Destination: Harlingen, Texas

Marco was scheduled for another interview here in Texas but this time it was in Harlingen so we took a road trip close to the border of Mexico more for business than pleasure. It’ s days like these when I get to take advantage of the perks working PRN (as needed) at the hospital. I love how I can just pick my schedule and take off from work without any hassles or complications when need be. It took us roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes to get there and the first thing we did was google a good place to eat. We ended up having lunch at Brass Wheel Restaurant.

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Marine Memorial

Visited this mini museum mainly for the Iwo Jima Memorial statue. The wind was acting up so we didn’t even stay long and I didn’t even bother visiting the gift shop like I normally would.

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Iwo Jima Memorial up closeimg_9599_zpsimpsxovc

Because he feels the need to do the “Lion King” pose at every historical landmark we go to.img_9611_zpslbwedbei

 Checked in at Courtyard by Marriott

It had a modern minimalistic feel to it.

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The hotel’s poolside was pretty decent and since we had nothing else better to do, we decided to take Cassie for a swim.

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She acts like she runs the place, waiting for daddy to get ready.

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So apparently people who viewed my snaps thought we were crazy for swimming that day since it was rather breezy, the water was warm and we didn’t really stay long so I promise you Cassie was fine.

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Famished after her swim so she grabbed her snack, sat on the sofa and started munching on her puffs like a boss

That night Cassie and I stayed in and ate left overs while Marco had an informal dinner with the rest of the interviewees for the residency program.

The next day, Marco rode a shuttle and left early for the hospital, Cassie and I packed our stuff, loaded up and went window shopping after we had that cockroach incident. I am not even going to expound on what happened since I am positive that it wasn’t even the hotel’s fault but lets just say I had to get over my fear of roaches so I could kill one. I felt like if I didn’t, it would have called the rest of its friends and Cassie and I would have a cockroach frenzy.

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Just roamed around town while Marco was doing his interview, its a good thing I found the mall right when he finished. He gave me a call just when I walked in a Forever 21 and it looked like 6x this photo. It felt like a Forever 21 warehouse and I was just glad he called before I could do any credit card damage that  I would regret in the future. Everything was on sale!!!!

Met up with one of Marco’s friends from med school that was currently doing residency over there, they had a quick catch up before we drove back to Houston. On our way home we got stopped at an immigration checkpoint. Because the city was located in the border  line of Mexico, immigration was taking precautionary measures that Marco was unaware of and I totally forgot about. He forgot to bring his green card and it took them a while to verify his identity with his drivers license. I’m just glad nothing crazy resulted from our inefficiencies. We got home safe, extremely exhausted but safe.

~Rhea

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Photo Diary: A Day with the Lujans

Filipinos by nature are very much family-oriented, if they could live with all their aunts and uncles and cousins they would, and in one way or the other that was how my childhood was. There was never a dull moment because I grew up being close to both sides of my family, I got taunted, teased and semi-bullied (a lot by my kuyas). Yes, it was one of those “Ugh-I-hate-you-but-I know-you’re-pestering-me-coz-you-actually-care” type of relationships and it was true, they teased me a lot but I knew they had my back and that they loved me. But of course everyone grows up and life takes us to our own paths sometimes away from those you grew up with.

Today, I  got to spend time with my kuya Giancarlo, his wife ate Dulce and their 2 wonderful kids Isaiah and Jude. I’m glad that amidst the hectic Christmas season our families found the time to meet up. From a very-filling barbecue lunch at Lucille’s to a stroll in Laguna Beach to a Gingerbread display at the Ritz and a dinner at a local Korean soup place we found ourselves catching up and talking about random things in our current lives, a day was definitely not enough but it is what it is, I’m just happy that we were able to push through with this meet up. Lujans, thank you so much for spending time with us and taking us around AND for spoiling Cassie with her new toys, we don’t know when the next time will be but we will definitely be looking forward to that.

