Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mele Kalikimaka...again

We spent our second Christmas in the Philippines this year the easy way, at the beach. While it sometimes is hard to be away from the things we are used to for Christmas it seems to make it easier to be at the beach. Everything is easier at the beach!
This year we went to Puerta Gallera; but it wasn't easy getting there or back! With a 2 1/2 hour car ride, a 1 1/2 hour boat ride and a 15 minute tricycle ride all in the RAIN it was a little rough.

The view from our resort made it all worth it though. We were very secluded, I think we saw a total of 10 people the entire time we were there.
Santa miraculously found Holden both on vacation and again when we returned to Manila.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

May all your coming days be decorated
with laughter and good cheer!
Nate, Melissa and Holden
& Percy

Friday, December 21, 2007

A little Holden Cheer for the Holiday

It never started off fair

The phrases "Are you still reading that book?" and "You're already done with that book?" are commonly heard in our household. I don't think Nate is a slow reader, but I am a very fast reader, maybe more of a skimmer. I can't retain much from books I read or movies I see. In fact, I have re-read books without knowing it until mid-way through. This little habit of mine drives Nate nuts.
Nate and I have both chosen children's names from books: my choice Holden from "The Catcher in the Rye" and Nate's choice Roarke from "The Fountainhead" both books of which the other hasn't read yet. (Side note: I don't know what happened in Utah's public school system, but apparently "The Catcher in the Rye" was not on the senior reading list.)

When we were getting ready to go to China, Nate and I were browsing around the bookstore for a couple of books to read in our "downtime" and I get the not-so-brilliant idea that this would be a great time for us to read these books. I should have known when he asked "really?"with a smirk on his face that this wasn't a fair fight. I am proud to announce that Nate finished his tiny book of around 200 pages WAY before my 600 page whopper. Good job dear, this time you win.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just a couple for the thumbs up!

Black and White



For future reference...from now on photos from shoots will be located at and there is a link on the sidebar.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Barely! We have been celebrating the season for quite some time now. Really since right after Halloween when I put the tree up, but there has been something wrong.

Maybe it's that this family of three is from the West where there is cold and snow at Christmas time. This warm weather does nothing to get me in the festive mood and Holiday spirit. I want icicles and snow angles and hot chocolate and crackling flames in the fireplace. I want to watch "Christmas Vacation" and "It's a Wonderful Life" and have "A Christmas Story running on a constant loop on the TV. I want all of these things, but I can't have any of them, and it really bums me out.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mr. William Kemp


Holden: "Dad, I want pineapple pizza."

Melissa: "Nate, what are you doing calling pizza hut on that phone?" watching Nate dial 911 11 11 (the pizza hut delivery number here in Manila) on the international vonage phone which happens to have a Layton, Utah number.

Nate: "Ooops," then proceeds to hang up and call on the local phone.

5 minutes later, vonage phone rings. Caller id: Layton Police Dept.

Try explaining to the dispatch that you really are in the Philippines, there really is no emergency and 911 really is the phone number for pizza delivery here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Here are two adorable families who I did pictures for last weekend, have you ever seen cuter kids? No, I thought not!


I think I write a lot about the great things here in Manila. At least I hope I do. But there are so many things that frustrate the SNOT out of me and a lot of them revolve around household help. I know, I know, it is a luxury no one in their right mind would complain about, but sometimes living in Manila requires one to not be in the right state of mind in order to survive.

For instance:

Why in the world would a nanny think it would be FINE to let a 4 year old open his Christmas presents 21 days before Christmas and in fact, help him do so?

So when people ask me what I do all day (and I truly HATE that question) my new response is this: "My day is basically spent redoing things." Kind of like re-wrapping Christmas presents.

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I have been very very very very very very very very good this year.

I did open the presents under the Christmas tree the other day, but I am very very very very sorry about that.


A good day

There is a new "zoo" near where we live. It is called the Ark. They are having their soft opening, so in between shopping for shoes for the dog (more on that another time) and searching for cookie decorating supplies we dropped in.

It completely shocked me. It is a total anomaly for Manila. It was clean and modern and well equipped and around each corner was something new and equally fascinating. The first animal that greeted us was an orangutan named Jenny. She came right up and started hugging me and climbed up Nate like he was a tree. Holden insisted it was a little man in a costume and I'm not sure we convinced him otherwise. There were lions and crocs and pumas & monkeys and snakes and bears. We held birds, pet owls and eagles and rode a donkey. There was even a little white pony that Holden thought was a unicorn. And this was only the first floor. Upstairs there were chickens and roosters and huge tortoises walking around. In the cafe there were butterflies just flying around us. Ignore the grainy cell phone photos, we weren't expecting it to be this great, so we didn't bring the camera.