THEORY: The Weird Child

"They would call me weird. I was weird, a fun weird. But this is the funny thing about growing up, for years and years everybody is desperately afraid to be different in any way and then suddenly, almost overnight, everybody wants to be different. And that is where we win." - Mitchell, Modern Family. 

It feels like this was meant for me. I honestly do. :)

STORY: Amanda turns 7!

The day has finally arrived. Its Amanda's birthday party today. I feel kinda weird really since this would be our first kiddie party in a long time. Ever since Allea turned 7 we didn't have much birthdays to celebrate. Last kiddie party I remember was Amanda's 3rd birthday at McDonalds. I know its just 3 years but we used to have a party one after the other before, and every year! It just goes to show we are running out of children to throw birthday parties for, huh?

So, mom was treating this kiddie party like a debut. She had 2 outfits for Amanda to wear and she had all our outfits coordinated, too (Well, mom does the second one for all occasions so that isn't new. She would always have us wear the same color when we a have big occasion to attend to and for this event, we all wore white so the birthday girl would stand out.)

The birthday girl's dresses and shoes

Also, mom had cupcakes made instead of the usual birthday cake. Its convenient that my dad's office mate makes cupcakes so mom didn't have a hard time looking for someone to bake them. Dad's officemate even lent the cupcake tower for us to decorate and display the cupcakes in. Of course, I was in charge of getting that done and I think I did a pretty good job at it, don't you think? (Mom was the one who bought the furry violet and pink things on the side and I just placed them on each of the layers of the tower)

The birthday girl and her "cake"
I was assigned to assemble the tower and I was so eager to do so that I started right away while the staff were still cleaning the place from the party before us.

My creation. Pretty neat, eh?
I kept asking Amanda to twirl for me so I can get a good shot of her dress but she just won't stop running away from me!
It took about 30 minutes for Amanda to start nagging mommy to change her clothes so mom had to grant the birthday girl's wish. Too bad the late guests didn't see her first outfit.
My grandmother, Nene led the prayer before we started the program
A lot of Amanda's classmates and some other people couldn't make it to the event. Maybe because everyone was busy preparing for their Christmas Eve celebrations the next day already. It was quite sad that they missed my sister's birthday since we ended up with more adults than children at the party. The first game ended up being played by the adults since there was not enough kids for the game!
Top: (1) Nene & Amanda, (2) Tita Ann & Amanda
Bottom: (3) Allea and Bellai who are so grown up already! (4) Mom, Dad and Amanda for her I'm-an-only-child moment
More guests!
Top (1) Faith and Jose's Mom - Tita Alah (2) The lolas!
Bottom: (3) Me & cousin Jinin (4) Dad and his visiting friend from the US, Tito Mendo
Tito Tofee (Mom's former officemate) and his kids
Tito Mendo's family with Dad & Amanda. I just love how this shot is so candid!
The first game required 6 girls and boys. Of course, it was the usual boys versus girls thing. The boys were Team Amanda and the girls were Team Napilitan. The host explained, actually over explained, the mechanics of the first game which was Maximum to Minimum. Basically you just have to arrange the people in your team according to the category given by the host. That's it! He had to explain that over and over and to think the players were already, ehem, adults. Anyways, after all the explaining was done and we actually started playing, I found myself having fun. :)

Team Napilitan (Girls) vs. Team Boys (Amanda)

But surprise, surprise, it turns out that the Maximum to Minimum game was just a warm up! This is the typical kiddie party gag that every host seems to enjoy using. Anyway, we ended up having to play a relay game where you'd have to pass the balloon over your head until it reaches the end of the line then pass it back up front in between your legs. When the balloon reaches the first person in line, that person runs with the ball between her/his legs while doing a chicken dance towards a chair placed about 10 feet away. The person has to run back to the team and pass it to the next member then the drill repeats itself. 

The girls won because the boys got disqualified. They pushed our balloon away from us causing us to lose a few seconds which in relay time means hours. Haha! It was a good thing they lost since the losers had to dance in front everyone. But since the boys were hesitant to dance, the age old punishment was what they were asked to do instead- spell a word with their butts!

