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Fast Talk with Cedro and Draelen

6 Mar

Draelen + Cedro (06 March 2017 // Santa Monica, CA)

Lately, I have been asking Cedro and Draelen rapid fire questions in a similar style as “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda” — a segment in a popular Filipino talk show on ABS-CBN.

Mama: Beach or mountain?
Cedro: Mountain!

Mama: Ketchup or Kewpie?
Cedro: Kewpie!
Drae: Ketchup!

Mama: Legos or N Gauge?
Cedro: N Gauge!

Mama: Ikura or uni?
Cedro: Ikura!

Mama: Ikura or Mama?
Cedro: Mama!
Drae: Ikura!

It’s very clear who is the Japanese kid and who is the Filipino kid; the mini Brian vs. the mini Ardith.  Regardless, they both crack me up every day.



Draelen is 9 Months Old

13 Apr


I blinked and now Drae is almost a year old!  So much has happened.  The biggest milestones include a new home, Kuya Cedro’s acceptance into the nearby Japanese immersion program for kindergarten (which means that Draelen has a guaranteed spot when she’s old enough), Drae eating solid foods, crawling and pulling herself up.

It’s hard for me to be away from her all day long so I try to make the most of the mornings and evenings and weekends.  I find myself constantly smothering her in kisses and wanting to eat her up.  

One thing’s for sure — she has quite an appetite!  Drae is still breastfeeding but has also been enjoying homemade baby food by Grandma, Obaachama and yours truly.  I’m sure that the next time Lola visits, she’ll enjoy her Filipino cooking, too!

She is a very curious and social baby.  She gleefully waves good-bye at night and is always entertained by her Kuya Cedro.  Lately she is making attempts at speaking.  We often hear, “bah-bah-bah-bah-bah” or “Pffffffffffffff.”  (Maybe she’s a Francophile like her mama.) 

Before I know it, she’ll be walking, so I’m just trying to savor each moment. (sigh)

Drae is 6 Months Old Today!

13 Jan
Draelen's 1st solid food — avocado!

Draelen’s 1st solid food — avocado! (13 January 2015 // Los Angeles, CA )

These past 6 months have flown by!  I admit I’ve done a terrible job of keeping this blog up-to-date, but I have been enjoying living in the moment of Draelen’s infancy instead.  I’m addicted to her!  If I could snuggle with her all day I would.  I’ll do anything to make her laugh or smile.  It’s not hard to do!  She is definitely a happy baby who loves eye contact and conversation.

People often ask us how Cedro is doing with a new baby sister.  He is the most loving and attentive big brother we could hope for Drae!  From Day 1, he has been very territorial and protective of her.  Even now, he refers to her as “my baby.”  It warms my heart to spy on the kids laughing and giggling together.  Every morning, Cedro crawls into bed with Drae and pulls her towards him so they can cuddle face to face.  Drae is only a baby, but you can tell that she adores her Kuya Cedro.  She has a signature happy sound which comes from the back of her mouth and sounds very much like radio static.  Part of me feels like she’s actually trying to say, “Kuya.”

Everything they say about having a second child is true.  Our lives are pure and utter chaos right now.  But in the midst of the circus is a profound sense of contentment and completeness.

Fun Facts:

  • Height = 2′ 2.8″ (86th percentile)
  • Weight = 18 lbs., 2 oz. (84th percentile)
  • Head Circumference = 17.99″ (99.66th percentile! Almost off the chart!)
  • Rolled over for the 1st time (06 December 2014)
  • Favorite Word = “Poo Poo”
  • Interested in: disco ball in our living room, TV remote control, bath time and standing



1st Time Using Training Chopsticks!

15 Jan


23 Months Old Today!

5 Jul
© Photos by Ardith Ibañez Nishii and Arlene Ibañez Yoo

I’m almost 2 years old! I’m always on the move!

    • I peed in a grown-up toilet for the first time!
    • I met Henry Thomas!  We were at a wine tasting/family picnic at the Barnsdall Art Park.
    • I saw my first fireworks last night for 4th of July!  We were with Tita Ging and Uncle Danny and we drove around and saw so many shows!  From Santa Monica to Marina del Rey to Culver City!  We had great seats in Uncle Danny’s truck!
    • I finally starting calling Papa “Papa” instead of “Nya-Nya”!  I can also say “Tita”, “Uncle”, “Lola”, “Lolo”, “Ate” and “Kuya”.
  • INTERESTING HABITS: I like to peel my lips and pull on my eyelashes.

A lot of change and transition is happening right now.  My great grandmother, Papa’s Obaachama, passed away last week.  She lived to be almost 101 with no life support or food for 4 weeks!  Wow!  I hope I inherit that kind of strength!

