This is what happy looks like. I think.

“There are different kinds of happy,” she said. “Some kinds don’t need any proof.” (This is What Happy Looks Like, 2013) 

It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book and read for fun. A couple of weeks ago, I figured that since I couldn’t seem to fall asleep even if I was dead tired, I’d go read a book. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith, was the book of choice. I thought that maybe, just maybe, it could help me figure out what happy looked like. It didn’t. Well, I didn’t really finish reading the book, I got bored a quarter of the way through.

What does happy look like? I doubt that there is one definite answer to that. We look for happiness in so many different places, different people even, that sometimes we forget…happiness is found within. It’s in the simple things that make you smile. The little things that make you appreciate life. Happy, is felt from the heart. ❤

For me, happy is seeing a rainbow after the rain. Hearing a baby laugh. Eating chocolate. Getting a hug. Happy is not having to wake up early. Or not getting stuck in traffic for who knows how long. The smell of coffee. Ice cream. Flowers. Puppies. And the list goes on.

So what does happy look like? Right now, it looks like you. 😉

 

 

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I was craving for chocolate chip cookies and the only ones we had here were the original Chips Ahoy! (the one in the blue packaging). As much as I like ’em. I find them too hard. So I went in search of a “soft and chewy” chocolate chip cookie recipe, and found these Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

I didn’t have baking chocolate to “chunk” but I did have some Curly Tops, so I chopped those up and tossed ’em into the dough along with the chocolate chips. I made the dough on a Thursday, planning to bake them on Friday morning to bring to my daughter at school for their Stargazing Activity. However, she asked us to come earlier, so I left the dough chilling for another day or two. 🙂

As much as the instructions were quite easy to follow, I think I must’ve done something wrong ’cause they didn’t turn out quite like how it was pictured in the blog. The first 2 batches I made were soft and chewy enough for me, although my sister and my daughter said they seemed a bit too soft and seemed “uncooked” to them. The last batch I made looked “perfectly round,” but was a bit too done for my taste.

I didn’t get to take pictures as I was making them (maybe next time, I will try), but I was able to take pictures of them as I was setting them down on a plate. 🙂

Chocolate Chip cookies (with Curly Top Chunks)

Chocolate Chip cookies (with Curly Top Chunks)

2012 (The year the world didn’t end).

January

Every year, the 5th grade students have a Mother-Daughter bonding day. We had to camp out overnight in school. At the start, it was very hot inside the tent, but by night-time, it was a bit cold already so it wasn’t that hard to sleep (except for the fact that the mommies in the tents beside us were snoring really loud!).

1 Jan

 

February

Wash day for our teddies, Carmie (left) and Bachy (right). I forgot how old Carmie is, but Bachy is 25. 🙂 Hehe.

2 Feb

March

Papa celebrated his 90th birthday.

3 Mar

 

April

For our summer vacation, we went up north to Pagudpud.

4 Apr

 

May

For my birthday, yes my birthday, we went to Fort Santiago and Luneta because I do not remember ever going there before. We didn’t get to go inside Fort Santiago because it was almost closing time when we got there, so we just went around to take pictures. We also watched the musical fountains in Luneta (and saw several frogs in the grass). 🙂

5 May

 

June

June marked the beginning of the new school year, Angel’s last as a grade schooler.

6 Jun

 

July

I was given a chance to work on a summer ESL camp, which lasted for one month. One month flew by so fast, and having made new friends and acquaintances, it seemed so short a time to have spent with them. It’s hard to say “hello” and meet new people, but this time, it was harder to  say “goodbye” … (see this post)

7 July

 

August

August marked our first trip out of the country (well, first for me and Angel; sister had already gone to Korea in 2010). We went to Singapore over one of the long weekends. There were lots of people in the Night Safari and in Universal because of the Eid’l Adha holiday. We also went to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Art and Science Museum in Marina Bay Sands.

