Monday, January 29, 2007

Do You Believe in Fairies?

So asked the diminutive star of Peter Pan, at the beginning of the play we saw yesterday afternoon. It wasn't what I expected but it was infinitely better than the one we saw Friday night. That being said, I still fell asleep somewhere between the part where the Lost Boys were singing and woke up to Captain Hook dancing a jig with his men.

I don't know. I'm not really sure what I was looking for. I distinctly remember feeling the same disappointment after seeing Lea Salonga perform in the much celebrated Miss Saigon during the Manila run. My thought balloon was, "That was it??!!!". I run the risk of being labelled an imbecile for daring to have a negative reaction to what most Filipinos regard as a local triumph but I really didn't like it that much. I attribute this not to the lack of talent (they were all good) but more to the failure of the production to transport me enough to forget the tired storyline and cheesy song lyrics.

I was expecting the magic of Phantom of the Opera in Sydney, where, even though we were seated at the side and where you had to sometimes crane your neck in order to see beyond the huge post, I was transfixed from the moment the auctioneer's gavel hit the block till the very end. And before I am accused of being biased against local productions (or local talent), the Repertory productions of Camelot, Proposals (Neil Simon) and Once on this Island remain to be favorites of mine.

So...Peter Pan...liked the effects, the fairy dust and the bubbles at the end. And I'm sure the children at the theater loved it. But I still prefer the Disney version.

What's your favorite play?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday 13: Bits and Pieces

1. I opened my blog today only to find it blank. Frantic, I searched Blogger help to try to find out what was wrong. Turns out there was a problem with my template code and I had to change the template if I wanted my blog back. That's why there's a bit of a change today. But that was freaking scary -- for a while there I thought I lost everything. Must remember to have a backup.

2. Conversation with Joshua last night while we were both in bed:
- Mommy, I really, really, really love you.
- I love you too, Josh.
- Mommy, I love you so much, I promise not to sell you. Ever.
- Uh, ok. Thank you. *mental scratch on head - what the heck was THAT all about???!!!*

3. The other night my husband and I were wondering about this strange paw print that appeared on the blank screen when he put a movie in the dvd player. We were joking around when he suddenly pointed to the closet behind me and exclaimed, "What's that???!!!". I got so scared that I burst into tears (complete with hiccuping sobs). He felt soooooooo guilty! Heh heh

4. Last Wednesday night, we were shocked to hear about an accident on the skyway (an elevated highway). An armored truck belonging to a local bank swerved and fell 50 feet from the skyway to land on three vehicles stuck in traffic underneath. One person died and another one was severely injured. Such a tragedy, imagine just sitting in your car and an armored truck landing on you.

5. Yesterday morning while I was looking for shoes to wear to work in the bathroom, Joshua came in holding a plastic glass with something in it. It was a small snake coming out of a cracked egg. I shrieked . Loudly. Joshua said it was a toy and that my sister gave it to him. I looked at it again and saw wet patches that looked real. I wouldn't believe him and kept telling my husband it wasn't a toy. Then Josh started crying, frightened by me (I guess, um, I was kinda hysterical). My poor husband had no choice but to get the glass from Josh and put it aside until we all calmed down. One of these days I am going to put a feather (from Joshua's chicken -- which the maid will pluck, of course) and put it in my sister's purse.

6. We bought season tickets for Repertory Philippines and are watching the first play tonight. Pretty good line-up this season, all comedies and one of them a musical. This season includes a Filipino adaptation of La Cage aux Folles and Song and Dance by Andrew Lloyd Webber. They are also doing Fiddler on the Roof later in the year and Cinderella in August for their Children's Theater. I can't wait to bring the kids.

7. We're also seeing Peter Pan (the play) this Sunday. I'm just disappointed because they won't let in children who are below 4 years old. That means Faith will have to stay home and I am sad for her because she loves Peter Pan. We thought twice about seeing it if we can't bring Faith but I thought it was unfair to deprive Joshua just because of the age restriction on his sister. But I'm still sad. Darn the CCP's (Cultural Center of the Philippines) stupid rules!

8. I have finally found a (more) effective way of disciplining my precocious daughter. Instead of the usual timeout where she gets parked on the couch or the bed where she proceeds to entertain herself thereby rendering the timeout useless, she has to stand facing a corner. It seemed to work the other night so I am keeping it for the meantime.

