Tag Archives: Family

A Murder Mystery New Year!

9 Jan

We drove down to Joe and Michelle’s house for the New Years weekend. Prior to traveling, we got emails with our character’s description for a murder mystery! Horror seeped into every pore of my being when I realized that I had to sing every word that came out of my mouth! There were other characteristics of Pepper Keegrip, but all of them paled in comparison to the fact that everything I said would be vocalized in different octaves.

Buddy the Elf comes to mind.


Anyway, Michelle and her friend did an AMAZING job hosting the party! It was decorated beautifully.


The best part of the masquerade decor was that we found Christmas ornaments for 70% off, so these little masks and fans were pennies, AND they were in the right colors!


It was a lot of fun! Two things I had a problem with: 1) The singing, of course. But also trying to gather valuable info WHILE singing. 2) This was the first impression that most of the guests were getting from me!

Josh’s character was a radio DJ, and so he channeled Will Farrell as Harry Carey. He was spectacular! I still laugh whenever I think about him.


It was so fun to ring in the new year with all these fun people! Thankfully, Pepper was able to stop singing once the murderer was revealed around 10pm !!

The next morning, I woke up earlier than I wanted to, but I took advantage of the quiet and had my coffee out on the deck, wrapped up in a blanket while I read my Bible and took in the beauty of the Natural State.


After church, I sneaked out for a few hours to visit one of my best friends since college. As expected, we had a terrific time catching up. I asked her if we could just drive around Siloam and JBU for a while, and she obliged. It’s always so nostalgic to be there, because so much LIFE happened there!!img_3887

That night, Joe made spectacular ribs for us adults. I love nights like that, when we feed the kids and put them to bed, and then we sit down to an amazing Joe-sy meal!


I just snapped this pic on our last morning because I thought Simmy looked so adorable sitting like a big boy at the table!





Traveling and Partying

28 Nov

Ick, it’s Cyber Monday and I have to spend my computer time catching up on this! Oh right, plus there is laundry to do. I’m about 10 posts behind so, as only a mom of five can do, I’m going to multi-task and roll it all into one post, check out the cyber-sales while the photos upload, and perhaps fold the laundry with my feet while my fingers furiously dance over the keyboard.

Rewind back to November 11, which is Bella’s birthday! When she is in the US, she gets the day off school AND a parade, with many thanks to our brave veterans who have sacrificed for our freedom!

We started the day with the largest Veteran’s Day Parade in KS! It was a gorgeous day and the kids loved the fun parade.


I felt like I was in Radiator Springs.


After the parade, we picked up Popeyes, which was Bella’s birthday choice. We enjoyed a quick lunch with Josh’s parents, celebrated with a Junior Mint cake, and gave Bella some presents, which included gymnastics lessons! She’s super excited, as am I.

After that party, we headed to AR to celebrate with cousins! They just moved into their beautiful new home and we were thrilled to be their houseguest! Not only was it a super fun weekend, but it was also so relaxing! The kids played outside all morning, so us big kids played Settlers of Catan.

They made our visit extra special by making Bella a cake and giving her Pie Face and cozy slippers. The kids had stomach aches from laughing so hard while they placed Pie Face.

We also ate an insane-but-not-surprising delicious meal by Joe.


When we returned from AR, we jumped into more fall activities, even though it was in the 70’s!


On the weekend, Josh built a fire out at the fort and they all roasted hot dogs for lunch. It was one of those beautiful days where its cold, but not windy, so very fun to run around in. No, I didn’t run that day. What a waste.


At the end of the week, we all got to go to Seussical: The Musical at the high school. My mother-in-law played the keyboard for the performance, so it was extra fun to see it. Faith Academy did the same show a few months prior, so Mackenzie and I kept whispering to each other our thought, comparisons, and contrasts.


The next day, our AR cousins came to visit and to watch the show. I sat with the second batch of kids, just to make sure they behaved and didn’t start marching around the theater to I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham!


After two days of school, it was time for Thanksgiving! It’s super special to be in the US for this holiday, as we don’t celebrate it in the PI. It’s so fun to pack up and hit the road, knowing that on the other side, family, food, and fun is waiting!

