Family holidays

This sums up our tiring but happy holidays at the close of 2016 and the beginning of 2017:

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We ate a lot, and had much, much fun, especially the kids who played to their hearts’ desires. And if they’re happy, then I am happy. Plus we got to spend a lot of time with my baby bro. All in all, I was exhausted (getting old here) but then I can always rest after all the excitement has died down, and the memories will remain online (forever I hope) and in our hearts.

It is always a struggle to take photos of the kids, especially Maxine who is active more than ever! We cannot achieve that polished family look harhar. #real

Thank you Lord God for the gift of family and love. Thank you for the time we were able to spend with them. We may not have much, and we struggle most of the time. But we are together.

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A family affair

2016 saw us almost complete. Save for one of my cousins and an almost aunt-in-law, the Larenas of Cuenca, Batangas were under one roof. I just wish though that it wasn’t as obligatory as I felt. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t really feel that kinship that should be there as a family. I don’t feel close to them the way I used to with my cousins when we were younger. Maybe we’ve all grown so differently that we can’t seem to meet on the same plane. It was good to see them and ask how everyone else is doing but there was something missing there.

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Christmas away from home

For the first time in my 36 years of existence, I did not spend Christmas day in my own home. From my grandparents’ house to my parents’ house to our house in Taytay a few years back, I have always spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in wherever home I call mine. But this year, we celebrated the most important day in the lives of Christians in my brother’s house. I was actually very tired this year because I had to render overtime days before we had our Christmas break and I was always up at dawn to complete the 9-day novena for Misa de Gallo. But of course, I cooked our noche buena. It was nothing fancy–just had Christmas ham and cooked three kinds of pasta. The kids were asleep the whole time so we also didn’t get to have a family photo.

But everyone was happy that we were all together.

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The next day, we jumped house to my sister in law’s where the husband’s parents, siblings and our nieces and nephews were. Too bad we didn’t get to take any photo at ALL.

Hope your family also had a meaningful celebration.

Slumber party

Mischa used to have pajama parties in her old school during her Kinder 1 and 2 days. She had fun with her classmates then, and she got excited when I told her that it will be children’s party theme at the office this Christmas. What’s more, she can bring her little sister to tag along, but who had absolutely no idea what’s going on. lol.

The party hosts, who are also our staff, read a story to the kids (who are mostly kids of the staff, as well as nephews and nieces of some), did some games (which Mischa won), had a piñata, and of course, served Jollibee food (who could go wrong with that!).

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A fulfilled Christmas

Merry Christmas from this cutie patootie who is spending her first Christmas!

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And from the rest of my family. As always, it was a quiet event in our side of the world. My brother spent Christmas Eve dinner with us but left right away for work commitments. Went to mass the next day, which was also Maxine’s first. Too bad my dad was a little under the weather but thank God he got better as the day wore on.

Happy and peaceful would describe this special day. Happy birthday Papa Jesus! You are the reason for this season.

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Village party

One of the parties we went to this holiday is the first one organized at our phase in the village. Since all of us are new (all of us transferred just in the last two years), it was fun to see most of our neighbors at last. If you go to our side of Citta Italia, our house is near the Phase 15 entrance, so we don’t normally get to see the rest of the residents except those in our own street. All in all, I think there are forty households now. I am glad someone in our phase (I will call him Mr. Jess) has taken up the cudgels in keeping everyone in the loop through e-mail, and spearheading this first get-together.

I would be the first one to tell you that I don’t normally go out and “socialize” with the neighbors regularly. Sure, I would greet, wave and smile at them when I see them, but I am much of a homebody and prefer to be inside the house than out and engaging in small talk. I’ve lived in three villages, not counting my childhood home in Batangas province, and I have been pretty much this way for the past thirty years. This trait I inherited from my mother who also kept to herself in our family home. In the second home where I moved in when we decided to get married, we stayed for a while with my brother-in-law’s mother, who in contrast spends the afternoons either in the steps of the house, or some of the neighbors’, doing chitchats.

So anyway, really, I am glad for this street party. Everybody seemed to be family. Since we are all new, nobody had to welcome nor join. It was everybody’s first time!

We all brought some food to share, and gifts to exchange. The older kids at the neighborhood did some intermission numbers. Some of the uncles and aunties also let the kids fall in line for their pamasko, which is usually money, candies or small tokens. I hope we can regularly have one of these even if it is not Christmastime.

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