Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chimichanga at "On the Border"

...That's how I celebrated the New Year that brought in the Millenium.

It's hard to believe that we're getting ready to bring in 2010.

I was sure on that icy New Year Eve's, Dec. 31, 1999 - that computers would crash, machines would take over the world, Units would come back into style - all those things that would signal the end of the world...would happen.

But, it was an uneventful night - except for the ice storm that hit DFW - and Craig and I "cheers-ed" over a bowl of queso and basket of chips.

Now - 10 years later - TEN - years later...

Did you ever think you'd see 2010? It seems like a date stamped in sci-fi books and movies - not the reality of the world we live in today.

I'm not quite the person I thought I would be.

I was sure I would be a doctor by now. Living a fast paced life in the City (whatever City - just in the heart of a Downtown in Somewhere, USA), on call as a resident working 36 hour shifts.
I was sure I'd be married/engaged/dating to a man that was career focused - just like me. We'd have the loft style apartment, meet up for happy hours, end the night at the newest and hippest bar - me in my Manolos and Haute Couture...

My, my, my...thank God for unanswered prayers.

I am not a doctor - but went to medical school. I'm living in Suburb, USA, in a 3/2/2, I'm on "call" 24 hours a day/7 days a week and my shifts....well....they don't end when I put down Bug in her crib. I'm married to a man who has a great career - but his focus - family. Always family - God first - then us. Our "happy hour" is the couple of hours before Iz's bedtime when we lay on the floor as she plays and sings and laughs....
Our nights end - probably around 10pm - with one of us already asleep - and the other quietly getting into bed and kissing the other one goodnight.

Isn't it funny how your "Once Upon a Time" has such a different "Happily Ever After?"

The past 10 years have been used well. I soul searched, I chased dreams, I took deep breaths, let go of things I held tightly to I thought I desperately wanted but then embraced the new that I didn't even realized I NEEDED.

The past 10 years I've traveled to the Philippines and saw my roots that grounded me, lived in Dominica for medical school that gave me a whole new perspective on what matters, finally went to Europe with Craig, bought a house, sold a house, lived in an apartment with no hot water, got a dog, got another dog, married the man of dreams, saw my Nation get attacked but bounce back with patriotic fervor that made my heart sing, saw Mother Nature's wrath in Katrina, wore goucho pants, died my hair blond, joined a sisterhood in college (ZTA!!), joined another sisterhood called motherhood, got an iPod, watched as Brad and Jen ended it, celebrities name their kids after fruit, and Vampires and Wizards would rule the screen (and my heart....blush)....whowouldathunk....

Today - as we leave 2009 and enter 2010 - I can only pray and hope that I get a fraction of the blessings I received in the past 10 years. I am excited to go into the next 10 as a 30 year old mother and wife, entrepreneur, Christ follower, daughter, sister, friend...

Goodbye 2009 - it's been a great year - full of blessings. Thank you for my experiences, my family, my friendships....every single moment.

Hello, 2010! I can't wait to see what you have in store for me!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our talk about the future

With the New Year approaching, Isabelle and I had a serious conversation about her future.

I told her that it's never too early to think about what she wants to be when she grows up.

After much deliberation she narrowed her career aspirations to:


CowgirlAlign Center

But after I told her that those probably aren't very lucrative choices...she said she'll probably be

a Rapper

or star in Ninja films....

But alas, after an amazing performance - she's decided to become a singing superstar...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas I'll remember forever

I remember great Christmases with my family growing up. I never understood why my Mom would cry on Christmas day as we grew up. Or really got why my Dad would go all out for dinner, decorations, and overboard on gifts.

Growing up - we struggled as a family. My parents are living the American dream...and I am so proud of them for it. We immigrated to the U.S. when I was barely a year old. My mom was already a doctor - but unfortunately - the U.S. didn't recognize her M.D. degree and she had to do residency all over again. My Dad with his Bachelor's in Finance from the Philippines - wasn't looked at as equal to another person with the same degree - so his degree and prior job working for PLDT (the equivalent of AT&T in the Philippines) was ignored - but he knew he had to provide - so he worked as a bus boy at Denny's.

