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Monday, December 31, 2012

Seasons Of Love

Like our previous New Year's celebrations, we are welcoming 2013 quietly as a family. I was never fond of fireworks and firecrackers so it's always just been torotots for our little miss and watching fireworks from afar for us. Luckily, we live within an area where firework-loving people reside so the kid isn't really deprived of the fun of watching the dance of lights in the sky when the New Year strikes.

The previous years, the husband and I would always wait for 12 midnight before partaking the food that I've prepared for Media Noche but this year, well probably due travel fatigue (as we came from the long commute from Pampanga), we decided to forego midnight eating and decided to devour everything at breakfast instead. It still felt like media noche, sans the wine since we had to replace that with strong coffee.

As we were waiting to be lulled to sleep just right after midnight, I asked the husband how he would assess 2012 to have been for our family. And the response was simple. 2012 was GOOD year for us. I paused and thought. 

Well, despite this year still having it's share of Ups and Downs, it's been mostly Ups for us. And I think that makes it safe for us to say that YES 2012 has been a GOOD year indeed. Since we got married, I can say that every year we do see some growth in our family. That should be good enough. There is after all no exact measure for things like this. I mean, what is the standard anyways? I am reminded of this song every time I ask myself that question. 



And it only echoes back one answer for me. Happiness is the gauge. And with happiness being of the intagible kind, so how do you measure really? Whatever, however you measure your happiness is entirely up to you, I say. In my book, happiness comes with peace of mind and a heart full of contentment. I couldn't claim it's always that everyday, but most days, surprisingly it is. And again, that is enough for me.

I wish you a wonderful 2013. May it always be a year of love and happiness for you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12.21.12

I tried to wait for it since I came home late from our company Christmas party anyways. But 8 minutes before midnight, my body just gave in to sleep. 

I woke up at 5:50am on 12.21.12 and thought, sh*t I am going to miss my morning run again today. 

My sister calls it RESET. But it's been going around since the beginning of the year. The world is ending on 12.21.12. Yet, we are still here. I never read up on it and somebody probably posted an answer to this question already but I just can't shake it off my head so I'm just gonna throw it anyways: "Which timezone was it based on anyways?"


If you're on reflection mode today, this post is a perfect starter for you. I on the otherhand have to deal with huge paper pile in front of me so I'm reserving reflection time to this weekend. 

Have a great Friday (and weekend too) everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Rush

Exactly a week to go before Christmas day and how's everything been so far?

From my side of the world (or country or town), things are starting to mellow down. Work is still pretty crazy as we're nearing the year end closing. But things that were unclear to me at the beginning of the month (most especially) are starting to take some form of certainty, and well, sense. Comforting thought although the deluge of new challenges ahead still makes me a little nervous. But nervous (just a little pinch of it) is always good news for me. That means I am taking the commitment to heart. And that I will pour blood and sweat over it. Good news really for my bosses most especially :)

Moving on, I am missing blogging so much. But of late, I found myself running out of things to write about. I don't know if it's the crazy schedule that I've been having or finally embracing the fact of my kid sort of detaching from being the baby to a fully-grown preschooler therefore signalling that I stop documenting the nitty-gritty happenings of her young life. I don't know really. Whatever it was, I just didn't feel the need to vent or talk anymore. Come to think of it, despite the craziness, I felt contentment. 

Or maybe I should thank my husband. He's probably been more available to talk to these past weeks and maybe just maybe that explains the peace. (Good job husband!)

Funny you think, how I would put all my holiday happiness card on
one boring looking cabinet set But this cabinet set was long awaited (like about 4 years)
*i know that top molding is kinda off* (but it's the husband's project so I have to respect his taste)
Also, I am also beyond happy at finally seeing our cabinets installed. The minute I saw them hang over the wall, I blurted out: "Wow, the house now feels more like a real house". That solicited a glare from the husband though. When the carpenters left, he asked me: "how exactly does a cabinet turn a house a real house?". (men are indeed from Mars - or at least in this particular situation)

Well for one, the house looks more organized now. And having these hanging cabinets enabled us to move items that used to occupy the floor. Now we have more room to move. Not exactly a lot, but at least we have MORE room. And that's a good thing, right?

I'm not exactly sure how we can push through with the repainting project now that my schedule has changed (I need to come to work a few days after Christmas, bummer eh). We might end up pushing that project to next summer but at least it's in the pipe line already. 

I just have a couple more Christmas parties lined up (the difficult ones are now over, whew) and I can finally look forward to a little rest. As you know I'm really not fond of parties but they are a requisite to the merriment of this season so I'm just going with the flow. I am really in no position to retort as I am now seeing how the kid LOVES joining parties. So yes, I'm all for the fun of parties if it makes my kid happy. 

How about you? Has the holiday rush been good to you?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

On Runner's Nutrition and More Insights From My Marathon Training

My husband ran out of fuel, 15 kilometers into what was to be a 20-kilometer long run this morning. Although I was feeling great and was running like I was just a few minutes into the run, I immediately empathized with him. I have been in that situation several times already. And the worst part of that usually is your knees start to wobble and exhaustion starts to creep in, even half a kilometer would feel like forever. 

I had no intention of stopping since we normally don't really allow ourselves to get distracted with each other's pains and discomforts (unless it's a life-threatening situation of course). Being competitive with each other during training pushes us beyond our comfort zone and is usually a test of endurance for us both so being left behind was never an issue. This morning though, I heard him shout for me from far behind. Turns out, he was asking if I had some power gels left. I unfortunately only packed enough for myself. When it comes to things like this, I come more prepared than him. 

All that was left with me then was half a container of Gatorade. I handed it to him and plodded on. I only had about 2.5kms more to go so I kept at it. I wanted to maintain my pace at 7min/km as much as possible because I also wanted to see if the dreaded cramps would still come back to haunt me. I went past 17kms and I still felt great. I now feel validated and ready for the big challenge we are to face in the coming days. It was also at this point when my thoughts started flying again. I thought of how significant the role of good nourishment is for people like us. And how the husband has been taking that for granted lately. I thought, maybe as a sort of reminder, I better write down my current pre and post training go foods. And maybe, as a reminder to the husband too. (hehe)

Let me just reiterate that I am no nutritionist and that I'm just listing what works for me currently. This might change as we go on with our marathon training.

