Everdeen. She immediately turned around and changed into Tris clothes and asked me to tattoo her collarbone!


The last day was Era day, and our house thankfully chose 80’s! Once again, ALL-IN….easily.


The kicker…..teachers don’t earn points for dressing up!!! Oh well. It was so fun anyway! AND….Tharseo won Spirit Week! So our house gets a non-uniform day and Korean ice cream, as well as bragging rights for another year.

The week prior to our Spirit Week, the middle school had their similar week called Friendship Week. Bella was all-in on her costumes as well! I didn’t get any pics of her, but one of her teachers posted this on on facebook, so I nabbed it. She was even a costume finalist on Twin Day with one of her friends.


Right now, I’m teaching swimming in PE (aka: Googling “How to do the Butterfly”). In between laps, we have some fun!


Speaking of PE, we had school picture day, and I didn’t want my picture to be in everyday PE garb, so I wore a dress. But I still had to teach PE, so I tucked the dress into my shorts and laced up my sneakers. It was a contradictory outfit!


I’m so sad that we only have a month left of volleyball! This has been a great and interesting season and I’m not ready to be done with these girls!







Trying my best to catch up!

2 Sep

Yikes, I’m averaging about one post a month! Life is pretty busy up in here, but I refuse to let Simeon have the blog version of the baby-of-the-family baby book!


A major highlight of the last month has been coaching Mackenzie! She’s finally on my varsity team and so far, it’s going great! She’s is gracefully navigating through having mom as coach, and for the most part, I am too! IMG_1964

One month in, and we’ve already had a huge highlight in beating a rival school who we haven’t beat in 7 years! It was such a fun night for all of us. (The girls are jumping up and down, which explains the blurriness!)


We were planning to have Caleb’s friends over for a birthday party, but there was massive flooding from a typhoon on his special day, so we ended up cancelling the party and just having close by friends over for a semi-party. He still had cake and presents and friends and games, so he was a happy party guy!

One of his presents was colored hair spray, so on the day of Bella’s cross country meet, Bella’s volleyball game, and Mackenzie’s volleyball game, we sprayed his hair blue. Number 1 fan!

Look at that jack-o-lantern smile!


After church one Sunday, we hit Chili’s for lunch. Deacon wanted to watch the Warriors game, so he brought his mug of soda over to the bar and sat there, nursing his drink and watching the game. It was comical.


Last weekend, I went to the High School Retreat with all of the high schoolers. It was exhausting and fun. Here is my homeroom. It’s so fun hanging out with these girls!


I made my team wake up at 6am for some volleyball practice! (don’t worry, all of the sports teams workout at retreat-its tradition!)

Volleyball-wise, it was a waste of time, but for team fun, it was priceless! This is a great group of girls and I love coaching them!


Achh Ea Double Hockey Sticks Week

12 Aug

If one were to scroll back through all the first week in Aug posts, I’m pretty sure it would either be blank or whiny because it is my busiest week of the year! For 7 years (today!) this week has included two of my kids birthday parties, the first full week of school, volleyball tryouts and chaotic first practices. This year, I’ve added full-time teaching to the mix, so why wouldn’t we schedule Josh’s knee surgery for this week?! It’s a big ol’ eye roll is what it is.

I also have an entire month of life to catch up on, so I was to the point of I-have-so-much-to-do-so-I-just-won’t-do-anything (that’s a real thing, right?) I was just about to fall into a blissful 15 minute power nap when Sim yelled at me to go wipe him, so…..I’m awake and have 15 minutes to spare!

Ready, set, go!

Not long after we got back from the mountains, the three older kids were off to camp for the week. It was exciting for everyone, except the two who didn’t get to go. Caleb was sobbing because he was going to miss Deacon, which made my heart swoon!

The kids had a blast at camp and came home with all kinds of stories and inside jokes. The camp was Narnia-themed, so my kids only know some people by their Narnia name. (BTW, the JV volleyball team is being coached by Aslan!)

