Send In The Clowns

photo caption:
Even the youngest dancers invest their "Nutcracker" performance with vigor. The ballet plays through Dec. 27. in San Francisco.

And The San Francisco Examiner writes:
an amazing cast of disciplined little dancers that own the show at times, and the scene-stealing performance of the high-flying "Russian Trepak Bear", who comes out of Madame Du Cirque's dress....

Full article available here

SF Ballet Nutcracker Opening Night...Magical!

I cannot even begin to describe my excitement over the Opening Night of the much anticipated Nutcracker production of SF Ballet. Our excitement have been building since last September when Isabella auditioned for a role in this magical production. Isabella's enthusiasm and dedication is so evident in her attendance. She never missed a single rehearsal and was on time and ready for each call. And last night was her most anticipated call...the curtain call for opening night. Isabella had the time of her life performing for a packed audience at the War Memorial Opera House.

Our day was just as magical as the Nutcracker. We will cherish and remember it for years to come. My mom and dad Dennis were with us to share in this magical day for Isabella (Russ was in San Luis Obispo; we're scheduled to watch as a family on the 19th).

Isabella's magical day started with a dress rehearsal from 12:30-3:30. As soon as we entered the intersection of Grove and Van Ness and saw the War Memorial Opera House adorned with giant Nutcrackers, we couldn't contain our excitement. Isabella and I started screaming and giggling.

After dropping Isabella off, we decided to calm our excitement and headed to Macy's in Union Square. We somehow found ourselves in the cosmetics department where we ended up having our make-up done (my mom and I). After our own magical moment of skin care and make-up application, we were off to pick up Isabella. She was so excited to tell us that they rehearsed with a full orchestra.

We then headed for early dinner at Max's Opera Cafe together with two of her fellow clowns and their families.

After dinner we rushed to their normal ballet class. Their regular class time is from 5:45 to 7:00. The three of them were allowed to leave class early to head to the War Memorial Opera House across the street. They were instructed to sign in like little professionals and head on to their assigned dressing room where they were to wait for hair, make up , and wardrobe calls.

As for us adults, we went to the War Memorial around 6:00. We met up with Owen and her family. Her two sons, Josh and Troy (my godson), are very sweet kids. Troy is so precious and couldn't wait to see Belle. It was also nice to have met Owen's boyfriend, Paul.

It was our first time at the beautiful War Memorial Opera House. I made a mental note of the moment...where we were seated, what we were wearing (including my special purse which I will talk about in a separate blog), the decor, and everything else I could remember. It was surely magical...not only was it my first time, my darling daughter was part of the performance!

As soon as the music from the live orchestra started, I had goosebumps all over. It was truly a wonderful production. Act I ended with beautiful dancing "Snowflakes" together with very talented Snow King and Queen.

When Act II started, I felt like screaming with excitement. By the time the Russian Dancers entered (which means the clowns were on the wings), the word excitement is an understatement. When the clowns entered jumping and cartwheeling, the audience, packed with moms, dads, and kids, were all clapping (I would have done a cartwheel myself at that point... if I could). Isabella was in character. She was proud to be a clown. Her pride and joy showed in each step and gesture. And I, in all my glorious excitement, was a shining mother.

It was truly an unforgettable night for us....magical, indeed.

(sorry I don't have photos...but will post some as soon as I am able)

click here for the review from The SF Examiner

Isabella's Nutcracker Performance Schedule

Finally! SF Ballet Nutcracker casting and schedule is posted!

Isabella is set to perform at the War Memorial Opera House for a total of 16 shows including opening night and Christmas Eve.

She will be in Act II as one of Madame Du Cirque's eight clowns to dance with a big bear.

Tickets are available at

her schedule is underlined in black.

Hope you can catch her and hope you enjoy the show.

Happy Halloween '09

Another creative halloween year for us. Isabella is a boom box this year (her own idea). We worked on it the night before her halloween parade after her SF ballet class.

She said it was a hit at school. Schoolmates would push the play button and she would personally play their requested song, tapping on the sides to drum the beat. Creative eh?

