Monday, December 31, 2007

"Bulad" or "Tuyo" depending on your dialect....

Or "Gross" in my dialect:) This is a treat in the Filipino culture....little fishes...usually fried and eaten like popcorn. They smell so bad that cooking in the house is not a good idea. One time my mother-in-law was cooking them outside in the back yard. I came in the house through the front door(at the opposite end of the house) and the smell hit me like a ton of bricks....and she wasn't even in the house! That tells you how bad they smell:) BUT my sweet sister-in-law didn't fry them when we visited this weekend-she baked them so the smell was just a faint odor in the house.

This was the same night as Nate's birthday with all that pizza so the kids had already eaten before this delicacy was cooked. All the adults(except me) were feasting on this and other dishes when Sophia came to me and said "Mmmmmmm....what's that smell?" I knew what she was asking about....the bulad! She is truely a Filipino. She loves this fish, sardines(not the ones in the roll-top can), the pink shrimp paste, and all the things that make me a little nauseated:) She makes her Daddy proud:)

here they are coming out of the oven....not sure what the big pieces are....probably some fish jerky or something like that.

Sophia and the other kids didn't like to eat the heads for some reason. I am sure they taste just like the rest of the fish but how would I know! I think she just couldn't get past eating some animal's head!

yummmm.....give me more!!

here is one before being devoured!

the head removed and ready to eat!

what a treat!

the feeding frenzy!

I have grown to love some really interesting Filippino dishes but this one I just haven't even tried....but I am not a big fish person so that is probably why....oh and anything that smells as bad as this does just doesn't make me salivate. One of my favorites are the dishes made with ampalaya ( It has a certain taste that you have to get use to but it is so good to me now. Richard said they were made to eat it when they were growing up because it had so much iron in it but they hated it. It is 3x more bitter than brussel sprouts but a good taste.

Christmas with the Villamor's 2007

We spent the weekend with Richard's family-a holiday tradition for his family. We always have a gathering after Christmas and each family takes turns hosting it. We were supposed to do it this year but with Sophia's baptism and other events we asked if we could do it next year instead. We ended up doing it at Butch and Margelyn's in Albany which was perfect since Butch is recovering from oral surgery and needs to eat every 3 hours....full liquid diet, through a syringe since his jaws are wired shut. It was a low-key event with lots of fun and good food. Here are some pics of the weekend.

The girls came up with a "show" for the evening. Femi sang "Angels We Have Heard on High" while Laurie played it on the keyboard. The other girls hummed the tune in the background. They also decided they should dress in white (to be angels):). Then they did a dance to some song I had never heard....very cute though!

Here are all the cousins with their gifts. We draw names so each cousin buys a gift for another instead of buying for everyone. Then the adults each buy a $15 gift for the "Dirty Santa" game which is always fun. This year we came home with a fondue pot and a TV/Lantern/Radio combo.

Sometime during the night we take pictures of each family in front of the Christmas tree.

Junji (real name James-a cousin), Shiela, JaShiel, and Joseph

Dexter (a cousin), Rosell, Darrick and their twin boys Daniel and David. The older people are Rosell's parents here visiting from the Philippines.

The host family-Butch(a brother-real name Rommel), Margelyn and their girls Laurie and Lea. The Lola on the right is Margelyn's mom. The lola on the left is Richard's mom.

Bobet (a brother-real name Ronald), My-My, Femi (holding Bugoy the dog), Rovic and Kayla

Boyet (a brother-real name Randolph) Vic and Lourdes. Their mom - Shela - was on call this weekend so she couldn't make it.

Us:) We always get a picture of the family and then one with the mom (Lola).

(All of Richard's siblings have names that start with "R" and their nicknames all start with "B". Richard's nickname was "Boy" and it didn't stick-so he became "Ricky". The funny thing is his youngest brother is named Richzer....his nickname was "Bobot" but it didn't stick either because we call him "Richzer". Richard's lone sister is named "Rowena" but we call her "Babe". Her husband is in the Air Force and they are currently living in Italy.)

Since Nate's birthday is so close to Christmas(12-28) he is usually celebrating with all the cousins. This year he opted for the SpongeBob cake:)

And lots of pizza!

Friday, December 28, 2007

He's 6!

Nate turned 6 today! It is hard to believe he is this old. Before we know it he will be 18 and graduating from high school! ahhhh! It just seems like a short time ago we brought him home! He was a hunk-of-baby-love!! When he was placed with us he was 10.5 months old and he weighed 32 pounds!! So cute and lovable!! He would give the best hugs!!! He is such a wonderful son and we are so lucky to be his parents!