I took the Minimum to Maximum game really seriously as you can see.

The losers! Haha
Diego was a sport and did the dance for everyone but seeing that the audience was dissatisfied with Diego's martyrdom, the host had the rest of the boys spell Amanda with their butts. Fair enough.
A few more games were played before the food was served. And by few, I mean 2. One was the longest Happy birthday game which only 3 kids joined. It was followed by a bring me game which, at least, a lot more kids and adults participated. The last bring me which was coins were thrown into the air for all the kids to catch.
Kid games
Allea led the grace before meals
Ready to eat!
I took this shot of mom and dad because they look like a young family with those two kids on their laps! Oh how I and my brother used to be those little kids on our parents laps! 
Of course, Jollibee had to grace the event with his presence. He did a little dance number and took photos with the guests
Amanda and Jollibee. BTW, this is our first time to celebrate in Jollibee. Our kid celebrations would always revolve around Mcdonalds or Shakeys.
After Jollibee's dance number came the blowing of the candles. I forgot to put candles on the cupcake so I hurried to find the candles mom bought and put it in the plastic base thing that came with it and then place all the candles on the cupcakes. The plastic base is so that you don't poke the candles directly to the cake or cupcake rather just the thin plastic thing.

Hurrying to prepare the candles
After Amanda blew her candles, each of us in the family gave her our wishes. I don't even know how to react when everyone of them wished that Amanda be better than me. It was okay when I said it but when everyone else did, I didn't know if I should be proud that I am benchmark or they just want Amanda to outshine me. Anyways, I love my sister and if there is someone I do want to be better than me, it would be her. :)
We distributed all the cupcakes to the guests after the candle blowing and  Wacky here has the icing all over!
What transpired later of course was a series of photo ops. It appears that our family is already getting ready for the next generation (and mom surprisingly mentioned in her speech that they are slowly losing kids in the house but she could feel that there will soon be kids in the family again anyway.... hmmmm. Is she hinting me on something? HAHAHA!). 

Enzo, Allea, Me, Jollibee, Amanda, Mom & Dad
Its a Rivera trait to have big eyes so you could guess what inspired this photo! Look at my dad and Amanda, big eyes with no effort at all! Haha
I'm proud that my parents are still together after all these years. Even if they don't get along all the time, they still manage to keep this family together and happy. 
I will always have to have a photo with daddy-o.
Oh, gone are the days when I was an only child but its always nice to pretend once in a while. Haha!
Of course, the celebrant has to have everyone's attention, especially mom and dad's which she seems to have more competition of than I did. So, there you go dear! HAHA :)
After mom got everyone settled in the car, she left with my Tita to go to another party happening at Paranaque. When we got home we did all that Mom asked us to do (give the excess chicken packs to this and that, put the cupcakes there, give her medicine, fix the clothes and shoes, etc) and proceeded with the opening of gifts. Amanda was so excited to open the gifts that we had to control her before she tore the wrapper into pieces while I wasn't done setting the place up. I wanted to record her opening of gifts (which I did and is going to be a very funny home video to watch in 5 years) and take pictures as well which mom always did during my birthdays. In fact, we still have the VHS of all my kiddie birthdays at home! Now, its my turn to capture these moments for her. I won't upload the video anymore but let me just say that she is very happy with all the presents she got. 

