Christmas Stuff (not to sound too Hallmark-y)

3 Jan

I had to take a break from blogging because end-of-odd-years means that I have to turn in my CEU’s, so I’ve been spending all of my computer time watching webinars and doing home studies. I’m proud to say that I can officially go on not practicing, but still being allowed, as an Athletic Trainer!

Now that that is complete, I can catch up on What I Did Over Christmas Break!

Well, I guess I need to backpedal even a bit further with end of school wrap up. The kids did a Christmas program at school and they were awesome. Caleb was Joseph, Bella opened in prayer, and Deacon was part of a rap ensemble.


The day after school got out, Josh and I were supposed to jet down to another island for a wedding. However, a typhoon was making landfall there and no flights were going out. Worse than that, the bride was also stuck in Manila! I felt so badly for her, so I drove into the city and stayed overnight with her and then we had a unexpected bachelorette party the next day. We went to brunch at one of my favorite restaurants, got our nails done, and went shopping. It was so fun and and I was so impressed by her attitude in light of wedding being cancelled!!!



The airports finally opened up on Sunday, so she had her wedding on Monday. However, we weren’t able to go then because we had the FA alumni breakfast that morning.

I sat at the cool 90’s kids table. (It was basically the only 90’s kid table)


Josh and I had a fun date night out with some friends before they jetted off to Barcelona for Christmas Break! We enjoyed multiple cheese platters together, but we discovered that eating cheese alone is such a missed opportunity! My friend brought cheese-pairing jams, and they were phenomenal!



On Christmas morning, everyone was up nice and early!


Time out: look at my favorite ornament!


We had a lot of fun opening stockings together and then eating our traditional Christmas breakfast of french toast, sausage, and OJ.


After breakfast we tore into the tree presents. It’s so fun to shop for the kids because their wish lists are usually very doable on our budget! For example, Bella wanted a Rubik’s cube. Guess who’s been playing with it more than Bella?


We even got Polly a Christmas outfit!


We have some friends who are visiting from Australia, so we had them for Christmas dinner (ew, that sounded Hannibal Lector-ish). I needed the space to prepare, so I sent everyone outside to the pool and to play tennis!

I took a pic of the pre-dinner scene, but I never snapped a photo of all of us together!IMG_8920

I was exhausted by the end of Christmas day! Being a mama on Christmas is hard work!

A couple of days after Christmas, we had to pick a girl up from the airport late at night and then return her to the airport for her domestic flight early the next morning. So rather than fight through the traffic 4x in 8 hours, we decided on a little staycation in the city. I found an Airbnb that looked so fun and didn’t disappoint!

It was a man-made ocean in the middle of the city! We loved it! They had a few quirky, annoying procedures–like we had to register twice a day to get beach passes for an AM wave and a PM wave. Also, while we were walking down the pool, the guard asked us to fold our towels rather than have them around our shoulders! I was a little shocked!

In addition to the beach area with playground, there was also a wave pool! It only ran for 10 min every hour and a half, but it was really fun!

It was so much fun and I loved getting a beach experience without driving a long way or taking a boat or lugging luggage all over the place!

Deacon is especially a great beach player! He plays in the waves all day long and then comes and rolls around in the sand (kind of like a happy golden retriever!). He cracks me up.


We had such a great couple of days together! Of course I needed a fat nap when I got home from vacation, especially because it was Dec 31 and we had a late night ahead of us!




Kenzie’s Stuff

18 Dec

Our 8th grader loves it all! The good, the bad, the fun, the ugly, everything that comes with being 13–she handles it like a champ! Better than I ever did, that’s for sure.


Her middle school Christmas banquet just happened and she looked beautiful. She usually wants to buy something new for banquets, but when two high school girls borrowed dresses of mine for their banquet, Kenz must have decided that shopping in my closet was a-ok!


She’s so lovely. That morning, she knocked out 22 pts in the JV basketball game! They didn’t have enough high-schoolers try out for basketball, so they let four 8th graders play up. She’s realizing that being the closest to rim has a lot of advantages!


Her English class put on a casual performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I may have leaned over and told my friend that I wish this WAS a dream, as that would mean I was napping.

It was challenging for them to memorize their parts, because they didn’t totally know what they were saying. Since they didn’t totally know what they were saying, they didn’t really know how to deliver the lines. On top of that, for some of the kids, English isn’t their first language, and definitely not olde English, so it was challenging for all. But Mackenzie rocked her performance! She was a fairy…..or a vixen….or a witch? I never really figured it out.


She is Simeon’s best friend. Literally, that’s what he calls her. This morning, he came in and said, “Best Friend won’t let me have any toast.” It’s pretty cute and sweet.


I love this girl! I can’t believe that she’s halfway through her 8th grade year and then she’ll be in HIGH SCHOOL!


I’d better go make some Christmas cookies with her stat. Christmas 2021 will here before I know it!