6 things I love about Nate....
1. He is a hard worker. When it is time to do his chores he does them so well. He is focused and gets the job done with little or no prodding from me.
2. He is eager to learn. He does very well in school and is self-motivated. He would practice his sight words on his own...I never had to remind him to study because he already did!.
3. He has a wonderful imagintation. I love to watch him play for hours with his cars, or trains or his most recent obsession-Bionicles. This is definately a child who plays well by himself!
4. He likes to be around little children....although he will deny this:) But when we babysit Nate likes to entertain them by doing silly thing that will make them laugh. I believe he enjoys little children because they idolize him(and they do whatever he says)....but I can also see the caring side of Nate coming through when he is around them:)
5. His love for his family. Although Nate aggravates us so well he really does love his family. He is always giving me ideas I can use with my preschool children and asking me how it is going. He tries his best to make us all happy....well Fia would disagree with this because he is always teasing her....but I know he loves her. Nate does not kiss anyone but he will give hugs. I love to get hugs and kisses before they get out at the school..... but I knew Nate wouldn't do this especially in front of the teachers that are standing there helping the kids get out of their cars(too embarrassing!). So what we do is I kiss my hand and then he gives me a "high 5". Now he makes sure whenever I leave the house(and he isn't with me) that I give him a "high 5" and a hug before I go. So sweet! The other day Fia wanted to give him a "high 5" also but he wouldn't do it. I said they could do the "fist bump"... or whatever it is called....instead and Nate thought that would be cool:)
6. His smile.....he has such a sweet one! I love to see it! And now that he is smiling for pictures again we will have it forever!

Happy Birthday Nate!

And thank you to Joy-his birthmother and Frank-his birthfather for listening to Heavenly Father as He let them know Nate was to join our family. I am thinking about Joy especially today and just wish I could give her a hug. I just wish she could see how her son is growing up into a fine young lad! She chose to stop contact with us and I sure wish I could talk with her again!

A face only a mother could love....

I don't remember how old I was when my mom made this doll for me....probably 4 but this was a favorite toy! My mother took some of my old clothes and stuffed them, added a carefully crafted head(snicker, snicker) and arms and even feet made from my socks to create this fun playmate! Who needs a lifesize barbie when you have.....just what would you call this??? ha! I don't think I named her but she did play football. I remember putting the black paint? (whatever that stuff is athletes put under their eyes) under her eyes. She didn't make the team but i still loved her!

Now the question is what becomes of her now? I think I will pack her up and send her to might be weird:) Maybe it is time to say good-bye. We threw her up in the attic but she somehow made it down(must have wrestled with that spider, huh Mom?) and now I am contemplating just tossing her....but that doesn't feel right either.

But my motto has always been "When in doubt, throw it out" so I guess it is time to say good-bye!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Nate woke us all up at 530am needing to go the bathroom....any other day I could have gotten him back to sleep but not on the day Santa came!! So we started our Christmas morning at 545(like the clock says). It was so fun to watch them open their presents. Sophia was estatic to get her telescope. Nate opened some gamecube games first and his response was, "why am I getting these games...I don't have a gamecube..." and then he realized what was coming. We made our breakfast and then opened the gifts under the tree. It was just a nice, relaxing, lazy day!

I always wonder if we are spending enough time talking about the real meaning of Christmas....enough to drown out the commercialism of the season. We have a few traditions that we carry out throughout the month that focus on just that and read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve but sometimes I wonder if it is enough. But then I think our celebration of Christ's birth doesn't just happen in December. We celebrate it everyday as we pray, read the scriptures, and by living good lives. I think I love the Christmas season because for a short time the majority of the world is focused on Christ and giving....wouldn't it be great if we could take that season throughout the next year?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Carols

I thought it would be cute to get the children singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and then we went into "Jingle Bells" where Trent really wanted to sing solo! Then Kylie saw her Mom. Too funny! Aren't they so cute!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Look at these cutie-patooties!

I have to be the luckiest gal alive because I get to spend Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

with these cute children! I love teaching preschool and look forward to the years to come!

Chase, Kylie, Patrick, Todd, and Trent

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sons of LaFayette

Man....I took some other pictures of Richard after his choir concert but they didn't transfer or is he after the concert with some of our friends who attended. This year they performed with the LaGrange Symphony and it was fabulous! We really enjoyed it! Richard really enjoys singing with the choir and they put on a great show. Last year a choir from Ireland came to perform with our choir so in 2009 The Sons of LaFayette choir will travel to Ireland to perform. I hope we all can tag along for the trip! (Richard looks really sharp in his tux....can't tell from this picture though;))

boys and their holes....

This is a picture Nate's blue jeans before I ironed-on patches. This particular pair required 3 on each knee and one below the back pocket. These holes are not intentionally created by Nate but are the by-product of his intense urge to slide whenever and wherever he feels like it. He can't just walk somewhere he has to slide to his destination-outside or in. Hence....all his jeans will eventually look like this. I sure love this boy of mine...even with his holey jeans!!

12 1/2 years old.....

and they still taste good! These were the mints from our wedding June 24th 1995! I don't know why I was saving them for so long! While I was rearranging my cabinets this weekend I needed the space for some new pots and pans so they had to go!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Letters to Santa

The kids wrote letters to Santa(on their own) this week and I just wanted to post what they say....