Kuya Phil came to help her carve a pumpkin. This year's design: "puking" pumpkin:)

Presenting...Our Puking Pumpkin

check out last year's "mooning" pumpkin

Isabella and I went trick-or-treating with our respective BFF's, dear ate Cecile with her DD, Krystn. We had fun collecting the girls' candy stash to last them the entire year (or so we hope:) We also had a great time looking at decorated "haunted" homes. Then we went home and the girls had fun trading candies.

The precious halloween night was followed by another precious birthday.

My day started with a bang...precious greetings from wonderful friends and family...including birthday song from Tess and Steven from Pismo over the cell phone.

Then we were off to church. Being that it was the first Sunday, birthdays and anniversaries for the month are recognized. Isabella stood up and announced my special day. Then my dear tita Rose, my spiritual mentor, prepared a special fish dish for me (she knows I love to eat but not to cook:)

Arriving home from church I was surprised with gifts from my BFF, dear ate Cecile, including a delectable cake from Red Ribbon, my fave...choco mocha crunch...yummy!

After church we celebrated my birthday at World Gourmet Restaurant in Fremont.

My day was ended with a wonderful visit from no other than my BFF, ate Cecile.

It was a wonderful birthday for me. I am so blessed. Thank you dear Lord for the blessing of great family and friends.

Isabella's 10th Birthday Bash

Isabella's 10th Birdthday party this Saturday was a huge success.
Thanks to the help of wonderful family and friends.
Here are some few photos I managed to take.

delectable mocha/chocolate photo birthday cake from Goldilocks
yes, the photo is an edible marshmallow frosting
Photo by Cecile of Papelle Photographie

Our backyard
decorated with the help of my GFF from Pismo Beach, Tessie.

The yummy food prepared by my wonderful mom
with the help of dad Dennis,
auntie Virgie visiting all the way from New York,
and Flor all the way from the Philippines.

menu included
my mom's vegetable lumpia, pork and chicken adobo,
beef kaldereta, and fruit salad
ordered chinese chicken salad and shrimp cakes
salmon especially prepared by dear ate Cecile
pancit from our sweet neighbor, Aling Linda
shrimp balls from my dear cousin, ate Edna
Auntie Virgie's specialties...lumpia shanghai, cassava dessert,
and suman (sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves)

Karaoke fun lasting 'til midnight

and of course, jolly jumper fun complete with obstacle course and a slide.
It was a hit with the kids and kids-at-heart.

The festivities started with a precious prayer from Pastor Anne
Thanks to all our wonderful guests who made the event so much fun
We are so blessed to have the best family and friends

Happy Birthday Darling Isabella!

Birthday Photo Shoot

On a Friday before Isabella's 10th birthday, we were extremely fortunate to have the privilege of a precious photo session by an incredibly talented other than my BFF, Cecile. I am very proud to present a few of her many beautiful snapshots capturing our family's passionate ballerina....

thank you ate Cecile, from the bottom of our hearts.

more lovely shots in equally lovely layouts available for your viewing pleasure in Cecile's photography blog at You also wouldn't want to miss visiting her incredible site at beholding a great passion and the gift of capturing images and turning them into precious works of art.

Saturdays: Nutcracker Rehearsals and Family Bonding Day

I started writing this while waiting at the San Francisco Ballet. Saturdays are fast becoming a great family bonding day for us (at least for the three of us - myself, DH Russ, and DD Isabella; as for the boys, let's just say that waiting at the ballet school is not exactly in their list of drag times:)

It's been 6 weeks since Isabella started attending San Francisco Ballet School after auditioning last September 12th. The audition marked the beginning of our Saturday family time. Then last September 26th, Isabella got an opportunity to experience another audition, this time for a part in San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker production. She tried out for a role for girls under 4'7 as one of the 8 adorable clowns to dance with a big bear in Madame Du Cirque scene in Act 2. You can read about The Nutcracker Story here. Two of Isabella's brothers, Phil and Ian, joined us that day. We had lunch at Japan town in between her morning class and the audition. After lunch the boys took the bart home. Russ and I spent time together while waiting during the two-hour long audition.