9. I want to go to ZARA.

10. Because of Leo's post, I went and spent my whole lunch break the other day at the bookstore. I had a lovely, lovely time. (Thanks for reminding me, Leo!)

11. I still wonder what made Joshua think he can sell me. I mean, seriously, he CAN'T just do that. Right??! You can't sell your mother. Right??!!!

12. It's been two weeks since I organized the bathroom, bedroom and a week since we did the office and play area. And it is still nice and clean and organized. *happy sigh*

13. I. Want. To. Go. To. ZARA. *gulp*

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A quickie!

Just a quick one on last night's work affair I attended which was a lot of fun!

Highlights: False eyelashes...(for the first time! felt weird but the effect was fab!)...Great food...good band (Side A)...dancing to Earth, Wind and Fire...and an early night! (was home by 10) That's me with my gorgeous boss.

You know you're getting older when an early night is a highlight...unless you're a tired mom. I'm both.

Still, felt a little bit like Cinderella at a ball. Now, back to pumpkins and instant coffee.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What Keeps Me Sane

Moderately severe (does this even make sense??) back pain from Saturday's cleaning and organizing frenzy. Moderate as in I don't have to go to the hospital or spend the day in bed (like I desperately wanted to) but severe enough that I can't even get into a car without wincing in pain.

No pain relievers in the house. I searched. Desperately.

Children (yes, mine) in the midst of a sugar high screaming at the top of their lungs at the supermarket. I guess I have to be thankful that they are screams of joy and not temper tantrums. For some strange reason, they were so delighted at each other they kept screaming if they catch sight of the other -- which was every freaking 30 seconds since Joshua was just in the cart behind me.

Running around like a headless chicken because forgot to bring list to store.

Five rounds of "Mommy can I have this lollipop?" "No, you can't cause you haven't had dinner." at the checkout counter.

So I did what any self respecting woman at the end of her patience would do.

I calmly told my husband to get the car and bring the kids with him.

Then I grabbed a Hershey bar (milk chocolate, no nuts), asked the lady to punch it in and ATE it. Fast.

It was good enough to keep my sanity intact on the way home while the kids screamed...some...more.

So how do you keep sane?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Can't sleep

It is exactly 12:59am and I am wide awake. Seriously, I'm not even feeling a bit sleepy. It's really weird, considering the way I spent the day today.

I literally got buried in toys. I was so horrified at the magnitude of the task I set out to do that for a few minutes after dumping the contents of one toy chest on my lap, I was just staring open mouthed at the mess. Can you imagine one toy chest full of little things???!!!! Things like broken crayons, small lego pieces, blocks, puzzle pieces, broken arms/legs of power rangers and barbies, and everything else you can imagine. I wanted to, I wanted to rush inside my peaceful and mess-free bedroom, curl up on the bed and forget that there was a mess waiting for me just outside the bedroom. It looked like this:

See what I mean? It took me the whole day to clean it all up and sort the toys into the plastic containers I bought. I had to get a toy and search for all the missing pieces from the huge pile on the floor. Over and over and over again. Now all the dinosaurs are together, baby stuff put in a box, and the rest of the things I couldn't figure out were relegated to the rubbish heap. When I finally finished at around 6 pm, I ended up with this:

You can see it was already dark when I quit. Then I went downstairs where my sister and my husband were in charge of cleaning out the small office. It was like one of those circus acts where they show all these people coming out of one really small car. I have no idea how all of the stuff I saw ever fit into one tiny room. No pics, though. I was too busy upstairs to take pictures. The office was done by 9:30. By that time, I knew I needed a shower. I was afraid the kids would sneeze when they came near me. I wore a sterile gauze mask the whole day that I had marks on my face when I took them off.

Tomorrow I will not do a thing in the house. I am spending the day with the kids, first at the mall while waiting for their dad to come back from a party. Then to a birthday party at 3pm.

I am still not sleepy. So I thought I'd show you my new shoes.

Aren't they pretty??!! Now I think I'll go read for a bit before turning in.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The one where I can't think of a Title

The kids are off with my parents again on a short out of town trip. They'll be back later today but of course my usual reaction of gut wrenching fear is kicking up again and I have been terribly distracted today. I've called my dad twice already asking where they were and what the kids were doing. After half an hour, I called my mom just to know whether they were on their way home already. Turns out they stopped at our house in Tagaytay for a couple of minutes to get some stuff they needed back at the house. Then I find out my dad bought a chicken -- a real, live chicken. I know it's bad to transfer my phobia to the kids. But visions of the chicken walking around the yard (or worse, inside the house) is making me hyperventilate. I
am thinking bad thoughts...really bad thoughts...bad like in evil thoughts...that chicken better be careful.