We drove up to my sisters house for Thanksgiving. I finally convinced Josh to listen to Hamilton on the way up, and now he wants to go see it!

I ran my first Turkey Trot with my Heather, Mackenzie, and my little niece, Isla!



After bagels and apple cider at the Trot, we headed home by 10am. By noon, my sister had an amazing Thanksgiving feast on the table! It helps that she made a career of cooking for the masses for a long time.


I made a sweet potato casserole and I was also in charge of weaving some bacon around our family fave- brussel sprouts. Genius.



It was spectacular.

Since we ate at noon, I had time for a nap, and still had time to go shopping! Heather and I hit some sales together. It was so much fun to hang out together, and talk each other and and out of buying.


We were in a long line at Kohls, so we had to facetime my mom. We were, after all, in her kingdom.


That night, my sister and I HAD to check out the new Anne of Green Gables on PBS. It was cute, but doesn’t even come close to the original!

We went to sleep dreaming of the new Gilmore Girls on Netflix!

As soon as we woke up, we got our coffee and settled in for an entire day of binge watching. It was glorious!


We kept having to pause it to deal with one kid or another, so around lunchtime, Josh took ALL the kids out to McDonalds and the mall. He’s such a great dad!

Heather and I had so much fun aww-ing and squealing when one of our favorite old characters would pop up on the screen. We decided of the two marathons we’ve now done together, the Gilmore Girls one was way better than the Chicago one. AND we got to cross the finish line holding hands in this one.

Another great dad, Uncle Bryan won all of the kids love when he pulled out ice cream cones in between meals.


The next day, we had to trek back home. We left nice and early in order to be back in time for another Thanksgiving dinner at the homestead. It was amazing, and it was miraculous that we got everyone at the table, as well as all the food! I didn’t take any pics unfortunately, but it was just a teaser for the hoopla that is to come at Christmas time!

…which is probably when my next post will be.



Birthday Surprise!

1 Nov

My sister turned 40 this weekend! I had no big plans for the week or weekend, but with one phone call from my parents, I had a car rental, a road trip, and a few days with my parents, who were also visiting, and my sister and her family!

Last Wednesday, Simeon and I picked up a great rental car and hit the road for a 6-hour drive. We had snacks, blankies, and his Nuk, so Simeon was as happy as a clam for the entire trip. I did have to play peekaboo for a good 30 minutes, but I was getting bored with the corn fields anyway, so I was happy to oblige.

When we arrived at my sisters, my mom called Heather to the front door. I was literally trembling with excitement! It was so fun to surprise her and her girls. We took the party over to Red Robin for a birthday celebration. All this excitement, and I didn’t take any pictures!

My sister had to work the next day, so my mom, Simmy, and I spent the day doing our favorite activity together – hitting the sales! I told my mom that I always get a little jealous when I see women out shopping with their mom and babies. I felt so happy and special that I got to be that woman that day!

Heather was able to get the day off on Friday, so she and I hung out. We spent the morning in our jammies on the couch, an activity that Heather and I both adore. Simeon had thrown up during the night, so he napped for most of the morning! After a Olive Garden and more shopping with my mom, we headed back to Heather’s house. Heather and I both hopped right into the new jammies that mom bought us, and settled in to watch the World Series. We talked about going to a movie, but we didn’t want to get out of our PJ’s. My 40 year old sister said that we should just go to the movie in our PJ’s.

Meanwhile, the nieces found the Halloween snapchats.

Isla goes, “I look so pretty!”


…and then it was time to head back home! But not without leaving Simeon’s illness there. Every other person in that house got sick the next day! Heather and I just kept quoting Hamilton – “If it takes fighting a war for us to meet, it will have been worth it.”

Speaking of Hamilton…

Simeon wasn’t so happy on the drive back home. In fact, he was pretty inconsolable. The snacks weren’t working, he didn’t even want his blanket or his Nuk. So I switched from the radio to the Hamilton soundtrack, and not only did he stop crying, but he started dancing, laughing, singing “Rise up!”…and then he fell asleep! I knew that I had been listening to it a lot, but I didn’t think that Simeon had been paying attention! Apparently, he’s going to do just fine when it’s time for US History in school!