Isabella was called to rehearse. Last October 3rd was their first rehearsal day. We had lunch with a couple of her classmates that day (in between her class and rehearsal) at Arlequin Cafe on Hayes Street.

Last week, October 10th, though there were no classes due to memorial day holiday, rehearsals were on. So after rehearsals that day we spent the afternoon at Union Square. We went shopping at Macy's after a great lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Isabella had a wonderful time looking for "the perfect" dress. And she was able to find a couple of "perfect" dresses (def: size 7-8, girly yet grown up dress, and on sale:))

Today we had lunch at Sage Cafe right behind SF Ballet with one of her classmates. Then after rehearsals we headed to Pleasanton to attend a birthday party at Super Frank's Fun Adventure. Russ, though tired, enjoyed watching Isabella have a great fun time playing at the arcade and riding their zip line. It was yet another wonderful Saturday family bonding day.

Studio Show '09

Coastal Dance and Music Academy
Clark Center for the Performing Arts
June 28, 2009

San Francisco Ballet School Audition

Isabella auditioned at the San Francisco Ballet School last Saturday, Sept. 12th. Ian, Russ, and I were there to support her. Unfortunately no family members were allowed to watch the auditions. According to Isabella, it was very exciting. There was a panel of 4 judges/teachers, a pianist, and the teacher conducting the audition. She had a great time and it was an experience she will never forget.

After the auditions, we had an early family dinner at Gerry's Grill. We met Immanuel and we had a nice family "meeting" (on allowances in conjuction with responsibilities, etc.) over superb filipino food.

When we got home, Isabella's BFF, Krystn, called inviting her to watch her own dance show. Isabella was getting ready when I retrieved a message from our answering machine asking if Isabella can practice dance for our church's Heritage event. Isabella missed the first dance practice so, sad as she was for being unable to spend time with Krystn, she made room for the church event. Thank goodness that her BFF Krystn was ok about it. Bless their sweet little hearts. Isabella practiced filipino folk dance with the kids from church.

It was a blessed day.

Today is yet another blessed day. We received an email from the San Francisco Ballet School formally inviting Isabella to attend this year's program. She is so excited to learn she is placed in level 2B, which is her level at CDMA. We credit much of it to the superb training, support, and inspiration she received from CDMA.
Currently, she attends Ballet Petit in Hayward where she takes 3 classes per week. We would need to have another family meeting regarding San Francisco Ballet School. We know it would be a bit difficult to take her to classes all the way in San Francisco, but we also know that it would be a great experience for her. We'll keep you posted.

Family Update - July/August 09

At last I can write again! It's because our Union City home is finally in some kind of order. It has been an extremely busy July and August for us. No, I'm not whining, just justifying for not following through on my promise for an update after our son, Phil's, graduation last June.

Well, before I bring you up to date regarding Phil, allow me to complete my justification for my inability to write. I want to say again, I'm not whining. I am very grateful for my fruitful undertakings. The only hint of whining, if any, stems from not being able to write. My justification for it?...OCD. I cannot seem to write until I have some kind of order in my surroundings. It's my obsessive-compulsive-disorder getting in the way.

By now, most of you already know we moved back to our Union City home. And for those of you who do not know, while we were in our Pismo home, our Union City home was home to our very friendly and active teen. In other words, it became a party house (not to mention there were 2 untrained dogs). It was in dire need of some major TLC. So right after our Orlando/Jamaica summer vacation, we tackled home improvements and maintenance at our Union City home. We replaced the upstairs carpeted bedrooms to laminate flooring. All the home improvements and maintenance, including selecting materials, (and looking for a dance school for Isabella) took the rest of July through the first week of August.

