May 24th was a big day. Family and friends from Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, and California came together for Labor Day weekend in Torrance, California - not necessarily to bask in the tropical West coast weather, but to celebrate the wedding of our dear friends Liz and Mhar's wedding.

It was a weekend of celebration and a whole lot of catching up. We dubbed Liz and Mhar's wedding as the "event of the year" for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, these two dated for six years. We all knew they were going to get married, but we've been waiting for quite some time. Second reason, friends from all over really made the effort to attend the wedding, not just for the day but, for days before and after.

We are blessed to have such wonderful friends. Most of our friends we met in college at BYU-Hawaii. We shared common bonds of faith, pursuit of learning, and hardwork. Even up to almost a decade after we all first met, nothing much has changed - except that we now have careers to pursue and families to raise. Our conversations have changed a little bit; from homeworks, work shifts, and graduation - to raising children, paying bills, house hunting, and forging careers. But at heart, we are still the same kids struggling to make ends meet in Laie. Our dreams may have brought us to different places and circumstances, but our friendship ties us together eternally.

Witnessing Liz and Mhar's sealing for time and all eternity tugged heartstrings, and I myself couldn't help but cry a little bit. I remember the day Carl and I were in the same altar, I was filled with love and hope for wonderful days to come. To see our dear friends go through the same life changing event makes my heart skip a beat. It was life changing, even for us.

 It was a happy sight to behold. There were a lot of reasons to celebrate!


thoughts on Motherhood

When I was a freshman in college, a friend who was then a senior asked me what I see myself as in the next five to ten years. I was then only 16, only a few weeks out from the comforts of my parent's home, living on my own with strangers and trying to figure out how to survive college. I paused, and told her, "I plan on attending law school, practice law, and hopefully be married by the time I'm 25. And maybe I'll have 1 kid." I paused again, and then said, "And when I start to have kids, I'm willing to drop everything else."

Yes, my thoughts about being a mother has been that bold ever since. I have always dreamed of becoming a mother, of raising happy and healthy children. I always knew that I will have children... until I was told that maybe I will not. I was 24, I've been married two years, and our attempts at conceiving has been in vain. The doctor explained to me why... and I tried to understand, but I was more angry at my body than anything else. I was made to be a mother... my body is designed to bear children and my divine calling is to be a mother. Why does it have to be difficult?

Fast forward two years later. After numerous tests, bottles of pills, and monthly exams, I found out I was going to be a mother. As my body changed over the course of nine months, and even after that as I went through labor and finally giving birth to Lorenz... my heart has been shaped in many ways.

I am lucky to have my mother beside me all the way. She held my hand, like she always has, and assured me I was strong and able and worthy to be a mother to my son. Years ago, when I said "I'll drop everything" once I start having children, I might have meant quitting professionally and committing to stay at home with my children. At the present time, I have found that "dropping everything" has a lot more meaning to it. It means functioning on less sleep because of night feedings, teething troubles, crying in the middle of the night because of nightmares, congestion, and throw-ups. It means letting go of some housekeeping details when it used to drive me crazy that the closet is not organized by wardrobe length and color. It means working on school work late at night through the wee hours of the morning. It means taking a shower at 2:00 in the afternoon. It means getting sticky with baby food and rice and sauce all over you, the table, and the floor. It means giving up a lot of things, for things that matter more  - like playtime with Lorenz, reading a book with him, making sure he's fed and always healthy, seeing to it that he's breathing well and can sleep through the night in the middle of his bout with the awful could.

I am blessed to have a partner in raising this little boy. I am grateful for Carl and for all that he does to make motherhood a beautiful thing for me. We are not perfect, and we are doing this by trial and error. But I won't have motherhood any other way.

For mothers' day, the boys treated me with some pampering foot spa, some shopping indulgences, and seafood lunch. But more than whatever material gifts these boys shower me, I will be forever grateful to them for making my dream of being a mother come true. In reality, motherhood is not easy. And I get overwhelmed sometimes. But if I look back to the time when I thought I would never get this chance, I find myself in a better place than anywhere I've ever been in the last 29 years of my life.


of April Sunshine, Easter Eggs, and a Picture on a Magazine

We welcomed April with excitement as the weather got warmer and days got longer. Lorenz, who is now walking like a boss, is soaking up in the sun at the play ground every chance he gets. He's become more social, waving hi to every kid he sees. Our apartment building doesn't have a playground, so we usually go to the nearby quad so Lorenz can play. Most parents let their kids leave some of their toys like shovels and pails and balls and other outdoor toys outside, sort of like kids can share the toys. Because of that, I don't have to bring a bunch of outdoor toys  for Lorenz for when he gets bored with the slides.

