Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Tomorrow we are headed to Japan. We are shockingly lucky to be hitting sakura (cherry blossom) season. When I booked our flights I failed to consider what this time of year would do to the availability of hotel rooms as well as the price. Hello Yen, you are cruel so cruel to me in my attempt to have budget-friendly travel. Once in a lifetime is what I keep telling myself...and Nate. As of now I have managed to get all but one night booked, how do you say "camping" in Japanese? Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Almost 4 months

WOW, that flew by. A little update on our tinniest sprite.

We find ourselves continually enamoured by our little guy. He looks so much like Holden, but longer and more slender. He finally outgrew his first outfit the other day! His big eyes are large and striking and we are still trying to figure out what color they are. We have his hair narrowed down to blonde brown or red depending on the day! He is a little chameleon. He rolls over both directions now, but not with purpose yet, more random twists and turns.
He is a little screamer too, there is no slow boil with Finnley, he cries with purpose instantly and once his needs are met he takes some time to calm back down. He graces us with his smiles and giggles and babbles frequently and still loves to be carried close and tight to Mom in any wrap or pack that we have. Charmed most into smiles by his Kuya (Big brother in filipino). Where Holden was a mamas boy, Finnley is proving to be most happy and thrilled with Nate. Certain to be a thumb sucker, he is much happier to munch on his hands these days rather than his pacifier.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recent Holdenisms

We asked Holden a few questions the other day and his answers were, as usual, quite funny.

What is something that Mommy and Daddy always say to you?
What does Mommy do for a job?
"Umm, is that a trick question?"
What does Daddy do for a job?
"Make money."
What makes Mommy happy?
"Me and Finnley."
What makes Daddy happy?
"Me and Mommy and Finnley."
How old is Mommy?
How old is Daddy?
"Seventy-one, oh wait, seventy-two."

Another comment in the car the other day.
"It's pretty weird having a mom who begs for a wii."

When chatting about taking money to buy recycled gifts from one of the older classes at school who are raising money for a class pet; "they said please come so they can make lots of money to buy a class pet, like a gecko, snake or a lion or tiger."

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hello Again America

Almost a month later and I am finally getting around to documenting our trip to America. Every time we go back life is better and this time has been no exception! We come home refreshed and able to handle the little frustrations that plague our existence in Asia. The flight was easy on everyone. Finnley slept and ate the entire way and Holden followed his typical behavior as the perfect traveler. On our way from Manila, we stayed in LA a few days to enjoy the happiest place on earth; Disneyland. We picked up a rental car and miraculously were able to fit everything in it. I have no idea how people travel with more than two kids. Here is Nate, proud of his feat.

We stayed with Nate's uncle the ever-hospitable Greg and his partner Mike for a too-short mini vacation in the middle of the actual vacation. Come to think of it, the whole trip was a series of mini vacations wherein one needs an actual vacation to recover from all the fuss! The craziness was part of the fun though.
Disney was great. This must be the best time of year to go as traffic was light at the park. We rarely had to wait in line more than 10 minutes. Bliss. Finnley enjoyed a few rides while Holden enjoyed them all, twice including an opportunity to attend Jedi training (yep, I think that was his highlight) I think we were only some of the few dressed up in warm sweaters and hats, but 70 degrees without humidity is cold!

The next day we were off to the airport again and straight to Utah where grandparents were eager to see Holden and get their hands on a new baby. We all fared the cold well, considering one day there was 13 inches of snow in the valley and 20 in the mountains. I forgot how exhausting winter could be. The sheer amount of and coats and hats and mittens and scarves and boots and blankets was shocking. Every time we went out I had to consider really how bad I wanted to go to Target. Rest assured though, Target always won out. ;)
The boys with Great Grandma Stromberg

Finn and Nama

A few days here included time friends and Nate's family where Finnley thoroughly bonded with Papa. Every night in Utah found Finn happily snuggled up with Papa asleep by the fireplace. If you know Nate's dad, it's pretty sweet to see him melt with a baby.
The boys and Papa

A trip to the ski hill where Holden and Nate tore it up. It was a beautiful sunny day and while I was a little bummed at first not being able to ski, Finn and I enjoyed the ski lodge with a good book and a few naps. Even after a year, Holden remembered and picked up the innate Utah ability to ski after the first run and I believe they made a record in the amount of runs they took (8 in one hour)

We were off to Idaho for a few days to enjoy some "real relaxing" as Nate calls it, where there are no time constraints or plans to be made to enjoy the attention of more grandparents and family. My mom made sure to help us out with Finn's colic "problem" and Holden completely exhausted his Uncle Caleb who he is quite certain is the coolest kid EVER. Caleb was so patient and great with him and they were so fun to watch. Seriously, nothing beats having an uncle that close in age!
Finn and Great Grandma Shirley
Finn and Grandma Susan

Best Buds with Uncle Caleb
Back to Utah for one more trip to the ski hill where there was a blizzard and 20 inches of fresh powder.
Powder is great unless you are a kid. Holden still enjoyed himself but not nearly as much considering he couldn't go half as fast as the week before. Speed is king to a 5 year old boy. The gorgeous storms that followed the rest of the time we were there made for picturesque beauty and we drank it all in.
Nate headed back to Manila and we headed back to Idaho for a few more days where I was able to catch up with my two dearest high school friends, Julie and Alysia, and our 10 kids. That's right, ten! Although they cheated and each only brought two. All three of us had baby boys in the same year and we had a great afternoon of memory lane.

Back to Utah we went (you can see now why I needed another vacation to recover, right?) to spend a few more days with Nate's mom and pack up all of our treasures before the long haul back to Manila. It was quite a difference in the final week with two kids without Nate. I survived with my sanity intact with the help of both families. I often say if my head wasn't attached to my body it would be left behind and as we pulled into the airport I realized I had left the stroller. THE stroller people. The VERY expensive stroller. Luckily Nate's brother was at home and saved my bacon by rushing it down to me 30 minutes before our flight left. Seriously, it's not as if we could just have it shipped right back over. Honestly, I'm a nut but I survived! SLC to LA was short and sweet. SLC to Guam found Holden asleep 9 hours of the flight. Finn was perfectly content and slept all the way from Guam on into Manila. Easy breezy. Not sure how I got so lucky, lets not question it and instead just pay homage to it so that it will continue!

We landed in Manila at 5am and a few hours later Holden headed to school. He was so excited to be back home and into his routine. It was sports day at school and he was set on attending. Our bodies soaked back in the hot humid weather and now we are spending sunny days at the pool.

Phew, I am exhausted just writing it all so you can imagine just how long it took to recover (yep, about a month)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Do you remember the days of high school prom? The anticipation. Going shopping for the perfect dress, getting your hair and nails done, picking out the perfect pair of shoes to match "the dress." Well, rest assured, the same process is alive and well in Manila...for the middle-aged!
Life in the tropics is in full-swing ball season. Most organizations and expat groups here hold grand charity balls every year and Saturday was the Australian/New Zealand event. Last week everyone we knew was a twitter with dress fittings and trips to the salon for nails and hair. The perfect earrings and shoes were being searched for and anticipation was in the air. The only thing missing was the awkward and nervous date with the sweaty palms. These events are always a good time and I don't even have to twist Nate's arm to get him to go. Unlike a lot of men, he is always ready to don a tux and have a good time.
We made a mini vacation out of it and reserved a room at the hotel it was held at so the boys would be near and we could spend the following day at brunch and the pool. The best part about this kind of prom is that there are about 10 a year!