The years passed and we left California when my Mom was offered a job in Texas. I was 5 years old when we moved to the Lone Start State. My Dad got a job as a bank teller - trying to get back into the business world and moonlighted as a manager for Taco Bueno and a deli guy at Tom Thumb to pay the bills. My mom worked 2 shifts as fill in doctor in the E.R. and a neurology clinic.

You see blog friends - their road was tough. As immigrants - they believed that all their hard work would pay off. They believed that as long as they worked, worked hard, eventually - they would be able to give their daughters a life full of opportunity.

One Christmas when I was probably 10 years old or so - I remember all my sister's and I got were piggy banks. Pennies filled the banks...but that was it. No designer clothes, no toys...just that. But, there was joy, there was laughter, there was family...and that's all that mattered. It's the Christmas I'll remember forever....I don't quite remember the tears in my Mom's eyes when we opened our gifts....but I do now. As a mother...I get it. Because Christmas - as a parent is so much more. We want to give our children the list of toys whispered in Santa's ears. We want to see little faces light up when they see their wish list in front of their eyes. We want to see a table full of food, treats overflowing...

And 25 years parents have given my sister's and I just that. An overabundance of gifts - not just material things but opportunities to go to college without the worries of student loans (even if they had to work 3 jobs EACH to make it happen), travel, dream parents gave us the American dream. They go overboard at Christmas time now - for all of us - my sisters, the husbands, the grandkids...
Toy after toy, designer this and that, a huge holiday meal...that I happily eat :-)
They do it because now they can. They give above and beyond because once upon a time...they couldn't.

Isabelle had a beautiful tree, a beautiful home to celebrate it in, she's surrounded by pictures of her Mommy and Daddy in all the places they've visited, she woke up to gifts that Santa brought, I got to watch her squeal with delight as she played with toys and ripped open gifts, she sat and played with toys as I filled the holiday table with a feast fit for a King....

But it's the Christmas many years ago - when my family had so little that I remember most. It's the Christmas that feels like yesterday because in that time - we still shared so much joy and so much love...although there was so little underneath the tree.

Isabelle's Christmas and the many more to come - I will pray will always be as joyous as the one we had this year. I hope she knows that all the blessings she'll be showered with stem from a time of sacrifice. I will never forget that one Christmas that changed my heart and made me realize that the day is more than just's about family.

Iz, her cousin Kara and Lola

The life size Santa at my parent's house...BWAHAHA (so mean..)

Iz, Paige and Levi Christmas Eve

This bear is dressed like Santa

Christmas Eve at Abuelas

Silly Daddy!


**thanks for reading blog readers**

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Twas a few days before Christmas when all through our house

A few creatures were stirring, even our sweet little mouse.

The stockings were hung – now three of them there.

A new addition to our family – brought into our world with care.

Our sweet baby bug all snug in her bed.

While visions of her first Christmas – dance in my head

Thoughts of our family – brings tears to my eyes.

I don’t remember my world without little laughter and sweet baby cries.

Our new stations in life – better than anything I could have wished.

Bright eyes, gummy smiles, even that slobbery kiss.

Time’s moving swiftly – I want to stop it from going so fast.

I try to cherish every moment – make every day last.

I see the man I love – not just husband but now a Father

Hold and rock our sweet girl – I know there’s no other….

Moment I could ask for that makes my heart swell with such joy.

Actually there is one…let’s not forget the birth of a very sweet Boy.

The true meaning of the season – the birth of our Christ.

Made the Heavens part and Angels sing and shout with all their might.

Born on Christmas day – our Savior came into this world.

Born in a lowly manger – from a scared, innocent girl.

The girl who became a mother – who gave birth to a Son.

Knowing someday – He’d die for my sins –

What an unbelievable gift – so selfless, so pure.

It makes me know for a fact – makes me absolutely sure…

That on this Christmas day – when I hold my sweet daughter.

As I am blessed beyond belief – that He chose me as her mother.

Happy birthday, Baby Jesus – the sweetest baby boy.

You bring so much happiness to our world – endless joy.

So – another year of blessings – and many more just in sight.

To my friends and family – Merry Christmas to all – and to all a Good night!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Good bye 20s!

Hello 30s!

