Monday, December 31, 2012

The Top Five Things I am Thankful for in 2012

Today's the last day of the year and instead of posting my New Year's Resolution, which I'm sure will just be the same as last year's, I'd rather end the year on a positive note and look back on all the things I am grateful for in 2012.

1. Friendship

Our college buddies
Hubby and I met during college so it's no surprise that we have the same circle of friends throughout the years. Our classmates were Pete, Christian, Wilmar, Abi, Lloyd, Precious, Vic, Josh and missing in the photo is my bestfriend Mhy, now based in Singapore. Then Josh and Vic got married, Christian married Precious, I married Deck, Mhy married Deck's childhood friend Bong, then Pete and Wilmar met their wives Joey and Cordia and well, Lloyd (in orange) is still single. We each lead different lives, evolved from students to adults and now parents,  we raise our kids differently - bet despite these differences we remained friends and good ones at that!

New friends. Being with great people to share office chismis with, rant about things work-related or not with, pig out with every Friday after a long, tiring week - these people are what make work seem less like work.

2. Family

I must have done something good for God to bless me this abundantly. My family keeps me grounded, my son (and his future) keeps me motivated and my husband supports me all the way. I truly could not ask for anything more but to keep them all safe, healthy and happy.

3. Work

This is the wonderful Pettigrew family who owns the company I am working in now. As Mr. Dave Young, our CEO, said "You were all lead by God to PPSI for a reason and it is a pleasure working with you." Being able to go back to work this year is truly a blessing. I have been looking for a job and have been interviewed by several companies but nothing really matched what I was searching for. PPSI gave me what I prioritize the most - morning shift, weekends off, competitive salary plus perks and accessibility from home. My work has opened up a lot of doors and fulfilled a few of my family's dreams.

4. Dream fulfilled

I'm sure all families have been dreaming to buy their own cars. I am just thankful that our prayer was granted this year. Perseverance, hard work, strong will and a lot of prayers did it for us.

5. Time

It has been an additional 366 days more into my life. I am more than grateful for all those days - be it good or bad - because I get to spend most if not all of it with the people I love. Each day of 2012 that I was blessed with, I made sure I made the most of and I did try to do good as much as I can. 

Stay positive and look forward to all things awesome that'll happen in 2013! Happy New Year, everybody!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Gifts that I am Loving for Johan

I am a child at heart. I love receiving presents more than receiving money because selecting a gift takes more time and effort which means that the person who gave me the gift thought really hard on my interests and what would make me really happy. This is why I am so glad that my son shares the same sentiments and showed a lot of enthusiasm when he received gifts this season. Or maybe it is because he is really just a kid.

Johan received lots of gifts this Christmas and I thank everybody who remembered my son and gave him all these wonderful presents. I loved all of them because: 1. the toys made the little boy happy and 2. all the shirts, shorts and hats (which means we won't have to buy new ones for quite some time) made Mommy and Daddy's pocket happy. Now, everybody is happy!

Among these gifts, I am certainly loving the ones that'll keep the boy preoccupied but learning at the same time.

This truck is a gift from my highschool friend Kristine. She sent me a text one day asking me what I would like her to buy for Johan. I told her of this certain shop in Festival Supermall, MindWerks, and said I'd love any wooden toy from that shop. Johan loved playing with this and I love how educational this toy is. I can teach him the colors, we can practice his motor skills by hammering down the balls into the holes and Johan can learn patience by unscrewing the screws.

These puzzles came from my sister, RK, and my sister-in-law, Rochelle. The Cars puzzle is a no brainer and Johan shrieked when he unwrapped it. I love how these puzzles can teach him how to spell and develop Johan's hand-eye coordination.

This tub of building blocks is one of the gifts I bought for Johan. This also came from MindWerks, which is by the way my new favorite shop because of all the educational toys they are selling. I was just surprised to learn that this tub was only half full of wooden blocks when all the while I thought it was filled to the brim. Nevertheless, this will be a good learning toy to develop my son's skills and imagination.

This is the second gift I bought Johan. I've been looking all over for an alphabet puzzle so I could teach Johan the ABCs. What's great about this is that there are pictures underneath every letter so it is easier for Johan to remember each one. This one came from MindWerks, too.

This robot was given by my friend, Lloyd. This dancing robot is not really educational but highly entertaining and I love that it would keep the little boy busy while I am busy with other things like now. :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Christmas 2012

Our Christmas celebration this year is better than last year's because my son is a little older and he woke up to my prodding come midnight of the 24th. Well, I had to bribe him with, "Johan, you can open your gifts now!", and he instantly got up from the bed and went straight to the Christmas tree. Haha!