Pre-training/race favorites:
  • Pasta - I usually try to whip out any one of our solid, household favorites a day before a race or a long run so we can load up on carbs and since I'm trying to avoid being tempted and ending up over-consuming on rice, pasta is my next best thing. 
  • Water - I make sure I consume at least 3 liters daily, a week before a race or a long run to stay hydrated. 
  • Bananas - whenever I crave for sweets, I force myself to gobble up a piece. Works well!
  • PB Sandwich - wheat bread and a generous amount of peanut butter. Yum!
  • Muesli + Soya Milk - my go-to breakfast on the go!
Post-training favorites:
  • Chocolate milk - Chuckie is a big favorite. We try to drink up at least 30 mins after finishing our run.
  • A cup of yogurt or soya milk
  • Bananas - this morning, we came home to freshly cooked plantains (boiled). Instant energy boost.
  • Protein-loaded breakfast and coffee - ahhh there's nothing like eating your favorites right after finishing a race or a long run. No guilt whatsoever. (but sometimes, I get tempted to count the calories right after. i really just love to inflict pain on myself)
Nutrition is indeed a big part of a runner's (oh yeah, I've been dodging the use of the term but I ran out of terms now) training regimen. But since I also do meal planning at home, I try to just incorporate what we need into our daily meals. Luckily for us, most of our meals are eaten at home (and I pack baon as much as I can). I just make sure I eat my meals on time because again, especially when your muscles are recovering it's important to have the proper amount of protein in your diet (it doesn't give you an excuse to eat a bucket full of Chicken Joy though no matter how tempting).

Now let me just send a link of this post to my husband so he remembers to eat lunch today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Throwback Thursday - UP Diliman Lagoon

Top photo: from an engagement photoshot from 5 years ago. This was taken around September, if I remember correctly; Bottom photo: taken just last Sunday, we stopped by to rest while walking around the UP Academic Oval after brunch. We came back to sit on the exact same tree this time as a family . 

This same tree witnessed several super typhoons already. Still it's there providing a resting place for the weary. You can never underestimate nature's gifts. That's why we always need to remember to take good care of them. I hope when Maia comes back to **hopefully** study here, this same tree still remains.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hello December!

Are you done with your Christmas shopping already?

I am far from over. In fact, I don't think I will get to finish everything in time. I am secretly hoping that we can still squeeze in a visit to Uniwide or Dapitan Arcade this weekend or the next so I can cross everything out on my list (which list? oh yes, that list that I'm supposed to complete by now).

CRAMMER. CRAMMER. CRAMMER.

If I am to flush out all of my bad traits, this cramming thing of mine is probably going to be the last one to go. I just can't seem to rid of it. I try my hardest. I swear, I do.

Oh oh. It's the Christmas season. It's supposed to be the reason to be jolly. So yes, enough with the hard-beating of thyself. Let's focus on the happy, brighter side of this season.

Presents. Santa Claus. R&Rs. Reunions. Parties. Christmas Packages. Christmas Bonuses. Such a happy time, indeed!

Speaking of Christmas bonuses, starting this year, Tibs and I planned to set aside a portion for home improvement. Our home is going to look like a chop-chop of the old and new but just the same, an improvement is always a welcomed idea in my book. This year, we've finally scouted for an affordable cabinet maker and we're getting those customized cabinets that we've been planning to get done for years now. And yes, our minimal budget didn't stop me from starting a new board of kitchen makeover inspirations at Pinterest. I can't help but drool over the things I see. I can already picture myself busying myself in that kitchen. It's always nice to daydream. I love to daydream!

After Christmas, when my visiting family leaves, we'll start with the repainting job. We will have to play refugees for a couple of days at my tita's place probably since our small family is allergic to the smell of paint and well, it's really not healthy for everyone to be sleeping along with the dust mites and paint fumes. But since we have a tiny place, we're hoping we'd be done with the repainting in 3 days tops. We'll be welcoming the new year with a newly painted interior. Happy. Happy.

So it's just two major to-dos this month for us. The rest of the month, we'll dedicate to reuniting with family and friends, enjoying the parties and good festive food (and the grease haha), AND keeping up with our marathon training. This month is going to be the toughest month since we're required to render one 32km long run. That's going to be our first time to run that far and I hope we can nail that so we'll have the confidence to make it through our first marathon.

This is the most exciting month of the year! Happy holidays to you, and you, and yes to you!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Racing Towards My Half-marathon PR

When I race, I hardly ever focus. Although I do try to concentrate on the race, my mind always fly thousands of eons away. Today, as I was racing to make my unexpected personal best record for a half-marathon I am suddenly bombarded by thoughts regarding lessons learned while running a half-marathon.

The QCIM race is my 3rd attempt at finishing a halfmarathon. Although I did finish the last 2 half-maries that I  last participated in, today was definitely the finish that made me feel like I can finally call myself a legit half-marathon finisher. Why, you ask? Isn't reaching the finish line enough ticket to the claim? Well, technically yes. But those last 2 races gave me the worst cramps ever, they ended making me feel like I didn't prepare well for the race. There's probably a lot of truth to that which also was another reason why I feel I don't deserve to claim the finisher title yet. But today, yes today made me feel very, very proud of myself.

So what led me to a 'personal' strong finish? Well, I can list several things.

1. I followed my training schedule to the T. I religiously plotted the mileage requirements for the week and worked hard to reach them. I may fall a mile behind on some days, but I try to make up for the deficit on other days. And I guess, that helped a lot with building my endurance.

2. I listened to my body. I used to challenge myself and believed that all the pain just comes from my mind. And if I control my mind and psyche it hard enough to push my body to just run and not stop for a walk break, I will get a strong finish. But after 2 failures, I finally decided to listen to my body. After the 10th kilometer, I modified my strategy and chose to run in 6/1, 5/1 and 4/1 intervals instead depending on the terrain difficulty (4/1 if it requires me to climb and 6/1 if it's flat all the way). This helped tremendously. And when my GPS tracker announced I'm at the 20th km, I feel like jumping in glee. But I restrained myself, I had to save up all of my remaining energy for the last kilometer to the finish line.

3. The night before the race, I was beyond my head with panic having realized I left our power gels at home. But then, Tibs assured me I can finish it without the gels (because in our last race, he didn't feel the need to take one and yet finished it) so I resigned and just pocketed 3 pcs of menthol candies in case I do run out of energy. A bit of sugar can go a long way. 


