Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fitness Friday: A Little Calm for Your New Year

So just in case none of us die tonight in a horrible, fiery end of the world inferno, I invite you all to commit to a new year of yoga with me in 2013! While I'm committing to another 108 days of the Ultimate Yogi come Jan 1, there are plenty of other awesome yoga teachers to check out if UY just ain't your style. There are so many styles and schools of yoga, that it can be hard to figure out what type of yoga is the best fit for you, which is why the American Yoga Association is such an awesome resource. They have information on where to start, how to find the right teacher, as well as other bennies like vegetarian recipes! There are so many amazing benefits to making yoga a part of your life, and what better time to start than after we've all dodged the end of the world!?

In other fitness news, some like-minded co-workers and I are putting together an Embassy wellness program proposal to help make health and wellness a priority for all of our staff. We're working with HR and MED to put together a comprehensive program that addresses physical fitness, stress management, nutrition, and other aspects of holistic wellness. Even better, there's an element of measurability so we can track progress and hopefully provide tangible evidence that a comprehensive work wellness program can have an impact on the overall health an well being of an Embassy. Now that would be a pretty cool cable to write! :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Call Us, Maybe?

It may not be the most polished of videos, but our team is pretty freaking awesome! Wish I hadn't been on ACS Outreach when they were filming :(

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Out of Sync Child

So it's been a while since I last posted about our journey with A. He continues to receive speech therapy through the school (which is totally awesome, I am super impressed with the services we received at the International School here - way better than anything we got in the States!). They even offered up a return to OT when it was written out of his last IEP. Unheard of in the US public school system where it takes an act of God to adjust a child's IEP. He also receives additional out-of-school therapy thanks to the Special Needs Education Allowance (SNEA) we receive through the FS. This allows us to supplement what he gets in school without having to hassle with insurance that might not cover therapy received at an overseas location.

We are really lucky in so very many ways. A has a diagnosis, he gets plenty of therapy from appropriate sources, he has a loving family that stays engaged with his therapy team, and he goes to a top notch school. And, yet, there are still so many things that can't really be addressed through his current therapies. His proprioceptive behaviors, his inability to relate to other children his age, his complete obliviousness to the world around him.

I came across this the other night, and it made me cry. It really sums up a lot of my feelings about our situation. Except that in our case, A is the youngest child so I am constantly, painfully aware of how different things are. Normally it is not really an issue, A is a happy and loving little boy, and I feel so much joy to be a part of his little world. But sometimes those differences just up and smack you in the face, and I am often not prepared for how hard they hit. I joked about A's behavior at his school concert the other day, but in reality I was heart-broken to see how completely oblivious he was to what was going on around him. As we followed his class out of the auditorium to say our goodbyes and take pictures, I watched as he tried to engage with another little boy in his class who looked at him with such disdain in his eyes. A was completely, blissfully unaware. It made my heart ache. Sometimes the hardest part of parenting is accepting that you have so little control. I just didn't think I would have to face that so soon.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I like you because you give us presents and bring us a lot of gifts that we want. I hope that you give me a special pillow pet that could have doggies inside of it. And I like pokemons. I was good all day. You are crazy. Just kidding. You're nice. Bring everything I want...please.

I like you because you are nice to us. I hope you send a letter to us but don't tell me to be nice to my brother because I don't want to. When I was in school I just noticed that I had a loose tooth, and now it is really wiggly. I always wiggle it when I wake up. We have been very good. We eat at the right time, and I help people in my classroom. When you come here we will give you milk and cookies...if you bring us presents.

...oh, and please bring something for the kids...or they'll steal my shit. Thanks.

Pu (and helpers)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Happy Hanukkah, Bitches!

I know it's a little early for Hanukkah cheer, but since I know I won't remember on the 8th, here ya go:

Friday, November 30, 2012


So after lots of work-y time, gots to get some Mommy-time in. I took Thus off of work solely to witness the wonder that was our first elementary school concert. First up - Kindergarteners. Their beatnik poet version of 50 Below Zero was breathtaking.

Even more moving? My son's courageous decision to stand in the middle of the stage with a scarf over his face following the performance. Stage fright or one man's touching interpretation of Pearl Jam's Force of Nature (one man stands alone)? You be the judge.

5 hours later* - 1st graders! Expressive movement set to orchestral pieces of Camille Saint Saens’ Carnival of Animals. No shit. J was an awesomely bitchy lion.

All the performances were moving in their own right, but the coolest part of the show? Two words. Live. Streaming. International school is so freaking cool!