8 August

September

I had to get an NBI clearance for the first time. I arrived at the mall by 6:30 am, but there was already a very long line when I got there. They started giving out numbers at 10am, and I got #207. It was a very long, and frustrating day. Apparently, it’s more likely that you get a “hit”  if you have more than one name. O.o

9 Sept

 

October

Angel’s soccer game (which had been postponed several times due to rain) finally pushed through. They played at CSA Makati, and were awarded 2nd runner-up. 🙂

10 Oct

November

Family gathered to celebrate Galilee’s debut. 🙂

11 Nov

 

December

So the world didn’t end on the 22nd. 😉

Christmas time = FOOD, FUN, and FAMILY time! 🙂 The celebrations started on the 23rd, when we had dinner to celebrate Mom and Dad’s anniversary. On the 24th, we had a simple Christmas dinner – arrozcaldo, barbeque, muffins and baked macaroni. Christmas day, we went on a picnic at Camp John Hay where we finished off the leftovers from dinner 😛 After eating, it was time for paintball! 🙂 This year though, we didn’t open gifts until the 27th, which was okay. The kids enjoyed opening their gifts without having to do anything stupid before actually getting the gift.

12 Dec

Yep, that is 2012. Thank God it was a lot better than my 2011. 🙂 Hopefully 2013 will be as good (or even better). 🙂

 

The Sweetest Goodbye

Tuesday.

It was raining still. I usually sleep in when it rains, but I knew I had to get up early. For some reason, I was up before my alarm went off, which rarely happens. I lay in bed staring at my glow in the dark bears. I checked the iPad and read through the messages in KakaoTalk that I missed when I fell asleep. I probably answered some of them, I don’t remember though. I got up and started my morning routine. I realized that I too, take 30 minutes to get ready, and I shouldn’t have complained when the boys asked for that much time. But then, I’m a girl. HAHA. 😉

I tried to sleep in the car, on the way to Woodridge. I don’t know if I was able to, but most likely I did because my neck hurt. 😉 As always, I arrived in Woodridge just around 7:30. Walking through the 4th floor hallway had been part of my routine for the past 4 weeks. As I climbed up to the 5th floor, I was half-hoping to see some of the students eating breakfast at the pantry. There were students alright, but not our students. As I walked down the hallway leading to 5D, I realized that Kuya Michael was right, it was all to quiet now.  I stopped in front of 5D, stared at the door for a while before I got my key card and  entered the room.

The silence in the dim hallway was deafening. I was half expecting Diane to come running down the hallway shouting “Dindin!”

5D. It was too quiet in the room. Way too quiet.

I looked around and put down my bag. I turned on the aircon, erased the writing on the board and headed out to use the restroom. It was locked (as usual). I wanted to go down and knock on 3G’s door to ask if I could use the restroom. But I knew that Diane (or Julie or Sujan or Dianna) would not be there to open the door for me. I walked back to the room and sat down. I checked my watch, 8:00am. I should get started. I never liked cleaning up. But today, it wasn’t a choice. I HAD to clean up.

(FYI: My bedroom is always a mess, somewhat close to the mess that was the boys’ room in 6I).

6I. Where Pam and I spent the last few mornings knocking and trying to get the boys to get ready for class.

I had to take a deep breath before I could start taking the decors down. I turned on the music so I wouldn’t have to listen to the deafening silence. On shuffle, the iPad played “The Sweetest Goodbye.” As the song played, I took pictures of the room before taking down the decor, like I promised the girls I would.

The girls described themselves using adjectives that start with the letters of their first name 🙂

5D’s classroom decor. Yes girls, you are THE BEST. 🙂

But as I took down the decors, I could hear my baby ducks’ laughter while they were teasing each other. I can hear Tia saying “baboy ka” and “matakaw” while Diane finishes off whatever treats I give them for the day. I hear Jiwon leading them in practicing “We Are the World,”  just a few hours before the judging of the “Wall Decorating” contest (which they won!). I hear Diane and Tia singing “Listen” as Claire, Katherine and Jiwon call them “Crazy Girls.” I see them practicing “Teenage Dream,” and remember they taught me to dance too. (FYI: I DON’T DANCE.)

