My Gratitude Journal

Our first week apart

My daughter Sabrina is having a great time before she settles into her school in London. After dropping off her stuff at storage, she finally had a chance to explore her new surroundings and her new school. She sent me some pictures of King’s College in London. It looks so majestic and regal! Watching her snaps on Snapchat of her adventures in London and on her trip is so exciting. What a cool vibe it is over there! Afterwards, she was on her way out to go on a mini vacay. She visited Dublin and had a great time. Her next stop was Prague with a slight layover in Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam!

Amsterdam. Photo cred to Sabrina

I still remember walking the streets of Amsterdam late at night with Sabrina in a stroller when we stayed in Amsterdam for a couple of days. She was only 18 months old. I bundled her up in her thick pink winter jacket and an extra blanket so that we can walk and explore Amsterdam (at night). It was a fun adventure. I remember it so vividly because it is one of my favorite memories. I would love to go back to Amsterdam with Sabrina!

After Amsterdam, Sabrina went to Munich. Her main reason for going to Munich was to attend Oktoberfest, a beer festival. I know that she was really looking forward to it and it seems that she had a great time.

How exciting for Sabrina to experience (and re-experience since she is an avid traveler) so many different cultures.

As for Josh, the first week for him was very hard. He missed his sister so very much. Sabrina made a picture frame with a couple of pictures of them together in it. When Josh misses her, he looks at that picture. He also placed it on the table near his bed so that he can look at it before he goes to sleep. Unfortunately, it makes him miss her even more.

He also looks into her room (so do I).

Where’s Sabrina…

When he misses her, he opens the envelopes that she left for him. So far, he has opened the “open when… you are sad” and “open when… you miss me”. It makes him feel a lot better. He also goes into the box that Sabrina made for me with all the little papers with sayings on it and picks one to read. He realizes that he keeps picking the same one which says “Have a great day”. It makes him smile.

Everyday, Sabrina and Josh and I text with each other. We also had a chance to video chat a few times. Josh looks forward to her texts. He loves texting with his sister and updating her on his life.

He went to Red Lobster to eat his favorite, snow crab. While there, he took a picture of a lobster and sent it to her. I took a picture of his food (because that’s what foodies do). He loves the process of eating a crab. It’s so messy but fun.

He tried out for flag football, picked out his jersey size, had his first practice and bought some really cool football gear. His favorite are the sticky football gloves. He can’t wait to wear his cleats.

He also went to a new dentist. This dental office is geared specifically for children. He liked going there because the hygienists are so gentle and so nice. He also liked watching a movie while he was having his teeth worked on. He watched Finding Nemo. Later the hygienist let him pick a movie and he picked Ice Age. We were there for almost 2 hours! But the good news is that he has no cavities. He especially enjoyed taking the panoramic x-ray of his teeth. He is excited that he might need braces. At the end, he got a toy! Wow.

The first week was hard but Josh is doing much better now. Sabrina was so worried, but that’s what loving big sisters do.

Today I am grateful for loving big sisters, little brothers who love their big sisters, London, Amsterdam, adventures, different cultures, fond memories, snow crabs, sticky football gloves and smiley faces.

My Gratitude Journal

Goodbye Presents: She’s leaving on a London plane

My daughter Sabrina is leaving today for London. She is working on her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at King’s College. She will be gone for a year.

We have been spending some good quality time together before she leaves. At the end of one of our days of fun, she gave me a goodbye present. It was a box that she decoupaged herself and filled with little pieces of paper with little sayings that she wrote and a cute little book called “Why You’re So Awesome”.

It was my turn to give her my goodbye present. I wrote quotes, advice, encouragement and praises on cards and pasted photos on the back. She loved them!

We love giving homemade gifts to each other!

She gave her brother a great goodbye gift too. They were envelopes filled with notes that he can “open when…” One is “open when you are happy”. Another one is “open when I leave”. She instructed me to make sure that he opens it when we get back from dropping her off to the airport.

Open when….

She is leaving today. We are leaving in an hour and a half to drop her off at the airport. We are very sad and will miss her terribly but we are so proud of her for following her dreams.

Dream big, Sabrina. Reach for the stars.

My Gratitude Journal

TGIF list for this week

What a fun and eventful week. It started off with a bang because I took a couple of days off from work. I took Monday and Tuesday off to spend time with my children. My daughter will be leaving for London in September. She will be getting her Master’s degree at King’s College. We are savoring and treasuring each single day before she leaves. We are sad that she will be so far, but happy that she has such a wonderful opportunity to better her future and in London of all places! We are also extremely proud of her. What an accomplishment. She will only be gone for a year, which makes it easier for me to digest the fact that she will be so far. Also, knowing that she will come back to visit during Christmas and that we will visit her in London makes it easier as well. We are very excited for our visit to London. We are also going to Paris and Ireland while there. I better start working on renewing my passport!