*I admit - we took a break to get brunch and go grocery shopping.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Sorry for the lack of posting lately, it's been a bit busy around the Pu house..or outside of it as the case may be. In a nutshell, we went on vacation to Boracay.*

Then I ran back off to Baguio** for a silent auction to benefit an anti-violence against women non-profit, SAVE Our Women. I've been planning this auction for months, and the last few weeks have been as stressful as any project I've ever headed, so I was thrilled to see its successful conclusion. Thanks to some high-powered friends, we were able to score some huge donations for the cause. With over PhP 1 million raised, I think SAVE is well on their way towards their goal of setting up a half-way house for women and children fleeing their abusers and founding an employment program to help these women learn how to make a living outside of the home. It was a most incredible experience, and I am overwhelmed to have been a part of it.

Now I just have to get through the Mission Holiday Party (co-chairing with my girl K of Adventures in Serendipity fame), and I will be massive project-free!

In between my trips, I managed to squeeze in some quality Mommy time by watching J's first dance recital (they were butterflies, which, coincidentally, was also what I played in my first dance recital - big sis MR was a flower - oh the memories!).

*Awesome beach, great snorkeling/scuba diving, but way to many other people and waaaaaay too many Greenhills-like vendors up in your face trying to sell shit every two steps. My advice, try one of the Philippines many other gorgeous beaches - we go to Palawan next!

**By far my favorite place in the Philippines!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Sad Thing Is...

I would actually buy some of this shit. #IthinkImayactuallyownpumpkinbowls

And this is why we don't take art majors seriously, AinA.

Oh, almost forgot, GO BILLS!!!!! Now we just need to knock out the rest of our games and we'll be in the playoffs!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

How sad is it that I don't have any digital photos of myself in uniform?

We celebrated the weekend by watching the new Bond movie* with our friends G&P and taking a day trip to Tagaytay with the kids. We ate at Antonio's and hit up the lake and spent a small fortune on flowers and produce thanks to all of the stands along the road.** Antonio's is a great deal. By far the best meal we've had in the Philippines, and we only spent about $120USD for 5 people to eat lunch with drinks. The location is also gorgeous. It's basically a big, plantation like house that was converted into a restaurant, and you can walk the grounds between courses, which was a welcome break for the kids. There's also a big koi pond, which was a great kid draw, and they accepted A's order of "yummy egg, please" without hesitation, even though it was 1pm and there was no kids menu. Can't beat that!

*Pu review: very Bond-y

**Even outside Manila traffic is piss poor thanks to lack of infrastructure, so what should be a 20min drive turns into a 2hr drive and you end up buying things just to pass the time!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Happy Election Day!!!!

So it's a wee bit late to be posting that, but I was proud to do my civic duty many weeks ago when I mailed my vote in. It's kinda cool to be a voter in a state like Florida versus the last few presidential elections when I was a resident of Washington.

Husband and I were watching the election results trickle in on AFN during our lunchtime gym jaunt at the Embassy, and I marveled that the thing that struck me most about watching all those crowds of happy Obama and Romney-supporters was how much freaking personal space they all had!!!! It's the little things, people, the little things that you miss the most. While I love me some Asia, there's almost nothing I wouldn't give for some Western-concept of personal space/alone time.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Manila Shopping: Salcedo Market

So I wrote a bit about the Legazpi market a while back, but really it's the Salcedo market that's most well known. Salcedo is larger and has more diverse vendors. You can find everything from Cuban food to Vegan mushroom burgers. Salcedo has way more food vendors than Legazpi, and I think their meat, seafood, and organic produce selection is far superior. But while I like to explore Salcedo to dig out fresh new vendors, buy organic produce, and get fresh seafood, but I prefer Legazpi for its smaller crowds. After you've been living in a city where 13% of the country's population lives (oh, and that's just Metro Manila, not including Greater Manila)...well, you're always grateful for places with smaller crowds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Great Pumpkin Day

If you happen to live in a place that actually has pumpkins that it.* It's Halloween, ya'll! Like, the actual day here in the Phils anyway. We already did our trick-or-treating put on by the CLO a couple weekends ago, and we had our own adult Halloween celebration over the weekend. There's no real tradition of trick-or-treating here in the Philippines, but in some of the more affluent villages the kids do walk around a bit, though they're not really in costume. Our yaya took the kids around since apparently trick-or-treating only happens in daylight hours. So the only nod we had to Halloween today was buying Frankie Halloween donuts from Krispy Kreme *sad face*

So in the spirit of all things spooky - go out and watch thee a scary movie. Whether it's old school horror, new school gore fest, or classic spine tingler - according to this article you could burn about 200 calories just by watching a scary movie. So feel free to sit back and down a few snickers in celebration of the best holiday of the year, you've earned it!

*You can find pumpkins here, they just cost about 4x as much as they would in the US

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012