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)

img_9369_zps9bt33spm

img_9360_zpsklcgi4gf

img_9361_zpspiehntjf

Cassie and her kuyas, Isaiah and Jude

img_9366_zps6khmmwvs

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

img_9368_zpsl6ylcoz7

img_9381_zps5fkj61bb

The Lujans

img_9373_zpsr6vex5sx

img_9375_zps987wcrc3

img_9378_zpss4effql6

Beach art work

img_9389_zpsfwccxiop

img_9399_zpsunbwjz6t

img_9401_zpsv1nqewlf

img_9404_zps6iuty7ut

img_9409_zpshjczcycf

img_9394_zps9mpyqr9g

img_9413_zpsuq0ba18b

img_9419_zpsbxc2daew

img_9424_zpssx0uokuw

img_9426_zps0clogcmx

img_9432_zpsjwoidyvr

img_9433_zpshjty6nc5

img_9434_zpsoeg6qbjt

img_9435_zpsfkleluxu

img_9437_zpscnp1zm9z

The whole display was edible. How yummy is that!

img_9439_zpsd1kpxjce

img_9438_zpsbc79xgkg

img_9441_zpsjntrx6hh1

img_9445_zpsgnkakhw71

~Rhea

Advertisements

Destination: San Antonio, Texas

Baby Friendly Activities for this Trip:

The Alamo

The Riverwalk

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

Make Sure to Bring:

Baby Snacks

Water

Baby Hat/ Baby Sunglasses

Carrier

Handheld Fan/ Cooling Mist

Stroller

————————————————————————–

Day 1

Drove to San Antonio for Father’s Day weekend because my grandparents (mom’s side) who are visiting from the Philippines have never been there. This will also be my baby’s first trip to San Antonio, she won’t remember it but a least she’ll have picture to go by with until her next visit.

Our first stop was the historical Alamo

img_7922_zpsorlawnk4

Another enjoyable way to tour the area

img_7927_zps66vcr6g2

img_7920_zpszwombxgr

My little one sporting my creation; Pip and Tumbleweed.

img_7945_zpspbejltcg

Not too impressed with the cactus and the heat

img_7947_zpsd386oolc

img_4937_zpsdxw8g1eg

img_4936_zpssc7jhpl7

img_4935_zpsntqploze

img_7966_zpsssahhtaw

img_7980_zpsfxymdzvq

img_7974_zpsk30gqhvz

One big happy family in front of the Alamo

img_7991_zpso5ondwso

Next stop was the Riverwalk and since it was too hot and it would be too tiring for my grandparents to walk the riverwalk, we decided to take a riverwalk cruise instead to se the noteworthy historical spots and buildings within the riverwalk.

img_7988_zpsv2waapp8

Poor baby fell asleep in the heat

img_7996_zpsllcopqpz

img_4947_zps5mfqkbtq

img_8014_zpsbu2yv3yd

img_8007_zpswae61two

It was honestly hard to enjoy the boat ride since Cassie was hot and fussy, always the case when we’re out and about. It’s a good thing I’ve been on one of these boat rides a few years back

img_4958_zpszvnfamqy

Dinner at Cracker Barrel

img_4959_zps3bna9tm2

img_4962_zpsefbtiru6

img_4963_zpsdj7jvyuk

Grandmy made Cassie try out a cowgirl hat from the Cracker Barrel souvenir shop. Too cute.

Day 2

img_4968_zpsrayao7kb

Happy first Father’s day to you sweetie. Cassie and I love you so much!

Daddy wearing Cassie’s gift and of course I had to get them the Marvel Munchkin…yes, he might be slightly into superheroes.

img_4969_zpsinccxq6l

Happy Father’s day Grandy.

img_4971_zpshwxzccnc

We didn’t even know there was In-N-Out burger in San Antonio until we made a wrong turn last night when we were on our way to Cracker Barrel for dinner.

img_4972_zpswgirrppr

img_4974_zpsgld5aqfa

Happiest daddy today because of In-N-Out’s animal fries. Surprisingly, people here in Texas don’t order it as much as they do in California, weird.