Someone gave Joshua a pair of shoes with roller skates attached to them. I hate them. I think it is unsafe for children to wear. I see parents with their kids wearing these in the mall and on the streets and I am always thinking of the potential accidents that can happen. I am being too overprotective, aren't I?

Probably to make up for last year's laziness, I am burning up with I-must-organize-the-house frenzy. I just bought bright colored plastic canisters to store items under the bathroom sink and a stainless steel caddy to organize all the stuff we use on the bathroom counter. Last night I bought mobile plastic baskets (the kind that stack up) to use for the kids' toys. I can't wait for Saturday!

Then I bought a beautiful pair of high heeled sandals with silver straps and embroidered wedge heels to go with my pale lavender gown which I will wear to next week's big company event (must remember not to eat carbs this weekend). This has no connection at all to organizing the house but I really, really love those shoes. Been going back to the shop every now and then just to look at it, thinking I will never be able to justify buying it as it is (a) expensive and (b) I had no occasion to wear it to. I bought it today because (a) it was on sale (45%off! yesss!!) and (b) I have no shoes that go well with my pale lavender gown.

I love my shoes.

P.S. American Idol is hilarious!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sugar and Spice and everything nice...???

Meet the little girl who shattered all my (stupid) assumptions that little girls are sweet and quiet little babies who are (mostly) obedient and good natured. DUH! I should've known better. She's feisty...she's girly...strong-willed...AND good-natured (boys beware!).

Here are snippets from Faith's Sunday night routine:


Finally gave her a time out for refusing to lie down on the bed and bothering her brother who was trying to sleep. I lifted her and placed her on top of the big bed. "Ok, tell mommy if you're ready to sleep and lie down," I said. She sat quietly on the bed, watching me, Joshua and her dad from her perch. The soft lamp we kept on at night was at her back so we couldn't see her face. She looked around for a bit, then put her finger inside her nose, and suddenly flings whatever she got there into the bed. After the initial shock that she just threw her booger at us, Jun and I burst into laughter.

(delivered straight with no pauses except for my questions)

"Twinkle, twinkle little banana!
Twinkle, twinkle little banana
Twinkle, twinkle little banana
Twinkle, twinkle little banana
Twinkle, twinkle little banana
Twinkle, twinkle little banana
Twinkle, twinkle little banana (don't really know how many but you get the drift)
Happy boightday to you!
Happy boightday to you!
Happy boightday! Happy boightday!
Happy boightday to you!
Happy boightday to you,
You belong to the thwoo
You yook yike the monkey
and you smell yike one too!
Mommy I want to be a princess!
Mama (grandma) hurt my feelings." (Mama hurt your feelings?)
"No! it was ninang (godmother)!" (Ninang?)
"yes. No! It was Tita (auntie)!"
"Mommy kiss my baby toes!" (after kissing her toes, "Faith, you need to go to sleep")
"No! I don't want to syeep!" (Why?)
"Because," leaning in to whisper in my ear, "I don't want to."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Work in Progress

I managed to do what I set out to do last weekend and that was clean up the room and organize the second floor bookcase. This is part of my ongoing effort to fulfill the 10 things I needed to get better at (sorry Ces!). So, for the past two weeks I have not bought a thing for myself from the shops, and I have already cleaned up our bathroom (and it's still tidy! Yay!).

We share a bedroom with my two kids, so it is almost always filled to the brim with whatever toys the kids play with. Add to that two adults with the predilection to buy lots of books and magazines which are piled everywhere there is a free surface and you get the picture of the state of our bedroom. Unfortunately, in my eagerness to get right down to it in case I get cold feet and decide to just go watch a movie (we haven't seen Eragon yet), I didn't pause to take pictures.

So by 10am on Saturday morning, I instructed the maid to take out all the toys from the room and place them in the play area in the second floor. After that, we dusted and swept and mopped and moved furniture (or rather, my husband moved the furniture). Once I was satisfied with the arrangement, we tackled the tv stand next. It was a jumble of VCDs and DVDs which were not in their proper cases and lying around on top of the tv and dvd player thanks to the kids and their nanny, tons of children's books that were haphazardly stacked and were spilling out the back.