Thank you to everyone who made my sister's day special. It means a lot to me as much as I know it would mean to her if she understood what was happening and not running around all the time. Haha! For one last time today, Happy Birthday Amanda! We love you! :)

STORY: Baby No More

There will always be one member of your family that you get along best with. In my family, its my youngest sister, Amanda. We are 13 years apart but that doesn't seem to matter. In the past 3 years, the image of myself seems to become more and more evident in her. From the way she talks and moves to the way she thinks. And the best part is that it isn't the type of similarity that makes the two of us ward off from each other (you know, that negative attracts thing and positive repels), its the kind that makes you understand each other and know where the other is coming from. I know, I know, you're thinking "Is she really talking about a 6 year old?" Well, the answer to that is yes. I think she really is wiser beyond her years and the things that she says and does surprise us every time. Actually, come to think of it, she is similar to my present self not my self when I was her age. I was very shy and quiet when I was her age which makes me assume that when she gets to my age, she'll be a whole lot more of a handful (Thank God my parents will have gotten rid of the me and my brother by that time or else I couldn't see them surviving raising that kind of kid. I mean, they barely are surviving me! Haha)

Amanda with my Dad who I believer we both take after.
With our sister Allea who I believe influences the girly side of Amanda.
This was taken two years ago and it appears that my other siblings have grown up all too fast as well. My brother has lost the braces and Allea has become a young lady already.
Anyways, today is her 7th birthday (but we'll be throwing a party for her tomorrow). And as embarrassing as it may sound, it makes me sad... so sad that for her 6th birthday last year I recorded myself talking to a web cam crying over how I'm losing my baby sister! No one but me has seen that video and I don't plan to show anyone anytime soon. Let's just say that the crying was pretty loud and uncontrollable. I'm a little calmer about her birthday this year since I've prepared myself slowly throughout the entire year. Although I keep kidding her (half joke of course, half true) the entire year by asking her if she is willing to skip celebrating her birthday so she can remain 6 for another year. Of course the thought of skipping presents, cake and all the attention is just nightmare for her so she would answer a big fat no each time I'd ask. There were a few times that she almost gave in though. She would bargain with me and say that she'd agree to skip next year's birthday so that she'd stay 7 for 2 years but I would tell her that once you reach 7 years old, you are no longer a baby. You become a big kid already and once you are a big kid, there is no turning back. So she'd go back to her original answer - no.

I believe she is just 4 years old here.

4 and a half years old.
5 years old.
4 years old.
This year I don't plan to restage my dramatic melt down. I plan to just blog about it. I plan to share with you all the little girl I'm going to be missing for a long, long time. She hasn't even been a 7 year old a day and I miss my baby already. :( Because the truth is, when all the cuteness and innocence (if she really is innocent 'coz I have my doubts about that. I think she was born a quarter adult) goes away, she's just going to be me - a bossy know it all... and I don't want another me! I want Amanda! 

We share this weird bond where I tease all the time to the point that she calls me "Wicked Sister" but at the end of the day, we love each other all the same.

But I guess this is just one of the many in things in life I just have to learn to understand, let go and live with. So I guess Amanda growing up is also a growing up moment for me. Maybe that's why our birthdays are just 2 months apart (I'm on October and she December)! God gave me 2 months lead time to prepare... to let me get accustomed to another year of wisdom before I face a love one who is also growing and finding her own path. Maybe God allows me to grow up myself first... so I'll always be able to cope up with her... forever

Me & Amanda

Although it makes Ate very sad that you will be a baby no more, I will still wish you the happiest of days and I will be smiling as you celebrate your special day. Because as much as I want to keep you by my side forever, asking your questions and nagging me to play with you, I wouldn't want to rob the world of the wonderful person I know you will become. I'm going to miss you dearly but give me some time and I know I'll get over it. But don't count on me getting over being your big sister because I will love you forever... until your birthday after that. But lets slow down a bit and just focus on now, shall we? Happy Birthday Amanda! Hope you like the standee I made for your cupcake tower! (I can't decide which of the two I'm going to print out yet... well, just wait for your birthday party and see!)