28 Sep

Josh has been in the PI this last week, and I haven’t even given a single thought to blogging. Until tonight, that is, when I was somewhere between picking Kenzie up from volleyball, taking Bella to soccer practice, or cheering Deacon on in his football game! Oh-and this is all being done with my in-laws car, because as usual, our vehicle flips out when Josh is gone. Only this time, it flat-lined. The transmission is shot, so we have some decision-making in our super-near future.

Onto happier thoughts….

Or not just yet.


Poor Caleb. This was because, well, take a guess.

  1. He fell down and hurt his knee.
  2. His brother took his brand-new toy.
  3. His dad pushed the garage-door button before he could.

Yep. 3. Day – ruined.

Thankfully, he was easily distracted by his weekend preschool project. He brought Nemo home and we had to document all the fun things that Nemo did over the weekend. Fortunately, we had all kinds of fun things prepared for the weekend!

First, Nemo got to cheer on Mackenzie’s volleyball team to a big victory. (PS: They are 10-1, hello!)


The next morning, Nemo got to cheer Bella on in her volleyball game! (Yes, there is a trend.)

I have yet to get a good pic of Bella’s volleyball game, because so far not much as happened. It’s pretty much a service ace or an error, and then rotate. Lather, rinse, repeat.


That afternoon, cousins came over! The weather was gorgeous, so everyone played outside and Nemo got to jump on the trampoline with them.


Later on, I got some cuddles from baby Eve. She was so super sweet. It turned out that she had a slight fever, which was probably why she was so cuddly. No, never mind. It was definitely because Aunt Val was snuggling her.

On Sunday, we went to sunday school and then onto the KC Royals game! It was Star Wars Day at the K, so we bought tickets for Deacon’s birthday. Everyone was so excited!


Kenzie and Deacon got in costume. Kenzie was Rae and Deacon was Finn. Sidenote: I got Deacon’s costume on Kohl’s clearance for $3.50! Mackenzie put her own outfit together and did a great job, I think!



Deacon LOVED being at the game! He cheered for the Royals and engaged in all the activities.


The tickets that we bought came with food credit, so the kids all opted for cotton candy! Nemo got in on the sugary goodness as well.


So did I.


And so did the girl behind us.


Kenzie took a Snapchat break.


They did a great little video on the jumbotron where Darth Vader used the dark side to pitch the ball to Sluggerrrr (the lion mascot), who used a light saber to hit it out of the park, and out of the universe, where the ball went on to destroy the Death Star! I wish I had videoed it. It was cute.

Another favorite crowd activity was like the KissCam, but instead, they used The Lion King music and focused on a baby. When the camera was on them, the parent had to lift the baby in a way that only a baboon would lift a royal lion cub. It was super cute and definitely my favorite.

After the game, our kids got to join every other last child in Kansas to run the same bases that our 2015 World Champions ran. It was great!


On our way out, we ran into everyone’s favorite evil minions (except for the actual Minions), the Storm Troopers. Have I mentioned that Caleb has always called them Storm Poopers? And not even as a potty joke. That’s what they are, and we may or may not have corrected him.


It was definitely one of our best days yet, and another must-do checked off of our furlough list!




Football and football

20 Sep

We’re loving the all-american experiences that we’re getting this year! (As I write that, the weather is unusually Filipino for September in the US. We’re looking at a feels-like of over 100 degrees!)

Anyway, Bella got to do a two-day cheer clinic that ended with a performance at the high school football game. So we all headed over to the new and amazing high school stadium for the football game. It was so fun, with the cheerleaders, dancers, flag corp, and marching band. So much sensory stimulation!

The evening started with Bella’s performance. Bella is the one with yellow shirt, black pants, and ponytail. See?


We loved all the hoopla!

The next morning, Caleb and Bella had soccer games. It was 65 degrees out and sunny, so it was incredibly pleasant to sit in our stadium chairs and watch the kids with a hot cup of coffee. Could’ve done it all day! Josh and I couldn’t help but compare it to Saturday soccer in the PI, where we have to box out the other moms and dads for shady spots!


There were two little dachshunds there, and I know Bella would’ve much rather played with them than play soccer! It was cute to hear her belly-giggling as the puppies jumped all over her.