In less than 10 minutes, the walls were bare. Back to how it looked like on the first day. There was no sign of the girls being there (well except for the marks on the table).

Just as the song ended, I was done. I kept the shirt with my name on it, Diane’s autograph, and the sign that says 5D. I will put it up in my room. 😉 Just like that, 5D became just a memory. A bittersweet memory.

These were the ones I brought home and set up in my room 🙂

To my baby ducks, Diane, Tia, Katherine, Claire and Jiwon:

Mommy duck Dindin with baby ducks, Diane, Tia, Katherine, Claire and Jiwon. 🙂

Thank you. You have given me the best 4 weeks of my 2012.

I miss you everyday. 😦

I ♥ each and every one of you. 🙂

Summer 2012

♫ “I’m walking on sunshine, and don’t it feel good…” ♫

This summer, our destination was up north. We left Antipolo early morning on the 11th to go to Baguio, where we stayed overnight. Since it was my brother’s birthday, we ordered pizza, pasta and chicken from Don Henricos for dinner. 🙂

The next day, we left Baguio after a light breakfast. We stopped in San Juan, La Union to visit some relatives, then proceeded to Cafe Leona in Vigan for lunch.

 

Leona Florentino, for whom Cafe Leona in Vigan was named after.

 After Vigan, we stopped at Cape Bojeador Lighthouse before heading to the Bangui Windmills.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse.
Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Bangui Windmills.
Bangui, Ilocos Norte

We had dinner in Pagudpud, then went to Saud beach. But since it was late and we were all tired, we walked back to our room and slept to prepare for the next day’s “adventure”. 🙂 Next day, we went to the Patapat Viaduct then proceeded to the Blue Lagoon.

Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

There are a lot of huts and cottages where you can stay and have lunch. There are paths leading down to the beach, but when we got down, there were a lot of seaweed floating around. So we decided to try and make our way further up the road to see if we can find a “cleaner” part of the beach.

Blue Lagoon, Maira-ira Cove, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

We reached the “end” of the road, well not really the end. We stopped at the last nice-looking resort that we saw, Cafe Consuelo, which had a great view of Dos Hermanos Islands.

When you get to the end of the road, the beach is all yours. 🙂

We actually tried to walk to the island, and eventually got there after about an hour of braving the waves and underwater rocks. Both my sister and I got cuts on our legs and feet which were bleeding by the time we got back to the beach.

Dos Hermanos Island (in background). From the beach, it didn’t look like it was too far from the shore. But it felt like we took almost an hour or two to get to the island and back to shore. 😛

When we got back, we had lunch of grilled fish and pinakbet, with fresh watermelon for dessert. We stayed for a while to treat our wounds, and dry off before heading to Kabigan Falls.

The river’s clean water comes from the falls at the top of the mountain. The water is used to irrigate the rice fields by the side of the river. 🙂

According to our guide, we had to walk around 1.5km to get to the falls. We walked past several rice fields, and people selling snacks to the tourists. 🙂

The Tipolo tree, for which our city, Antipolo, is named after. 🙂

When we got to the last bridge we had to cross to get to the falls, there was a commotion among the group ahead of us. It turned out, there was a snake by the bridge, and the tour guide was trying to kill it. I almost died knowing there was a snake there. There was a small pool where you can swim, but the guide warned us that there are parts that went too deep, particularly near the falls. The water was very cold, but very refreshing.

Kabigan Falls

As we headed down, we stopped by one of the “snack stops” and banana cue, turon and fresh buko juice.

Kids posing for the camera. 🙂

Then we decided to go back to Saud beach to wait for the sunset.

Be wild, be free. 🙂

While waiting, first we tried catching hermit crabs, then Angel and Net decided to make sand fortresses.
Saud Beach Sunset. 🙂

Into the horizon, another day ends. While another day waits to begin. 🙂

The next day, it was time for us to head back to Baguio. On the way back, we  stopped by Paoay to see the church and the lake, Batac to visit the Marcos Museum and took a Kalesa tour of Vigan.

Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol.