STORY: Modern Wonder

So I have put my The Wonder Years marathon to a temporary halt so I could finally get back on track with Modern Family. And I've got to say that Modern Family seems to be a modern version of TWY. Isn't that an amazing coincidence? My two favorite shows are actually different versions of the same thing. They are both about family and are both filled many quotable quotes that leave you a bit teary eyed after every episode. But of course TWY is more drama and Modern Family is more comedy but still, they are both amazing shows which I love staying up late for. Its because of these shows that I have decided that my new life long dream is to write for a TV show that is of similar format. Maybe a Filipino Modern Family, eh? ;)

P.S. My favorite character in TWY is Kevin Arnold hands down but with Modern Family I'm having a real hard time picking among Manny, Gloria, Phil and Cam. These characters (and the rest of the other characters) are just so colorful and different that its so hard to compare them to each other. It amazes me how the writers manage to fit these outrageous characters together where they fight all the time yet as a viewer still believe that they love each other all the same. Its amazing... amazing!

THEORY: New Year's Resolutions

I have never written a New Year's Resolution in my life. Actually I have never even given it much thought. Usually at the end of the year I just reminisce on the year that has been and think of how I'm going to go about the new one. Now that I think of it, I do make resolutions but not at the end of the year rather during the start of the school year (around June here in the Philippines). That seems to make much more sense to me actually. I mean, what's the point of listing things you'd like to do differently when come January you'd still be surrounded by the same people, same classes, same environment and basically the same life? But when a new school year begins, you truly can start fresh. Make all the things right from the last school year since you have a clean slate to begin with.

Then again, maybe this is just a student thing. Once you are working there is no school year, you just have "a year." Since I'm assuming that by this time next year I won't have a school year to wait for, its best I get comfortable with working on my resolutions at the end of the year, like everyone else does.

Before I proceed, another reason I am not fond of resolutions is because it just sets a bar that you have to meet, which technically is something you just made up. Now you end up with "failures" if you don't attain what you set out to do when you could have just lived another year just being the best you can be. No measuring, no list to follow, just living your life the best way you know how. Now isn't that nice?

But again, resolutions do give direction. And for those of us who have awaken from the dream that we will always have another year to get it right, resolutions are very helpful. When you are at your 20s you realize that there is no more life ahead because this is life already. You better start getting things done, moving and right. So here we go.

  1. Be more patient. I am not the best at controlling my temper. I snap at the pettiest things and say the meanest comments that I regret as soon as my head cools down. Its a blessing that the people around me have gotten used to this terrible attitude of mine but that is still no excuse. And now that I'm going to be widening my social circle, I think being calm and nice is a very important factor to make friends. 
  2. Explore food. I always say I'm not a picky eater because I eat basically everything... well, everything I expose myself to. I shy away from dishes I am not familiar with so my taste palette is very naive. Goodness, I'm 20 and I think I've eaten my entire lifetime's limit on burgers, fries and steaks. Oh, I think I'm about to reach my limit on Chinese food as well.
  3. Learn an instrument. I have been putting this thing off for way too long. Now its just pretty embarrassing to pursue since I'm going be the oldest person when I take lessons but that won't be stopping me. I think its a great thing to know how to play an instrument. I am not a music junkie but I appreciate how music speaks for us when words won't suffice. I have my heart set out on piano so fingers crossed that my fingers get a hold of those black and white keys soon. 
  4. Fix my closet. I'd like to have a wardrobe that I won't have to stare at for an hour every morning and end up saying that I have nothing wear. I want to get rid of all the clothes (and shoes) that I keep just so I feel that I have a lot of clothes (and shoes). Some of the clothes I have outgrown already, figuratively. When I see those clothes I think to myself, "What was I thinking when I wore this?" and yet those clothes are still in my closet! Its a good thing I'll be starting work some time next year which will give me a good excuse to overhaul my entire wardrobe. 
  5. Be humble. I admit, I am not the most humble of people. I try to say sorry but its harder than you think. I want to, but its my body that won't cooperate. My tongue just rolls back and becomes shorter than it already is. I know I'm in the wrong and I admit that... to myself, in my head. Now I have to learn how to say it out loud especially to the person/s I've done wrong to. I think people have brushed off my mistakes too many times already and my making up for it by being super nice or giving gifts isn't going to save me anymore... and with that I mean save me from myself. I demand myself to say the S word personally, not through text, email or phone, but face to face. (God, did I just set myself for suicide just there?) 
  6. Buy an appliance for the family. Yup, you heard that right. Since I am assuming that I'd be a working gal next year, I want to be able to make one big purchase for the family - be it a television set, a computer, a gas range, whatever. Just something big and for the family. It's like my tribute to them for living with me and living by me all these years so that I may get this (that) far. 
  7. Exercise. The days when I brush all health concerns under my bed has finally come to an end. The nights of staying up until 5 am and waking up at noon, eating a bunch of greasy fast food and jumping into bed right after, and finding all means of avoiding running or walking is finally over. I better get myself into shape and into the habit of anything healthy because I have seen way too many people who regret all those fries and milkshakes when they are in their 40s and all they can eat are mushy green peas or bland steamed fish. This is going to be very difficult for me but I believe this will help me in the long run and there is no better time to start but now (well, let's start after graduation, okay? Give me the last 4-5 months of unhealthy living, okay?)
  8. Smile and let loose. I need to just be happy more often and smile. More than just it making me age faster, it makes me ward off potential friends for life. This may seem like the easiest on the list but for someone whose happy face comes off as a sad face all the time, this may be the most difficult. Wish me luck on this one.