Caleb’s division just plays 3v3 with no goal keeper, so there is much less crowding and more passing (attempts.) They were so adorable. The score must’ve been 37-23.


Bella’s team won too! img_2481

Afterwards, we kept up our tradition of post-soccer drinks at Sonic. What I wouldn’t pay for their slushies in the Philippines….many, many pesos.

The August Bdays

5 Sep

Even though we’re in the land of easy celebration-planning, I found myself stressed out about celebrating Mackenzie’s 12th and Caleb’s 5th birthdays just a few days after settling in KS.

Enter Groupon.

The light bulb went off in my head to check out Groupon for any fun deals that would take the party planning off my hands. The first one to pop up? Worlds of Fun! They had a great offer so we jumped on it!

So we woke the kids up early and told them that we needed to run some errands. They obediently, yet unexcitedly, piled into the car and onto the road we went. 40 min later, we turned the corner on 435 and the kids saw the Mamba and Detonator towering over the park and they were all excited just to see the place. It wasn’t until we were in the parking line that they realized that we were spending the day there! Then they really exploded with glee. It was so fun to watch the wheels turn in their heads.

We had spectacular day! It was hot in the sun, but cool in the shade, and that we enough to keep the crowds away. We really didn’t have long waits on any of the rides. It was so reasonable that we often would have Josh ride with the older kids, then the kids would get back in line to ride it again with me.


Of course we made our way to Camp Snoopy for some kiddie rides. They all really loved it and Sim even rode a little roller coaster!


A nice break in the day was the sing-along time in the the air-conditioned theater. Sim even got up on stage and joined in the singing and dancing.



A must-do at WOF is the log ride. It was one of the first rides that opened there, and you can tell! It’s so rickety, but still a blast.


Speaking of rickety, I didn’t dare go near the wooden roller coasters! I went on one during our wedding party excursion there before we got married and I remember coming off of it thinking that I should bring a chiropractor with us on our honeymoon.

Caleb really wanted to go on the train, so we made sure to do what the birthday-boy wanted.


Mackenzie really wanted to do one of the games too, so she did the “Guess my age” booth. We figured that it would be an instant win, since her height makes her seem a lot older than she was. Bingo! He guessed that she was 15, so she won a stuffed puppy!

We were supposed to leave around 4pm to be back for Deacon’s open house at school. But we were having such a fun day together that we scrapped it! #parentsoftheyear So we stayed from opening until the very last minute and had a blast the entire time. Bella and I rode the Patriot 3 times in a row, just running from the exit back to the entrance with very little wait. I was a little dizzy by the third time, but it was worth it. We calculated that the kids rode the rides 40 times throughout the day. That, and the red velvet funnel cakes, made the day a complete success!

We finished the fun day with a trip to Red Robin, which still hadn’t been checked off of our must-eat list. They even brought the birthday kiddos special hot fudge sundaes.IMG_2122

It was the perfect day and the perfect way to finish up the summer and celebrate the birth of our super-special Kenzie and Caleb!

Together Again!

31 Aug

We arrived into Kansas on a Thursday and Joe and his crew arrived for a big family visit the next day!! Our stuff was packed, unpacked, dumped, and flung all over the house, but it was a fantastic weekend! The cousins had a blast reuniting, and since the majority of them are older now, the really create their own (unsupervised) fun. I’m sure we’ll hear some stories when they are too old to punish…

They spent a lot of time in the fort. The uncles and daddies built a fire for them to feel extra campy. Then after they went to bed, Joe & Michelle and Josh & I would hang out by the fire until it burnt out. It was so fun and not at all Blair Witchy.


Snapchat wasn’t invented the last time they saw each other.

Of course the Olympics were on in the background all weekend!


GG came by for the afternoon on Saturday, and I caught a sweet moment between her and Mackenzie.


On Sunday, we all went to church together and then partied at Jose Peppers,  which Josh and I were dying to have in the few days since we arrived in Kansas! I don’t think any of us were quite sure how it would go with 24 people, the majority being under 11 years old, but we were rock stars! The kids divided up into three booths in their respective ages and genders, and the babies came with us adults. It was pleasant all around!

Then everyone went home…

That meant that I couldn’t ignore the suitcases any longer, and once again, it was time to unpack. But this time, it was for a long time!