Home for the Holidays

This is post numero dos of my “late post” series! I recently found out that my coworker is going on an Alaskan cruise with her family next week and learning about her excursions made me miss Alaskan summers! But, if I had to choose to visit Alaska during the summer or during the holidays…spending the holidays with my Alaskan fam bam always wins! With that said, I was fortunate enough to make it back home 6 months ago…

There is nothing like waking up to a sheet of white fresh snow on Christmas Day and spending the holidays with a buffet of Filipino food and a house full of loud family members! I love my Alaska familia!

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It has been a few years since I came up to Alaska and I knew it was long overdue. Toni couldn’t come up for Christmas, but he was able to fly up for New Years! To my surprise, he secretly flew up to propose to me before the New Year! You can read more about it here. Anywho, since it was my first time back in so long I wanted to do something special for our annual Christmas photos. With the help of my sisters, we set up some drapes, umbrella lights and Christmas lights for the backdrop. It turned out great and I was really pleased with how the photos turned out!

On Christmas Eve, it is our tradition to stay up and open our gifts at midnight. We ate, drank, sang karaoke and hung out all night! It was really good to see and catch up with my Juneau fam and I really missed everybody. I also can’t get over the fact how fast all my baby cousins are growing!

For the rest of our trip, we went rock climbing and ice skating; hung out with friends; visited familiar places for some sightseeing; and ate…a lot!

DSC05467It is always a must to see these two!

IMG_1247.JPGRock Climbing with the see-stars!

DSC05771.jpgBeers after rock climbing and celebratory drinks for the newly engaged!

DSC05493A little XtraTuf reunion!

DSC05544.jpgVisiting Sandy Beach and taking graduation photos with Cente.

DSC05641.jpgMay May and a gorgeous backdrop…May May is gorgeous too!

DSC05796.jpgButt buddies.

DSC05776.jpgThere is a story behind this fire pit. On the day I arrived in Juneau, I went to an ugly sweater party at a bar with friends and family. I was in the middle of buying shots for everyone when they called out my raffle number for the grand prize! Say what!?!? It was my first day in Juneau and I won an amazing Alaskan Brewing Co. fire pit! I guess being drunk and generous that night brought some good karma.

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On our last day together, my immediate family members and I visited Mendenhall Glacier which was absolutely beautiful. It was a winter wonderland!

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It was truly an amazing trip filled with family, lots of laughter, and love. As I reflect back on these memories, it is becoming clear how fast time flies by as an adult. Years and months seemed so much longer in grade school! It’s crazy! These thoughts are a nice reminder of how important it is to me to have a loving family, and I feel incredibly blessed to have them. Can’t wait for our next reunion! …on Maui?! (wink wink)

 

Backyard Firework Show

Happy Birthday, ‘Murica!

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I hope you all had a nice 4th of July!

We typically are not the festive type when it comes to Independence Day, but Toni decided to dress up this year and wore an American flag shirt…even at work. Like most holidays, we celebrated it with the Ong Family. We arrived just before dark and lit some small fireworks to kill some time. It was fun watching the little ones, Sophie and Trace, excite over the fireworks!

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Sophie’s reactions to the fireworks were very animated…it was easy to tell she was excited. Trace, on the other hand, was somewhat hard to impress…he often had a more serious and curious look on his face. However, when the better fireworks were lit – he was in awe.

We spent the evening lighting up small ground fireworks and spinners while the beef and steak cooked on the grill. Sounds of firecrackers could be heard throughout the neighborhood along with the occasional aerial firework (which is illegal here). As it grew darker, the breeze started to pick up causing the neighbor’s’ aerial fireworks to pop right above the house! We ended up having our own mini firework show in the backyard and watched the remaining aerials lit by nearby neighbors later in the night.

Here are some of our favorite shots from the evening:

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Trace does his zombie walk back for more fireworks!

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Like mother, like daughter.

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…and like son!

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Light more fireworks!

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The finale.

 

We Are Engaged!

I’m a bit embarrassed to be posting this so late…but better late than never.

Toni and I are ENGAGED!

With all the events and trips that took place in the past months, it has been difficult finding time to blog or create any new videos. With the chaos now over, I am back from my hiatus! Now let’s go back to December 28, 2016.

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I was in Alaska to spend the holidays with my family and Toni stayed on Maui because his request for leave didn’t get approved. Toni led me to believe he couldn’t make the trip at all and I left Maui thinking we would spend both Christmas and New Years apart. Little did I know…

On a cold crisp morning, I woke up to my younger sister, May, telling me that everybody was downstairs waiting for me to come down for breakfast. When I finally agreed to get up, May commented how bad my hair looked and started combing it with her fingers. I was like “why does it matter?!”. She didn’t have much luck with my hair, but in hindsight, I really appreciated that she tried to make it look presentable! I made my way to the dining table half asleep…then the doorbell rang. I didn’t want to open the door because of my bed hair and Christmas jammies, but I was the closest to the door and lost the fight to everyone. I was expecting to open the door to relatives stopping by to drop off gifts, but was pleasantly surprised to see Toni! I was so happy to see him and excited of that thought of spending New Years together with my Juneau Family! I honestly thought his surprise trip to Alaska was my Christmas present. I turned around for one second to share the excitement with my family and then found him on one knee when I turned back. Overwhelmed with happiness and excitement I teared up and nodded my head when he asked me to marry him. Who would have guessed our marriage proposal would take place at the front door of my childhood home. What a sweet ending to 2016 and beginning of 2017. 2016 was definitely one to remember and I couldn’t imagine a better way to end it!

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Flash forward to today – we have been incredibly busy these past months with weddings and family related events which will be shared in separate posts. Feels good to be blogging again after so long! Hopefully, I’ll be more consistent this time around.

 

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