4. We warmed up for a good 10-15 minutes. We stayed in QC for the night so we were just 5 minutes away from the starting line. We didn't have to rush and we had ample time to do stretches and sweat up a bit before gunstart. The point I'm trying to drive at here is that IT PAYS TO COME ON TIME.

5. Proper hydration is also key, I guess. The entire week before the race, I wasn't feeling well. In fact, I had a major asthma attack last Tuesday I had to call in sick for fear that I would fall extremely ill come race day. In order to hasten my recovery, I had to drink up liters and liters of water (average of 4 liters a day). That probably helped a lot as I didn't feel the need to stop for water at the first 5km. I also loaded up on carbs on Friday (it wasn't really a lot but it was more than my usual carb intake). I should remember to do that again at every long run.

So yes, I wasn't in my best form this morning (with the asthma attack still hovering over me). And yesterday, when I went to see my doctor to sort of ask permission if I can go on with the race she gave me a disapproving nod. But seeing how determined (and stubborn) I looked, she relented and just prescribed several meds to help me get through the day. And I tell ya, maybe it's my positive spirit today or maybe it's the meds (I really cannot tell at this point) but I feel better now. And the entire length of the race, I never felt the need to puff on my inhaler. As if it was a validation for me to finally say - SEE I TOLD YA, I HAVE STRONG LUNGS! haha. 

Today has been a very good day. And yes, to God be the glory. I finished the race safely. And I am now more determined that ever to train harder for my first marathon finish. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Warning: Long Weekend Up Ahead

I am seriously wishing my long weekend is going to be something like this:

Photo from here
But I believe it's going to be something more similar to this:


Still. I'm looking forward to this because I really intend to make this weekend an infusion of family and personal fun. We're running our last race for 2012 and it's going to be a special one because we're spending a weekend in UP Diliman. Yipee! I will make sure a lot of treasured memories are going to be made. All for the sake of our little miss cutiepie who fully deserve our much needed attention. 

Have a wonderful LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grateful Existence

So apt to this day, woke up early to get my performance evaluation for work done. I'm trying to recall the things I've done good at the past year. But as always, I'm a big procrastinator. So yes, 30 minutes after, I still haven't done anything in there. Not even a word.

Then again, this time for reflection has filled me with overwhelming gratefulness. For what? Well, a lot of things which are mostly of intangible nature.


Financially, we are far from good. We're actually just surviving. But yes, the key word there is SURVIVE. And for that, I am extremely grateful.Even more grateful that all my efforts at work are finally being recognized and rewarded. That is more than enough because it affords us sustainability.

Materially, we are far from good. We are actually in a bad situation. We have several appliances (a fridge that turns into Antarctica in just a day, for example) and furniture that is dire need of replacing. But they will have to wait for a few more months or maybe a year. But again, we will survive. It's nothing life-threatening and a little bump here and there won't really hurt.

'

Physically, we're doing well I guess. We've started a more rigorous exercise regimen this year having decided to pursue our marathon dream in Feb next year. And we've been eating more fish than meat (a big pat on the back for the hubby for finally conceding). We probably can do better but I'm happy we're finding the time to do more healthy things these days. Yes, that makes me very very grateful.


Spiritually, we can work more on this aspect. But I'm also grateful I am surrounded by co-workers who help me nurture my spirituality without pressure. That to me works because I'm the type who would rebel when I'm being forced to do something. And right now, I'm with the company of spiritual friends who are there to guide without being compelling or imposing.


So yes, we are in a good place right here, right now. I am happy and contented for the most part. Contentment is hard to find nowadays and that's another thing that makes me really grateful these days. Yes, I do feel envy some days. I am but human. But the envy disappears fast (and that still surprises me somehow), and I will be enveloped by gratitude again.

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving on this part of the world that I come from. But I guess it won't hurt to take more gratitude pills today. After all, gratitude is something you can never overdose on.

All photos were taken from Pinterest.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Marathon Dream

I remember saying last year that it's probably going to take me a few more years to run in the Skyway again after finishing my first half-marathon there. But a lot could happen in a year. And I am now taking that statement back.

I planned to get pregnant in 2012. I was dead set on doing that because due to my health condition, I was told it might not be wise for me to get pregnant past 36. And I so wanted another kid. I know I have plenty of room to love another one. And I miss the smell of an infant. I miss getting just two hours of sleep everyday (masochista lang talaga). The little miss was also already asking for a sibling. 2012 just seemed to be the perfect time then to give the kid what she wanted. And I feel so ready. But life and the husband didn't get my memo as they both have other plans. And so I had to let that one go for now. I had to move on to the next best thing. 

And that next best thing is to run my first marathon before my 35th birthday. 


I never bothered to start a bucket list when I was younger, but if I had one, this would definitely fall on my top 10 (maybe even top 3). I couldn't count how many times I've read testimonies from marathon finishers claiming that reaching the finish line on their first marathon is one major life-changing event. And after finishing two half-marathons, I know they were telling the truth.

And so I managed to convince my husband. We are officially signed up now and there's no turning back. We're on week 6 of our training now and we've been nailing our mileage requirements like pros. So yes, we're just right on track. Some days, I would get the nerves and throw myself into a little play of doubts but the minute I put on my shoes and start running all those doubts just melt away and I'm suddenly washed over by excitement. 

We still got a long way to go and  definitely a lot of kilometers to burn (will probably need to replace shoes soon too). But I've never worked this hard for something in my entire 34 years I might as well just double the hardwork so I MAKE IT TO THE FINISH LINE. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Almost Christmas

It has been a long and tiring weekend for me. But I'm happy to report that I was able to cross out one of the things that I listed to do this month. And I got to squeeze in a few hours to do 2 more although the running mileage thing will have to wait till the end of the month for me to really say that I nailed all of my goals down. The photobook is almost done and I'm hoping to finish it by tomorrow night (the deadliest of deadlines). I'm rather proud of myself. And I hope it does turn out way nicer than it looks now. I'm not giving myself any room for disappointments here because as I didn't set any standards for this in the first place. So really, as long as I get to finish it in time is already a huge thing. I learned a painful lesson yet again here caused by putting off organizing our gazillion of photos (accumulated) for years (4 years to be exact). Now everytime I sift through each folder, it either makes me want to delete the entire thing altogether or suddenly overwhelms me with so much memories of kid's early years. 