Bella’s Golden Birthday!

11 Dec

I started this blog just after Bella was born, and here we are, 11 years later! On 11/11 at 11:11 am, Bella turned 11!

Since its a big one, she wanted to invite her entire class for a swim party. We brought them over to our local ministry center because that pool has two slides and a couple of ledges to jump off. I was cringing more than usual because I was responsible for the safety of not one, not five, but 16 children!


This is the lower of the two ledges. The other one is over twice as high! a handful of the kids were brave enough to jump from it!


Bella wanted a Darth Vader cake, so I did my best! Since we can’t get black fondant here, I melted chocolate chips and then piped my own Darth Vader helmet. It wasn’t the greatest, but it did the trick, and Bella loved it!


We also ordered pork bbq sticks and rice from one of Bella’s favorite restaurants. Add in some sodas, candy, and chips, and we had a party!


That party was actually on the 10th, so on her real birthday the next day, we let her choose where she wanted to eat supper. My girl chose the DimSum House and Chatime–two of my favorites! I promise, I did not influence her decision at all, but I was more than happy to oblige! We order a bunch of dumplings, fried rice, noodle soups, and some chicken. For dessert, we all got bubble tea from Chatime and headed to the arcade.




A bonus for Bella’s Nov 11 birthday—Everyone celebrates something! While we’re cheering for Bella, the US is celebrating Veteran’s Day, and in Korea, it’s Pepero Day! I bought some for Bella for eat on her day.


We also discovered something on her birthday….








Phone Dump

11 Dec

Like all puppies, Polly loves to chew on stuff. Of course, I want to train her not to chew on everything, but that’s basically how we play together, so….I must have worn her out because she fell asleep with my knuckle in her jaws!


Caleb’s teacher noticed that he was squinting a lot, so the nurses office recommended that we take him to a pediatric ophthalmologist. She told him that he has to wear an eye patch for an hour each day, alternating eyes each day. Just to make it fun, I made him a KU eye patch! Can’t find those at the stadium store!


One of my volleyball players had a birthday a week or so after the season got over, so her mom planned for all of us to meet up at the gym to celebrate. We paired up and had to toss around a fitness ball with her old jersey’s. It was hard and hysterical!


Calamansi is a filipino citrus fruit here and Sim loves it! Well, most of the time…


I think my mom-chauffering days are still in the early stages, but between my work out, drop off, bring Kenzie’s forgotten something, a meeting, pickup, and swimclub/basketball practice pickup, I drove to school 6 times in one day! Thankfully, it’s only a mile away!


Halloween Honk

21 Nov

The same weekend, nay, the same DAY as the Buhay Sports volleyball tournament, we also had the third night of Mackenzie’s play, HONK!, and the Trunk or Treat.

Mackenzie and her crew did awesome in the play! It was so cute and creative. Mackenzie was Grace, the Queen of the barn. She was funny, she was dramatic, she was everything you could ask for in a Queen.



I had gone to the show on Thursday and Friday, so Josh went on Saturday while I took the others to Trunk or Treat.


I bought their costumes after Halloween last year, so we were excited to wear them. However, we always forget to account for the 85* weather that the costumes must be worn in! Those Spiderman muscles are insulating!



One of the PE teachers had a “trunk” where the kids could only get candy if they did 3-5 pushups. They could come back and get more candy as many times as they wanted, but the pushup count increased every time they went back. (It was the good imported candy, though, so TOTALLY worth the effort!)

Alas, Sim didn’t know how to do a pushup, so they helped him get it done.


The next day was our last day with our very best friends here! They left for the US to get some much-needed rest and resetting. We wanted to soak up as much time with them as possible, so we did church together at their house and then us girls carved some time out of the busy packing to get our nails done.



The next day was a holiday where people basically honor the folks who have gone on before them, so it was fitting that we were all bummed out that day! Thankfully, there are apps and cameras and internet to keep us all in touch until we see each other again (of course, I’m talking about our friends, not the dead folks that other people are honoring….)



Buhay Sports MS volleyball tournament!

13 Nov

Since we took over the middle school volleyball program (I feel like there should be Joey quotations around “program”), we’ve hosted an end-of-season tournament. It’s always fun because it’s at home and it’s with fun, competitive teams.


We were seeded second in pool play, but we ended up rocking it in elimination and won the entire thing! It was so exciting.

At some point during the day, I realized that Mackenzie and Bella won’t play on the same team again until maybe Mackenzie’s senior year when Bella is a freshman!!! That made me a little sad, but thankful that Bella got to play this year even though she’s only in 5th grade!

She’s been working on her overhand serve all season and it really kicked in by the last tournament.


I missed the actual moment of their last point celebration, so I asked them to reenact it for me. Thanks Bella!



My baby girl took home the MVP trophy! Josh made the officials select the MVP so that it was an objective decision, because let’s be honest, our kids are ALWAYS the most valuable player to us, right? She really played well and I’m so excited (and a little nervous) to coach her in high school next year!