Most importantly - my sweet Isabelle turned 6 months on the 19th! She is such a freak. Seriously - crazy baby. She can cry one second, laugh really evil the next, squeal with excitement a second later, then get really angry....all just cuz. Hmm...sounds like a typical woman :-)

Really though - she is our pride and joy. She is so fun, so funny, and is showing her personality every single day. She is stubborn, talks up a storm, loves to grab everything and anything, laughs - a LOT, bounces in her bouncy, loves to read books (or eat them), loves her Daddy so much, squeals when she's excited, loves bath time, loves to roll all over the place, loves to sit up...then fall over, and she's starting to army crawl....she pulls herself with her elbows and uses her little legs to get her toys and boy - she is determined! She is about to cut a tooth - or two...

Her 6 month stats:
Height: 26 1/2 inches - 75th percentile
Weight: 14 lbs - 10th percentile

Still tall and skinny...but she eats all her fruit and veges and still nurses 5 times a day.

Now...what everyone really wants to talk about....ME!

I joined the dirty 30s on December 19th.

My 30 year stats:
Height: 5 ' 4.5'' (I shrunk)
Weight: 1_3 (yeah right - like I'd tell the interweb how much I weigh!)

Yes - our bedroom is a WRECK right now...

The week started off with a dinner with my high school friends at Fireside Pies. We laughed - really, really, really -laughed! We talked about our happenings. Talked about our soon to be's.

Soon - I'll share with you my newest business ventures. If you just can't wait - go to one of my ventures: . And buy lots of warmers, lots of scents, lots of plug ins....use your hard earned money and spend it buying the greatest smell goods next to the sweet smell of my baby girl's's good for your soul and your sniffer...

Thursday I got my hair did. Bought a dress that instantly made me feel pretty just looking at it.

Friday I got a massage and got a membership at a massage place for monthly massages...oh yeah! My new soul sisters in Stroller Strides sang me happy birthday at our Christmas party and a friend made me a cake (umm..that I ate for breakfast the next day). It made my heart sing and gave me warm fuzzies...they are good people....

Saturday - I loved on my little girl. Maybe shed a tear knowing that I was leaving her overnight. We wore birthday hats and had a birthday breakfast - birthday cake for me and applesauce for my new 6 month old.

I know - I am brave for showing my morning look...but I am keeping it real..

We dropped off Iz at my parent's at 3:30 pm, nursed her to top her off for the night, and we were out the door and on our way to Dallas!

We rolled up to Hotel ZaZa. Instantly I felt out of place. I probably could have showered and probably worn something besides a t-shirt and tennis shoes - but nope - I was going to get ready at the hotel before my big night. But, the valet people, the bell boy, concierge, and all the hotel staff immediately made us feel welcome! Craig shared with the receptionist that we were celebrating my birthday, I got embarrassed as I told her I was turning 30, and she of course - told me it wasn't that big of a deal!

We walked into our room and it was pretty nice! It was Asian themed...hmmm...did they know I was coming :-)

Most people get really drunk and put lamp shades on their heads after a long night. I decided to be completely sober and sit under the lamp shade.

I got into the hotel robe and tried to relax before I had to get ready.

The night had begun! I hopped in the shower and took 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to fix my hair, do my I looked good ;-) I put on my dress and felt like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" when she wore that red dress. Except I wasn't a hooker...and didn't wear a $1 million dollar necklace...but I felt like a million bucks!

We went to the Capital Grille and had an amazing dinner. Drank really good - really overpriced - wine. Steaks were perfect, lobster mac 'n cheese was excellent, creme brulee for die for!
Handsome hubby

Craig and I talked. We talked without the normal soundtrack of babbling, whining and crying. We talked about thing other than Isabelle. We were that couple that people would look at - animated conversation, laughter, hand holding - and people would think "man - what a fun date!"

We headed out to downtown to hit up a bar to watch the Cowboys game. I had a few glasses of wine with dinner but I felt fine. So when the driver headed down Main Street - I had to do a double take when I saw about 50-75 people - dressed as Santa. Sexy Santa's, biker Santas, classic Santas....

Turned out it was an annual event called "Santa Invasion" where people dress up as Santa and bar hop.