Tita Lisa and Funkle Ray are packing up so that Funkle can drive their car and their things back to Ithaca on Sunday.  After that, I’ll have 10 more days with Tita Lisa, Ate and Kuya until they fly back.  This is the beginning of the end of a special era where our families got to live together in California.  Everyone thinks I’m too young to know what’s going on, but I definitely sense that they’re leaving and I’m going to miss them so much!  Can’t they see that’s why I’m super clingy right now?!

22 Months Old Today!

5 Jun

© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

    • I got my first haircut!
    • I know how to walk up stairs without holding on to the railing.
    • I’ve been going to daycare on a regular basis now.  I usually go Tuesday and Thursday.  Papa unexpectedly had to go to Japan last night with Tita Lisa to be with their 100-year-old grandma.  Luckily a Monday-Wednesday-Friday slot opened up this week at my school.  This will be my first full week of daycare.
    • My mom has been working at a full-time freelance job for about a month now and I’m handling it really well!  This is the first time in my almost-2-year-old life that we have been apart this much!
    • I attended my first funeral last week.  It was for Tita Cyn and Tita Liz’s 92-year-old lolo, Daddy Nick.  Even though I am barely 2 years old, I knew that something intense was going on.  Even though it was sad, it was also a joyous celebration of Daddy Nick’s life.  Luckily, we were able to visit him before he passed away.
    • I am starting to say things other than “Mama”.  I have been interested in mimicking other people  Every so often, I will say, “Uh oh!” which is something Uncle Kevin taught me.
    • drawing
    • playing with trains and cars
    • lining up things to make tracks for my toy trains
    • pointing out cement trucks and construction equipment while we’re out and about
    • playing on any iPhone or iPad
    • jumping off of ledges into someone’s arms
    • chasing birds
    • apples
    • banana milk
    • lollipops
  • NEW ANNOYING HABIT: screaming one long note at the top of my lungs if I don’t get my way.  When Funkle Ray catches me, he trains me to smile instead.
  • NEW CUTE HABIT: When people order me to smile, I do this extreme underbite smile and stick out my tongue slightly.
  • FAVORITE SONG: “Say What?” by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

I miss Papa.  Today, I was whimpering while hugging one of his dress shirts.  At the same time, I’m glad he and Tita Lisa are spending time with their Obaachama.  They landed today and had a great visit with her.  She recognized them and was very happy to see them.  For a split second, Papa had actually considered taking me with him, but I don’t have a passport yet.  (Maybe that’ll be a milestone for next month!)

21 Months Old Today!

5 May
© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

LACMA // 05 May 2012

    • stacking cans of Spam
    • playing with trains and cars
    • playing on Mama’s iPhone
    • activating Netflix on any iPhone or iPad
    • reading and playing my Japanese song book
    • sticking my hands in puddles (Mama hates that!)
    • balancing and walking along the edge of curbs
    • chasing birds
    • watching this Korean cartoon series about talking vehicles (I think it’s called 꼬마버스타요.)
    • fried garbanzo beans
    • balsamic vinaigrette
    • Japanese fried chicken
    • giant strawberry Pocky
    • Goldfish crackers (multi-color, pretzels & cheddar)
    • green smoothies (I used to love these, but then I rejected them for a long time.  I’m back to enjoying them!)

This feels like a nice long weekend.  Kicked it off with my first trip to Disneyland yesterday.  We had a blast with Uncle Wahley, Auntie Joanne and Jacob who were visiting from NYC.   It was so good to see them again.  Seemed like no time had passed since our play dates in New York.  I was very comfortable with Uncle Wahley and would grab his hand or ask him to carry me.

Today, we had a fun visit to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to check out the Metropolis II exhibit.  The last time I went with Mama and Kuya Issei, it wasn’t running because it was a weekday.  This time, I could see all the cars in trains in action!  Had a great time sharing the experience with the whole family, including Kuya, Ate, Tita Lisa, Funkle Ray, Uncle Wahley, Auntie Joanne and Jacob.

Tomorrow, I imagine we’ll have a nice lazy family day so Mama can maximize her time with us.  On Monday, she starts a new job – her first full-time freelance gig since I was born!  It will be an adjustment for all of us, but we know that it’s important.  She’ll be working on the Belkin website.  I’ll look forward to visiting her at work and I know she’ll be excited to show me off!

20 Months Old Today!

5 Apr
© Photos by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

05 April 2012 // Los Angeles, CA

We have returned to LA and have been living with Tita Lisa, Funkle Ray, Ate Nuna and Kuya Issei.  It has been tight, but we’re making it work!  We’re definitely making the most of their last few months in LA before they head back to Ithaca.  In fact, we are actually going to be packing up soon again, too!  Papa got offered a role in “Chinglish” at the Berkeley Rep Theatre!  All of his understudying in Chicago and Broadway paid off!  We’ll be in downtown Berkeley from the end of July until the end of October.  In the meantime, we’re still searching for a sublet here in LA.  All of my fingers and Fred Flinstone toes are crossed!

