Archive for the ‘We Are Family’ Category
What awful bloggers we are! Truly, shame on us!
But anyway – too late to dwell on that.
I haven’t blogged since I gave birth so what better way to make a comeback than to make the subject of this blogpost, the newest member of the clan.
He made an appearance three days earlier than expected in the early hours of December 31st. I made sure I hired the services of Oh Happy Day Photography to chronicle his very first meeting with his three older siblings later that same day.
I’m forever grateful to Polly Fong who took these heart warming shots. (Like you, Polly is an alum of both Poveda and Ateneo). She specializes in birth photography and her style is very journalistic. She does the posed shots but mostly, she melts into the background and shoots with barely being noticed. The result is priceless, candid images.
So here it is… a little slideshow of Xabier meeting his siblings (and maternal grandparents and uncle) for the first time. Not to mention the debut of my post partum, manas (swollen) look. But I don’t care. It was a special day and since you’re like NEVER here anymore, I’m happy to share it with you and the oh… five other people who read our blog.
These pictures help me forget the awful, awful post op pain I experienced the next day when they reduced my pain meds (uuughh!) But mostly, they make me incredibly thankful for all crazy love I have in my life.
I was cleaning my room today and found our Good Housekeeping feature. After reading the article, I felt guilty and ashamed so here I am, not necessarily back from real world hectic chaos because I’m still in a busy whirl. Point is, I managed to find time to post. I’ve been meaning to share with you this afternoon of pure laughter and fun that was Easter Sunday. Insert snarky comment on late post here.
So Christine and Kiki (another one) invites us over for Easter. We had a wonderful feast of beef short ribs cooked by the Argentinian Chef, all kind of sides to go with it and a boatload of bubbly. Here is some of the craziness that went on.
Enjoying the variety of meats that we got from our neighborhood carneceria.
Argentina vs Germany in horsing around. Looks like Argentina is winning here.
After that decadent lunch we went up to the rooftop to take in the city’s spectacular view.
Kiki photobombing Kiki
Moments of sweetness…
And moments of silliness.
Blogging about this day makes me miss Chris Wish she were still here!
You missed another annual picnic. But what’s new…?
Actually, a lot is new at the family farm. We have more goats than ever!
And though you can’t tell from the pictures, they’ve been moved to the other
side of the property.
Someone tried to climb the bamboo fencing to get closer to the goats.
We also have more shelter… sort of…
We had the usual carabao rides. Always fun.
But the highlight of the day was archery!
We had a crazy, sumptuous meal
… followed by s’mores making – yaay!
And yes – that IS a fish head right by the marshmallows hahahaha!
The day would have been perfect except that we had some serious car trouble before we could even leave.
And while waiting for the problem to be fixed, we got rained on. Our little bahay kubo needs some re-roofing to say the least.
Hot wiring didn’t work so we had to leave the car there!
But who’s complaining? There was enough room in the other vehicles and had we not encountered all that trouble, we would never have caught this lovely sun shower.
I’m hoping you haven’t come across this yet. Apparently, we’re celebrating a century of Coca Cola in the Philippines and part of this milestone is the video below. It stars a 100 year old gentleman who shares his wisdom on life, love and happiness.
Get the tissue ready. This will make you miss our recently departed dear Lolo.
OK, so Lolo wasn’t exactly like the one in the video but I think he had the same kind of tireless spirit and dedication to family. I miss his quiet, smiley, comforting presence.
In between Trick Or Treat activities several weeks ago, the clan made a trip to The Aquino Center in Luisita, Tarlac. Being a hard core Ninoy-Cory fan as well as a closet history nerd made me really excited for this trip.
That Sunday it seemed our clan were the only visitors at the Center. As soon as we set foot in the museum, it felt like we were in a church or some sort of hallowed ground. Everyone automatically spoke in hushed tones. And I don’t recall seeing any “Silence Please” signs.
This is the entrance hall where some very dramatic and iconic images greet you.
There are some nice mosaics too.
The museum takes you through Ninoy’s life chronologically. There are many interesting personal effects on display such as the camera he brought with him while covering the Korean War, various hand written notes and the like but the real highlights are the bloodied bush jacket he was assassinated in and the reconstruction of his cell in Bonifacio.
No picture taking is allowed in the actual museum but this image is from Wikipedia.
You really have to make the trip there yourself to understand the feeling of being near the clothes that Ninoy Aquino was murdered in. It will make your hair stand.
Aside from the obvious, the blood stained clothes do have a story of their own. Only on the day of the funeral were they removed from Ninoy’s remains. Soon after, they were sent to some family friends in the US who were tasked with having them properly, expertly preserved. However, because they were so soaked they were told the treatment would not preserve the suit but rather only delay its eventual decay. The suit was tucked up somewhere in the family friend’s home in the US until Tita Cory asked one of her nieces to bring it back to the Philippines shortly before the opening of the museum in 2001.
The other highlight is the exact replica of the 3 x 5 meter prison cell where Ninoy was kept in solitary confinement from over 7 years.
