Because It is Still Easter in Some Part of the World

Yesterday was a day spent with the boys at home, eating barbecue ribs, garlic honey shrimps, and that undeniably Filipino dessert concoction, the halo-halo. We couldn’t go out with the boys because Alphonse still has a fresh wound on his ear (he had a second operation, maybe another story for another day). And so, instead of bringing them out, we thought to celebrate at home with the hopes that maybe Alphonse wouldn’t feel so bad about being cooped up for so long.

In the few minutes before Alphonse woke up yesterday morning, however, I took pictures of my larger Sylvanian rabbits as my Easter photo for this year. I didn’t have time to set-up my dolls and critters so this had to do. This is a bit late as Easter has come and gone where I am but because it is still Easter Sunday somewhere in the globe. I am posting this to wish everyone a  –

SF Easter rabbitsMay the spirit of our Risen Lord be with us always,

with love, friendship and peace for us all!



Catching Up

DT (short for desktop- DT’s my new nickname for it) is back but still seriously lacking in chops. I’ve gone back to using DT and taking Lappy (nickname for my laptop) out for really short spins (usually late at night when Havoc– my arch-enemy nickname for Alphonse when he is on destroyer mode- is fast asleep). So far, so good. Some of the programs have yet to be re-installed (maybe over the weekend when I have a little more time) but since I can already surf the net, write my articles, and blog hop, then the wait won’t seem such a bad time, after all.

Alphonse (left) and Alex (right)- how time flies!

Tomorrow, Friday, June 4, 2010, is officially my son’s first day of his last year in high school. My, time really flies fast. It really just seems like yesterday he was getting ready for preschool and now here we are, just a year before college. 🙂  

With first day classes looming over us, we  are all winding down from this long, hot summer. It’ll be hard getting back into the rhythm of the schoolyear; summer had us spoiled with late movie nights and play-athons over the Wii or the PlayStation that getting to bed early promises to be a huge chore. Even Alphonse, with his strictly regimented bedtimes, did not prove immune to summer’s siren call. There were many times during these last few months that he kept us up till two or three in the mornings. And as fun as it was for all of us to stay up till the wee hours of the morning, our bodies did pay for those late nights, eventually.  Boo. Aging can be no fun.   

This week, too, I turned a year older. We hadn’t planned for anything big this year- no hotels, no out-of-town jaunts, no party- and we were happy just to stay at home and celebrate with the boys. Perhaps, my only disappointment to the day was that A could not be around to celebrate it with us- a first, really, in all the 24 birthdays I have spent with him. Too bad my birthday fell on a workday with loads of important things  that could not be postponed for another day. We did have dinner for two and a movie later that night. 🙂 And yes, yes, yes, I love my presents! (Guess what?)

If there was a surprise to that day, however, it was that I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages I received on my birthday, on facebook wall posts and private messages, on multiply private messages, and even through email. I hadn’t gone online till late that night and what I saw just about blew me away! Thank you to everyone who made me feel loved and important. What a great way to end a birthday!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, folks. Be safe and be blessed always!

Sylvanian Anniversary Surprises

This years marks the silver anniversary of Sylvanian Families ((シルバニアファミリー, Shirubania famirii) and it is expected that collectors all over all the world would soon be splurging on new anniversary releases by midyear, if not sooner. It was P-angel, one of my blog friends, who gave us the heads up on these collectors’ editions, found at angel smile’s eBay site (look for

Britain and Brazil

SF Countries: Russia and China

SF Countries: US and Spain

 Apparently, and I am speaking as a newbie collector, these limited edition items are a repeat of a 2000 release of SF World Parade critters in various national costumes. You can see them in Beverly’s Sylvanian Village as she has one of the most comprehensive and most enviable collections of Sylvanian Families ever. China and Spain have already been done in the 200o release, albeit with different costumes. These come at a hefty price, around US$33.50 for each set, but I bet the price will go down once the items are released in larger quantities.

This anniversary year will not only be marked by special releases of figures but also of new houses, a new hotel, playsets, and even costumes. The rumor mill is also rife with stories of another Sylvanian Family Party in the country around midyear; I am hoping that Ban Kee gets into the anniversary spirit and plans for this push through. And while we’re asking, how about a local exhibit, much like those seen abroad? C’mon, Ban Kee, this would be fabulous for collectors and noncollectors alike.  Harbour City and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong hosted these exhibits from March 22 to April 11 of this year. If you want to see a glimpse of the Harbour City exhibit, visit this flickr account by satsumabug– she has really cute photos of the event.

With so many items to choose from this anniversary year, it’ll be hard to decide which are must-haves and which can wait. Of course, one’s purchasing power dictates one’s collection and SFs are generally expensive (though they are trying to remedy this by coming out with less expensive sets). However, if the Sylvanian Families’ 25 years in the fickle toy  business is a measure of its staying power, I am sure that cost aside, it will remain a sure hit for years to come.