Here are some photos from today:

(Wish we had at least one photo with all of us together)

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Cassie and her kuyas, Isaiah and Jude

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They gave Cassie her favorite, Minnie Mouse in her Christmas-themed outfit

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The Lujans

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Beach art work

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The whole display was edible. How yummy is that!

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~Rhea

Cassie’s 1st trip to the Happiest Place on Earth

Visiting Disneyland during the holidays, we already knew the place was going to be jam-packed. Prior to getting there my husband was telling me to prepare for long lines and a whole lot of waiting, pretty much he wanted us to brace ourselves for anything and expect the unexpected to avoid frustrations. I told him that this trip was all going to be about Cassie since its her first trip to Disneyland, all I wanted for her was to ride the “It’s a small world” ride and have a photo with Minnie Mouse, her all time favorite Disney character (so far).

Thanks mami for this trip, we had a blast and we could tell Cassie was sooo happy to be there based on the number of “Wows” she uttered all throughout the day.

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Ready in her Minnie Mouse outfit (without the ears yet in the picture)

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This ginormous Christmas tree was a sight to behold

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…We’re officially here!!!

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Why hello there Monstro the whale.

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T’was tempting but we skipped out on this one just because you can have Carousel rides elsewhere

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Oh, look who we bumped into—the Evil Queen.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Cassie’s 1st ride. The only reason why we made this her first ride was because it was the closest one to where we were at, at that time and it had the shortest waiting time. I’m glad we went that route because when we checked the Disney app the waiting time doubled. I guess this ride is pretty famous with kids.

If you’re taking a child around Cassie’s age (a year and 2 months), be prepared for dark moments in the submarine which might possibly scare him/her. Overall she was in awe with all the bubbles and the fishies and she loved it!

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While waiting in line

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Alice in Wonderland Ride

We didn’t necessarily have this ride as one of our “must-trys” but infant-friendly rides were limited and this had the shortest waiting time after the submarine ride so we went anyway. What it is, is a mini-roller coaster where you encounter the characters of Alice in Wonderland, which would have been perfect except that it was set in the dark and the characters were colorful with a neon-effect, giving them an eerie glow. Add on the Cheshire cat’s creepy grin to the whole scenario and you get a crying, creeped out infant. I feel like if we take Cassie 2 or 3 years from now, she’d love this.

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Turkey Legs and Pizza for Lunch

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Thanks tita an for taking care of Cassie so mommy could eat

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Cassie’s Disney’s #OOTD

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It’s a Small World Ride

Of course the line for It’s a Small World seemed endless but it actually went by pretty fast. Cassie ended up sleeping while we were waiting and I was dreading the fact that she would miss out on the ride. When we finally got on the ride, we took that chance of waking her up and I’m glad that we did because she was just in awe the entire ride. She woke up smiling to the little dolls moving and dancing and the “Its a small world” song on replay. “Wows” and a whole lot of pointing— that was Cassie. Looking at her, you could tell that she felt like she was in her own wonderland and that just made me and Marco happy, seeing that look on her face was priceless!

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Tito Mik helping out with the Cassie-carrying.

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…and the lines keep going and going and going

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Mickey’s ToonTown

This part of the park is literally like a big playground for kids where they can visit the classic disney characters’ house. We came too late in the afternoon and the lines were so long that we missed everyone except Goofy. We ended up going inside Minnie Mouse’s house and I’m pretty sure to Cassie that was a big blur but I knew she had fun while we were in there. At this point we still haven’t seen Minnie and I really wanted Cassie to have a picture with her since she is Cassie’s favorite, they directed us back to the front of the theme park and told us she’d be hanging out there until the start of the parade.

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Outside Mickey’s house

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Mickey’s Ice cream bar—a disney must-have

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Yay! at least we found Goofy. Good job tito mik and tita an for falling in line for cassie 😀

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Minnie Mouse’s House

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We finally found Minnie up front but Cassie wouldn’t wake up at all. She opened her eyes for a few seconds but went back to sleep, poor baby was really exhausted from today’s activities.