    • I am no longer breastfeeding!  I have been off the boob for a month now!  It has been a smooth and painless transition.
    • I am officially not bald!  While I look like I already have a receding hairline, I have a full head of curls! The answer to your question is, “It’s from Lola’s side of the family!  Her brothers had curly hair when they were little boys.”
    • A non-relative babysitter successfully put me to bed!  Mama, Papa, Tita Lisa and Funkle Ray went out on a double date for the first time in 7 years without kids!
    • Grandpa taught me to say, “Moooooooo!” when he points to a cow’s picture!  (Grandma and Grandpa spent 2 weeks in LA this past March.  It was great to catch up with them!)  This is a big deal, because I’m still not really talking yet.
  • NEW TRICK: When someone says, “Whassup?” I cross my arms like I’m a rapper.
    • almond butter and jelly sandwiches
    • French toast
    • roasted pine nuts
    • walnut prawns
    • shrimp chips
    • ice cream
    • blueberry muffins
    • polvoron
    • eggs
    • avocado
    • bananas
    • waffles
    • fries
    • Greek yogurt
    • oatmeal
    • grapes
    • prunes
    • frozen yogurt

MAMA + ME: Even though I see Mama 24/7, I act like I have constant separation anxiety.  I am annoyed by her being on the computer all the time.  I know she’s busy looking for jobs, but I expect her to play with me when I want her to play with me!  I often try to pull her away from her  laptop or open the door to the room where she’s working or climb into her lap while she’s typing.  I know Mama’s trying to train me to be more independent, but I keep trying to convince her that I’m in charge and I want what I want!

Mama recently went to CardioBarre class two days in a row with Tita Ging which means that I tagged along and stayed with the in-house babysitters.  On the first day, I was fine because my old buddy, Annabelle, (the 10-year-old daughter of one the staff members) was there to entertain me.  But on the second day, I was instantly hesitant to walk down the hallway entrance to the studio.  Plus, Annabelle was nowhere in sight.  Not good.  I screamed on and off in the play room during the whole 1-hour class.  Then, I had night terrors for a couple nights after that.  Mama and Papa remember Ate and Kuya going through the same thing when they were younger so I guess this is normal.

I am definitely testing my limits the most with Mama.  We butt heads a lot and she gets frustrated that I laugh in her face or throw an Academy Award-winning tantrum when she lays down the law.  I can tell that she is setting the stage for a new transition in my life.  Mama keeps on warning me that I’m going to start regular daycare soon and I have to get used to being away from her.  I think she thinks her technique will work the same way it did for breastfeeding, but I’m on to her!  She can’t outsmart me this time!  I’m a big boy!

19 Months Old Today!

5 Mar
© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

05 March 2012 // Folsom, CA

  • SLEEPING: This whole month while at Lola and Lolo’s big house, I’ve had a whole room to myself! So, I’ve been sleeping for 11 to 12 hours! During the day, I’m down to one 1-2 hr. nap. Hooray!
  • TOYS: Yes, it’s true. I am very spoiled by my Lola and Lolo, but I’m getting great use out of all of my toys – both old and new.
    • Cedro-size train ride
    • Drum set
    • Backyardigan guitar
    • Indoor swing: I never get tired of swinging. I even boss Lola and Lolo to push me harder and higher. (It doesn’t look like it in the picture because I’m jet-lagged.)
    • My Personal Park: I still go through all the things in the playground that Lolo built for me. Of course, I’m still loving my sandbox.
    • Vintage Toys: Lola saves everything! I have been enjoying using Mama and Tita Ging’s Tupperware set and pretend that I’m drinking from the mini mugs.
  • MANNERISMS: I’m still not talking, but I have a knack for communicating without words.
    • I love to give kisses and hugs (especially when I’m in trouble).
    • When someone comes to get me from my room in the morning, I am usually standing up in the crib and emphatically pointing to my diaper.
    • I’m a very affectionate boy and I’m very sad when Lola leaves to go to work in the mornings. After she changes my diaper, I pat the couch next to me to make her stay a little while longer before she goes. I also like to watch her leave and wait for her to come back at the front window.
    • I know I’m a cute kid.  One day, Mama asked me, “Nasaan si Pogi?” (translation: “Where’s Handsome?)  I immediately pointed to myself.  I guess she didn’t realize that I associate “Pogi” with myself.  Doesn’t she know that she calls me that all the time?  Duh!
    • Today, after my nap, I noticed that my snack container was empty. I looked down and then up at Mama and turned my palms up as if to say, “What’s up? Where’s my food?”
    • Speaking of food, I LOVE to feed myself! I’m really good at using a spoon and fork. I’ve got the shoveling down pat. I don’t think these adults feed me fast enough!
    • The best way to get me to hydrate is to shout, “Kanpai!” (translation: “Cheers!”) I love clinking my sippy cup with the grown-ups. I’m so dramatic when I drink. I knock my head back and take big swigs!
    • I am a very appreciative little boy and I’ve substituted the sign language sign for “Thank You” with a very deep and respectful Japanese bow instead. On a good day, I will do this without any coaching from anyone.  I also bow at the beginning and at the end of meals (although it cracks me up when my family says grace).
    • I love to shrug my shoulders.
    • I love to hide! Mama will usually cover us up with a big throw pillow on our heads or make a tent with a blanket and her arms. I can stay very still for a pretty long time for a toddler and then I scream like crazy when someone shows up!
    • I still love to be chased.
    • I think it’s hysterical when Mama sneezes. It’s allergy season so she’s sneezing a lot which means I’m laughing a lot!
    • Lately, I’ve been squeezing my eyes shut and making noises when I don’t get my way. Today, Lolo trained me to turn this into “Magandang Mata” (translation: “Beautiful Eyes”) where it looks like I’m sort of batting my eyelashes. All anyone has to do is say “Magandang Mata” and I’ll do it… if I feel like it.
  • TEETH: I have 12 teeth!
  • BREASTFEEDING: Down to 1 session a day especially when someone else puts me down for a nap or bedtime. I’m not happy about Mama’s dwindling milk supply but I know I can deal without it. While breastfeeding, she tells me that I’m a big boy and that I don’t need to breastfeed anymore and I squeeze my eyes shut, shake my head and giggle, trying to ignore her.