We actually didn’t get to see the kids the day they got home because Josh whisked me off to a hotel for our anniversary/my birthday. The highlight of that overnight was that we went to see Celine Dion in concert at Mall of Asia! She was indescribable! She nailed every single note for two straight hours. It was incredible. Hamilton last year, Celine this year….Josh is setting the bar pretty high for the years to come!



Around the same time was the New Staff Orientation for Faith. I wasn’t required to go because I already had a semester under my belt, but I was welcomed to because I didn’t get the NSO info the year before. The funniest thing about the week was that even though I was “new staff,” I was in the Faith promotional video three times–once as a volleyball coach, and twice as a high school student!


Taking on the high school girls PE department meant that I got my own office! I was so so SO excited to go in there and make it my own space. It was in really rough shape….like, really rough. I’m so excited about how things came together. The facilities department painted the floor and installed the chandelier. Our dear friends visiting from the US painted the walls while I was at NSO, and then I worked on the rest. I painted just about everything and turned a file cabinet in to a tufted bench. It was so much fun and I’m so happy when I go in there each day!




The night before school started, we did our annual dinner at the Old Spaghetti House. Fun fact: the same waiter has been there since Mackenzie was a baby!


The next morning, we were all up and ready to go nice and early! That happens like twice a year, usually the first and last day of school.

This year I got to be in the first-day-of-school pic! This was the last day of hair, make-up, and cute clothes. Since then, its been ponytails and shorts and tees!


Since I’m a HS teacher, I got to be in on the “sorting” activities, where the new students were placed in their Houses. Mackenzie, myself, and all future family will all be the house Tharseo. I was skeptical when Faith moved to a house system, because I loved class pride, but now I love it!



A few days later, our little Simmy started preschool! He was so so excited, which made us excited for him. I have to say, I was a little bummed that I never had that drop-the-kids-off-and-go-home-to-a-quiet-house-and-a-cup-of-coffee feeling that I’ve been planning for 14 years, but…I have my office!

Sim loves preschool and doesn’t appreciate fridays, when he doesn’t get to go see his friends there!


And I’ll just wrap this post up with a captionless pic of Sim…



11 Jul

You know when you’ve just eaten salty food, so then you want sweet food? And when you’ve had sweet, you kind of want something salty?

Well that’s what our summer has looked like, trip-wise. We had already made plans to go to the mountains with some friends before we scheduled the time-sensitive end-of-an-era trip to the beach. Scheduling around ministry trips meant that we would need to hit the mountains just a few days after returning from the beach. So after the sandy, salty, sunny environment of the beach, I was so excited to go to the cool, crisp mountains!

We had a great drive up the mountain and immediately met up with our friends along with one of my former players who’s parents live there.


She took us to her uncle’s Korean restaurant, where we cooked samgyupsal, a first for this family. We loved it! The more Korean food I have, the more I love it!

Our first day out, we hit the horse trails of course.

This was our warm soup dinner in the gazebo outside our cottage.


Here are the two best friends getting ready for bed!


We did a lot of reading, puzzles, and chatting. At least, the adults did. The kids were out running around outside all day. There were a lot of other families there, so there were plenty of friends around!


Oh, and because of the above picture, the below picture was necessary.


We were so excited to see that they had redone the mini-golf course, so we had a blast doing that. I believe our family finished Josh, me, kenz, deacon, bella, caleb.


After mini-golf, we had a great picnic in the pine forest. It smelled so fresh and clean, so different than Manila! I loved hanging with my friend of about 30 years!



End of an Era Trip!

23 Jun

So after 13 years together, our best friends are moving back the the US. None of us are quite ready to wrap our minds around life without them, so…we just aren’t. I’m sure it’s all kinds of healthy!

Before time got away from us, we wanted to have a beach getaway together as a last hurrah. Michele snagged an airbnb villa with a private beach! It was spectacular, made more so because it was cheaper than any hotel around!

It’s crazy to see all the kiddos together, because when our friendship started, it was just us adults and two little babies, Mackenzie and Abby!