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Disney’s Electrical Light Parade

Everyone who visits Disneyland should really stay to watch this especially since they won’t be having this around forever. It’s not only fun for kids but its safe to say most adults enjoy this spectacle, I’m a bit sad that Cassie slept through the entire thing but on the bright side, Marco and I enjoyed the parade in peace ( no offense Cas).

Sorry my pictures below won’t do justice to the actual parade but at least we had most of it on video for Cassie to watch later on.

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Of course she woke up after the parade, She was in  a good mood too.

You’ve been good to us especially Cassie, thanks Disneyland. Till next time.

~Rhea

Costumes, Candies …Cassie.

The Autumn season is quite enjoyable but what I really look forward to is the Halloween part of it, sorry to say I enjoy it more than I do Thanksgiving. It might just be the fun and the flair of Halloween that attracts me to it, nothing to do with the origins whatsoever. I’d have to admit it is tempting to enjoy the horror movie marathons they play on tv for the entire month of October, (I think I could binge-watch those) but for me its mostly the fun of dressing up or thinking of what or who you want to be for halloween. Halloween is an excuse to be a kid again, to allow your imagination to run free and play dress up; play pretend.

Technically, this would fall as Cassie’s first “real” halloween, I wouldn’t count last year since she was only a few days old when halloween came around. And it actually works that she’s an October baby, all the more reason to go crazy on her birthday. Haha. I can only hope that she grows up to enjoy the halloween festivities as much as I do—the costumes, the candies, the parties and all the works. I’m starting her young.

Here are Cassie’s costumes in a nutshell, although Mommy didn’t have time to DIY, I think we still came up with pretty good last minute costumes from her closet. Yes, we don’t repeat costumes.

COSTUME #1:

Frida Kahlo

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COSTUME #2:

Pebbles Flinstones

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COSTUME #3:

(this is pushing it but….) Native American Girl

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St. Angela Merici Catholic Church Trunk or Treat

Our church, St. Angela Merici Catholic Church held their annual Trunk or Treat and Cassie and I went as Mommy and me Frida Kahlos. Head dresses were DIYed by me ofcourse. We darkened our eyebrows but erased our unibrows, Marco said I was pushing it. Hahaha.

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Some of the car designs at church

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Grandmy, Mommy and Cassie after Trunk or Treating

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Halloween Town at Sugarland Town Center

Our first time to take part in Halloween Town and it was packed!  It could’ve been a more pleasant experience for us but I guess we just weren’t used to being around that many people and the lines were crazy long. Too long to wait for candies and freebies if you ask me. It was fun seeing all the kids in their costumes though, I’m a sucker for cute babies playing dress up.

We went as the Flinstones this year since I found a good deal from some mommy who was reselling her costumes as a family. Marco and Cassie fit perfectly in theirs although I had to make some adjustments on my costume, everything worked out. Not only are store-sold costumes over priced but they’re usually flimsy and the wigs are outrageously tacky, I had to wrap a scarf around it and pass myself as a  “posh” Wilma Flinstones.

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Cassie is grandy’s girl

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Look who we bumped into

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Pebbles “beautiful eyes”

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And…it’s this girl’s birthday so we had dinner at the Hibachi Grill per the birthday girl’s request

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Sienna Plantation Trick or Treat

I was running out of costumes for Cassie and on the actual day of Halloween I made her a feather headdress that matched one of her rompers and passed her off as a little Indian (Native American) girl.

I had a lot of left over candies  from Cassies birthday and decided to do a last minute buffet-style trick or treat table to make it look more enticing . Mom dressed up as a Chinese lady (yes, we definitely have Chinese blood so we’re not being racist) and she had to guard the table since some of the kids tend to get a lot more than they’re supposed to.

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The first ever pumpkin that Marco carved

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I joined in the fun and dressed up as well

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And this is what happened when the kids saw our halloween candy set-up

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A mommy and Cassie selfie before we took her out trick or treating

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 This little Indian girl is a halloween-naturale.