After the major work, we took a break and headed to our Central Coast home.

two blissful weeks in Pismo:
8/7 (Fri) - drive to Pismo and made it to Isabella's dance class at CDMA
8/8 (Sat) - company class from 9-11 then off to the beach with Phil and Belle in the afternoon.
8/9 (Sun) - family time at Avila Beach with some of Belle's friends from CDMA
8/10 (Mon) - my adult jazz class
8/11 (Tues) - Santa Maria courthouse to take care of my speeding ticket, Belle's dance classes, Belle's haircut (she wanted bangs); ending with family dinner at Rosa's Italian Restaurant
8/12 (Wed) - Isabella's playdate with friend from school, Adrian
8/13 (Thu) - time with my GFF, Tessie while Isabella enjoyed swimming at their clubhouse
8/14 (Fri) - sleepover with Gabby (one of Isabella's BFFs from CDMA)
8/15 (Sat) - Isabella's dance rehearsal; shopping with Tessie at Costco
8/16 (Sun) - good-bye get-together at home with Belle's dance teachers, Ms. Kathy & Ms. Tara
8/17 (Mon) - another sleepover with Gabby
8/20(Thu) - playdate with Sonja (another BFF from CDMA); dress rehearsal for Pier 39 show
8/21 (Fri) - drive back to Union City
8/22 (Sat) - Pier 39 show; Tessie and Steven visited; ate Edna and family

Back in Union City
8/30 (Sun) - time with my cousin ate Edna and family
dance classes for Isabella at Ballet Petit
8/25 (Tues) - time with one of my BFF's, ate Janette, and her DD, Jaezelle (one of Belle's BFFs)
8/27 (Thu) - playdate with Isabella's BFF, Krystn

As you can very well see, it has indeed been a fruitful couple of months for me. With the "busyness" I made sure that there were plenty of great moments with great friends.

Update on Phil
Thanks to Phil we were able to afford our Orlando/Jamaica vacation from his Oracle project earnings. We all had the time of our lives. It was also a great time for him to deliberate and decide which position to accept. It was a very difficult decision for him. He liked both offers: from the Dept. of Defense as Computer Engineer for NavAir, and as Systems Administrator at Experts Exchange.

It took a long while and in the end he decided to accept the offer from Experts Exchange in San Luis Obispo. He works alongside his proud dad (big consideration in the decision-making process). Russ couldn't be any prouder and any more ecstatic. The other plus is the chance of continuing his Masters degree at Cal Poly, which he plans on pursuing in the very near future. He is enjoying his job and involved in several productive projects.

So there you have it....I finally followed through on my promise for an update. Sorry it took so long...hence the equally long update:)

BTW just to let you know I also went back to taekwondo class yesterday after my 3-yr hiatus. Wish me luck that I can keep it up as I am in desperate need for some physical activity.

After all this long update some of you who do not know why we moved back to Union City are probably wondering just why we decided to move back. Well, I have to take Isabella to dance class now so it's going to have to wait until next post. I'll post pictures too... so just check back... hopefully it won't take as long:)

Ian's 17th Birthday

The day after 4th of July and before our Orlando/Jamaica trip. Our baby boy is now 17. Ian is the youngest amongst our 3 boys. He is taller than I am now but will always be my baby:)

Red Rock Canyon State Park

We have been very busy after Phil's graduation (an excuse for not having been able to blog since). There were the preparations for CDMA's studio show last June 28th and our summer trip to Jamaica (photos from our fantabulous trip available here). In between we managed to take a mini trip to China Lake/Ridgecrest to visit the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division NAWCWD (Phil's prospective employer). On the way back home we were fortunate to chance upon this gem of a state park...the Red Rock Canyon. It was extremely hot but it didn't stop us from taking time for a photo admire and capture a magnificent wilderness...and we are grateful.

sharing at The Inspired Room and Sky Watch Friday

Father's Day 09

We had an extended Father's Day celebration this year. The kids and I visited Russ at work Monday following Father's Day. We had a very nice lunch at Buona Tavola in downtown SLO.

It's Official

We are very proud to present our graduate...

Irving R. Phillips, III (Phil)
Bachelor of Science
Computer Engineering
Magna Cum Laude
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo
Spring 2009

After the main ceremony, we headed to the private reception for the CPE (Computer Engineering) graduates. It was a brief private ceremony as there were only 45 Computer Engineering graduates.

We had time to take a family photo in between the two ceremonies. (photo taken by Krystal)

Photo with Phil's Senior Advisor, Dr. Liddecoat.

Our intimate family celebration at the Dolphin Bay's Lido Restaurant

This is a very momentous day for our family.

Congratulations Phil!