A Smile & A Celebration

Thank you to all who sent in their well wishes to Alphonse, be it via text, email, facebook, or this blog. We really appreciate your kindness and concern. Alphonse is well again! And just to show you that my big boy is fully recovered, here is a picture of him smiling. Mind you, a smile is a rare commodity when he is sick so when he does flash us one, it means he’s back to his old self. 

Alphonse is gorgeous, if I may say so myself (that’s his mom talking).

Don't you just love his smile?


While he was sick however, he alternated between sullen sulking with soft sobs and horrible tantrums with bloodcurdling horror-movie screams. If you can imagine the scene where little Jack-Jack (of The Incredibles) finally reveals his superhero powers, well, you can imagine us in the role of the unfortunate Syndrome trying to hold a shapeshifting child (Jack-Jack transforms into fire, metal or imp on demand) on tantrum mode, with superhuman strength to match. This smile, caught on camera, is a welcome relief  to those Jack-Jack days.  


Sunday last week, two days after the onset of his illness, Alphonse still had a slight fever and was still vomiting. He could not take in much solid food and needed more sleep and rest. Our niece’s 15th birthday party was set for that night but Alphonse was still in no condition to leave the house. We had to “eat and run” and hope that Alphonse would not miss us too much in our absence.

Arielle, my niece,  is my brother John’s daughter. At 15, she has grown to be a young woman with both smarts and beauty. (She got her mother’s slim genes, thank God, and none of my family’s fatties. ) More than physical attributes, however, I am grateful that Arielle is as sweet today as she was as a young child. She is not a brat, and though spoiled with affection and material benefits as an only child inevitably is, she is kind and compassionate.

We all love Arielle. Alex treats her like a baby- carrying her around and hugging her all the time. She laughingly protests against this but lets him all the same. I can think of the many ways Arielle has brought happiness to our lives. But perhaps, I love her best when she shows kindness to Alphonse (even when her cousin terrorizes her at times).

I remember that when she and Alphonse were toddlers, she yielded all her toys to him, even when he didn’t ask. She shyly handed him her toys, a kindness Alphonse acknowledged with soft grunts of approval. One Christmas, she gave up a favorite doll because Alphonse would not let go of it. Alphonse loved the doll to death (minus a leg and  an arm and clumps of hair).

When he loped around like a young buck and bumped into her, she never said an unkind word. She never even cried. As early as three years of age, Arielle knew compassion and accepted Alphonse’s differences with love.

But yes, Arielle is a teenager with normal teenage desires and angst. I think she got some of my genes too as she and I share common passions for Hello Kitty, dolls, and yes, Facebook. (I am trying to influence her with Sylvanian Families but her dad won’t let me, heehee.) They say Facebook is a cultural phenomenon, a sign of these times, and nowhere is this phenomenon best seen  than in families that spend time in Facebook together- like Arielle’s family! She is so into it that her parents had this beautiful cake  made especially for her.

And what is a Facebook addict suppose to do, even on her birthday?  Why,  go online on Facebook, of course!

Cousins Alex and Arielle- online in the midst of party!

Happy birthday, sweet Arielle!

All I Wanted For Christmas

When I was a little kid, I always got the least number of gifts. On Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been distributed, my siblings and I would retreat to our individual corners of the living room and open our gifts. Because I was always bigger for my age, except for my parents, no one ever gave me gifts of toys. Mostly, they were “useful” stuff like socks, underwear, or clothes. Sometimes, they’d be school things, like a book bag, or art sets, or stationery supplies (Sanrio naman). It didn’t help that I only had one baptismal godmother, and she lived abroad, too far to send any gifts then. While my siblings opened presents from their godparents, I had none of my own, and would wistfully compare my meager loot with theirs.

There wasn’t room for envy, though. After all the rituals of gift-opening, my siblings and I would hunker down and play. My younger brother Jeffy, with his eighties’ robots, would ally himself with troops of my older brother’s GI Joes. My sisters’ Barbie dolls would set up house, only to be demolished by an invading robot-Joe army. We all had a rousing time. Moreover, they all shared their presents of toys with me, and sometimes, would even be naïve enough to swap them for some candy canes (I got Voltes V’s arm for this), or staple wires (I think I got a doll for this), heehee.

I thought about all these when two large boxes arrived for me  on the second week of December. They came much too early in the month for the actual celebration, but each time I opened a box, it was like Christmas morning. And this year, unlike all the previous years of my childhood, I got all the toys. 🙂

Now, here’s where the fun begins- Guess what I got for Christmas!

(Warning: this post is picture-heavy.)