So anyway, what I (well WE in fact because it was due to the kid's prodding that this happened) managed to accomplish this weekend was getting our old tree out. The hubby wanted to postpone it a day later but the kid wouldn't hear the end of it so it left the hubby no choice but to drag the humongous thing out (it's a 7-foot tree in fairness) and strip it off it's protective covering (that is a garbage bag). The big frown on his face disappeared almost instantly the minute he bared the tree off its plastic wrapping and realizing how storage friendly the thing was. It's in perfectly good shape. No bent stems to twist. The lights were perfectly working. All we needed to do was just hang the handmade ornaments (also from last year's). 

When Ate Inday and the kid finally got all the ornaments hanged, I realized the tree still looked bare. I mentally counted how many days are left till Christmas and thought well I can still make more ornaments. Maybe not as many as last year's but I still have room to make at least a dozen. (if you have pretty patterns to share, please do. I'm desperate here)

So anyways, sharing here photos that I managed to take last night. I like the glaring effects that the lights make on my phone camera. I'm suddenly even more excited for Christmas especially since I managed to convince the hubby to accompany me to Dapitan Arcade again. We're going next weekend. I can't wait for that trip!

Old, but still pretty
kid immediately grabbed the ornaments the minute her dad plugged in the lights.
she was just so happy she had to shout: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee, Christmas na!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hello November!

November always passes by like a blur for me. Probably it's the anticipation of the upcoming holidays for us. The best memory of November that I always have is getting a fatter than usual paycheck which instantly disappears the minute I get my to-do lists (mainly consisting of gift buying and holiday planning) out. That one also passes by like a blur for me (the fatter than usual paycheck, I mean)

I am now making a mental note of getting in some sort of tradition for this month. It is after all a celebration of life since my parents and my mother-in-law are all born on this month.But between the marathon training and several errand backlogs, it all feels overwhelming already I would probably end up with nothing by the time the month comes to a close. And before I know it, I'd probably be cramming for all the things that I need to get done before the holidays. Insane. Yes, that's me.'

This post for instance was started like a week ago. But here I am still finishing up and going nowhere. I started asking myself too, what's the point of making this "Hello" posts. Then it hit me, this is probably again my subconscious trying to organize my cluttered mind. And trying to set priorities.

So let's see. This month, my primary priorities would be as follows:
- Bring the kid back to the Doc Chen's for her semi-annual well kid check up.
- Finish this Photobook that I have been trying to burn the midnight oil on before the voucher expires (which is a week from now. Waaaaaaaaaah). Thank God, I'm making progress. I'm halfway through actually. Just need to find more pictures (and maybe settle on a book theme so I could limit my photo choices. I have gazillions to sift through and that alone is making me want to drop out of this project already)
- Put up our Christmas tree.
- Nail my weekly mileage requirements. And register for my final 21k race this year.
- Touch base a friend (or two) because yes, this also keeps my sanity intact. And by touch base I mean really meet up and spend time (even if it's just a couple of hours).

My dear tarragon plant flowering again. 
So that's 5. And 5 is something I can work with. I wanted to put in there start making more handmade ornaments to give away to relatives this holidays but that might just be the end of it. I don't want to pull my strings hard and snap. So yes, I am accepting the fact that the ornament dream would have to take a back seat this year. But well, on the brightside, there's the next year to look forward to. And that would give me more time to gather more materials.

And there's my herb garden that I've been neglecting for months now. Despite that I'm happy to see that most of my plants are thriving. The tarragon even sported a bloom despite half of it wilting (from too much rain last month, I reckon) and dying. And I take that as a sign that things will quiet down soon.

How's your November going so far?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Marathon Diaries: Aiming For The Stars Now

I started my marathon training today. Last week, I plotted my training days on this Marathon Finisher Plan that I downloaded from Nike Running. As I was looking at the first 8 weeks, I was pretty sure I can handle them easily. I started doubting myself though the minute my eyes fell on 16 miles. Then a question suddenly popped in my head (think thought balloon) - WHAT THE HELL AM I GETTING MYSELF INTO?

Deja vu. Of exactly one year past.

Unlike most serious marathon trainers, I do not have a real (what do i mean by this?) training plan in mind. Nor a training coach. Except for my competitive husband (who doesn't like training with me) and that downloaded training plan, I have nothing else. Well maybe the motivation of finally crossing out this item on my bucket list that says - RUN AND FINISH A MARATHON BEFORE MY 35TH BIRTHDAY. I have less than a year to do that. Although (yes, you got me there) that bucket list is honestly non-existent I still have several things (at the back of my mind) that I would really wish to achieve or experience before well to say it bluntly, I die. And a marathon finish is one of them. Alongside maybe, several dream places to travel, concerts (or rather bands) to see and items to own (yes, i do crave for material things too). After serious contemplation, my husband and I decided that we will try our luck at making our first marathon finish at Condura Skyway Marathon again. If you would remember, it's the same race where I ran my first half-marathon. Condura is  less than 4 months away (roughly). So really, I have about 3 months to train. And I mean seriously, T.R.A.I.N.


I think I can handle the mileage requirement. The scheduled days of the runs are just the right fit to my rather unpredictable life as a working mom to an audacious preschooler. But what concerns me the most are those days on the training plan that were marked - CROSS TRAIN. It suggests of weight training which I have no single clue of. I've also read somewhere that the best cross training exercises for marathons are biking and swimming. Biking and swimming (two things that I never learned and most likely will never learn to do) - if I take that suggestion seriously I might interpret it as a sign that I should not push through with this crazy idea anymore. But I am going to throw that out the window and carry on with this as boldly as I possibly can.

Maybe I can make use of some of the suggested exercises in this guide from Runner's World or this guide from Active.com. I'm sure the internet is a treasure trove in itself. I could try You Tube as well. I know that I have very weak endurance and I have to especially work on that since I've never been spared of cramps before. But there are still several half-marathons lined up this year that I can join just to prove that I can finish without a cramp attack. I also have very strong lungs. And a huge fighting spirit (check back with me again in December, will you? hahaha). SO...I CAN DO THIS. I WILL DO THIS.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello October!