Ferdinand Marcos’ bust at the Marcos Museum

Paoay Church

Malacañang of the North. View from Paoay Lake 🙂

Paoay Sand Dunes

Bantay church bell tower. The first stop of the Kalesa tour.

Another stop was a pottery “village”…

…and a bonsai garden 🙂

Calle Crisologo, Vigan.

Sunset at Qurino bridge.

♫ “You are like a sunset to me…You’re all kinds of beautiful as you end my day…and you sweetly retire as the stars chase you away…” ♫

Holy Week 2012

Every year, on  Holy Thursday, our family goes on a Visita Iglesia. We visit at least 7 churches while doing the stations of the cross (2 stations in each church). This year, since we did not go to Baguio for the Holy Week, we went around the churches in the nearby towns – Taytay, Binangonan, Angono, Cardona and Teresa.

Although we brought the camera with us, it was kind of hard to take pictures. First off because we went to church. And some people look at you in a weird way when you bring out a camera inside the church. They probably thought we were from some far off place, and that it was our first time in whatever church we were in (fyi, we’ve been to most of those churches a lot of times).

View from the first church we went to, the Church in the Sky in Taytay.

One of the “Moriones” atop the San Clemente Parish in Angono.

One of the many displays of statues lined up for the procession.

One of the stations outside the church grounds at St. Jerome Parish.

St. Jerome Church

Transfiguration of Christ Parish. The last stop before heading back home. 🙂

 

 

 

Holidays 2011

♫ “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” ♫

Yes, indeed it is.

Mom and Dad celebrate another year together. 🙂

with a complimentary cake…

…and flowers. 🙂

Calamansi Pie. Yum 🙂

Red and white. guess which one was hardly touched? HAHA

gifts. I have long since learned not to expect anything from anyone. It only hurts more. (I have one too many times received a “toy”, and at this age, I have no idea what I’d do with it, but recycle.)

The losing team. Boys.

Girls. FTW 🙂

gambling Christmas money 🙂

ATV at PugAd

We were toured around by the PMA Superintendent himself 🙂

Do you have the time? 🙂

Walking around PMA.

Sunflowers.

Happy New Year! 🙂

The Year that was 2011.

2011. The year that was. A year that was a roller coaster ride (as termed by Teacher Chad). It was a year of ups, and mostly downs, but was made worthwhile by friends. 😉 As a “tribute” to the year that was 2011, I’ve compiled pictures that highlight the events of each month. 🙂

 January: Mom turned 56, while Dad officially became a senior citizen (therefore being “useful” according to Angel).
 February: The van we were riding (we were on a field trip), got into a minor accident. The van bumped into a truck, which had stopped abruptly after an Avanza stopped to let a pedestrian pass. Thankfully, no one was hurt, we were all just shocked.
March: Papa celebrated his birthday at King Bee.
April: Angel took summer violin lessons, and had a mini-recital at the end of the sessions.
May: Angel is a flower girl for the first time, in Pima and Ian’s wedding. 🙂
June: We have our annual Manaoag Pilgrimage, and go swimming at Leisure Coast after.
July: Mama celebrates her birthday.
August: Uncle Alex, Auntie Shirley and kids (Chuck, Steve and Karl) visit the Philippines.
 September: Grade 5 Fellowship Day at AA.
 October: After a very stressful incident at school, I was able to “unwind” when we went to Subic, where Mom had a conference. Angel and I go to Zoobic Safari in Subic Bay. 🙂 Angel also turned 11.
 November: Angel receives a gold medal for getting a perfect score of 110 in Math, in a standardized test administered by APSA. Lolo Nonoy also visits.
 December: As a prize for her medal, I bought Angel tickets to the LA Galaxy vs. Azkals game. We were 30 minutes late, after travelling for 4 hours just to get to the venue. My phone camera bailed on me so we didn’t get any pictures. 😦
And so that, was the year that was. 🙂 Thank you for being a part of my 2011. 🙂
Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012! I wish you all a new year filled with love, happiness, blessings and success! 🙂