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Peruvian/Japanese girls night!

23 Feb

Our Bible Study group wanted to celebrate outside of Friday afternoons, so we headed out to Nikkei, a….get this…Peruvian/Japanese Fusion restaurant! Who knew you could fuse those cuisines! Manila is turning out to be an amazing city for trying all different international cuisines (and a lot of times, its way cheaper than the same thing in the US!)


Had I blogged about this soon after we went, I could tell you what this is, but I really can’t remember. Looks like mango and tuna….maybe?


Man, I can’t remember what any of this was, but after looking at the pictures just now, I feel like I’ll die if I don’t get some Peruvian-Japanese treats in me soon!



I think I took Josh to this place a few days later, and he loved it as much as I do! It shouldn’t be hard to talk him into going back.

That’s the problem with Manila rocking the international cuisine scene. It’s too hard to decide where to go!


Wrapping up School

23 Feb

The last couple of weeks of school before Christmas breaks was pretty foggy! The girls were in the middle of basketball season, everyone had Christmas concerts, I had to get gifts for teachers in not one division, not two divisions, but all three divisions! Oh, and I had to teach a bunch of PE and grade a mother of a final.

We took this on a rock in the middle of campus that I used to play on when I was a little kid!


Not many people make Mackenzie look like a shrimp, but this professional basketball player visited us on her way to Bhutan. It was so fun to meet her and let Kenzie see how a tall girl moves!


This was Bella’s Christmas concert. She’s pretty great at the flute, but I think she wants to switch to guitar after this year.


Mom-fail. I didn’t realize until I saw her on stage that the “festive” outfit she came up with for the concert was a faded black t-shirt and black jeans. (Face palm) She and her class did a beautiful job, though!


I made fudge for all the teachers, and aside from it being a hot project, it was a hit! I think this is just the elementary batch!


Bella got into the festive mood at the salon when we got manicures together.


The staff banquet are the only time people see me without ponytail, shorts, and t-shirts, so I gotta go big! Thankfully, this head-to-toe sparkly number was donated to a missionary who passed it along to me!



This was our staff meeting. They all looked cute, but the flavor wasn’t worth the calories. Hey look at that…I remembered something from two months ago!


Kenz had a great basketball season, but I’ll get into that more later as I’m catching up. But apparently, back in December she was Vanguard of the Week!


Always a favorite of mine….the elementary Christmas program! The arrows are pointing out Deacon and Caleb.





Back in Business!

23 Feb

Unfortunately, I don’t really know where to pick back up!

Mackenzie is at a school banquet at the moment, so it makes sense to show banquet pics.

(Only they are from the banquet a few months ago. Stay tuned for tonight’s banquet pics in about June.)

Dressing shopping here for this statuesque beauty is quite the project. A dress needs to be

1) In our price range

2) In compliance with dress code

3) Well-liked by its wearer.

All of that is hard to find in one dress in this country! It was a miracle when we found this one AND it was on the clearance rack. $350 which rounds out to a sweet $7! I think her belt cost just as much as the dress!


She was asked by Fonsie, a sophomore friend whose parents we LOVE hanging out with!



They double-dated with fellow teammates and friends.



Before the banquet (which was more just dessert buffet) the kids wanted to get some good dinner, so they all chose the exact same place that us parents were double-dating at!


I remember that they had a fun time together, but I don’t remember the details of the night. Normally, I would look back at my blog to remember things like that, but…

So the Computer Crashed…

15 Dec

Our laptop at home crashed (it’s almost as if buying a no-name brand computer can give you more problems than, say, a fruity brand.)

Anyway, I haven’t been able to post or download pics, hence thrillanmanila’s silence. Today, the first day of Christmas break, I’m at my office computer, finishing up semester grades. Only, instead of doing the grades, I’ve been researching cruises out of HK and Singapore, flights to those destinations, and now writing about those searches. (Since I just typed them, I’m sure the FB ads will start popping up for flights and cruises. Cue: eyeroll)

So that’s where we’re at!

Bella’s a Preteen

19 Nov

Bella celebrated her 12th birthday on 11/11! She had her party the day after her birthday,  but we still celebrated after church with her choice of meals. Thankfully, she chose a family favorite – Din Tai Fung! Facebook reminded me that she chose dumplings for her birthday last year as well!


No matter how old this girl gets, I don’t think she’ll ever outgrow stuffed toys! She has a million on her bed at all times and always wants more. Another great love in her life is fried chicken. As luck would have it, a store here had a stuffed chicken leg. I snatched it right up and she was in love!

The next day, she had a repeat of her last birthday. She and her classmates loved it so much that she wanted everything the same. Same pork bbq sticks, same salt n vinegar Cracklings, Flat tops, and of course, cake.


Oh Bella, how much we love you!