This has been such a fun month at Lola and Lolo’s place. What a great transition from NYC to LA. They’ve done so much for us and we appreciate it all!

I know Lola and Lolo are going to miss me, but I’m going to miss them more.

© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

04 March 2012 // Orangevale, CA

18 Months Old Today!

5 Feb
© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

New York City, NY // 31 January 2012

  • HEIGHT: 33.25 inches (I grew 1.5 inches in 2 months!)
  • WEIGHT: 25 lbs. 12 oz. (I only gained 1 lb. 4 oz. since my last check-up… probably because of the nasty stomach bug and the fact that I’m a pickier eater these days.)
  • HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE: 19.75 inches (My Megamind head only grew 0.25 inches since my last check-up.)
  • TEETH:  I have 10 teeth with 2 more coming in!
  • PLAY TIME: I love to play with my usual toys but needless to say I have been preoccupied with my first train track set!  I enjoy breaking apart the pieces and throwing them just as much as I love pushing my trains on the tracks.  My parents call this my Godzilla act.  (Also known as the next bullet point.)
  • EARLY TERRIBLE 2’s:  Good thing I have charming good looks because I have been exhibiting very un-charming behavior lately.  Toddler tantrums — high-pitched screaming, throwing things and melting on the ground.  Mama and Papa are trying to be patient while teaching me what’s appropriate behavior.  They assume that this phase will pass or hopefully diminish as soon as I can speak.
  • COMMUNICATING: I shake my head a lot even though I might mean “Yes” instead of “No” and instead of the regular sign for “Thank You,” I tend to bow Japanese-style.
  • BABBLING:  I also love to babble and make a noise that sounds like, “GjuhGjuhGjuh.”  It’s a cross between babbling and gurgling.  Check out my video below.
  • EATING:  I have become very picky lately.  I seem to want to eat only eggs and cheese, oatmeal, prunes, waffles, yogurt and grapes.  My papa is so thrilled when I eat something different like one of his kale dishes.
  • HUGGING:  I like to walk up behind Mama when she’s sitting or crouched on the ground and give her a full-body hug from behind.  If I hug her from the front, I like to give little pats on her back.
  • HOLDING HANDS: When I get up in the morning, I walk up to the bedroom door with Mama and wait for her to open it.  Then, I take her hand and walk out with her.  I also like to lead people by the hand when I want to show them something or play together.
  • WASHING HANDS: I get a kick out of using bar soap when I wash my hands.  I think it’s hysterical when it slips out of my hands!
  • SLEEPING: Mama has been sleeping in the living room and I sleep anywhere from 9-11 hours at night.  I also nap twice for about an hour at a time.  Not bad considering we’re going through another major transition!
  • BREASTFEEDING: Still down to 2 breastfeeding sessions a day — first thing in the morning and right before bedtime — with the occasional pre-nap fix.  Mama and Papa decided not to stress about weaning since (a) too much is going on right now with our move and (b) Mama is planning on going back to work when we move back to California and I’ll probably naturally wean myself. (…. they hope!)

Can’t believe we’re headed back to California tomorrow.  My family and friends won’t believe how much I’ve grown!