Whew. These are just the things on the top of my head now, I might add some later on (hopefully not) but until then let's just hope I get started on those on the list and make them all happen in the new year. What are your new year resolutions? :)

STORY: Midnight Snack-ing

I have always been a night person. For as long as I can remember I have been spending most of the daytime in bed and most of my night time in front on the television or computer. When I was younger the only thing stopping me from greeting the sun shining wide awake was my bed time which I remember clearly was at 9:00 p.m. Mom would check on me and my brother to see if we were already sleeping by that time but the truth is, I was just faking my sleep. As soon as I know she has fallen asleep, I turn on the TV and put the volume on low. But that didn't help me much since the glowing of the TV with pretty much no sound just made me tired and sleepy. 

Fast forward to my teen years when I shook off the bedtime, I would stay up until around 5am. Actually just these past couple of days, I have been breaking my record each time. So far, the latest I've gone is 6a.m. Don't ask me what I'm doing because I don't know either! One minute I'm watching a TV show online and the next thing you know the sun is shining through my window! 

Anyways, when you stay up late, you get hungry. And food don't prepare themselves. That is the biggest downside of being a night person. You have to get up in the middle of the night, creep down the stairs, try to find the switch, stick your nose in the refrigerator until you find something easy to prepare, put it in a bowl or add hot water (depends on what you found), then scurry back to your room without waking anyone up. That takes skill you know! There are times I even find myself frying an egg in the middle of the night with matching rice! All along I thought I have gotten away with my midnight adventures but apparently my mom knows about it all along. She just doesn't say anything about it anymore though (just the staying up late part, the eating she doesn't mind). She used to lecture me all the time about the importance of sleep then I'd explain that I could always sleep in the daytime then she'd answer back that its not the same and there is so much more I could accomplish if I slept at the right time then I'd explain again and it would just keep going! She eventually gave up and I understand why (and kinda glad she did. Haha!)

So, allow me to share some of the stuff I've managed to gobble in the darkness of the night (and take a photo of. Of course, I don't take photos every night but it would be nice if did, noh? Hihi)

Of course, cereal is a staple. Right now I'm finishing up my Fitnesse box while my sisters munch on Cookie Crisp (which I hate!)
On super lazy days, you just grab a bag of chips and you're good to go! This time I snagged my mom's Cheetos! Hahaha. ;) She'd be surprised to wake up to a half empty bag. :D
I wasn't feeling the cereal one night so I fought away the laziness and plugged in the  "water heater" (I don't know what you cal it), waited a few minutes, poured it in my cup of noodles and ran upstairs with an empty mug. You see I was too bored staring at nothing in the kitchen so I decided I could throw away the water in the mug upstairs. 
Happy Midnight Snack-ing fellow night owls! I'm going to get back to my Modern Family marathon. Ciao!