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April 2013

Last Week...

...looked a little something like this:

April is coming to a close and by far it has been the most emotional, uplifting, successful, and definitely a "kick-start" to a new outlook on life in many levels. Perhaps it's because April is a time of year where I am used to "change" and "resurrection" happens to be this month's signature. This may be why our spirits soar!

I have been feeling great (is an understatement) more like strong, healthy, vigorous, and all around wholesome. I'm continuing to learn more about how our bodies function and what is vital in order for us to run "smoothly" to it's full capacity. This weekend was my first weekend allowing myself to my former cravings. Hawaii is well known for a lot of "good" food. This past Friday was "Eat The Streets" where thousands gather to try a variety of local foods from different vendors. Needless to say, the long lines was enough to veer off the cravings.. and I stuck with a Vegetarian Pad Thai. Then we had a Mexican Fiesta on Sunday with some delicious slow cooked Carnitas with all the fixings. I enjoyed every single taco!

I'm still reading and learning more about how certain food affects us/me. I'm slowly replacing a lot of what seems to be the norm for me to the Organic versions (such as the flour I use, the kind of milk I drink, to the spaghetti sauce). I'm replacing the chips for fresh fruits and veggies. All these subtle changes take time, then soon enough the cravings for all that "processed" stuff are fading too. It's also nice to have a supportive husband who tries all the new entrees (well they are not new, just the veggies we always pass up at the grocery store).

I am so thankful for the resources we have available and most importantly good friends that are on the same track (would be nice if we lived in the same state) but we constantly inspire one another and keep one another on track. So here's to replacing those bag of Oreos with maybe a delicious Paleo Mug Cake (which I've been making constantly).

2013 Project Life | Week(s) 10 - 14

Why yes, I still scrapbook!! April has proven to be a "busy" month with tons of celebrations and I've been terrible about managing my time and trying to make time to get on the computer. My priorities shifted (when I'm in bed by 9pm every night). But I feel more refreshed than I've ever been during the day which makes for a busy-bee-mama. I feel like I'm always on the go!

I think I left off at Week 10, when all was calm...


WEEK 10.



WEEK 11.
This is where it starts to throw me off, because I had that wonderful week with Keri, I debated a while wheter to use those photos and create an entire separate album or just stick in Project Life. But I realized.. those are the only photos I have that documented my week.. so I kept most of it in Project Life, making Week 11& 12 more than a 2 page spread.



Then it was Caelan's Senior Prom... So I had to add a few pages of his memorable night... (Notice blank spots..) I was hoping he would fill some thing in there...


These photos (below) I grabbed from his Instagram, great way to incorporate what my kids are doing..



WEEK 12IMG_9867















This also turned out to be a several page spread... It was a week of celebrations and remembering mom I wanted to all a lot of journaling and most of the photos for the week.







SO.. Not bad, I'm catching up. Luckily I have my photos organized and all I really need to do is print them and put them in these handy dandy page protectors. I do have another post lined up (if and when I hit "publish" we'll see). Till then Happy Scrappin!



It's not a diet, It's Common Sense.



It makes perfect sense doesn't it?

More Fruits + Veggies = Healthy/Happy/Weight Loss

I was hesistant to share much of our new outlook on eating and lifestyle because I didn't want it to be just a phase or fad, or even a temporary fix. I wanted to make sure that I tried really hard to adjust to this change and as the weeks went by, I have to say my body took a while to adjust. Little things took it's toll while adjusting to such changes, for instance coffee was my number one form of substance to get me going in the morning, through afternoon, and even evening. Going without it was a big difficult in the beginning. But soon enough Green Tea replaced my cravings and it sufficed. I haven't had a craving for coffee yet, but when the time comes, moderation is the key. Again, nothing bad about coffee, just that I love my "sweets" to go with the coffee (brownies, apple turnovers, cheesecake.. ) I'm also staying away from white rice, pasta, breads.. That in itself has it's own challenges. I grew up as rice being a staple in my meals, so this was a tough departure. I associate many meals with rice, but last night we had Kalua Pork and intead of rice, I ate it on a bed of cabagges topped with lomi-lomi salmon (fresh tomato and salmon salad).