Aside from marveling at how he kept sane in such cramped quarters, I couldn’t help thinking about how the family managed to keep so much of his stuff – things that I would not think twice about throwing out like his rusty bathroom shelving, old towels and slippers.
The point is, you absolutely come out of there with a whole new appreciation the price Ninoy and Cory paid to precipitate the return of freedom in the Philippines. They don’t make heroes like they used to. But remember:
And if you’d like to visit, here’s the schedule:
Here are some recent conversations I’ve had with my eight year old.
While waiting for the driver to pick us up at the mall.
Rocio: Mom, how did we ever survive taking taxis?
Lala: You mean like in Singapore or HK?
Rocio: Yeah! It was so expensive.
Lala: Well, don’t think you ride the car here for free. I have to continuously pay for the gas, the toll, the driver and even the bank every month because I borrowed money to buy the car.
Rocio: So it’s like you pay everyday?
Lala: Of course…
Rocio: Oh my god… I would never survive being an adult!!
Lala: (smiles wisely) Oh you will…
This is what happens when you try to teach your kid to be thrifty when shopping.
Rocio: I think our house should have a big space to run around and a bamboo pole I can practice climbing.
Lala: Umm… OK… but I don’t plan on building a very big house.
Rocio: Why not?
Lala: Well, the bigger the house, the more expensive it’ll be.
Rocio: Yes, I know. But what if you got it like on sale?
I love how kids see possibility more than limitation.
We were walking out of church and some guy in the parking lot in a white Starex threw a piece of scrunched up paper out his window.
Lala: Nice! That guy just littered.
Rocio: I know it’s so bad. It’s so dirty. Why do people do that?
Lala: Because they’re lazy and not properly educated.
Rocio: Well, if I were to rule the Philippines, the first thing I would do is teach people that it’s bad to litter. Look at Singapore, they’re smaller than us but they’re so clean and the people are disciplined. It’s embarrassing!
Lala: True but you need to realize a smaller country is also easier to manage than a bigger one. Get it?
Rocio: Yes, Mom… But then I could make it like the States which is way bigger than the Philippines and still people there don’t litter so much.
Lala: (silent thought bubble) Damn she’s good.
I wanted to share with you (and our 5 other readers) the shots I took of our precious little people (Pitufos!) during my quick- -as-lightning trip home.
Ate the Poser…
With Kim fighting over that bloody guitar
Presenting The Pitufettes!
Nad and Talia in their pretty party dresses
Kelly With Hot Mommy Lala
Frame by frame shots of Talia kissing her BFF Kelly!
Finally, the Pitufos with Papa Pitufo sans Kelly
I miss them terribly
To My Dearest Darling Rocio,
This time eight years ago, we were in the hospital waiting for you to make an appearance. And we waited and waited until Dra. Lopez had to come and get you. And you breathed your first at 8:21pm. I heard you cry seconds before I saw your little pink body – tiny arms and legs flailing about. When they brought you to me, I immediately noticed your beautiful red lips. But I soon needed to be put in the recovery room and you had many fans waiting outside to see you. They kept telling me what a gorgeous baby I had but I didn’t get to see you again for several hours. When I did get to really hold you at about 4am, your big brown eyes took my breath away. You were so alert and seemed to be trying to take in the new faces to match the familiar voices.
It’s hard to believe that a whole 8 years has passed. One day, you will understand for yourself what it means when we say that our kids grow up too fast. Watching you grow has been an amazing experience and blessing. You were a naughty toddler – not as naughty as Mikel – but you sure tested limits too so just keep being patient with your brother. You’re doing a great job. Remember, there’s still Raquel too! And when it comes to your classmates who might annoy you once in awhile, stand up for yourself like you always do but use firm – not mean words.
God has blessed you with many talents. Remember that these need to be nourished – by you. God has given you the seeds, you are responsible for making them grow into healthy, sharing trees. So practice violin without me having to remind you, spend more time on your drawing than on the iPad, keep pushing yourself to read those challenging words!
You have a mind that is curious and always eager to learn. Keep that with you for as long as you live. We never stop learning – I’m sure even Super Lolo who will be 99 in a few weeks still learns things. Your interest in spirituality at such a young age is a wonderful thing to have. There are many ways to talk to God and serve Him. Find what works for you best. There is no one right or wrong way. Having a strong connection to God is important not just for ourselves but because it helps us help others.
Thank you for ordering my breakfast on weekends and holidays, for accompanying me to work, for watching over me when I’m sick, for helping with your brother and sister, for obeying when being told and for doing all the difficult things it takes to be the big sister.
So Happy Birthday, Ate! We are all too blessed to have your fun, effervescent spirit in our lives. We are so proud of the little lady that you have become – patient, kind, helpful, imaginative. Know that while we may not be able to give you everything money can buy, we can give you everything money can’t. The support and love from you family can never be taken away, stolen or ruined (by a naughty boy who likes to see what happens when he pours water on things ;D). We love you more than any blog post could ever express!
Here is a little poster I made in honor of this day. I got the idea from Spearmint Baby. Hope you like it. I’m so sorry I couldn’t go to your birthday lunch at school because of this lousy dengue virus. I’ll make up for it this weekend! Love you, baby!