October is one of the busiest months of the year for me. I celebrate 2 anniversaries this month. The first would be my motherhood anniversary and the second would be my wedding anniversary. Two of my personal life-changing events happening just 2 days apart.

In the past, the wedding anniversary was always overshadowed by the kid's birthday. Although by experience they do tone down every passing year. This year we celebrate our 5th year wedding anniversary. I still don't have any idea how we are going to celebrate it. I do have an unused coupon for a resto in Tagaytay that I've set aside for special occasions and we might decide to use it for our anniversary brunch. One thing is sure though, we will definitely still go and hear the 6am mass at Ina Ng Laging Saklolo just like what we've been doing for the past 4 years. We are not very religious but we both believe that keeping faith on something (in our case that something is God) is one of the ties that strengthens our bond. And hearing the mass on our wedding anniversary day at the same church where we got married is also our way of reminding each other that a few years back we promised and made vows to each other. 

October (also by experience) is also one of the months where most of our intense fights as a married couple happens. I would like to think though that we have since become a wiser couple because just the other day the hubby told me that these fights are actually healthy for us. They serve as our reality check. And they bring our attention back to our family goals. Yes, that should be healthy right? 

I have been laying out plans for the kid's birthday in mind in past couple of days. She's been persistent about keeping the fairy-theme though so I will try my hardest to give her that. But I'm sure treating her classmates to lunch and having them witness her blow her cake should really suffice. The cake blowing after all almost always is what defines birthday for kids. If the school would allow it, we might just add in a couple of balloons to complete the show. 

Lots of things happening around the Metro to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month as well. I still don't know if we will get to participate this year, I'm hoping we could. But since the kid started preschool, weekends have been pretty hectic for our household we could barely squeeze in time for non-family related appointments. Oh well, we participated in several Avon Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye events in the past so we might just join the walk this year again. 

And we also usually start feeling the cold holiday breeze at this time of the month. Oh I can't wait for that to happen. I've been wanting a reprieve from the rains (and news of floods) for sometime now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I finally get that wish this month. 

How about you? How is October coming along for you?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Define Happiness

After a recent petty fight with the husband, I decided to list down the things that make me happy. Well, basically as a reminder for me more than for him.

What really is happiness for me? These are the few things that immediately came to my mind:
  • a healthy, nurturing marriage
  • an improvement in the house (repaint? pwede! new furniture? pwede din!)
  • good health for our entire family (and that includes the extensions most especially)
  • new running gear (GEAR and NOT GADGET)
  • a good camera (not necessarily expensive)
  • new school/art supplies
  • an oven or maybe even just new pots to use in the kitchen
  • a big bar of dark chocolate (no particular brand, even Goya would do the trick)
  • a positive balance on our bank account at the end of the month
  • date nights
  • lots of hugs and kisses
It's a mish-mash of both tangible and intangible stuff. But you would see really, how mababaw I am. Some days though, I do get swept by the materialism of this world and would wish for things that would probably fall under the category of WANT rather than NEED. And I guess this list can help me get back to my senses when I am overwhelmed by my material desires. 

BUT REALLY. THIS.IS.HAPPINESS.
What makes you happy? Please do share.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recipe: Pancit Molo Soup

A heaping, hot bowl of pancit molo always transports me back to my childhood home. During school breaks (back in the day haha), my siblilngs and I would cook a potful of this for meryenda. I couldn't make it from scratch then but my mom always had several packs of the soup in stock for us. 

This was only my second attempt to make the soup from scratch. I got the recipe from a college friend and tweaked it a bit to include carrots for the kid. Our first time was a huge mess because majority of the meat balls came off the molo wrappers it eventually looked like a meat ball soup instead of pancit molo. This time around though I'm happy to report that we were almost successful  and so when Maqui requested for the recipe, I did not hesitate a bit. So here it is:


Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins

What you will need:

1/2 kilo lean ground pork
1/2 kilo chicken soup pack, boiled and flaked
2 big white onions, chopped
1 bunch of green spring onions, chopped
1 medium sized carrot, minced/chopped finely
1 pack store-bought molo wrapper
1 small can full cream evaporated milk (optional if you're not fond of milky soup)
about 8 cups chicken stock (saved from the chicken soup pack)
olive oil
2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
1 head garlic, minced and fried over low fire till slightly brown (for garnish)
All-purpose flour (to dust the balls and prevent them from sticking together)

How I did it:

1. Boil the chicken soup pack till meat is tender. It usually takes just about 10 mins for chicken meat to tenderize but since I plan to use the broth, I boiled it for 20-30 mins. I threw in a handful of chopped onions  as well to make the broth more flavorful.
2. Set aside chicken to cool for flaking. Set aside flaked meat and discard the bones.
3. Combine spring onions and carrots with ground pork. (I usually work with my hands. I'm confident they're mixed evenly that way). Season with a dash of salt but with more pepper (maybe half a teaspoon)
4. Spoon about half a teaspoon of the ground pork mixture over the molo/wanton wrapper and seal as tightly as possible (the way you would seal dumplings). Do this till all your mixture is wrapped up. Once in a while dust with all-purpose flour to prevent the dumplings from sticking together.
5. Saute your onions in olive oil till fragrant and translucent.
6. Add in flaked chicken meat and stir fry for a minute.
7. Pour in chicken stock and boil.
8. When stock is boiling, lower fire to simmer and drop the dumplings one by one (dumping them slowly is the key to preventing them from breaking)
9. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season again with fish sauce, salt and pepper according to your taste.
10. Pour in the evaporated milk about 5 minutes before you put the fire off.
11. Garnish with chopped spring onions and fried garlic.
12. Enjoy!!!!

Our recipe yielded about 50+ dumplings. The big pot lasted us till lunch time. It was my little girl's first time to try eating pancit molo and she liked it so much she requested for me to cook it again. Requests like this from my picky eater is always a huge compliment for me!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Household Tip: Keeping Your Greens Fresh

I blogged here about my favorite way of reusing the brown paper bags that our mall/supermarket purchases are usually packaged in nowadays. I obsess a bit about the way the baggers handle the wrapping of my purchases because I would always want to bring the bags home is the best condition possible so I can reuse them that way. The reality is, however, I would often come home with torn up bags which at first sight would seem to merit an immediate trip to the trash bin. But not in our household. They're always given second and even third chances.