It's been several weeks since I've introduced my body (and hubby's too) to this change of habits. The kids try the variations of fruits and veggies that I make, but they are still eating what they consider the norm. They've got excellent metabolism and all are fairly active, they are not getting old like us. But they do "see" the subtle changes and they are interested, granted they may not order a "veggie burrito" at Whole Foods but they will try it at least.

I've noticed while eating more "raw" than processed foods, I feel more energetic. I am up and ready to go at 6 am as oppose to dragging my butt out of bed. My days seem to follow a routine and I've been eating at least 6 times throughout the day. I keep fruits & veggies handy so that I'm never to hungry to turn to other things. Again, it's all about prepping when you want to eat right. I do most of it the night before and dinner meals are always planned ahead of time so that I know what to expect througout the week.

I have to say so far it's been "fun" and exciting what I can incorporate in my foods and most of all shedding the weight is always a plus. The way I feel througout the day and how my body feels is all I need to keep me going. Reading up more and following people inspire me everyday.


Sifting through old family videos all weekend gathering clips for Caelan's slideshow for his Graduation Party next month. Graduation parties here in Hawaii are pretty extravagant, I had a small (tented an area outside our apartment complex invited mostly everyone in my block) to my graduation party back in 1995. Now days kids are renting ballrooms (which we have) or his friend rented out an entire nightclub for the evening. So naturally we are going all out! We've got lots to plan as far as favors, table decor, photographer, videographer, DJ.. the whole nine yards. So as usual, I'm so last minute.

But I came across some old footage we haven't seen in ages! (We needed to find someone with a VCR, luckily my brother doesn't like to dump stuff). We hooked it up to our computer and have been sifting ever since.

Images of Caelan when he was barely 2, running alongside me or Rudy made us laugh, cry, and laugh again. Seeing all the places we have lived (started in California, drove to Texas, then cross country to Maryland) was amazing. Just seeing how far we've come from a family of 3 and now a giant 5, simply blows my mind. Most of all, seeing how quickly these kids grow, a reminder that kids grow up so fast.



Photos of Caelan and Ethan as toddlers and babies just brought tears to my eyes...(Except the one of me pregnant with Ethan, I was HUGE!)

(Side note) When Ethan was born, he did not make a sound at all! He did not cry or fuss, even when the doctors did the whole suction cup thingy. He literally came out wide eyed and curious, but he did not cry out at all. Eventually he did, he had to stay in the hospital for 12 extra days because of complications with his liver where they pricked his heel every hour for 12 days straight... (Just had to share that one memory of him).

Funny how I can't recall what life was like running around as a mother of two little ones, with a husband who was always so busy at work, I really had to buckle down and do things on my own a lot. I didn't think (after Caelan) I was built to be a mother.. but after the second one, watching the videos, I looked like a natural. So when Izzy came along, I could literally juggle three with ease (well most days).

Now that the boys are teenagers and my youngest is past single digits... it saddens me that they don't "need" me as much. But much like them growing up, I can't imagine ever being in that situation again. After I had Izzy, I knew that I was done, even as young as I was (only 26 years old) I decided to permanently be done with having any more children. And now as I watch my friends and family raise their little ones.. I know without a doubt, I'm ready for the next few chapters of my life.

In a few months Caelan will be in college and Ethan is right behind him. Izzy will always be my "baby girl" but I can see that "feisty" teenage-esque starting to unfold. Hubby and I often dream of traveling, just the two of us. I'd love to see where he grew up in Germany and I'd love to walk the streets of France.. knowing that these adventures are right around the corner, gets me a little excited, well the guilty-excited kind.. where I know the kids won't be with us as we venture out on the next chapter of our lives.. For now, I'll embrace "the now".


Remembering Mom.


It's been a year since she left us and last week, as we celebrated her life at the one year mark of her passing, the pain is still very much real and at times it's tough to stay positivie when my heart has been so heavy with missing her. Usually I'm really good at putting my emotions into words, but on that day I could not find the words that fill my head and heart. Then I came across this passage from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, in which one of the major characters lost her best friend, I felt as if someone had taken the words right from my heart and printed them on paper:

For the first time in my life I understood the meaning of the word never. And it's really awful. You say the word a hundred times a day but you don't really know what you're saying until you're faced with a real "never again." Ultimately you always have the illusion that you're in control of what's happening; nothing seems definitive . . . And I think that even a few seconds before dying, "never again" would still just be empty words. But when someone you love dies. . . well, I can tell you that you really feel what it means and it really really hurts. It's like fireworks suddenly burning out in the sky and everything going black. I feel alone, and sick, and my heart aches and every movement seems to require a colossal effort.