We walked into our favorite bar, The City Tavern, and took a seat to watch the Cowboy's bring home a "W" against the Saints! After much celebration, a celebratory shot...I was ready to go back to the hotel.

The later the night got..the worse our picturing taking skills became...

And worse...
It was 11pm.

We walked into our room and the concierge had sent up a bottle of champagne and mini cakes for my birthday! It was great but....that wasn't the best part...

The part I looked most forward to was coming up. I couldn't wait! Craig and I would go back to the hotel, shower, hop into bed...and sleep. Sleep. Sleep without the sounds of a baby monitor. I'd get to sleep through the night!

Alas - it didn't happen. I don't know if it's Mother's Intuition - but at 1am - I heard a baby crying thinking it was Iz, I got up sleepily to go check on her...and then I realized ...I wasn't home. She wasn't there. (Turns out - Iz had woken up crying at 1am and my aunt had to soothe her and rock her back to sleep...lemme tell ya...God made us moms right...)

I woke up after I tossed and turned most of the night at 7:30am. Craig was up too and we couldn't wait to get home to our girl! She did great. I did great. The night was so fun.

So's my promise to you:

The me of the 20s was really insecure. I often allowed myself to be a doormat in my friendships. I allowed people who called themselves a friend - walk all over me, take advantage of me, and made me feel like an afterthought rather than a priority.

The me of the 20s wasn't bold in my faith. I would talk the talk but rarely walked the walk. I was disobedient. I rarely showed remorse or repent for my actions.

The me of the 20s put everything and everyone first - often to the point where I'd lose parts of my soul and feel empty and hollow. I'd forget that taking care of me was just as important.

The me of the 20s has been extremely blessed with opportunities to travel, a journey to new career, an amazing loving husband, and a beautiful daughter. Much too often I'd forget all these things - and wish for more - without realizing how much I actually have.

The me of the 30s - I'm going to feel confident in knowing the few friends I have - new and old - the ones who put me as a priority and build me up - I'm going to cherish and nurture those friendships - no matter how few they may be.

The me of the 30's - I'm going to continue my walk with Christ - knowing that I am not perfect but be bold in my faith and share it with anyone who wants to know the Good News. I'm going to take inventory of what I do and ask for forgiveness and make changes where change is necessary.

The me of the 30s - I'm going to take time out for me once in awhile. I'm not going to feel guilt when I choose quiet time for my thoughts over a chore, a duty - for someone else.

The me of the 30s I'm going to continue to count my blessings. Give thanks for His provision. See everyday the opportunities that God has given me. Take risks in my career - even if it means giving something up. I'm going to love my husband and daughter - and remember that it's moments with them is what matters.

So - 30....I'm here...and I'm ready!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Be afraid, be very afraid....

When we brought Isabelle home from the hospital - I remember holding her in my arms and loving her tiny little hands, her tiny little feet, her sweet newborn cries, the new car smell that comes with all babies.


I am holding on to those memories as much as I can. I am blaming my soon to be 30 year old brain on the fact that I am slowly starting to forget how small she felt in my arms, how sleepy she used to be all the time, and when her cries were not ear piercing-traffic-stopping-a-stranger-wants-to-call-CPS - on me cries.


I remember seeing other babies who were around 4-6 months older than Isabelle when we first started Stroller Strides. I remember looking at them thinking - "I just can't imagine Iz being that big!"

And now she is.

She'll be 6 months on Saturday - no more newborn, no more saying "I just had a baby", no more saying it's "baby weight" (all that extra poundage is now cake ball weight)....I have an infant.

And now - I look at her and I can't imagine her being 1 year old. A toddler. A little mini human that will soon walk and talk. I'm not ready for that. I'm not ready to let go of my baby girl who is rolling, sitting up, babbling. I'm not sad that she's going to be a toddler soon. I am afraid. I am VERY afraid.

Toddlers are a different animal. They have no fear.

What I believe goes on in their little, toddling minds

"What's that? A light socket....looks like fun!"

"Knife. Sharp. I want to hold it while running."

"Trash and toilet...that looks like good places to play."

"Yum....I want the brown pile my dog just left in the grass and I want to eat it."

