Sometimes Quiet, Never Boring

Returning after trips to the “real world” are when the idiosyncracies of being based in a foreign country really stand out. Going back home makes life seem so easy – strangers intrinsically understand you, you share common interests/values/history with the majority of people that surround you, scenes are familiar, cars don’t have the right of way against pedestrians, when you see food on the menu you know what it is, it’s available and you get what you expect – little things that allow life to seamlessly flow with a natural calm…even if just for a few hours each day. When away from home there is still a daily routine which is sometimes the same, but dealing with the unexpected is the true normal. Not a day goes by without a head scratching moment, which are what keep things more than interesting. Throw two crazy kids in the mix and it’s hard to remember what easy was…or life any other way! That’s why even a month where seemingly nothing happened, there’s never a dull day. Challenging at times, but good times. Described best by the title of this song.

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The tranquility of a sleeping baby and their lily (aka blanky) would be considered normal, but in this family is rare

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This is our sleeping normal.

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Six people behind the counter for two tills is actually below average at Landmark. It’s one of those things you just adjust to and accept as part of the new normal, but is a regular topic of conversation with anyone not from here

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Refusing a bib and to be fed by others can’t necessarily be categorized as outside of normal, but seems fair to lump into the standard challenges of daily life category

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They sure take their karaoke seriously over here…and Amira wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Not sure if this is what is meant by kids yoga, but it’s how we like to do it!

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The only time Amira is sort of still is when she is a yoga prop

After “mastering” walking while in Canada, Everett is now on to running. It’s awkward and nerve wracking to watch, but he has very few teeth he can knock out as he bumps his face on everything. Mum did however notice a small chip out of one the other day. He  keeps the running in balance with playing on the swing (preferably the big kids swing of course) and the exploration of his artistic side. He absolutely loves reading books these days, and thinks colouring is pretty all right.

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The bottle opener smile. He’ll make a great hockey player one day if we can get him out of hot climates

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Big boy swing

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Give the man a book and a comb over and he’s good for hours (well, maybe a couple minutes)

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Everett exploring his artistic side on Papa’s childhood red bench

Along with running comes an increased appetite, and Everett is now eating pretty much everything in sight. If you are eating anywhere in the house he hunts you down and screams until you share with him. His big sissy has always been a great eater (makes up for being a bad sleeper), but it’s shocking how much boys can eat. Can’t wait for the teenage grocery bills!

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Helping himself to the cantaloupe

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Bananas are his favourite

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Rice is regularly eaten by hand in the Philippines and Everett is trying to embrace local customs

Immediately after learning how to ride her bike without training wheels, Amira also took up running this month with a 1km Fun Run at school. It inspired her to take up kale in her diet (without complaining), and take a few practice laps around the mall on runs with Papa. Just one of the many things she does in her relentless pursuit of finding new ways to manipulate her Papa.

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Amira ripping around on her bike

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Loading up on power greens for the race

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Never leaving her favourite man out, Mum busted out new runners for Everett on race day. He’s a shoeaholic…and so handsome!

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Made it in time to just miss the start. The other kids really needed a head start anyway.

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Mum says she looks as spent as Papa when he races. Atta girl!

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Next year we do the 3k!

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Don’t think she should be mocking Papa’s post workout sweatiness anymore

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A girl after her Papa’s heart. Peanut butter (well almond butter) right out of the jar onto the banana. Papa’s favourite bedtime snack.

Of course Papa allows the manipulation because at the end of the day they are ultimately after the same thing: keeping Mum on her toes. This is why there was complete elation at the recent discovery of a size XS motorcycle helmet at one of the local shops. That it was bubble gum pink proved it was a sign of destiny. XS fits both Mum and Amira, which means Amira is allowed to go on short rides within the neighbourhood. Passenger trips outside the bubble are limited to just Mum on date nights.

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No shortage of ham. The kid would also make a pretty good astronaut.

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Super excited to get out for her first ride around the ‘hood’

Amira also demands her share of date events. Sometimes with Mum and sometimes with Papa, but more often than not involving the mall next door. Sad, but malling is after all the national pastime of the Philippines. And while this month Papa was excited to be given tickets to the ballet at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, he quickly realised why all the stereotypes of watching ballet exist. Whatever makes his little girl happy of course…

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Amira at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

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Amira up at the stage

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Out for an afternoon ballet date

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Any day is a good day for ice cream, especially when you are in the Philippines. Date days make ice cream even better!

For all the demandingness that his big sissy commands, Amira sure loves her brother (usually too much) and occasionally even shares the spotlight with him. When she asked to organize his birthday, their parents were hesitant but willing to give it a shot. While it wouldn’t be a trip to Hawaii like she got when she turned one, his birthday would also be celebrated on a tropical Pacific Island (since he’s been on an 11 month trip instead of a one week trip). She did surprisingly well with the tricycle, pancake breakfast, the trip the Fun Farm and the banana ice cream. Any night that ends with a one year old getting to play with fire is good times. It’s still not clear how Amira is so bad a blowing out candles, but it’s always entertaining to watch.

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Wheeling and dealing to plan her brother’s birthday

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The happiest man on three wheels

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Birthday pancakes…and he didn’t even have to make them himself!

And while there was no Gran & Gramps, no helicopter rides, no surfing Santa’s and no delicious poke sushi (for the parents at least), the little man prefers a quiet and more modest celebration than his overzealous big sissy. Plus it’s really hard to get into a helicopter if you refuse to get out of your new tricycle. Yes, three wheels, a two man tire swing and lots of “doggies” (generic for any animal that he sees) you get to feed is all this little guy needed to keep him happy on his birthday along with the company of the aptan. Papa would like to use this chance to reiterate his thankfulness that the family is balanced at two boys and two girls.

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City kids at the farm

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Watching out for his ladies as they head out on for a boat ride

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Never thought we’d ever be feeding this many guinea pigs

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Everett was less afraid of feeding them than his big sissy

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Two kid swing

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Zip line time

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Marites even celebrated with her family.  (Ate pronounced ah-tay means older sister but is also used as a sign of respect)

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Amazing that it’s been 366 days already

Not sure if it was the birthday abroad or the recent trip home, but where the family propaganda to move home started was subtle once upon a time, it’s turned into Trump-esque in your face campaign with local insiders. While the sentiment to return to Canada is appreciated, patience would be preferred! After all it why make life any easier when the enjoyment comes with the challenges!

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I’m pretty sure one of the three grandma’s put the store up to this.

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Still searching for the hidden camera

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