We called it a night at 9pm so we could get the kids ready for bed. The next day was spent organizing the books and drawers and then fixing the second floor bookcase. This is what we ended up with:

The shelves right next to the closet used to overflow with books, magazines, papers and two Santa hats. The floor was where we used to keep our supply of diapers and a huge Toys r us plastic bag filled with Joshua's power rangers. The tv used to stand where the couch is (have to remember to have it re-upholstered -- someone went gaga with a marker) and I've repositioned the green rocker (I spent countless hours nursing Joshua with my feet up on this rocker!) where we can actually use it again instead of being used as a repository of freshly ironed laundry. And that's Faith's yellow duckie plush chair which was our Christmas present last year.

The other half of the room where the bed used to be. Joshua's chest of drawers used to be at the opposite end and on top of it rested his dinosaur collection. And on top of his dinosaur collection were bits and pieces of toys, Faith's barbie dolls, a doll house and some dvds. Then that's Joshua's froggie chair, a partner to Faith's yellow duck.

The tv stand, for lack of a better term. Took us a long time to sort through all the vcds and dvds and try to put them all in their cases. I never realized how many Sesame Street vcds we had. Have to watch all of them again (I grew up on Sesame street!). I've also fixed the books -- wonder how long it'll take before it gets "re-arranged"?

Ah, the bookcase. I removed all the books I didn't want and put them aside for donations or a future garage sale. The books on the floor are my sister's medical books, Jun's finance books and other reference books which are intended for the office bookshelves on the first floor. This will be a project that needs to be scheduled for when my sister is home (and not lightheaded from night duty) since she also has a lot of stuff stored in that tiny place. And because I do not want a fight when I inadvertently throw away something she still needs.

Above is next weekend's cleaning project. Tons of toys to sort through, put away (all the baby stuff), throw out (the ones with missing bits and pieces) and give away. I fell in love with a toy organizer I saw at the mall last night. It's a bit expensive so I will have to look around for a cheaper alternative. Below is the rest of the second floor which I will re-arrange once all the sorting out and cleaning is done.

I had such a sense of satisfaction and well-being after this weekend. All the mess was beginning to get to me. I can't say I enjoyed it but it was worth it. However, I did enjoy pawing through my bedside table drawer where I found treasure: letters from my mom and sister given to me after my wedding day *gulp*, a pearl necklace, cards from my hubby during the early days, checks that were used to pay for our wedding suppliers, and our boarding passes from our honeymoon in Thailand. I'd forgotten that's where I put them. Oh! And I found an illustrated Kama Sutra and another illustrated guide to sex book that were gifts from my bridal shower! I guess I hid it so well even I forgot all about it!

One last bit, it is the the 10th anniversary of our blind date and we are going out tonight. My sweetie of a husband still has the restaurant receipt from our first date. :D

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sleep? What's that?

A gentle nudge on my leg from my hubby wakes me up. Time to get up, shower, and get ready for work. I get up slowly, carefully untangling myself from the small arms and legs that are draped on me. Blearily, I collect my towel and trudge off to the downstairs bathroom (where the heater is). As I take my clothes off and turn on the shower, I hear a loud thud from upstairs followed by running feet and then a loud combination of wailing and sobbing from the stairwell, "mooooommmmeeeee!!!!!". I sigh. It is 5:55am and Joshua, on cue, is already awake and screaming for me. This is how my weekday starts.

There are variations. Sometimes, he goes straight to the bathroom, clutching at my waist and sobbing uncontrollably, "mommy, *unhunh* *unhunh* please, I want you to stay with me *unhunh* *unhunh*. I don't want you to leave, please sleep with me pa." Sometimes I make it back to the upstairs bathroom where I dress before we do the please-don't-leave-me routine. Sometimes I open the bathroom door to find him sitting quietly in a chair, waiting for me. The routine doesn't last long though, after about 5 minutes, he calms down and starts playing or chattering to me, as if nothing happened. Lately, it struck me --- Joshua seems so grown up already, very independent and not wanting to be babied. But in those moments between sleeping and waking up, when he cries out for me, then I get my baby back. It only lasts five minutes and believe me, in the middle of it, I am wishing that he is still asleep. But a teeny, tiny part of me realizes that this will not happen for much longer. And I think I will miss it.