We did this 2 years ago. Remember? I thought I’d share it here for shits and giggles.
1. Pam is studying Kabbalah! WOOT WOOT!! Love it!!
2. Pam has fingers and toes that remind me of sausages.
3. I always thought I was more vain than Pam but the woman ALWAYS has time to blowdry her hair.
4. Pam would stick to her bedtime in college – whether or not she was done studying.
5. She hates sodas.
6. When we were in Italy, the guys loooved her.
7. Pam can write scary emails… beware.
8. Pam thinks she sings better than me but she doesn’t. Really…
9. She sleep walks and talks. One time she was asleep and suddenly bolted upright with glassy eyes staring at me and she yelled out something completely incomprehensible. I was scared as crap!!
10. Despite having very different body types, Pam and I managed to share clothes and shoes and looked fabulous.
11. Pam is hard headed because she’s a rising Taurus.
12. Her nickname is college was Legs.
14. She has a mole on her lip. As do some other Tanjuatco girls.
15. She has sweaty palms. Her excuse for not holding hands with her BFs but she’s really not the type anyway.
16. Pam is a manifestor. She can make things happen.
17. Pam was her mom’s heaviest baby at over 8lbs.
18. Toe polish is relatively new to Pam but I’m happy it’s in her life.
19. There is a song for every event in her life.
20. She was way too white the last time I saw her.
21. Pam is hairy. And she tries to tell Rocio it’s sexy. Yeah – in eastern Europe…
22. Pam is clumsy – something she never outgrew. Ask her about the most recent incident.
23. She loves peanut butter – but who doesn’t?
24. As a kid, she really thought she’d wake up as a black crow for lying to her mom.
25. Pam is the best cousin/friend/sister ever.
2. You can get a glimpse of her elusive Kiwi accent only when she is heavily intoxicated.
3. She is the only one I know who can dance “like no one is watching”…
4. …and sing like we’re all DEAF.
5. She is an amazing Mommy. Compassionate, deliberate and of course, fun. I’d pay her to raise the kids I do not yet have.
6. She writes the neatest, most detailed class notes. Her classmates in college would photocopy her notes to use as a study guide for exams.
7. I’m not sure those Ateneo boys knew what hit them when Ria arrived on campus. Her Avant-garde-ness just blew them away.
8. She has the flattest feet I’ve ever seen. They remind me of a Platypus.
9. She has no sporty bone in her body. I once accompanied her to the gym and found that her idea of working out was having her trainer stretch her while she happily lay there like a vegetable.
10. Ironically, she knows her basketball (for obvious reasons)…she also knows her Constellations. Ask Luigi.
11. Sitting beside Ria in a basketball game is like taking a crash course on Expletives 101 in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Cebuano.
12. She finds order in chaos. Her bedroom style subscribes to cluttered-chic. And still she knows where everything is. Ok, her yaya does.
13. Ria snores like a 200 pound man.
14. When she is pregnant, she glows. After giving birth, she can walk out cradling her baby, wearing the same size 0 jeans she came in with.
15. She must have a direct line to the god that grants wishes because there is nothing she’s wished for that she did not eventually get.
16. Like her dad, she always wins at raffles.
17. Ria’s lifelong dream was to become a Kennedy. Eventually she adjusted her expectations and settled on being a Kennedy cousin.
18. She claims she finds solace in washing dishes. However, I cannot imagine when she would find the opportunity to do that in Manila.
19. Ria works hard. She may come across as spoiled but she is actually industrious and diligent. So I think it’s safe to say that she deserves everything she’s been given by the god that grants wishes.
20. It should then be no surprise that she was always the teachers’ pet.
21. She claims she’s broke but she always has new bling to add to her already obscene collection. Rocio, when it becomes difficult to be nice to your Mommy, just keep your eye on all that bling you will inherit one day.
22. She is an awesome person to travel with because she will gladly plan out the itinerary, take photos for you and take one for the team, by agreeing to be the stupid tourist asking for directions.
23. Her maternal and nurturing personality was always apparent even when we were kids. She once concocted some scary looking tea for me and my phlegm-filled smoker’s cough. It tasted like crap too but it worked.
24. She is and always will be Luigi’s porcupine : D
25. “Cousin” does not capture the kind of relationship I have with Ria. She is my pillar.
As I was looking for old pics of us last night I came across a batch of pictures that brought my heart close to a screeching halt Gasp! Do you remember when we planned to surprise my folks with my homecoming?
We pulled off a well hatched plan in the middle of the night. Dino managed to get mom to come down.
Then we took the surprise upstairs to wake dad up. Instead, I got surprised by how thin he had become. I was reduced to tears!
Then it was off to the other victims, Xilla and Buckwheat! Where was Pat?
Then down to meet Nad for the very first time.
After all that excitement, we settled down to play with the baby. And we found Pat!
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to do this post! Had I known that 2006 would be the last time I would see my Dad, I most definitely would have stayed. But hey, regret is a good thing right? At the very least, it helps us to REMEMBER.