A Year of Many Firsts -- Thank You, 2017!

"It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful."

2017, you were awesome! I think this is one of the best years for my family, and for myself. I have so much to be thankful for and I honestly don't know where to start.

We closed the year fresh off the plane from a memorable holiday trip -- a first for the whole family. 2017 was really a year of many firsts, from significant to the mundane. So I've decided ito na ang blog year-ender ko. :)

While I haven't been blogging as much this year, I more than made up for it on my Instagram and Facebook posts. Dun mas maraming daily updates nga mga happenings and discoveries, and if you've been following me there sa IG and FB, THANK YOU so much! You may have seen some of our "firsts" na and I'd like to share some of them here as I look back at the year that brought so much blessings.

GRATEFUL for our FIRSTS in 2017 
(tap photos for details)

Snow Encounter
One of the objectives of our Tokyo winter trip was to go to a snow/ski resort for the kids.
Despite missing the bus to Snow Town Yeti, we still made it and it was the "best day ever" for them. Mt. Fuji served as the backdrop of the resort too. This experience was a first for all of us.

Japan Family Holiday
First trip to Japan (Tokyo) for the four of us and first out-of-the-country vacation with my brother and his family. Not enough time. We need to plan for the next one.  :)

Mt. Fuji Sighting
We were very lucky to get a full view of the majestic Mount Fuji on our way to Gotenba. I've learned that not everyone gets to see Fuji-san in it's full glory. Most months are cloudy.
100% visibility with clear blue skies throughout the day during our visit to Shizuoka.

Hongkong Trip
Mid-year trip with visiting relatives from the U.S. -- first trip abroad for J and M and they got to spend quality time with their cousin and aunt. First Disneyland tour as well. Short by sweet trip for everyone.

Dry Steam Cleaning
My clean-house project for the year involved dry steam sterilization and grout cleaning.
First time to try this amazing service and we are hooked. We will do this every quarter starting this new year!

My Court Appearance
It all started with getting held at the airport Immigration area before boarding for our Hongkong trip. A namesake has 3 criminal cases with a hold order. Will write about the full story on this soon!

ECG at 44
First time to undergo executive check-up (should have done it when I turned 40).
Better late than never. I promised to take better care of my health since last year -- watching my food intake, annual check-ups, and regular fitness regimen. Hope I will be diligent enough to follow through.

He Wears a Body Brace
Starting last January, he was fitted for a body brace to support his scoliosis.
He started wearing it in April. I can't imagine how uncomfortable it is for him. He grew much taller since then, and more adjustments will be made in the coming months.

Underwater Photo and Video
There's no denying how I enjoy taking photos, whenever, wherever. While my phone is capable of taking underwater images, this was the first time (since October 2016) I tried to capture all the fun my kids were having in the pool. Photos and videos of this weekend getaway will always be cherished, especially the ones taken under water.  :)

Off-Road Adventure
An invitation we cannot refuse.
The whole family got to experience off roading in the Daraitan, thanks to our hosts, and it was a wet and wild ride to remember!

Her Pom Puppy
The girl has been asking for a dog for the longest time. I was not open to taking care of a pet again (after our family poodle left us after new year of 2009). Too much responsibility.
Last August, I came home to find this cute pomeranian getting settled in. He eventually charmed his way into our hearts. Officially, Dekota is her first puppy.

He Goes Back to Regular School
If you've been following our stories, you'll know that the boy has been homeschooled since his 5th grade. I cannot do it anymore and we felt he needed a change.
First time back in school after three years. He started 8th grade last August. He's thriving.

Mangrove Planting
Environmental awareness is an ongoing lesson, and part of the girl's school program is an exposure trip to Batangas that allowed them first-hand experience in planting mangroves. It was also a first for me! This is learning beyond the classroom walls.

His Painting Got Sold
The boy was able to create several artworks while enrolled in painting class for a year.
During the art studio's summer exhibit, he was able to showcase three of his works. I also posted the paintings on Facebook and a friend offered to buy his "Rooster". Sold!

Cirque Du Soleil Show
TORUK was a fantastic show and we were so fortunate to experience the spectacle on opening night. An amazing performance by the world renowned Cirqu Du Soleil. A first for the whole family!

Interview with Pilates Moms
I never imagined that my pilates journey with my friends will get us featured in an inspirational story for moms like us. Practicing pilates has brought a lot of positivity into my life and I am happy to share that good vibes with anyone. What an honor to be appreciated alongside my team mom.

Strange how the world turns. I used to work in advertising, moving behind scenes and taking care of clients. This time around, I got thrust in front of the camera with my first professionally produced Vlog! Definitely out of my comfort zone but something I am willing to do more of this new year. No promises, but let's see where this leads.

Ang dami pang mga "firsts" for me and my family, but let me end it here. There will always be good and unpleasant experiences for everyone. But despite obstacles here and there, I believe it's all a matter of perspective, to have a mindset of abundance and positivity to truly appreciate what we have in life. I am grateful for the year that was and looking forward to more exciting life events with my loved ones this new year.

Wishing you all a joyous and prosperous 2018 filled with enriching memorable experiences!

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