Most days, they are more organized than this. hehe.
These torn up brown paper bags are folded as neatly as their present state would allow and stored for future use. What future use could that be, you ask? Well we normally only do our supermarket and palengke duties once a week but with the help of these paper bags our vegetables especially the green leafy ones stay palengke fresh for at least 3-4 days more. When I was still religiously making my green smoothies, I would stock up more on the leafy greens and I worried about how to keep me crisp. And this solved my problem. 

Only had this two remaining veggies in the fridge today. Too bad, I couldn't show how fresh they still were.
These two veggies by the way were bought 3 days ago.
Amazing paper bags. It really pains me seeing how they're being used indiscriminately (and wastefully, in fact) with no reverence for where they came from or how they came to be paper in the first place. My heart goes out to the millions of trees that were cut down just to turn them into paper. Sometimes I start doubting the real purpose of the plastic usage bans that majority of the cities in metro have adapted especially since I know it doesn't really solve the problem of waste and flooding (you moderate plastic use but were the trees  ever considered here, I wonder). I'm no environmentalist. I just really care so much I just couldn't help but be overly sentimental. 

So anyways, back to the real purpose of this post. What we do is wrap the greens and veggies with these brown paper bag and properly arrange them in our fridge's vegetable crisper. Denser veggies at the bottom and leafier ones on top. And that's it! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hello September!

I am blogging from Baguio and while we await check in time I thought maybe I can squeeze in some time to do this hello post.

We're here for the weekend with the hubby's high school barkada and I can't help but nurse a slight stab of guilt leaving our little kid at home. But it's been literally ages since Tibs and I took a trip without the kid so I guess there's really no reason for me to let that guilt linger. We need this. For us. and to reconnect with friends as well.

Baguio is a memorable place for us because this is where we went on our first trip as a couple some 7 years ago. We like to travel but we try to avoid being touristy when we do that. For one, we are really budget travelers (read: kuripot because we have little budget) so we avoid the price-y tourist spots. We take public transportation (aka jeepneys, pedicabs and even motorcycles), we eat in carinderias, we stay in Inns/Pension Houses, we shop at the public market and cook our own food if the accommodation permits us to. But that was fun to do and we really enjoyed those travels. After getting married and having a kid though, we never took trips like that anymore and yes honestly it's something that I miss doing too. 

When this barkada trip invitation came up, Tibs didn't hesitate a bit. I guess he missed going on trips with me too. (Trips where we didn't have to worry about the kid and where we can pack light as light can be, that is). We looked forward to this and prepared the kid for it. Thankfully, our strategy worked and we didn't encounter any difficulty when we bid the kid goodbye last night. She in fact seemed like she was looking forward to taking a break from us too. (hahaha true i tell ya!) We just promised to call when we get to Baguio. I called earlier and she just asked if we're in Baguio already. She gave me a brief report of how her morning went (what she had for breakfast mostly) and told me to have fun and that was it. No crying fits, no lengthy goodbyes. Our baby is now a little lady indeed. (huhu)

Anyways, I am confident we are going to have a great weekend here. The mere sight of the facade of our wonderful villa is already giving me a high. The guys have a lot of activities planned for the day (yes, the guys take charge of everything and the wives are just here to enjoy. Lucky women, we are!) and I'm sure that will extend up to the wee hours of the morning. Sulitin na di ba? 

Sharing with you a photo of our beautiful villa here at the Camp John Hay compound and wishing you a wonderful September ahead! 
such a beauty right? i didn't have photos of the interiors but this is a 3-br place with 3 T&Bs.
big enough to house a large group like ours (10 pax)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Faye's Favorite Things: Dave Matthews Band

I'm a sucker for sad music. I don't know. I think I was probably born with melodrama in my veins. Throw in wonderful poetry to accompany that music and yes, I will probably lose myself to that song.

This isn't a sad song, thankfully. But DMB is just one of the bands of my time who's music I will never forget as well. Today I was searching for the video of a different band (who's vocalist incidentally also sounds like Dave Matthews) but came across this new song. Happy news, the band is releasing a new album. I will definitely watch out for that.

This is definitely a pick-upper. Enjoy! and yes, Happy Thursday as well. Just one day more and we'll be saying hello to September!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recipe: Shrimp and Ruote Pasta In Pesto-Marinara Sauce


Prep time: 20mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

Pasta is popular in our household. Partly because, I can cook them effortlessly and fast given a few ingredients. This is usually my go-to recipe on lazy weekends or days when the fridge goes empty and none of us are willing to do the groceries. So I usually just stock up on different types of pasta and lots of tomatoes for days like that. Even our little girl is used to eating all types of pastas and sauces. On good days, she would even volunteer to help me cook. 

What I used for this recipe:

about 400g of ruote pasta, cooked al-dente per package instructions 
1/4 cup pasta water
3 pcs large plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and diced (for the marinara sauce)
1 med red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped finely
1 pack Clara Ole Three-cheese spaghetti sauce
4 tbsps tomato paste
100g fresh shrimps, peeled, deveined and quartered
1 knob butter
olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh herbs (i used italian oregano and basil), chopped finely
chopped parsley and grated cheese for garnish

How I did it:

1. Saute onion, garlic in olive oil and butter till fragrant. 
2. add in tomatoes and pasta water and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mix has a thick, soupy consistency.
3. pour in the spaghetti sauce, tomato paste and fresh herbs. Whisk till tomato paste is evenly incorporated unto the sauce.
4. add in the shrimp, stir until they change color.
5. toss in the cooked pasta. garnish generously with grated cheese and chopped parsley.
6. enjoy!!!!

This recipe can feed about 4-5 hungry stomachs. (and still save enough for meryenda)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

LSS: Metropolis



For weary corporate slaves like me.

Cheers!

Hang in there, respite is within reach already! I personally can't wait for the very long weekend ahead!

In the meantime, sharing with you this wonderful song that has been on repeat in my head for the past 2 days already.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Off My Bucket List - Smashing Pumpkins In Manila

At the risk of being branded insensitive and apathetic (considering the tragedy caused by Habagat to our country), I would like to report that last night was just a BLAST! Yes, I got the chance to cross one off my bucket list.

