The Ugg Challenge

Being active has never been difficult. 

Staying active? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame.

When I taught PE last month to elementary school kids, I had no choice but to clean up my diet to keep up with seven classes daily. I averaged 12,000 steps a day and was sore and exhausted by the time I got home. 

All of that was worth it because I lost a dress size! Coworkers were baffled at how much I lost. I don’t think I lost that much but it was certainly noticeable in a short amount of time. 

Our trip to Disneyland last week challenged me to keep up the physical activity and even now, I’m finding myself choosing more vegan and vegetarian meals as well as getting better at saying no to junk food (I’m talking to you, sweet tooth!). 

Yesterday the kids participated in a race as part of the last final miles of the California International Marathon. They felt like they did better than last year eventually. The middle was upset because she thought she was last (she wasn’t and even if she was, who cares?) and the baby said she was going to pass out (she didn’t). In fact, they seemed to get better when they started getting freebies from vendors. It was truly a miracle that they recovered in time to go to the mall for lunch!

I was proud of them but realized too late that I should have joined them! I hadn’t run in a couple of years (yep, three half marathons in a calendar year prob wasn’t a good move) but I was wearing boots and there was no way I’d be able to go too far without hurting myself. The middle was sad that I couldn’t finish with her but she did it and she did superb! 


Good job, kids!

The Gray Growth

Like my father before me, I went gray in my thirties. It wasn’t noticeable until recently when I took the plunge to cover the gray and in doing so, I committed myself to maintenance schedule. 

In another time another beauty requirement to my routine would not have been a problem. I had the time, money, and most of all, the vanity to lead the way in quest for outer beauty. 

Decades later while I still struggle to find a new and more evolved fashion identity I am not driven as I once was. The occasional mani-pedi and the monthly box of Target hair dye was and is enough. 

But is it?

I get a lot of compliments on my hair color. The color ranges from a dark auburn to a light brown depending on what hair color I buy in a box. The color stays for a few weeks until it starts to fade… in a good way. This dark burgundy is fading which means I have a cool Deadpool red amongst my black and gray roots.

Gray.

I looked up different shades of black and gray and found that some women are wearing a black gray ombré. Others have even mixed in silver.

Then a light bulb went off in my head. Could I pull it off? Do I dare? Even if I don’t like it, I could go to Target and get another box, right?

There is a yearning for me to return to what’s natural even if it’s been so long that I’m not quite sure what natural is anymore. Maybe this change will help transition my hair for what’s to come. Now if only I can bring myself to pay more than ten bucks for this change, I’ll be set. 

Gah, even now I look at this picture and I cringe. Oh well. It’s not like you’re seeing this in person and even if you did I’d trust you not to stare. Thanks, kind reader of inconsistent blog. Aren’t you an optimist?

The Couch Challenge

The girls and I are off track this month (that’s year-round talk for a third of our “summer vacation”; we’ll be off track again in April) but the whole family has been celebrating for a couple of weeks.


You’ll notice someone missing from these pics… my husband! 

He’s almost halfway done with university but couldn’t afford to miss any classes and time from homework. 

Quite honestly, I think he was relieved to not come with us to the Happiest Place in Earth. We (I) take advantage of military discounts, including a great rate at the Disneyland Hotel where we started staying after R’s accident so he didn’t have to trek too far if he needed a break from the parks. Anyone who stays at the Resort hotels can get into the parks AN HOUR BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. 

And as you may or may not have noticed, I can be a little…

Intense.


I like to be in line before everyone else– we are in an line an but before the park opens.

I like to bring food from home– we bring pop tarts and fruit and drinks into the park.

I like to have a schedule.

I can’t help it.

But I can’t also help but notice that we were all quickly getting exhausted from early wake up calls and late nights so on the third day, we swam.


I would’ve had a drink too if I weren’t so hyped up about the next day. We surprised grandma with a special breakfast with some special people.


It was amazing and exhausting and was happy that R didn’t mind too much. 

Fast forward a week and here I am, updating my blog that I have neglected while everyone sleeps. R has to wake up at 4 am and the boy still has school. I was about to retreat to my favorite couch in the loft because I don’t want to wake up to R’s alarm when what to my wandering eyes should appear?

Three sleeping children without a sofa for me!

I thought about waking them and sending them to their beds because I surely didn’t want to wake up when R did.

But then I realized that if that is my biggest problem, I am pretty lucky.

The Middle Age Mandate: Part 2

I’ve decided to cut out meat to feel better and hopefully shed some weight. Despite a couple of setbacks this week in the form of my mom’s delicious Filipino food and a graduation party for my nephews, I’ve been doing pretty well. 


Clothes that were too tight a month ago now fit and I don’t feel as self conscious in most of my clothes. I still have a way to go and I hope I can continue to have mostly vegetarian or vegan meals. I feel good. Healthier. Less deprived more often. 


Spinach blueberry and banana smoothie with soy milk. (I’m not trying to be fancy; I’m lactose intolerant!)

I’ve been trying to drink these dense smoothies every morning before milk and with a bit of local honey to fight allergies, they’re pretty delicious! I get hungry after a couple of hours so I have to make sure I have a snack on hand or I lose my mind. 

