"pals"


My dad is my special pal
I climb up on his lap
He reads me stories
And makes me laugh
And cuddles while we nap.
He takes my hand-
My dad is strong-
And we walk side by side
I want to be just like my dad
With him I can't go wrong!

Photo taken: Fall 2003
Scrapped: June 2009

pure joy

This photo was taken at the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. It was a chilly autumn night in October, and you were excited to be in the 'big city'. I love how natural and pure your smile is, there's such an honesty to it. Nothing forced, just your pure joy shining out. You've been that way your whole life, even now...my tender-hearted boy with the easy smile and infectious laugh. I remember that you sat there in that spot, pointing out all the boats and ships at port, completely fascinated. With the sunset behind you, you turned to me and smiled, your face lit up with joy, and my heart just melted! You, anak, are truly one of a kind.

Photo taken: October 2003
Scrapped: June 2009

i do...

For my husband Fred...
Happy Father's Day!
Jeromy and I love you very much!

To all Father's and Grandfather's out there...have a blessed Father's Day!

Meeting Ramona...

Every parent out there, whether they homeschool or not, knows how difficult it can be to get your kid to actually WANT to read. Of late, Jeromy had been going through what I can only hope is a normal period of not wanting to read any more than what is required of him in his school work. Me being his mom, teacher, plus a self-prescribed Book Geek, well...this did not exactly settle well. I decided that the key was to find books that HE was interested in reading on his own, and not just books I wanted him to read. I found a few that he liked, such as the Beast Quest series, and the Fudge Series by Judy Blume. When he got through those, I hit a bit of a dead end; everything I suggested didn't interest him one bit. In a move of sheer frustration and desperation mixed with a desire to run for the hills screaming, I introduced him to Ramona Quimby, that quirky, funny, and absolutely adorable character from the genius mind of Beverly Cleary.  So from the Scholastic Book Clubs I purchased an entire Beverly Cleary set, which included five books, three of which were about the Quimby Clan.  Since my son is still at that stage where girls and anything to do with girls, including the color pink, must be avoided at all cost, I decided the best way to bait the hook was to let him read Henry and Ribsy. For those of you not familiar with the story line, Henry is Ramona's brother. Jeromy absolutely loved this story, mainly because of the mischievous yet oh-so-lovable dog, Ribsy. It was in these pages that he met a little girl named Ramona, a character that he could identify with on so many levels....even if she was a girl and much younger than he is now. I honestly think that he remembered more about Ramona than he did of Henry and Ribsy! He laughed and giggled while retelling to me about all her exploits and adventures, about how she was always causing trouble and mischief, even though she didn't mean to (moms, does that sound familiar?). He identified a lot with her infectious curiosity and blatant honesty. Jeromy chose Beezus and Ramona next, which he found to be just hysterical as he read of the amazingly comical yet loving relationship between two sisters. Then just today he finished up Ramona's World, where Ramona is in fourth grade.  Coincidentally, that's exactly the grade Jeromy will be in the next school year! I know loyal Ramona fans out there are wondering why we skipped over Ramona Quimby: Age 8 and Ramona The Pest...rest assured, Jeromy has already put this on the top of his reading wish list, and they will be next.

I decided to blog about this not just because I'm ecstatic that my son is actually now wanting to read independently, all on his own, and he's reading chapter books! But what touches my heart is that he's enjoying stories that I treasured as a child. I've loved reading and books since I could put letters and words and sentences together...the Book Geek in me sprouted very early on. Ramona Quimby holds a special place in my bibliophile heart because it was her stories that really showed me how enjoyable reading was. And like Jeromy is now, I could most definitely identify with her natural curiosity. Meeting Ramona in books was like meeting a new friend who knew exactly what it was like to be in nursery school, to be 8 years old, or to be in fourth grade, to have older siblings that were always somehow irritated with me, and who knew what it was like to have every one think she was a pest! Now of course, I don't think of my son as a pest, but I believe that in Ramona he has found a friend whom he can relate to. It will be very interesting to watch and see how he reacts to the next Ramona stories he reads. And more importantly, I'm just going to enjoy seeing him curl up with a good book because HE wants to read, and not just because mommy is making him.

* Square photo courtesy of this SITE.
* Tall drawing photo courtesy of this SITE.

Roll-Ups


No my blog friends, this post is not of the fruit variety.  Instead, I am sharing what may very well be my foodie and/or culinary find of the year!  Now, a little background on me might help: I have never been fond of wraps, unless it was a fried corn tortilla strategically shaped to hold heavily spiced meat, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes, all at once.  In fact, I'm not what you would call a big sandwich girl. Being of Asian descent and heritage, I gravitate towards entrees you eat with rice. Not to mention my unhealthy obsession with red meat.  All that being said, I report that I am a convert, and have joined the ranks of millions who enjoy wraps, thanks to my stumbling upon Damascus Bakery's Whole Wheat Roll-Ups during my most recent Costco trip. I'll admit that at first glance I was very skeptical...I tend to be of anything that says whole-wheat. My hubby suggested we try it, since he himself is a fan of the wrap. And at the price of $4.59 for a package of 12 wraps, I figured it was worth a shot. I could not have been more surprised at how much I would love it! The first thing that hits you is that delicious fresh-baked-bread aroma.  Then when you take it out, you realize how thick and soft it is. It doesn't have the dry and somewhat 'cardboard' texture or taste of other whole-wheat wraps I've tried, and because it's thick it does hold up to large amounts of filling.  For you health-conscious folks out there, or others like me in the midst of undergoing a 'lifestyle-change,' you will absolutely LOVE the nutrition label:


With only 10 Net carbs (to get the total NET CARB, subtract the amount of dietary fiber from total carbohydrate), and 14 grams of whole grain per serving, it's a great alternative to the other calorie-and-fat-laden breads out there.  I compared it to another name-brand tortilla wrap at the grocery store, and I was a bit blown away!  This other brand had almost twice the calories, twice the fat, and almost twice the carb content. And I promise, the folks at Damascus Bakery did not pay me to post this (although I know it sounds like such an advert!)..I'm merely a busy mom on her way to hopefully getting in shape, shedding a few pounds, and introducing healthier foods to my family. Enjoy!

Nicknames

Jeromy...also known as:

Jer-Bear
Squishy
Big Baby
Schnookums
Drool Boy
Boo-Boo

O'Donnell Square in Canton


Have you ever gone out to run an errand, only to find yourself somehow discovering or re-discovering a really neat part of your town?  That's exactly what happened yesterday afternoon. Jeromy and I had to make a trip to the Lamp Catholic Book store on Hudson Street, which is in the Canton neighborhood of good ol' downtown Charm City.  To our disappointment, though, the store was closed.  Frustrated at having driven all the way downtown, which I had never been very fond of doing, only to be met with a locked door, I was at a loss of what to do.  So, we got back in the car and backtracked our way towards home.  I got back on to O'Donnell Street, which inevitably led me down O'Donnell Square, and that's when I realized that I had never, in my almost nine years of being a Charm City resident, taken the time to explore this part of town. So after a small series of twists and turns on a few one-way streets, I found a parking spot right next to Coburn's Tavern & Grill.  From here Jeromy and I began our impromptu tour of this well-known Charm City hub.  What caught our eyes first was the square sitting in the middle of everything.  With brick paths, grassy areas, park benches, and a statue of Capt. John O'Donnell, who founded the area back in the 18th century, it drew us in as if we were American tourists in a Roman piazza for the first time. Jeromy thought the various metal accouterments lining the fencing around Capt. O'Donnell's statue were quite fascinating.  I explained that they were indicative of Baltimore's legacy of industry, of a time when the city was a major hub of factories, canneries and major urban progress in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Not really sure where else we should go, we decided to head for the Firehouse Cafe on Linwood Avenue.  What a great little find this place was!
Sitting right outside the cafe were Jake and Ellwood, the renowned Blues Brothers (renowned for what, I'm not entirely sure yet), along with several tables and chairs. The interior of the cafe was what I would describe as vintage Firehouse meets old world Bohemian meets urban chic.  

The entire menu is hand painted/written on the wall, and along the other walls are murals, paintings and photographs depicting scenes from the 1904 Great Baltimore Fire.  And what firehouse would be complete without an actual firehouse pole and its very own firefighter sliding down it?  They had a pretty tasty looking menu,and for this debut visit we decided on each getting a scoop of Moxley's 'Death by Chocolate' ice cream, a perfect for choice two chocoholics looking to stay cool on a hot sunny day. With the cafe's offerings of delicious food, comfy couches and formal sitting chairs, free Wi-Fi internet access, and the company of two famous Blues Brothers, we will definitely be going back!  We sat on one of the park benches in the Square, and we had to eat fast since it was a good 85 degrees, and our treats were melting fast!  Afterwards we headed west past the Firehouse to see what else we could find.  We came across St. Casimir's Catholic Church, which is one of the oldest in the city.  Then we went back around and headed down the other side of the square.  We passed several stores, a salon, and numerous bars and taverns and grills.  Jeromy loved the colorful murals painted on the sides of several buildings.  We stopped into a store called 2910 On The Square, a lovely little store boasting a selection of unique gifts, home decorations, curios, purses, and an assortment of children's clothing and accessories.  There we met the owner, Stephanie, and her two lovely assistants, Sadie and Winston, who greeted us with wagging tails and affectionate barks.  The store is in what I can only imagine was a three story town-home at one time, and in the upstairs gallery some items are displayed in what probably is the original kitchen cabinetry and shelving, painted and decorated to match the whimsical feel of the whole place.  By far, the downstairs 'bathroom' turned bath boutique, where bath products are displayed on shelves on the bathtub wall, was my favorite nook in the whole place. How could that not make you smile!  We walked a little further down O'Donnell, then back into the square where Jeromy did a little more exploring of the statue and plaques. And since I still hadn't been able to get what I initially left home for, we reluctantly ended our tour of O'Donnell Square.  But not to fear, we definitely have plans to go back and see more of this quaint part of our fair city.  We will of course be visiting our new friends the Blues Brothers, Sadie, and Winston.  Next time we'll make sure to make our way back during lunch time and sample some of the culinary delights that one of the many restaurants has to offer. Yesterday was definitely a reminder that you just never know what you'll discover when you step foot outside your door!

Splishin' and a Splashin'!

Summer of 2002... Jeromy was not quite yet 2, and boy did he love the water!  He loved to go to his Aunt Patti's house where and and his cousins would splash around in the pools for hours at a time.  This little yellow floatie was his favorite water 'vehicle'...he would kick those little legs, and like a duckling he would glide across the water from one edge of the pool to the other.
About two weeks ago.... seven years later, and one could swear that this kid is part fish he loves the water so much!  Once again Aunt Patti's house is the favorite summer hangout, where he and his cousins play all sorts of water games, from impromptu swimming races to diving for 'treasures' at the bottom of the pool.  The yellow floatie has been passed on to a 2-year old cousin, and Jeromy, a little duckling no more, utilizes his mad swimming skills to navigate in the water.

Shiloh

"Shiloh"

I have a pet beagle named Shiloh and she is three years old.  She is black and brown all over, with big floppy ears and big shiny eyes.  My parents and I work together to care for her.  Sometimes she likes to itch herself on the rug by rolling around.  Shiloh is playful and we like to play together a lot.  She and I like to play fetch with toys.  Sometimes I make her jump for the toy.  When she and I play she bays and howls because she's excited.  One of her favorite activities is going on a walk with my dad and I.  I love Shiloh very very much because she's very special to me.

by:  Jeromy
composed:  June 8, 2009

More Blogger's Work


Well, it looks like for some reason the previous blog template I was using somehow got tweaked beyond repair, so I had to find a new template.  Please bear with me everyone as I try to fix all the technical issues plaguing my blog!