Losing my mother and witnessing it till her last breath was the most painful thing I've ever endured that left me shattered into a million pieces where each day I'm slowly picking up fragments of myself and realizing that I need the love and strength of others to do so, because trying to deal with it alone is too hard. And staying positive has been challenging, even on my strongest days.

I still live a great amount of "what ifs" and "if only I had more time" or "if I knew then what I know now.." Those very thoughts are the ones that seem to drown this soul of mine. I deal with those emotions on a daily basis, but it pushes me to be the best possible version of me as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend as possible. I seem to ask myself daily, "Did I do all I can to make it the best day ever?" Glad to say, most days are a "yes".

Another excerpt from that book:

Maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never. Yes, that's it, an always within never. Because, from now on, for you, I'll be searching for those moments of always with never. 


Despite the pain and the despair of losing my mother, there is still beauty in life. Loss will never be painless, but we have some control over how much we suffer. When we begin to focus on the beauty and the positive things in life, the suffering is eased a bit every day, bit by bit, and things start to look brighter.

My Little Runner.

My girl joined her school Track Team and last week I attended her first ever Track Meet.

She's been training so hard for this day. Practices start at 7 am Monday - Friday. So she's been up extra early and she takes the bike to school every morning. So she is out of the house by 6:45 every morning! I am so proud for her dedication to this sport she's never done before.

I have to say I was hesitant to allow her to join track when she asked me to sign the permission form, because she's the child that can't walk from one end of the mall to the next. But as always she persevered and proved me wrong. She was awesome at it and the best part is that she enjoyed it!


 She also celebrated her 10th birthday last week.

I'm not sure if this is the age where they simply don't want birthday parties any more, because she opted for "money" to go shopping and dinner with the family then a birthday party. She enjoyed a night out painting at the local Clay Cafe with her friend with a sleepover and the spent the weekend with a reservation for 14 at California Pizza Kitchen.



Since my last few posts, I am proud to say that I am loving my new outlook on eating clean.

I have been:

  • Eating Tons of Veggies & Fruits (Avocados are my fave!)
  • Baking Kale Chips daily.
  • Drinking Green Tea.
  • Forgoing all things carb.
  • Coffee Free. I have not had a cup of coffee for a few weeks and I feel fine. Coffee is not bad for you, especially the way I drink them, as an Americano. The reason why I quit is because I associated drinking coffee with having sweets. Those sweets are what's getting to me.
  • Loving Hawaii's array of fresh fruits.
  • Feeling really good, inside and out.
  • Using Quinoa as my "rice".
  • Noticing a clearer complexion.
  • Losing weight. I don't normally like to check my weight on the scale but I could tell my clothes getting a little more comfy.
  • Going to bed very early, every night. (I've been tucked in and snoring by 9pm every night).
  • Making pit stops to Whole Foods several times a week (and it's costing a bit much) but loving their variety of lunches.
  • Reading up more on organic foods and staying away from processed food.
  • Soda & Juice Free!  It's water or tea but mostly water!
  • Eager to learn more about the different foods and what it contains and mindful of what goes into my body.
  • In love with Almond Butter and Bananas.
  • Soy & Dairy Free.

I could go on and on... but I'm very excited and eager to learn more as I follow up and read on all these people who are on similar journeys. My hubby and I have been supporting one another and although I know he'd rather have a giant burger sometimes, he follows my lead and replaces it with a good chicken & avocado sandwich instead. There's so much more to learn and gain from this experience and I am excited to share this journey.

This Kid...

.. is going places!

Caelan is my fearless wanderer, a child with an old soul, who was meant to travel this world. He graduates high school next month. (I'm just happy he's staying on the island) but not for long.. I know he is gonna go places!

These were taken before his prom several weeks ago.


And uesed for his Graduation Party Invites:

His grandparents rented a hall for a huge graduation for him and the family! Very greatful and excited that he gets such a sweet surprise!


