Bye-Bye Student Loans!

It’s official! As of today, I am no longer paying for student loans!

TIME TO CELEBRATE!

Three years after graduation.

Two different jobs.

Took a cruise to Mexico.

A trip to Chicago for July 4th and SC to my alma mater.

Next up my CPA exam!

Dear Valentine’s Day

Dear Valentine’s Day,

When I was in elementary, Valentine’s day was an excuse to get candy and throw a class party.  All I had to do was buy a box of valentines cards, sign my name, and throw one on each desk. EASY!  In High School, it got a bit more complicated. Everyone is wondering who your valentine was or you’re wondering if someone would ask you. It was a big deal. In college me and my girlfriends took ourselves out until one by one we got boyfriends and/or husbands.

This year I have no boyfriend and I don’t have that group of girlfriends to go out with anymore. Even though I’ve spent a majority of my Valentine’s day ‘alone’ I’ve had time to reflect and observe other’s traditions of this holiday.

Why is it that friends don’t do things for each other? Better yet, why is there so much emphasis on one day of the year to let that “special someone” know they are a special someone to you? (How lame are those terms anyway? Special someone)  Why can’t this one day of expressing love be lived throughout the week, month, year, and decades? Instead we cherish our loved one one day of the year. Ever so often the day after Valentine’s day we find the words written on the Valentine’s card are as contrary to how we feel less than 24 hours later. How sad.

So how about it Valentine’s day? Wouldn’t you like to be celebrated every day instead of once a year?

 

CHRISTMAS: Got to mix things up a bit… Part 3 of 3

 

Read first post HERE

Read second post HERE

CHRISTMAS DAY.

At Cousin J, Cousin Jo, and Cousin Jul’s house. They are losing their house 😦

 
 

The Ladies...

Smiles

Aw, precious ... Their wedding is in July.

Eating

They had time to fall asleep ... lucky!

Now… the purpose of the 3 part post of Christmas day.

The Mystery Machine.

This van used to be ours. I remember car-pooling in that miracle van since 3rd grade. We extended family used the miracle van for all of our excursions. It held ALL of us. In later elementary my dad gave it to my uncle. I completely forgot about the van until it made a miracolous appearance 🙂

Of course we needed to take a picture with it!

Did I mention we love to mimic Forever 21 poses?

Apparently some of them are still on the Forever 21 pose.

For these next pictures… you’re going to see the angle change. In order to get the van with everyone in it and to have the flash actually make an effect on the picture my sister had to place the camera in the middle of the street. By the way, the “town” we were in is called Richgrove; population: 2000 approximate. My cousins happen to live on the last street of the town.

So camera in the middle of the street my aunt is watching for any oncoming cars. It’s supposed to take 3 pictures on self-timer.



#1 Self Timer picture

#2 Self-timer picture

#3 Self Timer Picture

Maybe now you know why I’m so random and crazy, kind of 🙂

 

CHRISTMAS: Got to mix things up a bit… Part 2 of 3

Missed the first part? Read here!

Continuing on from my last post…

Now everyone wants to go outside. Play some basketball. Etc.

I’m looking for my boots to join them… I can’t find them! I see other brown boots that are NOT mine.

I give up looking and stay inside to join the older folks with the karaoke. (I hear you: typical.)

They also went caroling without me. (New tradition)

 They went next door and were given $4 for their crooning serenade.

Such manners… as they relayed the information my bro J took the money. Cousin Ry yells “SCORE!” as they’re walking away… Someone also adds “JACKPOT!” to the shouts of surprise and thanks…

Apparently, there were some cute guys in the audience mix. To console myself by missing the cute guys sighting… I say… “Oh well they’re [Cousin Jul & sister D] still in college they’re probably like 19s.”

Cousin Jul: No! They were in college. Cousin J saw them to!

Cousin J: Yeah.. they were cute.

Cousin Jo: MAN! I missed it.

Me: Were they black?

Cousin Jo: You like them bros?!

Me/Cousin J: Duh, she dated a black guy for 2 years…

Cousin Jo: dude! I didn’t even know you like them bros!

Me: Uhm, yeah! Lol. FOUND OUT! Hahaha.

Somehow the conversation steered back to the cute guys.

Cousin Jul: I didn’t even notice them because an old guy answered the door and there was little kids running around.

Me: How do you know it’s not their kids?!

Cousin Jul: It’s probably their cousins!

Me: Oh no. I’m not signing up for no baby mama title.

Cousin Chuck: Oh yeah.. that’s what they were looking for. Good thing you didn’t go Mel.

Cousin Jul: You guys are so messed up!

And with that conversation we wrapped things up at this house and proceeded to say our goodbyes, hugs, and “see you tomorrows” to everyone…



Packed up for the next house. It was 7:30 pm.

And what did we do?

Can you tell we love taking pictures together?