Kimochi Huggtopus is here!


Thanks to the generosity of Michelle at Scribbit, we are the proud owners of a genuine Kimochi Huggtopus!  What a wonderful surprise for a seemingly low-key Saturday afternoon!  For those who don't know what Kimochi's are, check out the official Kimochi web site.  

The set came with Kimochi Huggtopus herself, and the little "Kimochis," which are the little character pillows that have a feeling written on one side, and a facial expression depicting that particular feeling on the other.  FYI:  Kimochi means 'feeling' in Japanese.  The little Kimochis are designed to fit inside Huggtopus' mouth, where they are stored until ready to be "expressed."  The set also came with a canvas drawstring bag to hold the little Kimochis and the Kimochis Feel Guide.  According the guide, by using the characters and their Kimochis, kids can get in touch with their emotions in a fun and comfortable way.  

When kids can communicate theirfeelings, they cultivate self-confidence, kindness, self-awareness, self-control, resiliency, and gratitude.  They are ultimately designed to build character and confidence one feeling at a time.  There are several characters available by Kimochis, but I think Huggtopus is the perfect fit..read this description about him, and it will become evident why she, Jeromy, and I will become best friends fast:

Huggtopus is, needless to say, all smiles and hugs.  She is very affectionate and strong and sometimes gets a little carried away by her big friendly personality.  Huggtopus doesn't know her own strength and can sometimes be a little overbearing. ...You can always count on Huggtopus to put a smile on your face if you're feeling down and to give you a great big hug to make you feel better.  Huggtopus is a great friend and is always there to lend a  hand or two or even 8!  Huggstopus lives in Kimochi Bug's swimming hole.  Her favorite number is 8, and her favorite color is pin.  Huggs loves to eat EVERYTHING but has a special fondness for bubble gum.  She plays the xylophone.

This is the first time I've ever won a giveaway in the short amount of time I've been blogging, which makes it extra fun.  In fact, I think I just might be inspired to host a giveaway of my own soon!  Thanks again to you, Michelle, for making our day.  Just take a look at the huge smile on this kid's face... thanks for making that happen today!
  

Cousins


This is Andre (the older one) and Jeromy in December of 2003.  In this photo Andre is 11 years old, and Jeromy is 3.  This was taken at the Goldminer's, a hotel and restaurant in Alaska my folks used to own, during a Christmas trip to Alaska.  I remember Andre was just starting to hit a growth spurt, getting tall and skinny, and he was still into Pokemon and Legos.  Jeromy, still in diapers, just adored his older cousin...Andre was his favorite toy!  And being the wonderful kid he was, Andre was happy to hang out with him during the rare and precious times they got to see each other.


We zoom forward to February of 2007, and Andre is 15, while Jeromy is 7.  What a difference just a few years makes!  Taken at the Baltimore International Airport, these two still love to ham it up for the camera.  Andre is definitely taller, blazing through his teenage years, and Jeromy still looks up to his "Kuya," which is Tagalog for 'older brother'.  Although they technically aren't brothers, Andre is definitely the closest thing that Jeromy has to it.  Despite their differing ages, interests, these two still remain close, and share a love for all things martial arts, video games, and looking good!
I love you guys!

Fly, Optimus, Fly!


What could be better for an 8-year old boy on a sunny weekend afternoon than to go out and fly his kite? Since the Tetrahedral Kite he had made a while back was having some technical difficulty, Jeromy flew his $3.50 Transformer kite instead, which worked out just fine.  With the help of his trusty sidekick, Dad, they got the kite put together in no time, and were ready to get Optimus Prime flying high in the sky!  With a good steady wind and clear blue skies, the conditions were perfect for enjoying a nice, lazy afternoon outside.  After a few running starts and minor crash landings, Jeromy and Dad got the kite pretty high up, and all they had to do was hang on and enjoy.  Jeromy got so relaxed that he lay down in the grass as he was holding the kite! Even Jeromy had to agree: nothing compares to simple childhood fun like this.


"Oh yea, I'm flying it!"