We've also been playing with cousins when we get the chance to visit each other. Lorenz loves to play with Keana and Wil at the park.

Our ward hosted an Easter Egg Hunt for the little kids, and Lorenz had a blast filling up his pail with eggs. Over 600 eggs were scattered all over the softball field, but with all the kids in attendance, we were advised to make sure our kids only get a maximum of 10 eggs. Even with limits, the little guy kept picking an egg after another. They also had bounce houses, one for the bigger kids and one for the little toddlers. Lorenz was hesitant at first, with the whole thing bouncing and the kids got all crazy jumping, but he soon discovered it was so much fun!

At the beginning of April, we went to Salt Lake City to attend General Conference. Knowing that we have a little boy who doesn't really like sitting still through church meetings, Carl and I knew we needed to make do so we can listen to the talks, or at least some of them. We decided to listen at the Tabernacle and took turns. As I walked out of the doors, I saw a photographer taking a photo of Lorenz. I think Lorenz was fascinated with his camera and so the little guy kept following him. After a little while, another photographer took photos of Lorenz while he was playing with the flower beds. On our way home, Carl told me two other photographers took Lorenz's photos while I was inside. These photographers take thousands of photos over the course of 3 days, which they then use on the General Conference issue of the Church magazines. We weren't asked to sign any release waiver of any sort, so we can give them permission to use Lorenz's photos, so we didn't really expect to see this:

Spot the little guy!
We weren't even subscribed to The Friend, the church's magazine for little children, and so we didn't see this until one of our neighbors posted a link on our facebook page (Thanks Emma!). So we secured a copy and put in his book to remind him how lucky he is, and that he should always stand on "holy grounds."


The Big Apple Adventure

Oh yes we did! We visited New York City!!!

Thanks to my sister-in-law who works for JetBlue, we were able to fly to New York City at a fraction of the cost. We were "stand by" passengers - so it was a waiting game everytime, but if you get a seat on the flight its all worth it. Flying to NYC was a little smoother than flying back to Salt Lake, but now we know how it works so we are better prepared if we decide to fly on stand by again.

Like I said, if you get a seat on the flight, its worth it - and it totally was!

We first spent the night in Long Beach, which is JetBlue's hub in the west coast. The morning after we flew out of LAX to JFK. It was a 6 hour flight, and Lorenz slept for the first 4 hours. YAY! And then he was just tired and cranky and wanted to walk around, good thing the lady seated next to us was very patient and played with Lorenz. Trivia: She was in LA visiting her son's family. Her son's wife is Filipina. No wonder she kept saying Lorenz looked very similar to her grandson.

So touchdown New York! We made it. We had reservations at the Marriott Spring Hill Suites near the airport. Two nights stay - for free! Thanks Marriott points!!! We didn't rent a car. We always took the hotel shuttle to and from the Airtrain which took us to Jamaica Station were we caught the E train that took us downtown. Hello subway!

I really don't like big cities... so visiting and going around New York sort of freaked me out. (Plus watching too much Law and Order: SVU doesn't help). But Carl is a city boy and he just blended right in. Our first night we dined at Hard Rock Cafe. It was cool because they had a lot of music memorabilia in their lobby so you don't really feel like you've been waiting for a table forever. We enjoyed it for the most part. When we got out the door after dinner we were surprised at how bright it still was considering it was almost 9pm already... surprise surprise all the bright lights and marquees and screens are on! Seriously, they call New York the city that never sleeps for a good reason.

The following day, we left the hotel early to go back downtown to check off a couple of things in our list. For Carl - it was the Statue of Liberty. He wasn't gonna visit New York City if he doesn't get the chance to see the Lady. So we took the ferry from Battery Park that took us to Liberty Island where Lady Liberty lives. When you visit the island, you can purchase three kinds of tickets - the most affordable one gives you access to the park and grounds. Then there's the other two where you can either go up to the base, or go all the way to the crown. Both tickets are reservations only and cost a little much. Carl was willing to pay a little extra but reservations were full. So we got ground access and took lots of pictures.

