Once again our family was able to spend Christmas here in California with our relatives. We’ve only done so once before (back in 2009) and I’m very thankful we could do it again this year. We don’t see much of our relatives when we’re in the Philippines, so every moment spent with them is precious to us 🙂
My Christmas celebration this year started on Christmas Eve day when Ezra, Kurt and I went to Palm Springs to have lunch with Kurt’s family. We planned on leaving Pico Rivera at around 10am, but Kurt stayed up late chatting with his mom and sister (they live in Japan) so he was pretty groggy that morning. We decided to leave a little later to give him a little more snooze time.
I was already dressed and made up by 9:30am, so I decided to camwhore a bit while waiting to leave.
I like how I did my eyes that day
Gold snowflake ornament which I grabbed from my aunt’s Christmas tree (it was right next to me)
Then I noticed that I liked how sparkly and pretty my nails looked so I decided to show them off:
Did I mention that I liked my make up that day?
(Yeah, I’m pretty vain XD But you probably already know that if you read my blog.)
Anyway, we ended up leaving at around 11am and arrived at Palm Springs around 1pm. We met up with Kurt’s family at their house and they took us to have lunch at the Spa Resort Casino. Afterwards we headed back to Kurt’s house again to take some pictures and so Kurt can grab a quick nap before he drives us back to Pico Rivera. (I passed the time by playing Katamari Damacy :D)
Group photo with Kurt’s family – stolen from Kurt”s camera XD
We left Palm Springs at around 6pm and made it back to my aunt’s house around 8pm. When we left that morning, there was only my dad at the house, but we returned to find a whole lot more people who have arrived to join in on the Christmas celebration:
Ate Zsa Zsa and her family arrived from Las Vegas, Kuya Wibet flew in the night before from San Francisco, Ate Maryann arrived from Chatsworth and Mama Darling arrived from San Jose.
Ezra and I were especially happy to see our niece and nephew, McKayla and CJ, again. They’ve grown so much since we last saw them. Especially McKayla! When I last saw her 2 years ago, she was this tiny:
And now look at her:
Isn’t she precious? She was adorable as a baby, but she’s gotten so much prettier.
Anyway, after some quick greetings we attended the 9pm mass at Cerritos then headed back home to take pictures and exchange gifts while waiting for our food to finish cooking. (I stole most of the pictures below from Kurt’s and my dad’s camera because I was too lazy to carry my camera around the house that night.)
Presents!! Something we all look forward to during Christmas
New pajamas and earrings from Ninang
Ezra and Kurt got matching Bath and Body Works stuff from Mama Darling. (They were very excited that night because it was their first Christmas eve together)
I got some bra clips XD It was meant to be a gag gift from Ate Zsa Zsa and her family, but I’m definitely going to use them. (Her real present was a gift set from Victoria’s Secret)
Kurt with his new FF13 video game – a gift from Ninang
CJ with our present – Transformers 😀 He told us that he liked our present the best. Looks like Kurt likes it too.
After exchanging gifts, we moved to the dining table and got ready to have our Noche Buena:
My dad cutting the queso de bola
Hungry girl waiting anxiously for food
CJ and McKayla eating on their own – so grown up~
McKayla spilled a bit of pasta on her dress while eating and it amused me to see that she fussed over it so much, lol. Not because I’m mean or anything, but just because I thought it was adorable the way she tried to clean herself up without asking for help. I don’t remember ever caring for my clothes when I was her age.
Kurt thought she was really cute too and tried to get close to her by constantly coming up to her to film her :
A bit creepy and stalkerish (lol, peace Kurt) – but I guess it worked because pretty soon she warmed up to him:
Awww~ She just walked up to him while he was eating and hugged him out of the blue.
She warmed up to Ezra and me too after a while. She would approach us to sit on our laps and we would just cuddle with her. She wanted to sleep next to us that evening (she even dragged her pillow from their room to ours), but her mom was worried we wouldn’t get any sleep with her next to us so we just snuggled her for a few minutes before her mom put her to bed.
