Mami & Papi’s 30th Anniversary

It was quite a wonderful surprise that Papi could come home to the Philippines even just for awhile, especially since he and Mami were celebrating their 30th Anniversary. Instead of some lavish party and renewal of vows to celebrate this milestone, my in-laws decided to dedicate their time and commitment  to serve in BLD’s (Bukas Loob sa Diyos) Family Encounter. We thought this was going to be one of those times where  poor Javi, who’s all the way in LA, would miss out on all the family activities (like Mom’s 50th Birthday) but mom surprised everyone by sending him home. No one knew (not even Papi) except Yok2x who picked him up and Yaya Diday who arranged the pick-up from the airport. It was a wonderful and emotional reunion of all sorts and we have the big guy from up above to thank for giving us a chance to celebrate this wonderful occasion as a complete family, even for just a short while.

Marco and I were blessed to have been present at his parents 30th Wedding Anniversary with every single one of us there. Those few days I spent with all of my in-laws made me realize how blessed I am to have married into a big family just like my own with their own set of squabbles, their own quirks, their own issues—everything that I love about my own family. Let’s face it, I know a lot of people who complain about their in-laws, monster-in-laws and what not; not everyone who marries into a family gets along with their in-laws but I’d have to say mine have treated me like their own and accepted me and my maarte drama queen self even before Marco and I got married. I in turn have learned to love them as much as I love my own family, my sister Ann Marie even teases me that I might be enjoying too much with my “other family”, but seriously they are the easiest bunch to love.

Our move to Houston will be in a few months and it’s another blessing that Marco and I will be present for my own parents’ 30th Anniversary. I pray that my family too will be complete when the time comes, with the addition of our own “little one”. Who knows, Marco’s family of 9 and my family of 9 might just “inspire” us to make our own family of 9, hahaha. (Uhhh, in the US? maybe not.) We’ll see where God takes us.

So in the light of this very rare occasion, I’m sharing a few of our family photos. Nacho and Pauline surprised Mami and Papi with this family photoshoot session for their anniversary so it was a good thing everyone was present. These photos were actually taken a few days after their actual anniversary.

Meet my family. 🙂

Happy 30th Anniversary Papi and Mami!

With Marco and our “little one” inside me. We’re having our own little family too. 🙂

Nacho and Pauline

The Cuenca-Mendezonas: Nacho, Pauline, Diego and Mateo

Anya and Pilica—looking more like twins by the day.

The boys. I love how my godson is sticking his tongue out.

Our little gwapitos, Diego and Mateo.

Wacky Boys

This little rascal!!! love him to pieces.

And he loves his “nomnom” too.

The girls.

Peace out.

The Mendezona siblings

Love the faces guys, pang theater arts. Hahaha.

And where would we be without our ever-reliable manangs? (incomplete photo since the rest were too shy to be photographed)

~Rhea

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A Love Letter To My Sister, Ann Marie

Hi langga!

I know a year ago I promised you that we’d come up with something great for your 18th birthday, something that will make haters hate you more (haha) but I guess God had different plans for us because if it were up to me, I’d be there helping mom and pop throw you the best DIY birthday bash ever, instead I’m here in Manila writing you this letter. I’m not too sure if right now you feel like we’ve let you down or maybe you’re really just good in hiding your disappointment but know that all of us in the family love you so much even if we have a weird and funny way of showing it. We—-Pop, Mom, me, kuya Marco, your soon-to-be godchild, kuya Paulo, Pauline, Angelie, Nicole, John, Todd and Oreo (wherever she is) really do love you. I’ve told you this in the past and I will remind you once again that people, for whatever reason may choose to hurt you, friends may let you down and even turn against you but your family will always be here for you no matter what. Yes, we may tend to be judgmental and we may seem too critical when it comes to you but be assured that it’s done out of care and love, never out of envy, jealousy or anger. Always remember that we tell you off so you can learn to be a better person, we don’t tell you off just to put you down. ( Ummm yeah… I’m not so sure about Pauline…hahaha, I’m kidding). We accept you for who you are (your mood swings, your quirkiness, your ability to rap so well in Tagalog) and we appreciate what you’ve contributed to this family, the Odilao-Ramas family wouldn’t be the same without an Ann Marie and we are more than grateful to God for giving you to us.

Today, you are a debutante, and by it’s very definition you will now be introduced to society as a young lady but to me you will always be that quiet little baby with bright eyes, sitting in the corner, smiling—no wonder your kuya pau and I thought you were a tiyanak waiting to transform, you were such a good baby (unlike Pauline, the noisy, restless one) it was too good to be true. You will always be that little girl who proudly says that she’s my twin (even with our 11 year gap) and smiles when she’s called “Mini-Rhea” or “Rhea gamay”. And when I would fly back to Manila after the sembreak or the holidays, you were always the first to cry because you didn’t want me to leave. You are my forever faithful Zumba partner, the person I’d half my meals with because the servings in Texas are still way too big for my appetite. And just to let you know even if I’m married, I will still half my meals with you because your Kuya Marco doesn’t eat half a meal and he’ll probably be annoyed if I ask him to half with me so you’re stuck with that role.

I LOVE BEING YOUR ATE! You are a great person langga. I honor you for never giving us any problems in school, you’ve always made us proud of your academic achievements. You’re very determined, like when you decided to take up Violin ad pursue it…you did all that on your own. You are kind hearted and willing to help, you may be quiet and people tend to misjudge you for that but you’re thoughtful, you always make an effort to check up on me and ask ” Hey Ate, how’s your day at work?”. You’re sensitive to other peoples feelings. You might be mistaken as the “shy, quiet, timid” one in the family since we’re quite a rowdy bunch and at times you get misunderstood for being just that, I wish people would take the time to get to know the real you because they sure are missing out.

On this special day, I pray to God that he continues to bless you abundantly and that he protects you and shields you from anyone or anything that will hurt you. I know I’m not there for you right now but always remember that you can always run to him, he will always listen to you and comfort you. I love youuuuuuuuuuu and I miss youuuuuuuu!!!! I’ll see you in a few months. Happy 18th Birthday langga!

Love,

Ate Rhea

Here are a bunch of cringe-worthy pictures to show the world how crazy awesome our relationship is, hahaha