Faith, thankfully, usually remains blissfully asleep the whole time. This one has a night time routine as opposed to Joshua's early morning one which usually involves talking non-stop even if everybody else is asleep (or almost asleep), trying out different positions (on top of me, head on my stomach, feet propped on the couch, etc.), and eventually prying my eyelids open insisting that I wake up and look at her while she falls asleep. Sometimes, she gets up on my back or she makes me sit up cross-legged on the bed while she puts her head on my lap until she falls asleep. Only then can I carefully move her to the pillow and fall exhausted into bed, only to be woken up at 3 or 4 am by an insistent Faith, wanting to sleep on my lap again.

It's weird to be a mother. I am always torn between complaining about the lack of sleep/lack of privacy/etc and regret that when they grow up, they will not need me as much. Torn between being happy that they are getting independent and feeling a twinge of sadness at yet another sign that they are leaving their babyhood behind.

I wonder how it feels to them, to sleep beside me. They both take possession of my hands, each of them running my fingers all over their face until they fall asleep. They refuse to sleep with their grandparents when they know I am home. I think it's because I am their parent but they do not act that way with their dad. It's only with me.

So I wondered. Then I remembered how it felt like to sleep with my mom. I used to be afraid of the dark because of all the scary stories of local lore that our maids and grandparents fed to us when we were kids. But I remember thinking one time when my mom gave me permission to sleep beside her, "Ah, now I can think and remember all the scary stories that I like! I won't be scared." And I wasn't. And I always think of where my mother was sleeping as a place where it was always clean and the pillows smelled nice (always nicer than mine).

Now I know.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

All in a day's work

I enjoyed seeing Caroline's, Leo's and Marie's super neat workplaces so I thought of showing mine. I realize it's cheating a bit because it's not the one I have at home. But really, I don't work there. At home, I usually just park myself somewhere the kids won't try to punch letters on the laptop while I'm writing: on the bed, on the couch, the dining table, or sometimes, I lock myself in the bathroom. So the above is my real workplace.

Over on the right is my little zen fountain. It was a present from my youngest sister two years ago. The sound of the flowing water soothes me. Near it is where I keep my three cellphones. Yes, I have three (one for work, one personal and the other one, well, it's a long story). That's why I need someplace to put them all in, otherwise I will lose one or two. And my post it notes which I love.

You can see it's pretty neat which is how I like to keep it. And this will puzzle you if you see the one at home. Because it is so far from this. I cannot think properly if I am surrounded by clutter. That's why I stay away from the desk at home.

This is the other half of my desk. There's nothing much on this part except for three pictures I keep in a cool plexiglass frame, the Beauty and the Beast coffee mug souvenir I bought for Jun after seeing the play in Sydney (which he stopped using) and a Starbucks water mug which was a Christmas present two years ago from a former office colleague.

This coming weekend is going to be clean up day at home so wish me luck. I'll post some before and after pics...maybe.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My 10 things

Why is it possible to have so many things swimming in your head that you want to write about and then when confronted with blank space you don't know where to start???!!!!

There are lots of things going on at Blogworld Road. I really enjoyed doing the How evil are you quiz I found over at Marie's. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was only 36% evil. And now I'm surprised that I'm surprised (does that even make sense?). Because it means I think I am more evil than I really am, at least, according to that quiz. But maybe it's more of a funny bitchy evil than an evil evil kind, you know what I mean?

Anyway, then I went over and did the Muppet quiz from Caroline. And I'm Kermit the frog. And since there can absolutely be no stench of evil whatsoever in Kermit and he is so sweet and gentle, what does that say about my thinking I'm more evil than what the quiz says? That I'm totally clueless? Or that I really need to do something more constructive on my lunch break so I can stop thinking about connections between Muppet personalities and Evil quizzes.

And that's why I will now just write about the ten things I need to improve this year (not quite the verbage that Ces used but close enough).

1. Stay away from ZARA.
2. Stop eating junk food.
3. Give away junk food sitting on top of desk.
4. Keep repeating the phrase, "Clothes are inanimate objects and do not say, BUY ME!"
5. Ditto on shoes.
6. Stop talking about wanting to organize the house and start doing it.
8. Eat to live and not live to eat.
9. Save more.

There, that's much better.