Cousin J and Cousin Jo

Sister wanted to be in the picture too!

When the tripod is setup; more people can get in the picture

 

Yes, we are weird and random. Ok, just me 🙂

 

At this house we continued our gift opening from this family.

We continued our caroling to random people (my cousin’s friends).

One more post left 🙂

CHRISTMAS: Got to mix things up a bit… Part 1 of 3

Christmas eve day.
Arrive in Bakersfield at 1:30pm.

Eat. (The most important part) (Of course, after I hugged everyone and their mother)

My cousin Toby showing us his madd piano skills.

Paused for a picture.


Sing and goof around. (My auntie provided the entertainment of goof around-she fell back against the chair she was sitting and was conveniently caught by the plant and the wall.) Needless to say, only 2 precious souls tried to help her get up while the rest of us were stuck cackling in our seats.

After setting her straight. I mean the chair straight.

Ugly sweater contest. (New tradition)

Supportive Audience

 

 

Ugly Sweater Contestants

White Elephant Gift Exchange.

 

Prepping for gift exchange

Hard at thought. Which should I choose?!

 

 



My bro J gets the gag gift! Girl's hott pink swim shorts!

We hit a lull. It felt like it was 10 pm. It was barely 6:30 pm.

 

I mean THEY hit a lull 🙂

 

We were soon revived with Pinta time. (New tradition)

Here comes Benjamin Franklin.

Getting into candy ready positions.

The first batter up... CHARGE!

CHARGE!

CHARGE some MORE!

Happy with our prizes!

**Notice some knee stains?

Gift Opening.

 

Gathering around...

Showing off our AERO shirts.

Excited about our mugs!

 

 

Happy Happy

 

To be continued…

In the spirit of Thanksgiving . . .

Thanksgiving this year is different. We’re home without the many family members that usually comprise our family holiday gatherings (family gatherings in general).

Come to think of it…it shouldn’t be that weird for me not to be surrounded by family members during my college years. Every year at college it was a different state and surrounded by different people. It was still the same… I spent it with people who loved one another, cared for each other, and had unimaginable blessings.

My blessings this year? It’s been a hard year but I learned things about myself that I would have never learned had it not been a hard year. I learned things about others as I went through this hard time as well. I learned things about my God because of my hard times.

I’m thankful for my family. No matter what happens and no matter what the outcome of my life I will always have them and they will always love me.

I’m thankful for my friends-here, nationally, and abroad. We’ve been through many different life phases and each one has taught me more about life and encouraged me spiritually.

I’m thankful for a church I have the opportunity and privilege to serve at. The 4-5 year olds I teach and the 2-3 years old I watch. I thoroughly enjoy playing the piano for RU Friday nights.

I’m thankful for the RU ministry. It’s been a place I can come to and be surrounded by people who are striving to run the race as I am with as few distractions and weights as possible.

I’m thankful for God’s mercy, faithfulness, and longsuffering. If not for those 3 characteristics I would not be where I am today spiritually, physically,  mentally, or emotionally.

It’s an uphill battle but shame on me if I ever thought anything worth gaining was easy.

Thank you! Thank you!

Received another award October 9th. Unfortunately, I was unable to relish in this award until now BUT better late than never! 🙂

Thank you Princess Diaries for such an award and the kind words that went with it!

 

As a side note but one along the lines of thanks and compliments, I received an indirect compliment yesterday. I say indirect because it wasn’t said to me, to my face, but relayed to me by a trusted source. I say trusted because the compliment-or and the trusted source are good friends, to say the least.

I digress, the compliment: The guys are missing out… Melanie is a good catch.

Guest Blogger: 100th Post

Hey Mel’s blog lovers! =]

I’m Marlize from Every Girl’s Corner and today I get the honor of hi-jacking this blog for a super guest blog post. I am the 100th blog post! Sweet hey?!

The reason I got awarded this greatness was probably because of sympathy…Every 50 comments I have a guest post and Mel was the lucky winner of one of those spots. A few hours later I stupidly noticed I missed my own blogs’ 100th party!! Sad, sad, sad.

After I miserably posted a blog post about my lack of attention, Mel promised me the honor of getting this 100th post. She really is that amazing!

So in honor of the celebrations I will list a few things I love about Mel and her blog!

  • She is blatantly honest!
  • She does the coolest randomness posts EVER!
  • Even after she was told she can’t eat most food, she was still positive!
  • Her awesome ‘bad parking’ photos!
  • She thinks I am a good writer =]
  • Her ‘no-nonsense’ attitude!
  • She knows what she wants, even if others’ don’t understand it!

Basically, it comes down to this…Mel is a great person. A wonderful blogger. And an amazing friend!!! I am so glad to be part of her 100th post celebration and to know I was on the road with her to here. Even if I jumped onto the road a little after the starting line =]

Let’s all raise a virtual glass to her and hope we are all together again for the next 100! Or even 1000 =]

Have a party cupcake! Mel, hope you can eat cupcakes…. If not….