The next day (Christmas Day) started off pretty chaotic because of all the preparations we needed to do for our lunch party. The banners and tables had been set up the day before on my aunt’s patio, so at least that part was done. It was mostly the food we were stressed about.
It was my mom’s decision to put up the banners. We told her it made it look like we were celebrating fiesta instead of Christmas, but most of our relatives were pretty happy with this because it took them back to their Tanauan days. (Tanauan fiesta is on December 27)
Filipino food for lunch. Ezra, Kurt and I were assigned to pick up the lumpia and chicken relleno from the Filipino supermarket that morning. We left the house much later than expected (because there was a long line for the bathroom) so Ninang was panicking by the time we set off. The supermarket closes at around 11am so she was worried that we wouldn’t make it on time, but we made it there and back with about an hour to spare.
While waiting for the guests to arrive, we took a bunch of pictures of my adorable niece and nephew
McKayla with her dad. (John’s a photographer and he taught me most of the basic camera stuff I needed to know when I first bought my Canon Rebel XTi)
She’s so cute~ She loves her pacifier
She loves hugs
Here’s a shot of CJ with his dad’s camera:
Taking a picture of his sister
He looks satisfied with the photo
I was actually trying to take a picture of the tables and banners here, but Ezra and Kurt obviously wanted their picture taken
There ya go~
CJ with his drawing of a lego ninja
Pretty soon, our guests started arriving:
We were posing for this picture (above) when McKayla came running out of the house because she wanted to be included in the photo too. So cute!! I’ve never seen kids to that. Most kids I know are very camera shy.
She ran up to her Ninong Wilbert and asked to be carried to be seen in the shot 😀 I guess when your dad’s a photographer posing for photos becomes second nature to you.
I will now spam this entry with pictures of McKayla’s adorableness, because I’m not sure how long it will be before I see her again:
Ate Xenia taught her to say “mahal kita” that morning. That’s what she was saying to me (while jumping up and down) in this picture 😀
She just loves the camera
Look how adorable she is, drinking from her water bottle
Future family picture? XD
My mom couldn’t get enough of her too
I love this shot that Kurt took me while I was reviewing some of the photos I took of McKayla:
I love it so much that I used it as my last self portrait for my 52-week project for 2011 (with Kurt’s permission of course). Thanks Kurt!
After most people were done eating, we gathered outside to take an obligatory group shot.
So many cameras!
Looks like CJ wants to become a photographer like his dad
After this we headed back inside to play the White Elephant game
Ezra, Mama and me – waiting for the game to start
Mama Darling missed her boyfriend (who is also named Kurt) so we told her to snap a picture with Ezra’s Kurt for now
Since Tito Willie and Tita Lynette weren’t able to come on Christmas Eve, they only received their presents that afternoon. Tito Willie looks extremely happy wearing his new Philippines jacket from Mama Darling
After everyone has settled down, Ate Maryann and Ate Xenia started explaining the rules for the White Elephant Game
I won/received a mug which says “Wisdom” on it XD
Just as we finished the game, more guests/relatives arrived:
They took more pictures and ate more after this but I wasn’t feeling well so I went upstairs to take a nap. All the excitement from the party wore me out and I ended up catching a cold T__T I spent the next few hours in bed resting while the party continued downstairs. By the time I was feeling better, most of our guests have already left. It’s a shame I wasn’t able to spend more time with some of them, but I’m glad I was able to at least see everyone that Christmas.
So yeah, that’s pretty much how I spent Christmas this year. I tried to savor each moment because I’m not sure when we will be able to spend the holidays here in California again. Once Ezra and I graduate and get jobs, I doubt we’ll be able to leave the Philippines for more than just a few days during Christmas season 😦 (Unless we end up with really cool bosses who would give us lots of vacation leaves XD). This year’s Christmas was awesome and I’m very thankful that our family was able to come to California once again for the holidays. I really hope we’ll be able to do it again in the near future.
To end this entry, here’s a quick shot of some of my Christmas loot:
Chocolates, perfumes, lotions, clothes, pajamas, gift cards and a new graphics tablet and laptop 😀 Weeeeee~
Belated Merry Christmas everyone! Hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine!