Mouth-watering Memoir

My paternal grandmother, Lucena Ravelo Lacho used to say, "Candy, I'm happy. You know, I just live the simple life..." It's true, if we are happy with what we have, we see the beauty in its simplicity. I miss her so much... I love her so much more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Keeping Healthy

We finally found a pediatrician. Yay!!! It only took a year, but we found one, Dr. Michelle Fowers, who also happens to be the first counselor of our ward's Relief Society presidency. I was very impressed with how she directed everything towards the kids as Jasmine and Ian went for their well check. To me, if kids are allowed to answer for themselves especially during doctor visits, it's a quick way to alleviate nerves.
She was awesome, thorough and knew just how to comfort the kids into allowing her to examine them. A good thing, too, since my middle one is too shy, and my son doesn't like to be prodded much especially after discussions of his "differences" (food allergies, asthmatic tendencies, fibrile seizures). One thing that really made me go "wow" is Dr. Fowers' BMI chart that correlated my children's weight with their heights. It clearly showed that they are healthy children along with 20/20 vision and good hearing. That was a great experience. I do apologize that we got lost along the way and actually finding her office once we were in the building.
I also hoped she didn't go deaf after Ian let out his blood-curdling screams while getting a booster shot for chicken pox. Sorry, Dr. Fowers and staff... A big thank you and "whew!" came across my mind throughout our trip back home, of course, after stopping for some ice cream.
I'm so glad to know that despite our normally laid-back lifestyle, my kids have energy to burn enough for two people that allow them to do healthy activities such as hoola-hooping, swimming, bowling, walking to stores, bike riding, test their flexibilities, run, jump and climb everywhere, on a daily basis.
Despite of how I am now, I can remember when I used to do those things and when I got tired, I climb the nearest fruit tree and grab a quick snack. Anything packaged was nothing short of a treat for me. When I lived in Laguna, Philippines, my house was surrounded by all these fruit trees and we grew our own vegetables. During the rainy seasons, the mudfish normally buried in mud comes back to life and we catch and grill them after harvesting the sweet potatoes' young leaves. After the first weeks of summer, we dig up the sweet potatoes while making sure we don't disturb the hibernating mudfish. I wanted the same active memories for my children so I made sure that I introduced them to all sorts of fruits and vegetables, though Jasmine can eat more veggies than what's in V8 Fusion or Splash. They love hearing stories about each fruit I introduce them to that I ate back when I was their age. I encourage them to exercise and play, though most of the time, they just wiggle long enough to burn calories rivaling any intense workout. I'm tired just thinking about it!
Parents, especially moms, often wonder how their children are doing healthwise, and sometimes, a good doctor is the answer to that age-old question. There's nothing like a good report from a great physician and a thorough pediatrician like Dr. Fowers, is definitely any mom's "secret candy"!

I wonder how my mom is doing on her new treadmill?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Guess who turned 9 today? Jasmine!

It was a great day... Our lovely Jasmine turned 9, so what do we do? We have breakfast at Denny's, shop Target for new sheets and other gifts then end the day with her favorite dinner, an awesome cake, good friends and some awesome Cranium games, of course! We had a ton of laughs and ended up thoroughly exhausted from the all-day soiree that is Jasmine's birthday. She couldn't wait to get at the gifts and eat her "horse stable" cake. It was delicious! It was a combo of white and confetti cake with vanilla filling. Her gifts, well they are new quilted comforter and sham set complete with a sheet set from solid colors she chose, a big Palomino toy horse, a paint by numbers kit, and a check for $10. But the best gift she got was from the presence of the people she invited and the laughter they shared with us during dinner and our game time. We even managed to listen to Bill Cosby's stand-up comic routine titled, "Chocolate Cake".

Every child, every year, I celebrate their birthdays the way they want to help them remember just how precious they are to us. Though it amazes others by how much effort it seemed to have taken, I personally think they deserve even more. Something inside me wells up knowing that my child arrived at their next birthday relatively healthy and happy going. Just as strongly, I can't help but feel very sad by news of children dying at such ages either from the hands of cruel people, freak accidents or childhood diseases. I love knowing that we celebrated as a family, while having some friends over becomes the lovely bonus of the day.

My life is simple, but it's full of complex memories, I wouldn't trade it for the world. My kids' birthdays, another sweet "secret candy".

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some Feng Shui Advice

Ok, some of you maybe thinking that Feng Shui is some kind of Chinese Voodoo, but all it is, is finding the right furniture arrangement in your home to bring about balance that leads to happiness, prosperity and all that is good to continue living a balanced life. Being LDS, Feng Shui has taught me that living a Christ-like life is finding that balance that Feng Shui offers. We are all missionaries and if our private spaces can be more open to social, personal, familial and intimate opportunities, we will all be better missionaries which would then allow us to further the work without much feet dragging. So, here's some advice that I've lived by since I've included Feng Shui in my life:

1. Feng Shui has a bagua or an octagon-shaped direction finder of where you should "activate" your needed chi or life energies that you are probably neglecting or missing in your current lifestyles.
2. Once you've pinpointed where these good energies are, even after a "children and life-based" disasters, you can still visualize your balance and get to work in repairing your chi without self-inflicted guilt "bruises".
3. Every family is centered on how the parents see and treat each other- love, commitment and communication are central to any marriage, so create that in your bedroom. Focus on two's and a romantic color pallet that says "this is where we become united to tackle another day."
4. The next room of focus should be your living room- find a common color or symbol that unites your family. Feng Shui chi flows through a room that has a purpose but open to other areas of your life. If you have two sofas, if possible, have them face each other and anchor it with a rug. It will improve communication and gathering.
5. Corners are "dust magnets" and are therefore considered dead or bad chi. Fill them with tall plants or anything that can bring about life to the corner, i.e., a light fixture or a painting with obvious movement like a wave crashing or boat sailing.
5. Kitchens should be filled with things that are nourishing to your soul and stomachs. If it's not food or an appliance you rarely use, it shouldn't be out in the open.
6. Dining rooms I consider the gratitude room, so fill it with colors and paintings that symbolize what you are grateful for. For example, I'm grateful for live houseplants, and having a good enough disposition so, in my dining room, I have live plants and an Asian rendition of the Good Samaritan. Fill a basket with fruits or veggies you love and put it on the table. It will serve as a reminder to eat better and appreciation for the luxuries of having food on your table.
7. For the children's rooms, place a painting they did where they can admire it and a painting that shows what you want them to learn that's important to your family.

Feng Shui experts can go as deep into symbolism or as simple as changing your color scheme, but my approach is to find balance in what you already know is your core: things and colors that make you get up in the morning and take that necessary step to make a difference. That will help you find your balance.

Feng Shui is my secret candy, what's yours?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Time certainly can run!

Last night, I browsed through my family pictures and it amazed me just how much time runs away from you when you are at your best in trying to keep up with it. For example, I still remember the day I met Charlie inside Taco Bell in San Jose, CA or the delivery adventures I had with each of my precious children. Watch the slide show and tell me how right I am...

Charlie's with Southwest, Lisa's 15 and a soon to be high school junior, Jasmine's almost 9 and Ian is 6; we've moved 6 times, transitioned from Italian countryside to French Provencale to now my signature decor of Spanish Asian Fusion and along the way have decided to give college a second chance. What is life without its adventures, huh?

Take pictures of different moments; sometimes, the most mundane becomes the most memorable... A bittersweet secret candy of raising a family.

Red Anemone

Back in 1997, my birthday, I lost my dearest father. His name was Adonis and in the Greek mythology, Adonis was a demi-god blessed with such a perfect form and face that Aphrodite, the goddess of love fell madly in love with him. When he died, her tears mixed with his blood sprang red anemones to commemorate their love. In another story, it told of how as his blood seeped into the dirt, red anemones grew and served as his marker so that Aphrodite can always find him.

Here's an anemone in honor of my love for my late father. I still miss him...

Check out my Slide Show!

The Rest of the Family

I've given you glimpse of the pets we have, but I think it's time we gave them faces as well for your viewing pleasure. Let me proudly introduce, Cece our cat, Dexter our cockatiel, Gabbie and Maggie, our guinea pigs. They help us deal with long days and all sorts of "yuckies" of everyday life. We absolutely adore them!

Cece is our diva who acts tough but is really a big softie around the other pets

Dexter loves his freedom that he's now learned trying to open up one of the doors of his cage.

Gabbie and Maggie love baths, though they will never admit to it.

Our pets, definitely another "secret candy"!

Now if we can only take pictures with all of them for our next Christmas portrait, we'll be one big family!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Mathews Majesty- "A Plain Royal Unit"

Charlie, Carolyn, Lisa, Jasmine and Ian. We're the Mathews!

We don't have much money or the best of everything, but our kingdom is full of love, laughter and wonderful memories. Our tapestries cannot be traced back into the medieval times, but rather a time when two people fell in love and conquered many barriers. Our children are blessed with riches not of this world, but with treasures that mere mortals cannot find. Their place in this world is not of a blue bloodline but from such purple (regal) heritage, so exclusive that even powerful men haven't yet attained. We are a family, a loving unit that God joined and formed to be one of the best and blessed kingdoms of this nation.

We wish you the same happiness and strength we enjoy.

My Little Genius

Now that I have music on this blog, I'm most likely going to be on it more. My daughter Lisa set it all up so it doesn't look like a raggedy old newspaper you can't unfold. Enjoy my posts and hopefully be generous with your comments so I can keep making it better. Read the "100 Wonders of Being Me" and find interesting likes and dislikes that makes me tick.

Thank you and enjoy reading!

Check out my Slide Show!

Eight (Texas) Cities in 10 Days

Ok, so our friend Michelle Branch (slide show above) comes over from Gilbert, AZ for a much needed visit. I had to scramble to figure out where we can take her so she wouldn't blow her brains out from boredom. Well, here's what we came up with so that we can also do errands while we're also entertaining her. I personally think it was a blast, but of course for a young chick like Michelle, she'll probably remember more the down time rather than the good times. This is where we went:

1. Dallas- she arrived and departed from Love Field airport; visited Dallas LDS Temple
2. Carrollton- room and board; celebrated her 20th bday,swam at the Rainforest Aquatic Complex and apartment pool; shopped Kohl's and ate at Sonic
3. Grapevine- shopped at Build-A-Bear, Forever 21 & Pac Sun in Grapevine Mall; took pictures inside Rainforest Cafe.
4. Coppell- cruised through en route to Grapevine
5. Lewisville- ate out at Panda Express, hung out at Petland, shopped Bath & Body Works and Ross and bowled at Main Event; also played the games there.
6. Garland- cruised through en route to Mesquite
7. Mesquite- picked blackberries @ Merry Berry Farms
8. Plano- shopped at Wal-mart for a specific T-shirt and swimsuit

Check out my Slide Show!

Monday, June 16, 2008

100 Wonders of Being Me

Christmas Solo 2005

I got this idea from my friend Michelle; I thought it'd be nice to see if I can come up with 100 info regarding my person. Enjoy reading!

1. My name’s origin is Caroline, the English female counterpart of the name Charles.
2. My husband’s name is Charles
3. I like being Asian (Filipino, Chinese)
4. I’ve been a Feng Shui practitioner since 2002
5. I don’t stress about how I look at any time of the day though I value my hubby’s opinion
6. I am a shirt and jeans kind of girl
7. I don’t like to wear makeup; though I wear them occasionally
8. I’m a three-time C-section champ
9. I can’t swim to save my life, but I love the beach and pools
10. My husband and I are both 1971 babies, but he’s January and I’m December
11. I have three of the coolest kids; they keep me on my toes 24/7!
12. I can’t sleep without my husband next to me
13. I am married to the perfect man- he’s so awesome in his simplicity
14. I have jet black wiry hair
15. I recently fell in love with Asian décor and my hubby loves it, too!
16. Reading and Sudoku calms me down, but seafood drives me wild. I love ‘em, love ‘em!
17. I like to multi-task; I’m obsessed with it
18. I created my own budget system that most would find complicated but it’s actually so easy
19. I love children; as far as I’m concerned, I have 16 children- three’s mine, then there’s Michelle, Tina, Luis, David, Laura, Junior, Taryn, Carter, Kyle, April, Aleah, Abrynn, & Den-den.
20. I was miserable in AZ, but am loving North Texas like crazy!
21. Studio Movie Grills are so awesome- I have to go again!
22. I love my family’s traditions- especially Christmas, Thanksgiving and 4th of July
23. I only like dark chocolate; with the exception of Filipino chocolates- I love them all!
24. I am Filipino btw
25. I am short, but very few things limit me
26. I am a very strict mom- especially on reading and curfews
27. I learn my kids’ homework materials so I can keep up with them
28. I will finally be a college graduate (May 2009)
29. I am a Fall bride- October 1996
30. My dream bedroom can be described in two words- Asian Passion
31. My dream décor in three words- Spanish Asian Fusion
32. I love strappy high heels- my take on “sexy!”
33. I’ve dreamt about my husband since 3rd grade, I knew his name when I turned 12- my aunt gave me the perfume Charlie.
34. I love floral scents- especially jasmines and orchids
35. I can’t stand fruity smells unless they belong to actual fruits
36. “Beautiful, Shi, Jadore”- my main scents that drive my husband crazy
37. I collect dishes for holidays and love to do tablescapes
38. Journaling is not my strong suit
39. I love looking at shoes- strappy ones, remember?
40. I’ve only fallen in love with one brand of purses & wallets- RELIC
41. I love veggies and shakes!
42. I love chocolate ice creams- my fave would be dark chocolate with drk choc shavings, crushed macadamia, pistachio and almonds mixed in. Yummy!
43. I prefer card making to scrapbook albums
44. My clothes have to smell good, or I itch; wacky system- My brand Tide & Downy- blue bottles
45. I love my life- it’s simple, just the way I like it
46. Excel is my bestfriend; not many women can claim that
47. I taught myself how to cook and will soon compile a recipe book
48. I love holding dinner parties- any kind
49. I love to host birthday parties for my kids
50. I don’t do salon mani-pedi’s; I’m too cheap
51. I don’t do massages either
52. I do love to give massages to my family
53. I made 11 meals out of 3 lbs. of chicken
54. Word search is my other weakness
55. I don’t like to sell any of my old stuff; I’d rather give it away
56. I am frugal to a fault; but reasonably splurges on my children
57. Clearance is my other name
58. One of our fave dates is cruising for clearance finds for school items
59. I first held hands with my hubby in a movie theatre
60. My first date with my hubby is a plane ride over San Jose, CA- can you say romantic?
61. I had my first child when I was almost 21
62. I am not allowed to have any more children if I want to grow old with my husband- I’m too small and had 3 C-sections too many
63. I love the game of chess but I can’t play it
64. I am a fan of online games- but nothing that promises cash or token rewards
65. When I read, I have to finish soon, so I can discuss it
66. I am partial to mystery, supernatural and mystical fiction
67. I shave on average every six months- I don’t have much leg hair and they never grow coarse
68. I don’t suffer from daily BO either, I can go without deodorant for as long as I want- recent record, 5 weeks.
69. I love to stock up on food, especially during summer, don’t like shopping then
70. I hate buying toilet paper or sanitary pads- yucky silent reminders
71. I love Febreze, Tide, Downy and Comet
72. I finally have pets- cockatiel, two guinea pigs and a diva of a cat
73. We had nine goldfish, but had to give them away to our family friends
74. My childhood pet was Sultana, my beautiful brown mutt- her name means Muslim princess and she was the best! She was ran over while following me to school.
75. Since 1987, I’ve only been to 6 states: CA, NV, NM, AZ, UT & TX
76. I love rice with everything, but hate pickles, jalapenos, coleslaw and sauerkraut
77. Hate olives, but I love olive oil, especially with lemon and basil
78. Fave sauce; creamy scampi on seafood linguini at Disneyland’s Stromboli
79. I don’t drive and I don’t care that I don’t drive.
80. I love to walk and shop with coupons
81. I love to volunteer in my kids’ school
82. I was an insomniac since my third child was born; TX different story until hubby changed back to night shift- zombie time again
83. I dated my hubby for 3 years, didn’t see him only on three different occasions
84. I learned to type better on my home QWERTY pad rather than a whole semester of Typing class. I wasted $400 in tuition!
85. I feel bad for our storage unit- it’s one box away from throwing up!
86. I look good in dark purple and purple is my fave color
87. But I hate purple cars- only
88. I have an attitude; I’m a certified B****
89. I love that my hubby thinks I’m hot; no other opinion matters
90. One time, I was at a store in AZ, and an 18 year old started talking to me; at the end of it, he asked me to go to his prom as his date- I was 30!
91. In CA, I was 27, and the same thing happened while I was waiting for the bus to come.
92. I dreamt my son joining our family before I got pregnant with him.
93. I fought off doctors and nurses for 18 hours from giving my then 18-month old baby too much anesthesia because they mislabeled her wrist band as a 2.5 yr old.
94. I can’t stand not eating rice for more than a week, I get sick and so do my children
95. The most expensive pair of shoes I own now only cost me $20.
96. I have 4 themes for Christmas; 3 are for each of my babies
97. My ultimate Christmas would be Filipino décor and traditions- wherever we live
98. I don’t like getting haircuts- average every 1.5 years in between
99. I get nervous when I teach anybody anything
100. I don’t like money in my wallet!

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The year after...

Well... We still love it here! I can't believe how much time has gone by, but Carrollton has been nothing but a blessing to us. We love the people around us and everyone's adjusting better than expected, especially me! It's been great! For me, it's like being in Manila and Texas at the same time- it's my little piece of heaven. Here's some of the highlights of this past Spring...

Berry picking, making cobbler, banana bread and shakes, bowling, swimming, growing basil, getting a patio set and a grill and having our friend Michelle come and visit for over a week and winning a fancy birthday cake for my soon to be 9-year old Jasmine from a church activity service auction.

As I've said before, life can be simple and rich at the same time, you just have to mix in some of your secret candy and you're set! Make do with what you have and don't be afraid to live the way you can because everything has limits except for your own imagination.

Laugh as much as you can, cry when you need to but love all the time.