Last week was his final week of Volleyball. We enjoyed going to the games and supporting him and his team. This is his first year playing Volleyball and he did such an amazing job. Caelan has always been so versatile, in every aspect of his life (except the part where he cleans his room). But he is always willing to try something new and seeking that adventure. I remember last year he "tried" Cross Country Running in AK and he loved it. He's a hard worker by nature, always has been, nothing less than 100% even though there were times I didn't think he would continue, he always surprises me!



Change, with a side of meat.

Boy I could not even think of a title! Has journaling become harder or is it just me?

Life Happens, I guess.. but that's always the case isn't it? Finding that balance is a constant struggle but the lack of being on the web came during a "shift"in perspective for me.. Always finding ways to challenge myself, to change, to be better... and the latest change is just living a healthier lifestyle. I find that I can work out like a champ.. I can run for miles and not look back. But when it came to eating, I was horrible. Not making good choices, well obviously they "tasted" good.. but not good for me. So for the past few weeks... Change came in the form of finding ways to "see" foods differently. The first step is always educating yourself, and just re-evaluating our lifestyle. Well the first few weeks was spent doubting I could even accomplish such goals. Let's face it, I love food especially dessert! But this girl loves to eat, so naturally I was hesitant to think of trying another "diet". 

So no diets here.. I'm not following anything in particular. I'm simply taking this time to shift my outlook on food. Growing up in a Filipino home, food has always been the staple of gatherings. It's always present, some healthy, some we could do without. But it's the basis of celebration, its what brings people together. So growing up, food has always been consumed to "fill" me, not to "fuel" me.  That's where I needed to change  my train of thought, among other things. It's a process.. believe me, I want to stuff an entire red velvet cake in my mouth sometimes.

So what have I done?
Sounds a lot more simpler than it sounds.
"I am eating more fruits & veggies with sides of meat"


(Above) Some of my faves Roasted Cauliflower, Quinoa, Avocados (I eat them everyday!), mixed berries, veggie omelets, salad from whole foods (love Tofu!)

"So What?" It clearly does not take a health nut to figure out that you need more fruits and veggies. But for me, it takes some kind of super hero will power to turn the other cheek and say "Ahhhh" to more greens. I didn't exactly grow up hating veggies, I actually like a decent amount of them.. but the idea that meat was served in an teeny portion was something to get used to.

So for the past 2 weeks.. I've been eating tons of fruits and veggies, sans carbs, with some meat every now and then. There are days I went without any meat at all. (Hi-5 all the vegans out there!) But believe it or not, the mind plays a powerful part in consuming food. I believe you can train your brain (and taste buds) to do without many unnecessary things. Most importantly, I'm starting to see that we "fuel" the body not "fill" the body.

I've also been without coffee for 2 weeks. (That was clearly my choice). No rhyme or reason, other than the will power to detox caffeine out of my system.  Which explains why I'm in bed by 9pm every night.. but mornings are so refreshing. *Actually on Friday we stopped by Starbucks, I got a Tall Blonde, took a sip (didn't taste as good as I remembered it) and tossed it.  Not saying I've given up on my cup of Joe, just now replenishing with water.

Aside from the obvious of eating more greens and fruits... I've completely cut anything with dairy or soy. I've turned to Almond Milk or Coconut Milk as the basis of my morning shakes. Cutting this out combined with all the fresh goodness, I have been feeling so much better. I can tell the difference in the way I feel and the way my body reacts to the food. It seems more at "ease."

The thing with eating fresh fruits and veggies is you have to prep. It's the key!  Processed foods are so handy and always available. But a little more attention to preparing your foods and planning in advance is key.

Change makes you vulnerable. 

Change opens you up to new experiences. 

Change allows you to escape negativity. 

Change inspires you to start again. 

Change rids you of what you don't need. 

Change shows you just how strong you are. 

Change makes you accept what is out of your control. 

Change creates a climate of mindfulness. 

Change moves you into uncharted territory. 

Change frees you from the confines of routine. 

Change gives you a chance to seek freedom. 

Changes teaches you that everything is progress. 

Change saves you when you think all hope is lost.


When you see instant results whether in the way you feel or the way you look, it gets you excited for more. I have not incorporated exercise with this new regime because I knew the first few weeks were gonna be hard, well I knew I'd be tired. I depended on a lot of energy drinks and tons of coffee to get going. Eliminating them made me very tired in the first week.. but I seem to be finding my groove and hoping tomorrow could be day one of starting all over again and finding a good cardio + strength training work out.