Greetings from Earth

It was an adventurous Monday which started with the solar eclipse on August 21st. I love August. It’s such a fiery month (if you’re a Leo, you know what I mean) and with the solar eclipse energy shift, it’s extra fiery this year (roar). But back to the eclipse, I decided not to buy special glasses and instead we used a welding helmet that had a rating of 13 to view the eclipse. We were careful not to view too long or too much just to be sure that we didn’t damage our eyes. Plus, we are in California, so it wasn’t a total eclipse, it was a partial eclipse. I think we only had 63% coverage of the sun. The eclipse started at 9:05 with a peak at 10:21. It was great to spend the morning together viewing the eclipse. I also made a viewing box and we took turns viewing the eclipse that way as well. It was a fun DIY project that actually worked well.

What’s in the box!?!

Our adventurous Monday was not over after the eclipse. We had afternoon tea which was a treat my daughter decided on as one of her going away events. Pinkies up! We both ordered afternoon tea. We had egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese and curried chicken salad sandwiches, a butterscotch scone with clotted cream and three tiny desserts. I chose an almond coconut green tea and my daughter had a cinnamon chai black tea.

Pinkies up!

My son ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and was so excited that it came with a fruit cup and gummy bears along the sides of the plate. His choice of tea was a mango tea which he ordered as iced.

I’ll have a sandwich with my gummy bears, please…

Afterwards, we went to the mall to do some shopping which is rare for me because I don’t really like going to the mall as much anymore. I prefer online shopping so I don’t have to deal with the crowds. We had a fun time shopping together. We ended our day playing Family Feud online together. It’s our latest obsession and a fun way to spend time together. My daughter gave me a goodbye gift which is a box filled with affirmations, pictures of us together and a little book filled with 50 “awesome things she loves about me”. She had been asking all week if she can give me her present and I finally said yes. I had been putting it off because it makes it more real that she is leaving for London. It is a very thoughtful and heart filled gift that I will treasure forever. When I miss her, I will open one of her little notes. I can’t wait to give her mine.


Our Tuesday was terrific! We went to Universal Studios. It was a weird but fun day because there was a power outage in the morning, so most of the rides were not working or experienced technical difficulties and glitches. We waited in line at the Despicable Me ride for a long time until they realized that the power went out. We left and went to the tram ride. The tram ride was hilarious because for some attractions, like the King Kong one, the audio wasn’t working and but the visual was working, so the tram guide had to do the sound effects himself. Also, everything else was working so we our tram was shaking and we were getting sprayed with water. It was kind of fun. It definitely was interesting. All of the attractions experienced some sort of technical difficulty or glitch. Jaws was frozen half way out of the water so we didn’t get to see him. We didn’t get into Studio 50. Fast and the Furious was also interesting because once the action started, only the audio was working and the tram was shaking, but there was no visual. My son was looking forward to that one and he didn’t get to experience it fully. Also, my daughter said all she could hear was my laughter. I couldn’t help it. It was so funny. We went on the Harry Potter ride and the ride got stuck when we were right in front of the tarantula. Yikes! The highlight for us was Water World. It ran smoothly with no technical difficulties. Even though it’s an “old” show, my children really enjoyed it because of the stunts, studio effects and pyrotechnics. It was a great show.

OMG, it spells POOP…

Wednesday was wonderful because it was the first day of school for my son. We were all ready to go. We had his school supplies all packed up, his hair was freshly cut, his uniform was new and freshly pressed, his shoes were new and clean and we had his summer homework all done and ready to hand in to the teacher. Josh had math homework to do which he completed and he had to read Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. His book report was to complete a cereal box based on the book. The name of his cereal was Fudgy Peter O’s and they were described as fudge covered oat cereal in the shape of O’s and P’s. We didn’t realize that when he drew the cereal as P’s and O’s, he spelled out POOP a few times. He swears he didn’t do it on purpose and I don’t think he did, because I watched him draw them sporadically in the bowl. It was hilarious though. Josh’s first day was awesome. He did great. I forgot to do the traditional first day of school tradition which is baking cookies. I’ll have to make it up to him but he actually didn’t really realize that we didn’t do it. I guess it’s more for me than it is for him. He was happy because his big sister picked him up on his first day. She’s also going to surprise him and pick him up today. He really enjoyed this week because it was a short week with early dismissal at 12 noon. He is excited about his first school project which is a culture bag describing his family’s culture and bringing in treats. We will work on that this weekend along with going shopping for Mexican and Filipino candy. Josh and I love shopping for candy!

I am grateful for August, solar eclipse energy shifts, welding helmets, eyesight, days off from work, summer vacation, summer reading projects, thoughtful gifts from my daughter, expensive afternoon tea, glitchy rides, fake scary tarantulas, the first day of school, “I didn’t mean to spell poop” cereal boxes, and mostly, I am grateful for my children.