img_4986_zpspi9req7d

Before heading home, we passed by the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch…I’d have to say it is baby and senior citizen friendly since we were just sitting inside our car feeding the animals. Only problem we encountered was when some of the cars would take forever to move forward because they were having so much fun feeding the animals thus making the wait time long.

img_4981_zpsga6jfspa

img_8018_zpsbzue3nw4

Because of the Texas Summer Heat, the animals also stayed under the shade most of the time. It took us awhile to have them come over so we could feed them and take up-close pictures.

img_4978_zps919is5ug

img_4985_zpscqfywrkp

img_4979_zpsklgazyep

img_4977_zpszdxity6d

img_8035_zps219xo62r

img_8024_zpsjvvf6p6u

img_4994_zpshkhzbqut

Cassie’s first time to feed the animals.

img_5002_zpsgakthajr

And since we were a bit frustrated with the feeding of the animals at the drive-in safari, we enjoyed feeding the goats immensely at the petting zoo after.

Oh yeah, Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there including all the single moms. Hope you had a wonderful celebration with your loved ones.

~Rhea

Destination: Brownwood, Texas

In the area we live in we’ve unconsciously established an annual tradition with our neighbors of going camping on spring break. It’s gotten bigger the past few years with more families joining in and It’s great that we get to bond over hiking and fishing and campfire stories and a bunch of other outdoorsy stuff. Unfortunately, this year we had a conflict of schedule with our camping trip but my family decided to just push through with the plan for our own family bonding. Besides, it was Marco and Cassie’s first time “camping” so we ended up driving 6 hours away from home to Lake Brownwood State Park. I was a bit paranoid being a first time mother taking her almost-5-month old to camp, I had to google “What to pack for baby’s first camping trip” and that did help a little. The rest I had to rely on my own “mother’s instincts” to figure out what to pack and I’d have to say Marco and I did a pretty swell job. It really helped that I was breastfeeding Cassie as we didn’t really have to pack a lot of bottles and I barely even got to use my Medela breast pump since I was feeding her per demand during the trip.

Day 1

The Ramas family never leaves on time (except when we go to church) so being true to our nature we left the house late and even passed by HEB for some last minute groceries. Being the big family of  10 (including Cassie) that we are, we had to take to cars and convoy all the way to the campsite. The drive with Cassie was surprisingly bearable, she only started fussing the last stretch of the drive and it helped that I breastfed her during our stops. I really appreciated how my family patiently waited for Cassie to finish feeding before proceeding. And that is why I think they’re the best…EVER.

img_5642_zpsvsjcjbmm

img_5653_zps80sjvhfw

img_5650_zps8kzw322a

img_5625_zpsiu0r2oz8

On our last potty break, we accidentally stopped over a place that was known for their pecans and they were the most hospitable bunch. You could almost sample every single thing they were selling and they even offered pecan flavored coffee/tea for free.

img_5651_zpsdpf60nem

Mom relieved that we finally made it to the state park. Her face while checking-in. Haha.

img_5615_zpshacnsf0r

This is what our cabin looked like and it was a steal at the rate we got it for. The best part was it fit ALL of us..and more.

img_7533_zpsxmijidgw

This was how it looked like when we walked in. Sorry for the clutter, we were still unloading. 😀

The place had 5 rooms, three to the right upon entering and two to the left. Every single one of them had a full sized bed so obviously it was (1) Mom and Pop, (2) Me, Marco and Cassie, (3) Pauline and Marie, (4) Angelie and Nicole and (5) John alone. Paulo would have been his roomie if he didn’t cancel out last minute.

img_7532_zpsl26bh5af

Kitchenette right next to our room, there’s also another one on the opposite side of the cabin.

They also had two restrooms (not in picture), one located in each side of the house.

img_7534_zpswsjodnxq

OUR ROOM.

All the rooms in our cabin had full sized beds, it’s going to be a little bit hard for me and Marco to co-sleep with Cassie.

img_7531_zpsq7cogim2

Grandmy duties—mom changing Cassie’s dirty diapers as soon as we settled down.

img_5641_zpsciqvqzlq

Poor baby with her eczema, we set up her play yard and she doesn’t look too happy about it. All of her woodlands were present.

img_5633_zpsupgk3ghl

Munchkin Night after dinner.

img_5622_zpsewdyqbog

Marco teaching my siblings to play Munchkin. They loved it. 😀 Marco also told them some ghost stories before going to bed. Yep, I heard some screaming. Haha.