(you can actually read them if you click on the picture)

Sophia's said:

Dear Santa,

In the bag that looks like a raindear is raindear food. I've wanted a bell from your slay like in porler expres. A tellskop and ice skats with 2 blades. I want to see a pikcher of you too. From, Sophia Villamor

(could you decode that? I love how she sounds stuff out!)

Here is Nate's: (he did very well with his writing of it too but I will just write what it is supposed to say not how he spelled it)

Dear Santa,

What we want for Christmas is a dog that is not a bulldog and is not a girl dog, 2 bionicles, a race track with 35 cars that I always wanted.

He even put his in an envelope and asked for a stamp! For a while they were asking for an XBox but i didn't want to spend that much I tried to explain that it was too expensive and we couldnt' ask Santa for that to which Sophia replied "but mom, Santa makes all the toys!" and so I said we still have to pay for some of it! ha! That worked.

I wonder how many more years she will believe. I think rationally she knows but she loves a good story so she wants to believe. She has asked me a few times if I believe in Santa and I have either said "yes" or "it is fun to believe". It will be sad when that magic of the holiday is gone but maybe we will always play along even though no one believes!?!

Just as crazy!

There is a class at the gym that I crave sometimes....the other times i just go and am so so happy i went afterwards. It is called RPM-not sure what that stands for but one place I looked it said "raw power in motion" so i don't know;) I call it "spinning class". Whatever you call it you will definately sweat, get breathless, uncomfortable at times, maybe nauseated but afterwards feel so evergized and glad you came! The class typically lasts 48 minutes but some instructors will add-on extra songs to make it an hour or more! I love that! Give me more adrenalin!;)

Anyway....I love it and so do so many others at the gym that if you don't get to some classes 30 minutes before they begin you will not have a bike.

My favorite time to go is 520am. The gym offers 3 classes at this time and there are people who get to the gym at 445am(it opens at 5am) to wait so they can be sure to get a bike! I usually get there at 5:03am hoping I am not too late and am always shocked at how many people are already in the spinning room when I get there! One morning I overheard some members talking about how early they get up to get to class and that some mornings they get here before the gym opens and they have to wait in their car(the guy opens the gym at about 450am). I thought "they are crazy" and then I remembered that I had gotten to the parking lot at 449am and was just as crazy as they were!

Now I just need to get some spin shoes that fit!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

She's 8!

Enid Sophia Villamor turned 8 on November 17th. Everyone tells you "enjoy them while they are young because they grow up so fast" and it is so true! I can't believe I have an 8 year old and I can't believe I was blessed with such a wonderful daughter like our Fia-girl!

Here are 8 things I love about Fia-

1. Her smile. It is just beautiful and she is always flashing it!! When she was a baby I got this comment a lot: she is just the happiest baby I have ever seen! She was always so happy and such a joy to parent!! If I could have eaten her I would!

2. Her laugh! It is so sweet and infectious! I guess that goes a long with her smile:)

3. Her friendliness. Sophia has always had so many friends. When we are in town there will be adults as well as children she knows from school or the gym or whereever....but they will all say "Hi Sophia!" There was one kid she was in K and 1st grade with whose grandmother was so worried about her grandson not having Sohpia in 2nd grade with him! Apparently Sohpia kept him "in-line" and she didn't know how he would do without her!

4. Her desire to be with her family. Sophia loves to do things as a family. She loves to play games and just be together. Last year I asked the kids what their favorite part of Christmas that year was and Sophia's response was "just doing things together as a family". Just what a Mom wants to hear!

5. Her creativity. Sophia LOVES to create things. She will often argue with me about not throwing away a bottle or box because she could recycle it!!! Occasionally I have to go through her room and put those "recycleables" back where they belong!

6. Her personality-she is just someone you want to be around and it shows with all the friends she has!

7. Her snuggly nature- Sophia loves to snuggle and she will keep you warm at night for sure....until she kicks off the covers!

8. Her desire to learn-she is very inquisitive about new things and everything science. She is quickly out-growing my knowledge base!!

Below is the picture I took of her while she was watching a comedy show at Stone Mountain. It isn't the best shot but it did capture that smile I love so much!

Stone Mountain

Yesterday we went to Stone Mountain to see the Christmas Village they do every year. Back in the summer they were advertising a "snow mountain" that we would be able to sled down.....but since we are still in a drought....and creating a snow mountain would tons of water they cancelled that exhibit. We didn't realize that this particular evening would be so crowded was CRAWLING with people. That is something we try to avoid but we just toured the shops and tried to do the things the crowds weren't(they were there to see Santa apparently). It turned out to be a fun evening...and not so cold!

They had the trees and buildings all wrapped in lights. This was was particularly beautiful because it was naturally orange with the changing leaves still on it and then they had it wrapped in orange lights as well. It was my favorite!

One highlight of the evening was watching "The Polar Express" in 4D. They shortened the movie to 30 minutes but it was still magical and cool how they had the caribou sneeze on us and actual "wet" snow at the end.

Our 3D glasses....we are so cool!

Coca-Cola is a big theme at Stone Mountain too.