I recently took a frozen pad Thai meal from Trader Joe’s to work for lunch and while it was delicious, I realize I felt famished after eating. There wasn’t enough protein in my meal to feed my hunger and I probably ate too much for dinner to overcompensate. I felt terrible for a brief moment and realised I now know that I need to have enough protein at every meal. 

My husband R has also changed his diet in a very different way. While I have tried to adopt as close to a vegan lifestyle as possible (my silly rules help me avoid sugar), he has chosen to cut out processed food and white flour/sugar/rice. Hes been really supportive of me and I of him. Our meals even overlap when I make quinoa salad or beans and rice. He’s even cut out tobacco! Of course, he is losing weight faster than me! 

I’ll keep you updated! 

The Lactose Latitude

Earlier this week my husband’s maternal grandfather lost his battle to Alzheimer’s. Yesterday we made our way across three states to the beautiful state of Utah.


We visited with his parents and his grandmother late last night and they seem to be doing well. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow morning. 

I have never been to a non-Catholic wake or funeral so I feel a little uncomfortable. Not because I don’t want to be here or at a non-Catholic wake but because when someone passes it is always a difficult situation. I am unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of my husband’s family. But we are here for them. 

We have offered to take care of lunch in the only way we can in the form of cheap pizzas. My mother in law cooked for 60 people yesterday so I hope this alleviates a little stress for the family. 

Speaking of which, a visit to the grocery store in search of nongreasy and semi-healthy food was extremely necessary. Now I’ve been eating a near-vegan diet for a couple of weeks with a couple of meat-eating days, here and there. But I’ve really felt the painful and at times, nauseating difference for the past two days. One, for indulging in Mexican food for a graduation party and two, for a grease filled day on the road yesterday. My body is not recovering like it used to. Dietary rules have gone out the window during travel and just for the overall gratitude that his family is feeding us. 

My husband’s grandfather was always kind to me, both he and his wife wholly embracing me and my family. While he will be missed by his large and extended family, his battle was a long and suffering. We will pray for him. 

Our view from our hotel room

Passing through Nevada 


UPDATE: The eight pizzas were scarfed down by 3 dozen people, including a dozen kids! Our greeting from the kids (all of whom I had never met before) when we pulled up was, “PIZZAS!” I lol’d.

The Creativity Factor

With the girls on a short break from school, the middle A and I joined my husband R for a day in San Francisco. 
Until recently, A would talk about how much she loved San Francisco, how it was the best city in the entire world, and how she was going to be a marine biologist when she grew up.

Now she doesn’t believe any of that.

What happened?

I’m not sure myself and if you’ve got a reasonable explanation, please send it my way.

Now she wants to move to L.A. and be famous!

   
   
I suspect this is normal for her age. I wanted to become a writer and work at BOP magazine. Remember that magazine? Remember Sassy? Ah, the memories. 

The only difference between my upbringing and hers is that I’ll encourage her to be whatever she wants… Within reason. 

Her godparents are part-time actors and models but they’re also graduates of UC Davis and highly successful in their careers. One of my best friends said it best when she believed our parents were right in pushing us towards practical majors that led to actual careers (even though at the time, my soul was crushed). R even said the other day that we are in a place in our lives where we can freely pursue our dreams with his retirement and my career. I’m still trying to figure out if writing is still my dream. Sometimes I look around and feel so grateful for my husband, 

  
(Pssst! It’s an old pic!)

my family, 

  

(Some of) my friends, 

   
 
and my job 

  
that I already feel like I’m living in a dream.

In the meantime, I want A to do both. She can go to college and prepare herself for a great career AND she can go for her dreams.

She can and she will. 

We had a wonderful time at the Chuldren’s Creativity Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens. I was afraid that the museum would be too young for her. Upon entry there are so many activities for toddlers and preschoolers but we quickly found other amazing exhibits for her age!

We made our own clay figurines and created a stop motion movie!

   
   
I’m a little obsessed with Doctor Who…

   
 
A even made her own video game. She created her character and levels.

   
   
If these are the kinds of experiences she needs to do both, I’m so happy I’m along for the ride.

   
 

The Leech Lesson

My first teaching job was terrifying. Back in the 90s you didn’t even need a teaching credential, an emergency credential sufficed. I was in the middle of my teacher ed program and didn’t even have student teaching under my belt. Still, that did not stop me from working as a teacher at the age of 23! 

Almost two decades later and I can’t believe how much time has passed. Even with eight years behind me, I still feel like a new teacher.

Nothing is set in stone yet but I’m mostly sure I’ve still got a teaching position in the fall. I am very excited to share some moments from a teacher workshop. See if you can figure out what we were studying…

   
   
My mom watched the kids since R was at school and the workshop was in the evening. They certainly got a kick out of these pics and wanted to know which ones were coming home with me!

Sadly I broke the news that the animals and plants belonged to the college lab. 

My mom was fully disgusted by this little leech since it reminded her of navigated rivers when she was a little girl in the Philippines! I can’t even imagine! I did pick up that little guy (okay, it was a dare from my esteemed colleagues) but it never latched on. Blecch.

 
P.S. I would never hold a tarantula. At least not that size anyway. That spider’s a fake!