Monday, September 28, 2009


On Saturday, Tropical Storm Ondoy or Ketsana (depending on where you are) came through the heart of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. In the span of 12 hours 16.7 inches of rain fell. That is well over an month’s worth of rain. This flash flooding was actually never even a typhoon but because of the monsoon seasonal rains we are already experiencing this time of year, the slow moving nature of this tropical storm caused the worse flooding the Philippines has had in 40 years.
They estimate that close to 200 people have died and almost half a million are displaced due to the flooding and devastation. So many that had so little to begin with have literally lost everything. We feel so grateful that we are safe. Grateful that none of our household staff and their families were in areas that were hit hard. I can't even begin to imagine the work and rebuilding that will have to be done as the flood waters clear. As we went to the grocery store today to buy supplies to donate it was heartwarming to see almost everyone in the store doing the same as they bought cases and cases of needed food and supplies. If anyone is interested in donating to the relief effort, we are involved in many expat organizations that are helping charities in need and can make sure your money gets to where it is needed most. Just contact us. Below are some photos of the devastation. So hard to believe that some of the hardest hit are less than 8 miles from our house.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I have been a complete slacker on the blog lately...we not even lately, for the past two months! Life seems to have become a snowball effect and time gets away from me trying to keep up with these two busy boys in my life. We have been busy living and loving and traveling, the three things we do best.

Holden turned 6. SIX years old. Where on earth does that time go. Sometimes I call Finnley Holden not because I am mistaken on the name but because I literally still think of Holden as this bubbly bouncy baby with the toothy grin. He has become such a little man and I can already see the teenager in him. It's bittersweet to watch him grow. I pine for the days past when it was just me and him making our way through the days together in Utah but am also so excited for each new phase we grow through with him. Half of his life has been spent here in the Philippines and I am so proud of the little international child he has become. He doesn't miss a beat. He is such a good traveler and so relaxed when it comes to trying new things. He told us the other day he isn't sure if he wants to be a rock star or a genius. Serious lofty goals kiddo! We celebrated his birthday a day early with 25 friends and yes that was narrowing the list down! We filled them full of star wars themed food and sugar like wookie hair (cotton candy) yoda soda (sprite with green food coloring) pizza the hutt and bounty hunter bites(mini corndogs) and of course a star wars r2d2 cake and sent them across to timezone, a kids game arcade, with an hour of free play time.
The following day we scooped him up from school early and told him we had errands to run. We let him open his gift from us (an ipod shuffle already filled with songs) which he instantly started singing along to. Once we pulled up to the airport we told him that this errand was going to take a little long he kept asking what we were doing, and was a little worried we were leaving Manila. We had to help him to figure it out and said "Holden where do you think we would take you on your birthday as a surprise?" First guess Hong Kong Disney. BINGO! We landed in Hong Kong to Holden singing out loud with his ipod "sweet caroline (bum bum bum!) all through customs and immigration.

The trip was magical for Holden. Finnley got an ear infection and the trip was miserable for him. After a couple of days at the Disneyland Hotel we moved into the city for a little more mature vacation and rounded out the long weekend with some good food and some shopping. As it wasn't our first time in Hong Kong, we felt less pressure to see and do everything and that proved convenient considering our lack of Finnley induced sleeping and sickness.