I reckon if melodrama was human we are probably twins. I live for it. I write better when I'm at my saddest. I get more inspiration listening to sad songs. This is probably why I am drawn to Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan writes the saddest (and some angriest) songs I've ever listened to. They reek of emotions and spot on honesty. Any teenager carrying a bucketful of angst with him would easily relate to their songs. 

The minute I got the hubby's permission to go and see them, I set out to familiarize myself with the band's latest album - Oceania.  I thought maybe Billy wouldn't play much of our old favorites plus I listened to this video interview that a friend shared. I just wanted to be armed and ready. And well, enjoy the concert as well. The album was on heavy rotation on my music player the weeks prior to the concert schedule. I ran with it often. I didn't stop till the melodies were playing in my head. 

Unfortunately, most of the people who came didn't think like me (or rather that's how I perceived the audience's reaction when the band started playing songs from the recent album). None of the songs elicited the same wild reactions from the audience as the second set when they played old favorites although I personally think a lot of the new songs were just as equally good as the band's previous hits. I didn't let that get to me though, I still stood up and sang at the top of my lungs when they played my favorite tracks in the new album (Violet rays, The Celestials, Pinwheels, One Diamond One Heart, Inkless). 

Here's a copy of the playlist (I can't say if it's really the original copy but this was the same sequence of the songs the band played at the SPPH concert if my memory serves me right):
PHOTO SOURCE
We were supposed to go to this concert with 3 other couple friends but in the end, it was just us who made it. Everyone else had difficulty getting to Araneta that day because of the floods caused by heavy rains brought by the monsoon (hello there Habagat). While I was making my way towards the MRT, I had this strong feeling that the odds are going our way that day. Since I couldn't miss work anymore, I had to come from Cavite that day. I was already prepared to miss the first few songs being aware that the show starts at 830 and I might not get lucky enough lining up at the MRT. But lo and behold, the train station was almost empty that day. No long lines and the riders didn't look like sardines in a can. I was in Araneta 15 minutes after and the hubs and I were still able to grab a quick bite at KFC before heading off to the biggest concert I will witness in this lifetime. (Come here, U2 and I will rephrase this and call it the 2nd biggest instead! haha balimbing). 

We got in around 815 and was expecting the coliseum to be half-empty. It was. But 830 passed and there was nary a sign of the band coming out of the backstage. Several soundchecks were made but there wasn't any indication that the show is starting anytime soon. I would later find out that the bassist, Nicole Fiorentino, had announced in Twitter that they decided to push the show 30 minutes later to give way for others who would have difficulty getting to Araneta (read: wade thru flooded streets and fight through torrential rains). And yes, by 9pm the show was almost packed. People made it!!! And nobody minded the waiting. All for the love of music, eh!

stage (photo by mark terence sy grabbed from facebook)
I am not a concert reviewer/critique so I will leave the commentaries to the experts. What I can say though was this was ALL worth it. Had our budget permitted a VIP ticket, I wouldn't have regretted getting it. It was a 3-hour show 95% of which was just with the band play nothing but beautiful nostalgic music. Billy appeared to have no fondness on interacting with the audience but who cares, he played great music. And to me that's all that mattered really.

I didn't bring anything with me that time. Tibs accidentally left the flip at home. And I didn't have a camera with me. Not even a point and shoot. I took a few photos using my phone but they were not good enough to share anyways so I'm saving them for personal viewing. And I stopped thinking about documenting the entire concert as soon as the band starting playing. I didn't care anymore if I didn't have pictures to show. I have the entire concert saved in my internal memory (hahaha memory plus gold lang ang katapat nyan). After the 3-hour show was over, I lost my voice. But I was in very high spirits. I had a BIG smile plastered on my face. You wouldn't dare wipe it because I doubt you could at that point anyways. I listened to sad songs but I was at my happiest. Couldn't get anymore confusing that that, eh? But that's me. I love sad music and I'm complicated.

i forgot where i grabbed this photo but thank you whoever you are for sharing it!
I sure hope the band will decide to come back. I still have a lot of friends who are hoping they would. And I will willingly watch with them again. In a heartbeat.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Are You A Smashing Pumpkins Fan Too?

I am a BIG Smashing Pumpkins fan. In fact, I fell for my husband because he had a complete record collection then (am I cheap or what? Lolz).

But really, when I listen to Smashing Pumpkins, I am always transported back (without fail) to that time of my life when music was my primary fuel - that time when alternative music ruled the airwaves. And I can say, without shame, that I am stuck in that period musically-wise (remember my power songs?). Although admittedly, I am highly adaptable to the sounds of the times however when I need some comforting, it's always this type of music that I go back to listen to. 

And so the minute I read  that Manila in included in the Pumpkins' latest album tour itinerary, I was ecstatic. The Pumpkins comes third on my must-see-performing-live-list next to Foo Fighters. U2 (although not from that genre) will always be at the top of my list (this one deserves a separate blog post of course) although I'm finally come to accept that getting them to come over and play in this part of the world seems next to impossible. 

I would have been totally awesome if the original band line up could play. It was after all not only Billy Corgan's musical genius that got me hooked to their music but James Iha's as well (and maybe also D'Arcy and Jimmy Chamberlin). I would probably move mountains just to get my hands on the patron seats. I could listen to the albums (Siamese Dream and MCIS in particular) that these 4 produced all day long and not get bored. 

But yes, wishing for an all-original Pumpkins' maybe shooting for the stars right now so I'm going to content  myself with Corgan and his new bandmates. The new album, Oceania, turned out to be a good one surprisingly. The minute I decided to give it a try, I played press with no expectations whatsoever. I'm  not a record reviewer/critic anyways so I'm leaving that to the experts. What I can say though is that it is one of those albums where I relished the first track to the last and never fought the temptation to press the forward button. Pinwheels is a big favorite. Then One Diamond, One Heart and Celestials. I listened to the entire album several times. The first week I confirmed their concert's pushing through the entire album was actually on heavy rotation in my music player. I don't think there was one song that I didn't like. So yes, I didn't notice Corgan was playing with an entirely different band at all.

photo from the Smashing Pumpkins' Facebook page)
I read somewhere that they're going to play the entire album. Ain't that super?