We spent a good hour and a half (maybe) on the island. We boarded another ferry that will bring us back to New York, but it stops at Ellis Island first. I wanted to get off the ferry to check the place out - the place got history and I'm sucker for those. But that would mean another hour in the island and waiting for another ferry so we stayed on board and headed straight back to New York.

Our next stop was Central Park. We took the R train and got off downtown (I forgot which street) and then walked straight to Central Park. It was HUGE and we didn't have time to go around it at that point. So I just had to take a picture by a bridge over water. Well - this (picture on the left) was at a bridge by the pond, so yeah - check!

We were tired and exhausted and cold and our feet were sore from all the walking, but we had a lot of fun... . The little guy couldn't be bothered either. He also had fun, I think!

We decided to head back to the hotel early since we were going to try to fly out early the next day. But again, we were flying stand by, so we could only hope for the best. We ended up getting seats on the last flight of the day (9pm), which took us to Denver, where we stayed the night at the airport. We bought tickets and flew out of Denver to Salt Lake City. It was quite an adventure, especially with a little kid. With the logistics of feeding and keeping the little guy entertained and calm and well-behaved - it was a feat. But in the end, we made the trip count and we have fun memories to keep!



We've been very busy... while we've been stuck in the apartment most of the time because of freezing temperatures outside, we're still feeling how fast time flies and we can barely catch up.

Lorenz has slowly learned to make little steps. He's constantly fascinated with his balls and his little basketball ring is being put to good use. He is still crazy about books, and he now knows when a book is upside down. He loves his playtime with Carl, which, is very early in the morning. Although we think he's transitioning now. He used to wake up at around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, drinks 4 ounces of milk, play with Carl, drink another 4 ounces of milk at 6:00 then goes back to sleep for another 2 hours. Now, he wakes up at around 6:30 (yes, the morning the playtime with dad is now a thing of the past), drinks his milk and goes back to sleep and wakes up at around 9:30. That means his morning nap is a thing of the past too. He still takes naps in the afternoon though, sometimes 2 to 3 hours. We can't wait for the weather to get warmer so we can go outside and play. Our apartment has gotten smaller for Lorenz's liking, especially now that he's starting to walk.

As for me, I am swamped with work. I need to get my qualifying exam requirements done and I have a couple of proposals to wrap up in preparation for a family studies conference in Maryland come November. I used to be able to get a lot done even during the day because Lorenz naps in the morning and in the afternoon. Also, he used to be content with playing in his little corner in my office while I work. But now, he's gone all curious and want to be on my lap as soon as I turn my computer on. He now DEMANDS an active playmate so I can't just put him on his playpen like I used to. Sometimes, I feel really bad about me working... mommy guilt I guess. One time, he just sat on the other side of the closed door and kept "knocking" until he cried out of frustration because I wouldn't come out. This was even when Carl was playing with him in the living room. It is also frustrating on my side, and it breaks my heart to choose work/school over him on some occasions. If only my choices were easier. I have a year and a half left in school. That means I'm almost done with school "for good", but that also means I have so much stuff to get done in the next 15 months. But, we're almost there - almost.

Carl has a lighter load at work now, by that I mean it's not as intense as it was when he did mormon.org. His tasks are a little bit different now. On the side, he's got more time for his hobbies. Their band, Postcard Rail, had a couple of performances the past couple of weeks. They have a new vocalist since Stephanie has left for her mission. They don't have new compositions right now, but they have great covers and their new vocalist Marie has an amazing voice and has great showmanship - she's like a concert in a little body. Carl's gotten more confident too, up on stage. And he just got a new bass which he is all giddy about!

As a family, we've tried a couple of things together. Lorenz has been good when eating out. We took him with us on our Valentine's date at Red Lobster and he was quite cooperative he let us finish our meal. I mean, he's eating the same kind food we're having so he's having a blast too. We took him to the cinemas, for the first time, so we can watch the much talked about Frozen... but we decided to leave half-way through the movie out of respect for the other viewers. We asked for a refund which the cinema granted and even thanked us for our courtesy. We tried it again a couple of weeks later, we watched the Lego Movie and he was better and we actually finished the whole movie - no interruptions! Yay for us! We also went snow tubing at Soldier Hollow in Midway. It was really fun... of course we didn't bring Lorenz with us up top and we took turns with my sister in law and her husband watching Lorenz, but they had "baby" tubes at the bottom of the hill with a little bumpy sliding area for the little ones and Lorenz absolutely loved it. We also visited the Ice Castles, also in Midway. It was really cool especially at night because the ice sculptures were lit up it felt magical. We were just a little bummed out because their "Frozen" display with Olaf in it was not there anymore. We asked what happened to the display and one of the "builders" told us the display got ruined because of a sprinkler accident - like Olaf got wet and re-froze disfigured. Yeah, bummer. But it was fun overall!


Lorenz is 1!

December 29, 2012
Weight - 8 lbs 4 oz
Length - 21 inches

December 29, 2013
Weight - 20 lbs
Length - 30 inches

Our little one is now 1! 

Favorite food: rice, chicken, fish, potatoes, green peas, sweet potato, sayote, cereal, bread, animal crackers, POG juice, milk
Favorite activities: peek-a-boo, bath time, pass the ball, "reading", blowfishes
Favorite toys: ball, board books, trucks, musical toys, blocks, OUR PHONES & LAPTOPS
Playmates: Travis, PaulWil, Ate Keana, Mommy & Daddy
Words: Diddy, Mama, BuBye, Bo (Ball), How (Hello), Mam (Eat), Wow, Wooh, Yeah


2013 in Review

2013 has been a roller coaster ride for our little family. There were a lot of learning and leaping. Sometimes we had to learn the hard way, and leap with just pure faith, for the most part.
Carl and I learned how to raise a little boy - one day at a time. It does help that he is absolutely ADORABLE, especially on long days and sleepless nights. But we are super in love with him - HE IS OUR SUNSHINE! He surely made the past year interesting. Watching him reach his milestones and see him grow from teeny tiny human being to becoming a little person was incredible. Those sleepless nights caused by teething were all worth it when we saw his first tooth come out. We now miss the days when we had to carry and cuddle him all the time, because now he knows how to escape our cuddles so he can crawl and cruise and play. It melted our hearts when he first babbled "MAMA" and "DIDDY", and he first waved his hand to say "BU-BYE". Now all he wants is his "BO" (ball). 

As for Carl and I, we celebrated our 5TH YEAR OF MARRIAGE. Congratulations to us! It has been an adventure being married to each other - we've been through all levels of school since we married, lived in 5 apartments in 4 cities in 3 states, had a baby, and dealt with foreign bureaucracy as Visa holders in the United States to top it all. Planning for our future has been a lot of brainstorming and having a lot of back-up plans. To celebrate our milestone, we went to SeaWorld in San Diego. It was our first time flying with Lorenz, and it was a really fun experience. We discovered that Lorenz was a really good little traveler! We enjoyed the dolphins and seals, and the Pacific Ocean. Carl turned 29 and I turned 27. Carl transferred from Mormon.org to CUBS (Church Unit Banking System), and I got started with my doctoral dissertation.
That was 2013 in a nutshell, in monthly detail...

JANUARY. We started the year with a new baby. I was supposed to give birth to Lorenz on January 2nd, but he arrived 4 days early. It was a whole new experience, and we were blessed to have the help and expertise of my mom as we maneuvered our way into neophyte parenthood.

FEBRUARY. We took a trip to Los Angeles to send-off my in-laws to the Philippines. They've been in the US since October of 2012 to visit us. We were so blessed to have them close to us even for a while, and it made my birth to Lorenz even more special with her two grandmothers present as he arrived. While in LA, we took the chance to take my mom around, and our friends also got the chance to meet Lorenz for the first time.

MARCH. Carl started his new job assignment. He had a great time being with the Mormon.org team, but It was really great while it lasted. He really worked hard as a project manager for Mormon.org, working late and long nights with translations and coding and coordinating with local area teams  from different countries. He transferred to CUBS and he found it exciting to learn the IT side of the Church's finances.

APRIL. It's General Conference time again, and it was such a blessing that my mom was able to attend it for the first time. We were edified and fed with the spiritual nourishment we needed. It was also Lorenz's first time in Temple Square. While we weren't able to sit down and focus on the talks, we still felt the spirit and the importance of having modern-day revelations to guide us in these latter-days.

MAY. My FIRST MOTHERS' DAY ever! It felt so surreal. For the longest time, Mothers' day felt like a non-holiday - and we are just making do because afterall I was going to be a mom someday. But this time, I was a MOTHER - and we celebrated it with my mom and relatives and friends. Also, it was time to say goodbye to my mom whose been a very big help to us for the first couple of months of being new parents. We've learned a lot from her, and it was heartbreaking to see her kiss Lorenz goodbye. But it was time for her to go back to my dad and to be with my siblings after 5 months of being away.

JUNE. SUMMER is finally in the air! We spent almost every Saturday at the waterpark and Lorenz always had a blast. Lorenz had his half-birthday and it was really fun seeing him learn new things as he becomes more and more of his own person. He started eating solids and he loved sweet potatoes, applesauce, squash, and peas. He also started TRYING TO CRAWL, but doesn't really crawl - he just stays in his funny crawling position and then falls on his tummy. He's fallen in love with his books and loves flipping their pages. We also celebrated Carl's FIRST FATHERS' DAY - and we treated him with my homemade fall off the bones BBQ Ribs!

JULY. Carl turned 29 - and we ate a lot of meat! We had a feast at Tucanos where Carl has a free birthday meal. We played mini-golf... and ate some more at Joe's Crab Shack. Yes we love to eat! We also treated Carl's team with pizza. One of Carl's birthday wishes was - another baby. Technically, not a tough gift to give, but we'll have to work on that ;)

AUGUST. I turned 27 and We turned 5. I started loving my birthdays more since I've been married to Carl. It was certainly a very smart move for Carl to set our wedding date on the day before my birthday. I am for sure super spoiled on my birthdays. Our first year, he took to me to Universal Studios. Our second year, he booked a really fancy hotel. Our third year, he let me redecorate our apartment. Our fourth year, he treated me to the Canyons in Park City. For our fifth year, he took our family to SeaWorld in San Diego and treated me to an amazing seafood dinner in Mira Mesa! I love my birthdays - and I love being Mrs. Canlas!

SEPTEMBER. We visited the Philippines as a family for the first time. It was a trip that was an exciting trip that tested our faith and patience in many different ways. Our primary purpose was to renew our visas at the US Embassy in Manila. Secondary to that was so that most of our families can meet our little boy. After we got our visas renewed, we made sure we were able to spend quality time with our families. Our visit was filled with eating out a lot (of seafood, Jollibee, and Chowking), touring places, and having little adventures here and there. 3 weeks went by really fast, but at least we are now in a position where we can visit the Philippines whenever circumstances allow (at least in the next 3 years).

OCTOBER. Settling back in our old routine after our quick 3 weeks in the Philippines was quite a challenge. Lorenz has grown so much, and had difficulty adjusting to the cold weather. It has gotten really cold while we were away. Lorenz had an ear infection, which was awful as it happened as four new teeth erupted in his gums. Poor little thing. But, he's cruising more and was absolutely cute in his Wolverine costume on Halloween!

NOVEMBER. We had a lot of things to be grateful for and we certainly enjoyed Thanksgiving. We spent a weekend in Seattle with friends and Lorenz had a blast with his best bud Travis. We stayed at Homewood Suites and had Thanksgiving Dinner there. We also went around Seattle and visited some tourist spots. We really enjoyed being at the Space Needle. I felt like I fell in love more with Grey's Anatomy (my latest TV drama fix) now that I've been in Seattle. It was a long and exhausting drive to and from Seattle but we had a great Thanksgiving weekend.

DECEMBER. The year is finally coming to a close - 2013 went by super fast. It's Lorenz's first Christmas and he is TURNING ONE! He can now walk while we hold his hands. He's learned a few tricks here and there, like putting his hand on his ear when he hears the phone ring. He can also climb up the couch now, climb down the bed, and go up and down the stairs. Oh, and he's learned how to DANCE! He received a fleece blanket (that I made for him) for Christmas, among a couple other things that we got him (a backpack, a suit set, and of course new pajamas and a beanie). On his birthday, he got a little tikes basketball court and he was in heaven saying "bo" and trying to shoot the ball in the ring!

So that was 2013 for us! It was eventful and exciting, and definitely an adventure. We are looking forward to a new year with hope, love, and happiness!