Since the kids were hanging at the front of the boat, the bow I guess, Michele and I hung out at the back….er…..stern. We even spotted dolphins off the starboard side!


It was only after we docked and loaded up onto a jeepney that we learned that the bangka could’ve sailed right up onto our beach! Oh well. More memories!


Our villa was really, really amazing! It was in a mangrove cove, so it was shockingly calm for an ocean! In fact, we kept saying that it reminded us of a lake. This view doesn’t come without work though! To get down to the beach, we had to walk down 136 steps, which is fine until you have to go back up those 136 steps!


The only two who have been best friends as long as their parents!



The first night, we went to a nearby Italian restaurant with homemade pasta! It was a great night except that while we feasted, so did the mosquitoes!


Our days were spent in the ocean and on our private beach. It was just what we needed! The villa also had a free kayak to use, so they kids were always going in and out on that, and since it was so private and calm, it was easy to keep an eye on them from my tiny shady spot!

Michele and I would often just float around in rings, and as we were bobbing along, I saw something else bobbing along! The kids caught the jelly fish and then Bella kayaked it out into deeper ocean and set it free.


There were a few big geckos setting up housekeeping in various areas of the villa. This one would stare at me every night when I walked to my room. At first, I didn’t like seeing them because they’re so much bigger than our usual lizards, but by the end of the trip, I kind of got sad if I didn’t see him poking out of his hole.


Then I discovered that he’s married!


More beach fun!

We boated around the corner to one of our favorite haunts of past Puerto Galera trips together. The food was as great as ever, and the kids played in the ocean and sand until the last second!


I’m so sad that Mackenzie will start high school without her best friend living in the same condo building! Maybe they’ll go to college together and will live together once again!


Oops, we found Wilson!


I wanted a family pic all week, but of course, we couldn’t swing it until the very last moment! So here we are in our last set of clean clothes (if that)! Oh man, Kenzie is taking after her dad and wearing jerseys all the time!


We arrived at the villa on Father’s Day and left of Josh’s birthday, so he definitely had a fun week!



We learned our lesson and boarded our bangka back to the mainland right on our own beach!


The kids were a lot more exhausted on the boat ride back than when we first went!


My little island girl with her hair braids and ukulele


Since it was Josh’s birthday, we decided to let him choose somewhere fun to eat when we got back to the city. He took us to a Japanese restaurant that was delicious! They brought out a bowl of sesame seeds and a Japanese mortar and pestle for us to grind our own katsudon sauce! It was so so yummy. On top of that, the shredded cabbage salad was bottomless and the kids loved it, so we all chowed on that.


I hate that our best family friends won’t be by our side anymore, but if I can look forward to fun getaways like this one, I’ll be able to survive!




6 Jun

8th Grade Grad Stuff

4 Jun

School is out for another year! That last week was crazy busy with all of the parties and celebrations. On top of that, I still had to teach, give a final, and turn in their grades! In addition, our best friends are back in country for a couple of months, so that trumps all of the above.

Mackenzie and her class had an official Ceremony of Completion, where she won a sectional award for Choir, a Future President of the United States award in Social Studies (I told her I DON’T want her to be the Future POTUS!) and the Outstanding Student for PE! I especially loved that her variety of awards showed how well-rounded she is.

I had to duck out of the ceremony because I was on the committee for the reception afterwards. Working with a budget of zero pesos, we had to be creative in our food and decor! Thankfully, the 8th grade parents are awesome and stepped up with some delicious food. Our Korean parents especially nailed it with our favorites, mandu and kimbap!

Thankfully, the seniors had a reception the night before, so we got to piggyback on their decor.

Thankfully, our biggest problem was that the 0 balloon was actually a Q. But not a problem for us tall folks. We covered all the balloons!


We asked parents to bring photo booth props and items, but NO ONE DID! I made some signs, just to contribute, but they ended up being the only props!



Has anyone else realized that 2022 is just around the corner??? When Mackenzie started kindergarten, 2022 seemed like robots and flying cars. Here are some then and now’s.