Continue reading

“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

Michael Corleone’s famous line from Godfather III haunted me this weekend while A and I made our way to the cash register with a 35th Anniversary Hello Kitty nohohon in hand. I have not made any significant Hello Kitty purchases in the past three months, save for some miniatures from Re-Ment and Sanrio which were meant for my Sylvanian Families dollhouses. At each time I was tempted to buy anything — be it a Hello Kitty bag (my personal weakness) or holiday decorations (like the fabulous red and white HK Christmas tree skirt) — I was weighed down by having to choose between Hello Kitty and Sylvanian Families. I ended up favoring the latter most of the time, thus, leading me to believe that I was finally over my Kittymania and that I have become a sober,  recovering HK addict.

That is, until the presents started pouring in. First, there was the pink HK umbrella and small plush from my sister-in-law. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of them.) Then came a queen-sized ultra-soft pink fleece blanket from my sister Joee.

My loving husband surprised me with a very pretty Hello Kitty charm bracelet (with extra charms) purchased in Hong Kong by a friend 

and topped it off with New Year’s Kitty fortune tree and a Minna No Tabo Lion Dance dragon doll.

And lastly, the gifts that finally pushed me off the wagon of restraint — a battery-operated HK toothbrush (surely this thing tests the limits of dental care cuteness),   

an elegant black HK plush from MAC with a MAC Couture lipglass,

and — holds breath —  a Hello Kitty Barbie doll. *screams in delight* 


Thank you, dearest Ondine and Jun, for the lovely gifts. I feel really spoiled.

It isn’t easy fighting off the demons of your addiction, not when the ones you love are your greatest enablers. And while this consuming passion for all things Hello Kitty is hard to shake off and really seems destined to be a lifelong pain in the pocket (to my husband), at least I have reached a point where choices are possible. I no longer feel the need to buy everything in sight just because a mouthless feline flashes her ribbon at me. And because I think before I buy, my purchases are truly more meaningful in my life.

Now, presents… Hmmm…those are another matter altogether, heehee.

P.S. Since we’re doing really well with pictures, here’s another one, the nohohon A got for me this weekend:

Christmas In The Family

A with nephew JR

Finally, with the holidays fast coming to an end, the presents have almost all been given away. Alphonse’s stealth missions (aka Operation “Open-and Destroy”) have been thwarted quite successfully, save for two separate occassions when he managed to unwrap, destroy, or eat the presents before we can get to him. Gifts we have not yet sent out are locked safely in the spare bedroom, all scheduled for this weekend’s delivery run.

The truth is, despite my complaints, I loved Christmas this year, as I do every year.  Alphonse, for all his unrelenting mischief with presents, actually did quite well this holiday season.  Even without a teacher (who went on leave for the holidays and left us without a substitute) and even with unexpected major blips in his schedule (family gatherings, reunions, and impromptu visits), Alphonse held himself together rather well. Of course, sometimes, one could hear Alphonse’s bloodcurdling screams echo in the house, and whenever he could find an audience, he would whine, whimper and protest in his crackling man-voice. Still, there was nothing more serious than horror-movie sound effects, and for that, we are extremely thankful. 

Joyce, Roel and JR

On the 19th, we shared an early Christmas dinner with A’s sister, Joyce, and her family. We don’t often see each other so this opportunity to come together was extra special for us. Joyce, Roel, and JR spend the yearly holidays with Roel’s family in the province so this would be our only celebration with A’s side of the family for the entire season.  JR kept us laughing throughout the night, as he regaled us with songs and stories. We sang karaoke with him, rapped and danced, and simply goofed around. It’s always nice to have a little one in the house (though he’d be the first to say that at seven going eight, he is not so little anymore).

The Christmas Spread

On the 24th, it was Christmas Eve with my parents and siblings at my parents’ home. We managed to complete the cast of five kids and their spouses and children (just four on our side, and three almost fully grown at ages 16, 15, and 14), as well as the special guests for the night, our cousins whom we haven’t seen in a while. Anj and Ernest brought their three little ones – Enzo, Pao, and Gab; Yna and Windell came with Naomi and Noah. Then there was my little nephew Sese, my sister’s son, who at age two, amazed us with a ballroom dance routine (you should see him tango!). These little kids made the difference in an otherwise adult celebration. It really isn’t Christmas without little kids in the house and watching them scamper and play, they brought so much joy to the celebration.

Here are some pictures from the celebration:

Yellow and black are the colors of our Christmas.

A and Kittymama, tired but happy

More yellow and black

Holiday cost-cutting: Christmas and campaign shirts in one

Daddy with the early attendees

  From left: Yna, Windell, Noah, Daddy, Ate E, Arielle, Naomi and Kuya J

My favorite photo of the season

It’ll be New Year soon, and on the start of the year, we pray for love to grow in our family. We pray for God’s grace for our parents  and continuous peace and love in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Some are not here, and some have made a choice to distance themselves from us, but wherever they may be at this moment, we think of all of them with fondness and with love.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!