Bff visit

11 Nov

Since our best friends left the field a few months ago, we’ve been counting down the days until they come visit!

It was so great to have Dave and Olivia come for 10 days. I told Dave that we wanted Olivia as much as possible, so she pretty much moved in, which we loved! The girls did all of their usual favorite things – swimming, snacking, tea-partying, plus app surfing, video-watching, and video-making. These girls are growing up!

It was fun to have her here on Halloween, especially because we got the next two days off of school!




Bella wanted to celebrate her birthday early with Liv, so we took the kids to Bella’s heaven on earth–Timezone.


Unfortunately, the birthday girl didn’t have the big moment of the night. That honor goes to Deacon, who hit the 1000 ticket jackpot…..TWICE!

Then Caleb hit the jackpot too! I didn’t get a pic of him though because Kenzie and I were busy on the arcade equivolent of a slot machine.

The next day, I took the girls out for mani/pedi’s. Bella was no match for the hand massage, and fell asleep mid-mani.

Another huge highlight while Liv was here was that she got to play in the middle school Buhay Sports volleyball tournament! Josh made her a uniform and everything!


We couldn’t let the girls have all the fun! Josh, Dave, and I went to our favorite double-date spot. It was so fun, but the empty chair next to Dave made me miss Michele too much!!!



11 Nov

Before I jump to the Malaysia post, I found some more pics of my weekend away with Bella.

First, look at this ice cream flavor! Burnt rice! Of course we had to try it, and it tasted EXACTLY like the the bottom of the rice pot! It was crazy. I know a lot of people who love the burnt rice at the bottom of the pot, but I’m not one of them.


Here are some pictures from the arcade. I’m nervous that Bella is going to be really into slot machines when she gets older, because she LOVES the games with the big possible payouts. It didn’t help that we KEPT HITTING THEM!



After counting our tickets, we realized that we were about 150 tickets short of getting the stuffed animal that she wanted. So I made the executive decision to buy a few more credits and each of us hit our biggest winning games. Hers was the claw machine that picks up rolls of tickets (She picked up 4 rolls of 30 tickets in one grab earlier!) Mine was a game where you drop a ball and hope it falls into the jackpot slot (I hit it on my first try, but not ever again. I did hit the 100 ticket slot a few times!) Anyway, long story even longer, between the both of us, we grabbed those last 150 and she was able to buy the stuffed animal!



Ok, onto Malaysia!

I’ve been looking forward to the tournament being in Malaysia for years! It really is a great trip because its cheap to get there, the hotel is right next to the school, it’s all on the beach, and there is a fantastic Indian restaurant right across the street! However, I must have been nervous during the tournament, because I really didn’t have much of an appetite the entire time we were there!

We had a 6-hour layover in Kuala Lampur, so the time was spent preparing gifts for the other teams, eating, sleeping, and practicing!


My fun seatmates….


We got there too late for the Welcome dinner, partially because our flight landed 30 minutes before the banquet, but also because one of my players left her cell phone in the seat pocket and we had to try to track it down.

The first activity of the tournament was the service project/ministry. This was the most fun we’ve ever had. We went to three different old folks homes and played Bingo with them! It was so much fun!

We started pool play that day and finished the day 2-1. I think the long travel day the day before kept us from looking like our usual selves, but we still played decently.

I slept horribly the entire week, waking up earlier and earlier each day! It was mostly annoying, but I did enjoy watching the sunrise and I used the opportunity to watch our games (as the internet was never good enough to pull up the games during waking hours).

Here is the view from the hotel, which is next door to the school….which means this is the view from the school!


The second day, we finished 1-2, but thanks to some upsets the previous day, we finished #3 seed, which was huge for us!

The next day, we won two critical games that locked us in to a finish of at least 3rd place. That was the most wonderful night of the trip! I’ve been in that position before in this tournament, but only got to enjoy that feeling for a couple of hours before we had to play the next match. This game was won in the early afternoon, so we had all evening and all night to enjoy that winning feeling!

(I had more of an apetite that night!)


That night we went to a nearby restaurant/shopping area. We stuck around Little India, obviously, and had some yummy eats. I also bought some pants (that look more like Thai pants) and my usual tournament earrings.

The next day, we got knocked into the losers bracket by the soon-to-be champions and then dropped our next game to the second place team. It’s always a bummer to lose, but at least we went down fighting hard, and that’s the best outcome you can hope for in a losing situation!

At the awards banquet, we were given our bronze medals and Mackenzie was named to the All-tournament team! She had a great tournament. Her hitting timing was really off the first two days, but she was still able to put away some kills. On the third day, she and our setter got some time to work together and she got her timing back. In addition, she played great defense and consistently served well throughout the tournament.


The best way to ever close out a tournament was when they let us release lanterns on the beach!!! It was so fun and magical.



And of course we all sang the song from Tangled.