So despite the forecast of rain for the next few days more, yes I'm braving EDSA tomorrow just to hear this band play. AND I AM GOING TO HAVE A GREAT, GRAND TIME.
this is as far as our budget permitted but yes, we came for the music so i don't think it really matters where we're seated right?
(thanks to my friend Raiz for the photo!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hello August!

I am an accountant by day. The end and the beginning of any given month is always the busiest for me at the workfront. So right now, I got my hands full. I have A LOT to do, A LOT that the mere thought of them makes my brain freeze and in turn awakens my lazy bones to the point of me ending up with these on my desk:

For my loved ones. Tibs and Maia, most especially
I know I have the worst wire bending art skills (I don't even think what I did could pass up as a skill)
The incessant patter of thick, rain pellets (yes pellets because that's how they really appear from where I'm sitting) on the glass wall in front of me isn't helping at all. Now all I want to do is to go home, slip under warm bed covers and cuddle with my adorable-curious-little-but-growing-up-so-quickly-little-miss.

This is how I welcome August. By being LAZY and opting to take a mental vacation. When I was younger, my lolas would tell me that August is the leanest of all the months of the calendar year. This is apparently the time when you take out/make use of all the bounties that you've saved up during the early part of the year because it's taghirap. I come from an agricultural family and I guess the primary explanation to that belief of my elders is the reality that the rainy season is not the best time to plant your crops. And agricultural families foregoing the planting on this season of course would lead to the lack of harvest. 

So where am I heading with this? I don't know. Haha. I guess what I'm really trying to do is find an excuse for all this laziness. August has always been a so-so for me. Will that remain to be the same this year? I want to think that I can change it. But right now my mind and body is telling me to just CHILL. And embrace all the laziness around me. Haha. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's Your Power Song?

I've been running for almost 3 years now but my power songs have remained the same. They just revolve around these two:

Ash's BURN BABY BURN



and GOO GOO DOLLS' BIG MACHINE



Do you run with music too? What are your power songs?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thank God For Trees

The Milo Marathon elims in Manila is nearing close and having decided (sort of) last minute to sign up for the half-marathon, we had to follow a tight schedule on our long runs if we wanted to be confident enough to make it to the 2.5hr cut off.

Unfortunately for me, having gone through a really rough week at work and being sleep deprived to boot after tending to a sick little girl this past 4 days (thank God she's better now), my body just sort of crashed last night. I had a bad asthma attack. But despite that, all I could think of was losing another training day. And we only have 2 more weekends to prepare hard so I badly needed this weekend run. I slept early and was praying hard I'd be better in the morning.

Come morning, guess what? My prayers were answered. I was better with nary a trace of that asthma bout. Tibs and I got ready at 5am hoping to start by 530 in the hopes that we could avoid the torturous heat. I took a few more puffs of my dear lifesaving inhaler (which I named Symbi wahaha I really suck at giving names) before we left but yes when we got to Daang Hari at 545, Mr Sun was already up and shining. No choice but to go on anyways.

We were aiming to cover at least 12km today. Two kilometers into the run and going through 2 hilly climbs I had to stop, catch my breath and rehydrate as I was sweating profusely. I let Tibs run ahead of me since he was looking good and pacing well. I walked for 30 seconds and felt there's no way I could cover 12km today. Not in this hot day. But a nagging thought told me I might as well try anyways. I'm here. And I'm still breathing well.

So I started running again. When I checked my speed, I was surprised to see I was running quite fast (paced at 5.30/km) for my normal pace (of usually 6.30/km). After about 5 mins, I could already see Tibs running ahead and in no time I caught up.
one of the lower climbs (but longer) we had to pass through while running this course
This route used to be hellish for us. With all the steep climbs on every kilometer. But today, the terrain didn't seem to bother us at all. We were running easy and light. Although we had to take a couple of water breaks (sooooooo hot, i tell ya), our pace didn't fall behind 6.30/km for which I was very very happy. I am now confident I can make a better finish than my previous half-marathon. 

We decided not to take our usual route when we got to the Daang Hari-Daang Reyna intersection. We chose to go straight through Daang Hari and just make a turnaround once we hit 6km. The nearest turn was short of 300m but I decided to make the turn anyway since I didn't want to strain myself hard (I reckon the next u-turn slot is probably more than a kilometer away).

Tibs and I took another water break at this point. And paused to enjoy the breeze in this area. I took a deep breath and whispered a prayer of thanks.

"thank you God for these trees."
thank you for the shade. thank you for filtering the air so they're cleaner on this side of our running route. 
When I usually reach my final turnaround point, I am always confident I can finish a race. It's probably the familiarity of the road that makes me feel like the route back is always easier. It was extremely hot at almost 7am when we headed back to our starting point. It took me longer to go back but it wasn't because of breathing problems or leg cramps or just lazy bones. It was for the lack of hydration (our 4 water containers were drained dry after the 9th km). And again, I'm pretty confident I could go even faster than today. Next week, we're up for 16km then we'll be tapering off for the 2 weeks prior to the race. We'll be ready.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

34

SOURCE
I used to take birthday celebrations for granted. I don't even take a minute to thank God for it. But all that changed after my PT diagnosis. Now on every birthday, I never forget to give thanks. For another year to spend with my loved ones. For another year to play Mommy to my adorable daughter. For one more year to show (and not just say) my husband how much I love him. 

It's always in my birthday month that we experience being financially strapped the most (used to be due to our summer spending and now because of school season. I know we can do better. We do need help to be financially wiser). But these past few years, I didn't seem to feel like we are. And we always try our hardest to celebrate. Even in the simplest way. 

This year (thank God for group buying sites I was able to get us vouchers for Cyma), we celebrated by dining out. It's a rare treat for us since to my husband's discriminating palate nothing will ever beat my homecooking so what's the point really of spending much on dining when we can actually enjoy it in the comforts of our home. But then again, I tell him, sometimes it does help to change the ambiance. So once in awhile we do indulge (albeit, only on very special occasions). It was timely that my Mom was also over for a visit and was able to celebrate with us. My birthday was a wet and stormy one but I felt the warmth by having the people I love the most around to celebrate it with.

rare photo of tibs and me. thanks to my mom for taking this photo
Maia and Lola hamming it up (a rare photo op too for these two)
enjoying their food with great gusto!
she loves resto trips now that she thinks she already has the authority to order food for everyone (and she did that day lolz)
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