Who says the fun stops when you become parents? Marco and I are definitely am not out partying on halloween night like we used to but at least now I have two more people to dress up other than myself. Dressing up as a family is so much fun, I’m blessed to have a husband who is down for anything and let’s not forget, the CANDIES! I’m hoping Halloween is something my little family would look forward to in the years to come. Happy Halloween, my little Cassie.

~Mommy Rhea

For the love of PUMPKINS.

Happy babies make happy mothers and this trip literally just warmed my heart seeing my baby excited, amused and amazed all at the same time. I’m pretty sure she didn’t understand what “pumpkins” were but she could see there were orange things in different shades and different sizes and there were tons of them. She literally squiggled her way out of my grasp to get down. And just like that she went from one pumpkin to another, “pumpkin-hopping” if you want to call it that.

Ann and I found this Groupon for a trip to the pumpkin patch, for regular adults with no kids you’d probably say it was alright but for parents especially those with toddlers, this was more than “alright”. Little kids went crazy all over this place called Halter Inc. Pumpkin Patch. They had that and the petting zoo, and some mazes, a bunch of kids activities, bits of snacks they were selling to the kids and they even had a spooky trail. Overall I think Ann and I were just happy we got to take Cassie and Olivia to their first visit to the pumpkin patch and of course take a gazillion photos of them. Thank God for #momfriends, I honestly believe mothers in general are in dire need of that friend who’s also a mother, someone you can talk to about your kid 24/7 and won’t think that you’re slightly obsessed with your child (which I probably am, haha). This will suck a bit of Marco and I end up moving to a different state which reminds me, a shout out to our husbands Marco and Charles. The were every bit of a stage dad as we were stage moms and they were participating in every photo and not complaining. Thank you for giving in to our every whims and fascinations concerning the kids and making them come to life. You are deeply appreciated.

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Cassie demanded that I put her down.

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Fall is definitely in the air in this pumpkin patch.

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Surrounded by pumpkins—big and small.

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She had fun drumming on the pumpkins

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Prepping for our “Mommy and Cassie” photo, she didn’t want to stay put.

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“Daddy and Cassie” picture, not exactly what she had in mind.

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The obligatory family photo, She just wanted us to put her down already.

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CASSIE’S PUMPKIN PATCH OOTD #1

(BEANIE: Pumpkin Beanie from Olivia; Gymboree/ ROMPER: Fall Bubble Romper; Handmaid Ends/ SOCKS: gray knee high socks; Amazon/ MOCCASINS: Camel moccasins; Minetonka)

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Decisions, decisions, decisions. Cassie and Olivia trying to figure out which pumpkins to take home.

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Stage Moms.

Olivia and Cassie twinning in their matching pumpkin beanie.

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These babies got hot and took off their beanies.

After the pumpkin patch, we decided to call it a day. We didn’t stay for the animal petting zoo and although we wanted to ride their train, the “conductor” was nowhere to be found so we left. We bought a medium sized pumpkin with the tickets we got from the Groupon deal and with that Daddy carved his first pumpkin ever.


A few days after, we visited a local pumpkin patch with my mom, Marco and some of my siblings just because Cassie had so much fun with the previous one. The St. Catherine of Sienna pumpkin patch had a minimal selection compared to Halter Inc just because I feel like all the good pumpkins were purchased already.

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Happy Harvest y’all! A fall photo with my little baby.

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Marco says she looks like a little pilgrim. I’d have to agree. Haha

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A little possessive are we? Haha. My mom bought her a little pumpkin to keep.

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Cassie in her pumpkin carriage.

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Mommy, Cassie and Daddy

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Tita Jelly, Grandmy and Tita Nikki—Cassie’s very own cheering squad.

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Falling in love with fall colors—Shades of Red, Rust, Mustard, Orange, Maroon.

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CASSIE’S PUMPKIN PATCH OOTD #2

(BONNET:Reversible fall bonnet; Lovely Snap Dragon/ ROMPER: Maroon Boho Romper; Reddies Craft/ SOCKS: mustard knee high socks; Amazon/ MOCCASINS: Camel moccasins; Minetonka)

~Rhea