DAY 2

img_5698_zpsez8nrpms

Breakfast ready…Eating up before going on a hike with the family.

img_5608_zpsiwo1ruxl

We found the cutest bear at the campsite and her name is Cassie.

img_5628_zpsrbkc1qgx

Tita Jelly spotted on the hammock

img_5685_zpsk4kpgw51

We haven’t even started the hike and we already had to take a break to take pictures. The view was wonderful.

img_5647_zps1ykzuvm3

Cassie’s first hike ever and my first hike carrying Cassie, this is going to be a work out.

Notice how Cassie’s outfit matches my shoes.

img_5619_zpspoouz7gv

Trekked the wrong trail at the beginning, we only realized that when we saw signs for the actual trail. What a fail. haha

img_5640_zpswkk4xuzq

img_5664_zpsszcnvnnw

img_5676_zpseyqbtbau

img_5621_zpsi8dugjrx

Poor Cascas slept in the heat of the sun, had to slow down my pace as not to wake her up so I stayed behind the rest of my family for the most part.

img_5707_zps9f5bfu1b

Came across another camp site with smaller cabins at the end of the trail, the skies were beautiful so I had to take a picture.

After the family hike, my family and I headed back to the cabin to freshen up and have lunch. We spent the afternoon driving out of the state park to check out the local area for flea markets and antique shops and we found a few.

img_5681_zpssvtl8e9u

An antique wooden horse, a vintage rocking chair and a porcelain doll—-all would make a good horror story.

img_5614_zpsqixmr8ae

Can’t believe I considered collecting porcelain dolls at one point, my husband would kill me if I started one right now. He’d probably just say one word and it would end the conversation—Anabelle. Haha

img_5618_zps8kgijbse

Funny how they had a Filipino Sky Flakes can at the antique store

img_5630_zpsp6uaji83

Funnier how they were also selling a Philippine salt and pepper shaker set

img_7551_zpscbop7vh6

S’mores-ing with the family.

img_7556_zps5fjtqixr

The man behind the barbecue 😀

img_7548_zps6kpnwo2q

Daddy Marco baby wearing. Our little Cascas is wearing the squirrel onesie she got from Ninang Pauline and Ninang Marie.

img_7563_zpsoexvusyf

A family picture just outside our cabin

img_5610_zpsgd2zob1o

Eating out—literally, Thanks for cooking pop!

img_5629_zpsbv5ak3nb

Our poor baby was pooped from the night’s festivities, here’s our little Cassie in her squirrel onesie and her woodland friends.

Day 3

Driving back to Houston but first things first, Sunday mass at the closest Catholic church within our route—St. Mary Queen of Peace.

img_5649_zpsc1y0obbu

img_5696_zpsnwraa4ea

img_5605_zpswitd61cq

What a very welcoming community, two random strangers just approached Marco to tell him how beautiful our family is and how beautiful Cassie is. I’m feeling very thankful and very blessed at this moment, just got reminded how much love I have for my big family and my little family. Thank God for moments like these, we miss you Paulo!

And yay, we survived Cassie’s first camping trip (with a little tweaking ofcourse), next time we’ll be ready to rough it out in real tents.

~Rhea

Cassie’s First New Year Celebration

Last 2015 I had expectations, call it New Year’s resolutions if you may, I thought they were pretty simple and quite doable. Looking back, none of those expectations panned out of if they did it probably worked out in a way I would have never imagined it to.And yet for all the irregularities in my life I am beyond grateful because in the end those irregularities turned out better than I expected. Thank you God! I’m so excited to be starting this year with the little creature that completes our own little family.