This is just a tiny fraction of the actual number of gifts under our tree when
Christmas day arrived

The annual Christmas reunion with the rest of our Tan Clan had to be planned way, way ahead because there are now so many of us. Before, we used to meet in one family member's house but it has become impossible now because we won't fit in just one house. So, we rented out a resort in Marikina and a simple get together turned out to be a swimming outing with lots of gift-giving and a lot more of eating!

My impatient son who couldn't wait until it's time for exchanging gifts
Bonding with his cousin Jared
Swim time with Daddy
Tan Family (minus more members)

We left the resort around three in the afternoon and went to our next reunion with my father's side of the family - the Yboa Clan.

My parents with Papa's sister Tita Menia
Skype time with our cousin Kuya Ariel who's living in the US
Johan clapping his hands after playing his "masterpiece" on the piano
Christmas ain't Christmas without Tita Menia's delicious handa which we look forward to every year
Our family minus my brother Pao (Jeddah) and my brother RJ and his family (celebrating his wife's birthday
with the rest of his wife's side of the family)
With some of the Yboa girls
Christmas will always be my favorite occasion. Aside from all the yummy food and the overflowing gifts, the time we spent with family is priceless and truly the best blessing I will forever be thankful for.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Get Together Part 2 - Paradizoo

It was already late when the magic show ended at the Residence Inn Zoo and everybody, most especially the kids, were already hungry so we decided to have lunch first before proceeding to Paradizoo. The promo included a shuttle ride from Residence Inn to Paradizoo but we thought it's best to just go there via our own vehicles right after we had lunch.

Grilled Liempo
You cannot not have Bulalo when you're in Tagaytay. We knew that most of the popular restaurants were probably full, we decided to have lunch at one of the roadside eateries. It's a lot cheaper (Php 2450 for 10 people and 4 kids) and we get to enjoy the cool breeze of Tagaytay.

Right after we ate, we then proceeded to search for Paradizoo. It's a long drive, I tell ya.

Paradizoo is basically a huge farm. There were fewer animals here but they offer an array of activities - horseback riding, milk a goat, learn how caterpillars become butterflies, how you get honey from bees, ride a paragos, etc., etc.

The kids enjoyed the huge area where they ran around and chased each other while we, the parents, grew tired from all the walking and running after the kids. It was all worth it still seeing the smiles on our kids faces.

One of the best spots inside the property is the infinity pond. I've read about this in various blogs but I was surprised to see that it's just small. I thought it's bigger than it really is but still it was a perfect location for photo ops. 

Visiting Paradizoo was a great experience. It was definitely tiring but it was a refreshing change in scenery and the kids had a great time. The staff was even accommodating and provided us a short tour of the property even if we were not there for a field trip like the group that came before us.

This has been the best Christmas get together so far and I am really just grateful for the blessing of friendship more than anything else.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Get Together 2012 Part 1 - Residence Inn Zoo

It has been a tradition of our group to hold a get together every Christmas so we could give our presents to each other and to the kids. Since, we are all busy year-round, Christmas is the only time we could bond and catch up with each others lives.

It's been 10 years since we all graduated from college and our friendship kept on going stronger each year and our group even larger with the addition of the kids.

For 2012, we decided to ditch the annual MOA bowling event and went to Tagaytay instead. It's a refreshing change of scenery and all the kids enjoyed the trip, even the kids-at-heart. :)

First stop - Residence Inn Zoo
Since we came in three separate vehicles, we decided to meet up at Residence Inn Zoo. This is only a small zoo but there are enough animals, reptiles and birds to keep the kids busy. We availed the promo which included entrance to Residence Inn Zoo, Animal/Magic Show and entrance to Paradizoo. The promo is priced at Php 299 per adult and Php 249 per kid, 3 ft and above.

Johan loved the animals! He kept pointing at them, naming each one and even mimicking the sound that each animal makes.

Here are some of animals that can been seen inside the Residence Inn Zoo:

We toured the zoo for like 30 minutes then we went to the activity area for the animal/magic show. Johan cried when the snake came out of the basket and kept on pulling his dad saying, "Lesgo!" He just relaxed when the snake was put away and the magic show began. Every time a magic trick was completed, he clapped his hands and shouted, "More, more!"

"Ady, lesgo!"
Funny man!
Here he is finally enjoying the show

The show lasted for almost an hour and although there were a few lapses in grammar and diction by some of the talents, it was altogether a huge hit with the kids.

Next post: Part 2 of the Get Together - Paradizoo

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