Oh, did I mention that we went to the zoo last weekend? It was just the local zoo in Manila -- there are other zoos we can go to that are nicer and with more things to see but we wanted a quick outing and weren't feeling up to a long drive and day trip. The kids loved it and, I must admit, I felt like a kid again despite the rundown condition and the obvious lack of animals. It's really true what they say when you see things through children's eyes. It was Faith's first time and I thought it was funny when I asked her what her favorite animal was and she said, "the sheep." I freaked out when we passed by the kiddie zoo and saw a little girl get hoisted on the back of an ostrich. Ewwwwww! *shudder* Yuck!!!! Gross!!!!!

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Alphabet Tag

My first tag of the year from Leo!

A is for age: 35. I'm going out on a limb here. I realize I just announced my age to the world.

B is for beer of choice: Ugh! Can't stand the taste. I go for Bailey's or tequila

C is for career: HR practitioner and mom. Frustrated supermodel.

D is for favorite Drink: It's a toss-up between coffee and diet Pepsi

E is for Essential item you use everyday: moisturizer and lipstick

F is for Favorite song at the moment: Spirit by Chicane

G is for favorite Game: Poker, Taboo and Scrabble (but only when I'm beating the hubby)

I is for Instruments played: Used to play the piano but wasn't very good at it and hated practicing

J is for favorite Juice: Orange, no pulp

K is for Kids: A 4 1/2 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter

L is for last kiss: My husband, before dropping him off this morning

M is for marriage: 6 years and 2 months

N is for full Name: Maria Felisa Craig Jackman Routh Villaluz

O is for Overnight hospital stays: Twice when I gave birth. Hated it both times -- only the lifestyle channel kept me sane.

P is for phobias: Birds or Chickens

Q is for quote: "I admit it's tempting to wish for the perfect boss, the perfect parent, or the perfect outfit. But maybe the best any of us can do is not quit, play the hand we've been dealt, and accessorize what we've got." Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

R is for biggest Regret: Not wearing a bikini when I was younger and much much thinner.

S is for sports: Tennis and I think I'm going to love watching the World Cup next time it happens

T is for Time you wake up: Quarter to 6 on workdays and depends on how long the kids leave me alone on weekends

U is for color underwear: Usually neutrals with the occasional pink stripes

V is for Vegetable you love: Ugh!

W is for Worst Habit: reading the ending of a book first and wanting to know how a movie ended even before I've watched it -- I like torturing people about movie endings

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Every time I get my annual physical exam and once when I got pneumonia while I was in grad school

Y is for Yummy food you make: crabstick and mango salad and a spicy sinigang (pork broth)

Z is for zodiac sign: Virgo

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Holiday Moments

I don't have pictures to share at the moment because the camera chose this auspicious time to conk out. I'm at that in between place I go to after long holidays, torn between feeling sad that Christmas is over and relieved that I can finally stop and do nothing if I choose to. There are presents to put away, toys that still need to be sorted to make room for the humongous amount of new ones and I still haven't done the cleaning I needed to do. Oh joy.

However, I did enjoy the holidays. It was hectic, it was noisy, there was hardly enough quiet time (unless I count trips to the bathroom), and not nearly enough sleep (my skin is a testament to this). But, oh it was fun. It's impossible to cram a whole two weeks worth but here are the moments I remember:

...we had a japanese sushi buffet and steak for dinner at my aunt's house before trooping to church for midnight mass. It was a beautiful night for the short walk to church and back. Then presents galore and Noche Buena (midnight feast). We finally went home at 2am, the kids were wide awake after the short nap on the trip home and we opened their stocking gifts. A totally unexpected gift from the hubby *smile*

... the kids' delight at opening more presents on Christmas morning. A late night scary movie (which had us laughing our socks off) and burgers at midnight to cap off Christmas day.

... out of town house party of around 30 relatives, a hilarious and competitive game of Taboo, first time I played bowling, fresh roasted lechon, and staying up late scaring each other with ghost stories.

... poker game after dinner on New Year's Eve (no money, just chips), tequila shots and dancing at midnight, some quiet conversation with my sisters while waiting for the cousins to arrive for a sleepover

...Quiet beach on New Year's Day, floating on my back while looking up at the sky and hearing the wind while the kids played in the surf

I'm still a bit lethargic from the lack of sleep and the post holiday lull. But things are slowly getting back to normal...unfortunately.