The Borromeos were nice enough to invite us over for New Year’s Eve and since Sienna Plantation has its no-fireworks policy, poppers and snappers were the best we could do. And of course since it was also Paulo’s birthday, we spent New Year’s Day dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse for the birthday boy’s request—steak! Cassie was nice enough to make us enjoy both gatherings by (mostly) sleeping through it.

img_1696_zpskhdht2ex

img_1672_zpsn3vldcsn2

All strapped in, heading to the Borromeos house

img_1676_zpsrrim3pji1

Ooohh…lechon belly.

img_1684_zps63oijb6r1

My little Cascas still asleep

img_1674_zpsjl3eyilm1

Waiting for 2016

img_1689_zpsrnojxj9q1

Our little family

img_1682_zps9fzbznky1

img_1692_zpspkxs23wk1

Cheers to 2016

img_1694_zpseuiqdrjk

The birthday boy and his cake from Cheesecake Factory. yum!

img_1693_zpspiyxankg1

Grandy and Cassie

img_1717_zpspvf2alfy

Grandmy and Cassie before Paulo’s birthday dinner

img_1726_zpsz8ryhnfu

img_1729_zpsvo2s1beu

Paulo, the birthday boy with his birthday dessert

img_1725_zpsehlvrnbn

One last family picture before leaving 🙂

img_2310_zpspyz3nd1i

Fur-ry goodness with my little sleepyhead.

img_2306_zpsyuuxkubm

Mommy’s OOTD

img_1703_zpsnul91gv8

Cassie’s OOTD (taken right before we left for Paulo’s birthday dinner)

Happy New Year to one and all!

~Rhea

Black, White and Pink—We’re Having a Baby Girl!

My LaVista family decided to throw me a “simple” baby shower/ despedida party for me and Marco before leaving for the US; they opted to do it at home with close family and friends. On the morning of the baby shower the winds were blowing our tents like crazy and the rain wouldn’t stop pouring. Since everything was pretty much DIY except for the food (we had it catered) we had trouble doing the set up, we were scared that the winds might tip over Mita Wee’s crystal stands for the candies and might just blow away Mita Bo’s tea cup collection but I swear as soon as the baby shower started the weather turned out for the best. We didn’t expect the food to be more than enough too so I’m sure that God was with us during this baby shower.

This was literally a “Ramas-girls production” and it was a complete success. To my lovely aunts, Mita Bo and Mita Wee, who planned this entire event, I really appreciate you doing this for me. Thanks to Dada Benj, Mita Bo (tea set up) and Mita Wee (prize table set up) for throwing the baby shower and for allowing me to take part in the execution. Ate Roma and Kuya JJ for helping us with the pink goodies for the goodies table (we had pink fondue and pink kropek that wasn’t food-dyed, mind you), Paolo and Brianna for helping us with balloons and putting up the decorations, Eunice for the cute baby girl yumminess, I mean cupcakes that handed out as giveaways and all the manangs and manongs at home for helping us with pretty much everything especially the set-up… Thank you for this labor of love!!!

Here are some photos from the Baby Shower:

DIY Invitations I made using free printables online, ended up with invitation #3

My DIY Baby Wishes Printable Onesie Cut Out. I made it specifically for this baby shower

The actual onesies cut out we had printed on cardboard

Got some cute baby shower laundry pins to hang the wishes for the baby and placed them in one of those lace cut out cans that were left overs from my wedding last year

(Laundry Pins: from 168; 3 for P100/ Lace Cut-out Cans: from Target; $1.00 per can)

Can’t wait until Cassie gets to read these

Foldable fans for the guests

Our DIY set-up for the wishes/ prize table

How dainty, tea anyone? #TWG

Yes—our “Spriki” is a girl!

Fascinators laid on the center for the guests

Merienda Cena set up at home

The first few guests our the baby shower

My DIY word scramble printable. It was pretty simple, Microsoft Word all the way

With JC, Jasper, Ate Princess and Janine

Pastries and Dessert for the sweet tooth

Cupcakes care of my cousin. They were gorgeous, thanks Eunice!

Strawberry Fondue

Baby Bottle Game

Diaper Game

The winner of the Create-your-own-bag Game

My pretty aunts—the Climaco girls

My younger Climaco cousins 🙂

Our Ruiz de Luzuriaga/ Mendezona Family

Our Odilao/ Bisnar/ Lim Family

Our Climaco/ Ramas/ Sullano/ Ros Family

The “old” UP crew 🙂

My cutie pie god son, Mateo

Have a cupcake, thanks for coming guys!

~Rhea