"Color - no, not paper - floor, wall..."

"Mine. Mine. Mine."

I joke that I'm going to make Isabelle wear a helmet and knee pads when she starts to start walking. I joke. I try to joke. I am serious.

The toddling things have no flippin' fear. They climb on objects far from the ground - and if you're lucky - that object is on concrete or wood floors.

There are constant power struggles between two toddle creatures - "I had the toy. NO I had the toy...NO I had the toy."
All I hear is "wah, wah, wah..." and just start breaking out into a cold sweat. Fearful for my life. Forget Iz - she'll be fine - but me - I'm going to have to start learning to chill out..


Yeahhhhhh riiiiiight.....that's not gonna happen. But I have to make it happen. I've tried to be the cool, calm, collected parent when Iz falls over, bumps her head on the floor or the wall. I've tried to be the parent that just yells over cries and whining - knowing that those two things are just going to amplified as she gets older...louder, LOUder, LOUDER!!

But, I always resort to yelping like a maniac in fear that her episodes of toppling over are going to cause some sort of permanent damage. Through tears I hold her, rock her, try to soothe her after she hits her head....and then I look down at her and she's laughing, babbling, and wiggling out of my warms to try and sit up fall over once's a game to her. No's beginning....

Breathe. Breathe.

It's going to be ok. I'll just wrap her in bubble wrap, make her wear a helmet, and keep her in a room with nothing but carpet on the floor and mattresses for walls. Her own bounce house...she'll dig it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"The Incident"

The air was crisp as Autumn was making her exit and the sharp, cold wind welcomed in Winter.

Our tummies were full of turkey and stuffing and our hearts full of love from the memories of family and laughter from the Thanksgiving weekend.

It was that time of year. THE time of year. The time of year where you actually do stop and smell the Poinsettias. The time of year where songs of Snowmen, Reindeers, and Silent Night's fill your car, your home, your shopping experience.

There are moments where you can't help but stop mid stride and smile. You're bundled up, steam from your hot cocoa tickles your nose, and the sights of decorated streets, decorated cars, decorated stores, decorated's Christmas time!

It's supposed to be a time of happiness and excitement. That's why when "The Incident" occurred in our home...oh my...let me just share with you.

Like most people - I love Christmas! It's time to celebrate the Birth of Jesus, time to celebrate with family and time to reflect on the many blessings in one's life.

I was at home one afternoon trying to figure out how a smoothie machine ended up in the office/playroom floor. How did it get there?

Of course - I was watching a "Top Chef" marathon...oops...I mean - doing laundry. And time somehow passed more quickly than I had realized and suddenly the laundry looked like this.

It had molded itself into the laundry basket. {Ok- so maybe the laundry had been sitting in the basket for a few hours...or days...or maybe a week...}

I laughed off the laundry and couldn't help but thinking about the excitement in the air. Even the disaster of the homemade Christmas wreath couldn't get me down.

Oh how, I loved the decorated Christmas tree and all of his tenants.

Who doesn't love perfect glass ornaments

or dog's keeping watch of the all gifts

or glittery tassels

or Odes to my Alma Mater

or Sweet Little Angels.

The stocking that were hung by the chimney with care and the Angels that kept them company....all these things scream Christmas!

But then it happened....all of a sudden I hear my sweet Isabelle cry out. And then..."The Incident"....

She's surrounded.

Isabelle tries to escape

She realizes she has to fight back and takes one down.

Her big brother decides to come in and investigate what happened.

But it's too late - the authorities had already been called.

Even the Cavalry showed up.

Iz was pretty upset but the Pope showed up and told her to have faith that the truth would come out.

The attack on the Nutcracker put the wooden world in an uproar. "The Incident" was taken to the United Nations.

Since it was such short notice only Korea and Mexico could make it.

Ireland and Germany and Russia showed up - but they weren't taking things too seriously.

Germany brought beer and bratwurst....guess he thought it was a party.

Luckily - we had a witness. A very important witness.

Santa saw the whole thing and came to the conclusion that Iz was not at fault.

Whew! What a close call. If she had been found would have been a sad, sad day if Isabelle received a lump of coal for her first Christmas.

What a blessing!

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