Hong Kong

9 Nov

Our end of the season ACSC tournament was in HK this season. I was so excited to go back there and even more excited to go back there for a volleyball tournament!

The trip started oh-so-dramatically when there was a transportation strike closing all government offices. One of my players was supposed to pick up her passport from immigration on Monday morning, with plenty of time for us to leave on Tuesday afternoon. But, that wasn’t possible because of the strike. The first thing I woke up to on Tuesday morning was a text from her dad saying, “The strike is still on. I don’t know how we’re going to get the passport today.”

So we all did a lot of praying! While I was packing, I prayed. While I drank my coffee, I prayed. While I showered, I prayed. As I headed up to school 15 min before we needed to leave, there was still no way of getting the passport. Since I drove up by myself, I was very audibly and fervently asking God to reveal Himself in a huge way in the next 15 minutes. I remember shouting, “Man has made it so we absolutely cannot get this passport, but with you, ALL things are possible. I don’t know how, but please get us her passport before we leave for the airport!”

When I got there, Rosie was really solemn as she watched her teammates load up their suitcases. We were literally climbing into the van to leave when her dad got off the phone with his immigration lawyer, looked at me and quietly said, “I got it.”

I, of course, burst into tears and started hugging everyone! It was so exciting to see such a miraculous answer to a very specific prayer! Needless to say, we were all pumped as we started this special trip!



We arrived in HK and rode the bus to ICS-HK with two other teams. It was so fun to see their coaches again, as we’ve all been coaching at this tournament for 5 years now (except me, when I go on furlough!)

We got to stay at a nice hotel just a five minute walk from the school, so that was amazing! IMG_7207

After a welcome banquet, coaches meeting, and fun games for the girls, we tucked into our hotel rooms for the night and got pumped for three matches the next day!

This was taken in the morning before our first game. They looked like they were still sleepy, so I was a little nervous how they would play, but I needn’t have worried! They were awesome and we finished the first day undefeated!


I thought this was funny. I took a pic of the girls before their first game and posted it. Then I saw that one of my players mom had also taking a pic and posted it. So we can see each other in the other’s picture.


Of course you celebrate an undefeated day with dumplings, milk tea, and bubble waffles! I took my assistant coach to the same place that Josh took our family to after he had been there for a basketball tournament. You can get 10 dumplings and a milk tea for $5! I think we ate there three more times after that!


The next day we played three more matches and I was pretty sure that we’d go 1-2 or 2-1. We ended up going 1-2, but not with the teams that we thought! We beat the #1 seed and lost to the #5! We also lost to the team who won the tournament (#2), but we took them to three sets.

One of my girls parents brought us milk tea on the bench, so it was comical when I went to yell something at the girls, but couldn’t get it out because my mouth was full of pearls (big tapioca balls that you suck up through a straw.)




The next day was our ministry day. All the teams were shuttled to a beach to clean it up. They really ran it well, giving us lots of facts and figures about the trash we go through and how it is affecting our oceans.

I was ready to give a good effort in picking up trash, but once they told us, “We’re going to see which team picks up the most after we weigh it all.” Game. On.

Our team worked HARD and brought in 74 kg of trash! I know 18 of that was the refrigerator door that I hauled down the beach!


So we got 74, but the winning team got 76!!! To put it in perspective, the losing team got 8kg. There had been a broken surfboard…..I should’ve grabbed it! But get this, the winning team (who also won the entire tournament) had 15 people on their team and we only had 10, so…….it doesn’t change anything.  But still…

That night, we went back to the dumpling place with a family who used to work at Faith. Their daughter was one of Bella’s friends, so I would’ve loved to have brought Bella!


Here are some sights from the mall….i don’t know.

Evening stretching and giggling.

On the last day of the tournament, we ate breakfast at McDonalds. They have a little kiosk set up where you order all your food and then go pay at the counter and wait for your food. It’s really nice for us non-Cantonese/Mandarin speakers! FYI–HK McDonalds has  Borsht and a Tobasco Hot Fudge Sundae!


We ended up #4 seed going into elimination and finished the tournament in 4th place, so it worked exactly as it should’ve I guess! We were disappointed, but focused on the experience rather than the outcome.


That night, after the awards and banquet, some of the local girls took us on the train to a nearby shopping area.

The train is so awesome and so safe that kids start riding it by themselves at 6 years old!!!


Dee and I were so excited to finally get to try Hot Star, a Tiawanese chicken that was recommended to us. It was so delicious and we thought we were catching a unique cuisine until one of the dad’s told us that we have that same restaurant near to us in Manila!


All this other questionable stuff was at my bubble waffle stand. Why?!


It was such a great trip! I found out that next years tournament is in Malaysia!!! I’ve been dying to go there (outside of the KL airport!) for years. Josh thinks we should bring the entire family. (HOPING!)