May I have it please?? 😀


All pictures are from We heart it.

Happy 50th Birthday Dad!

Many of your friends know you to be a guy who knows his stuff-cars, carpentry, plumbing, finances, directions, and electrical wiring. They would most likely describe you as the guy who’s always smiling and care-free.

To me, you are more than just the dad with the corny jokes and the dad of all trades. You are a person who has greatly influenced my life. Allow me to share my dad for a brief moment.

My dad is a silent leader who leads by example.

My dad does not have to tell me what kind of man I should marry and how I should expect to be treated, he shows me in the way he treats and interacts with my mom. He shows me in the way he sacrificially and willingly provides for the family.

My dad does not have to tell me to spend time with God. I see him everyday before I leave for work-he sits on the couch by the window or at the bar stool in the kitchen. I see him hunched over in prayer or with his glasses on reading his Bible.

My dad does not have to tell me to work hard and do my best. I see it whether he’s putting in a new window, checking on all the cars, or cleaning the kitchen.

My dad does not have to tell me how to spend my money. I know. I see the importance of saving money. I hear the messages left on the answering machine from Investment Companies. I see the mail with the Investment software inside. I see him looking through the papers and notice the items on sale.

My dad does not have to tell me to help around the house. I see him cooking dinner, cleaning up after himself, and washing the dishes.

My dad does not have to tell me he loves me or that I have his support. I know he does because of the actions stated above and so much more I have not mentioned. Even though I know he loves and supports me, he tells me anyway without any coaxing from his wife or family.

Everyone has an example in their life. My dad happens to be mine and I’m thankful the Lord has given him 50 years may God bless him with many more!

Amang’s Father’s Day


Saturday I drove to Delano to meet my family there. I got to stop by Sonics-got myself some popcorn chicken & strawberry limeade. Yummy!

It was even yummier that it was happy hour-my drink was less than a dollar 🙂

No one was home at my relative’s home when I arrived in Delano. Luckily they leave a key out to enter the house. Let’s just say I had 5 different keys and 4 different locks to open before entering the house. I told my cousin “If a murderer was chasing me I wouldn’t even try to get into your house-there’d be no point”

Around 5pm I drove to Amang’s convalescent home. My family was sitting around. Dar was taking pictures, of course. My Lolo loves pictures, probably where us Torres’ get the love of being in pictures from.

My grandpa is 82 years old. Things have changed since Enang has died, his wife. She’s been gone for about 8 years now. I suppose losing your spouse does that to you. Albeit, he’s still quite a character to be around.

I gave him a hug and sat on his bed listening to his stories. He looks alot better from when I last saw. I was glad.

Ilocano is a hard language to understand since I didn’t grow up around that dialect. Although, I’ve picked up a few words and phrases along the way and can usually decipher what is being said-only if Amang is talking because he talks slow. Unlike my uncles and aunties who spout off a mile a minute with the volume and tone of the ilocano language!

He was talking about his truck. I remember that truck. He crashed into a ditch once around Christmas time. It was a really nasty green dingy colored truck.

The conversation goes everywhere whenever Amang starts talking. Somehow we ended up telling him we were going to Uncle Jose’s house (Funny story to come about that sometime-I won’t insert it here because it’s unrelated) Anyway, while he is telling his story my dad interrupts him  (because of our prompting) to ask, “What is my name?” Amang stops talking altogether and stares at my dad. My dad is smiling and us siblings start to giggle. We know what’s coming next… His answer: “I forgot”

Through all this his dinner arrives around 6pm. We tell the nurse that brought it in that he doesn’t know our names.. so she asks him… what’s their names? Is this your son… Amang’s answer: No…

Yet, he can remember stuff that’s happened when he was still in the Philippines raising his kids. Once he told us off when the war was going on.

He was a soldier. He and Enang needed to cross a river to get away from the enemy soldiers and the bridge was out. He told Enang, “I will carry you across the river only if you marry me.” She told him “No.” Obviously, she relented, allowed him to carry her across, and married after the war.

Back to his dinner. He told us (nurse included) he was not eating. The nurse left and we tried to coax him to eat. He finally told us why he wasn’t going to eat. He wouldn’t be able to eat later if he ate now. What?! Amang where are you going?!!?

Apparently, we didn’t know he had decided to come with us. Ah, Amang. Both of my grandparents are stubborn-the majority of us cousins have received this trait as well. He was adamant about not eating and coming with us to Jose’s house. Luckily it was still early and he was able to come. Visiting hours are over at 8pm.

Later on when my Dad dropped him back “home.” My dad told us Amang didn’t want him to leave. Nurse to the rescue, sort of, said visiting hours were over and that my dad will be back tomorrow.
Amang: “Ok, bye!”