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Tagalog Class

7 May

Cedro + Audrey in Pasadena

Half-Filipino 100% Adorable Friends – Thanks to Audrey we found out about TagalogKids.com // 07 May 2017


Today, Cedro started Tagalog class in Pasadena. With only 5 sessions once a week, I’m not expecting much. I’m just thrilled to give him the opportunity to be exposed to more Filipino culture with kids his age. It’s also a great excuse to hang out with our friends in the area!

Check out TagalogKids.com for more info.  Tayo na!

ABCD’s 1st Road Trip & Vacation

7 Sep

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We had an amazing 2 weeks in NorCal and caught up on some much needed sleep and QT w/ family and friends. Lola & Lolo, Jacintos, Wongs, deGuzmans, (El Dorado) Millers, (Alameda) Millers, Freemondes, Toms (Gardner & Songin), Beahns and Beys!
We miss you already!

We’re driving back to LA right now and so far Drae is handling the ride perfectly. Left Alameda around 12:30pm and stopped once to feed her and she seems to be snoozing soundly. On our way up, we left at 10pm and stopped once for a long (almost 2-hr) feed and arrived in Folsom by 6am… May this be only the beginning of many more family road trips and travel adventures!

2.5 Years Old Today!

5 Feb

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I have hit many milestones since I turned 2, but the big one is that I am officially talking! I comprehend English, Tagalog and Japanese, but I am showing a preference for English when I speak. I am mainly babbling to myself but my vocabulary has more than doubled since August! I like to repeat what I hear but I also spontaneously say things like, “Here you go!” without anyone really teaching me.

For about a month now, I have been going to a wonderful Japanese pre-school in Santa Monica — SMAP Childcare. I love it! If you check out Mama’s flickr photostream, you’re bound to see shots of me at school.

I am growing so fast! I think I’m ready to be a kuya (big brother) to my new cousin who is due to arrive in early March! So far, I have been giving her lots of love and kisses when I see Tita Ging.

INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT ME:

  • I am approximately 3 ft. 0.5 in.
  • I weigh 32.6 lbs.
  • I am still a train fanatic.
  • I am still a Pixar Cars fanatic
  • I love to do yoga poses (especially during dance parties).
  • I love to whisper. (Mama thinks this is half-scary, half-cute.)
  • I love to speak in my special baby dinosaur voice.
  • I love to show off my air guitar moves.
  • I love to blow out candles.
  • I am always trying to take off my jacket, pants or socks.  At home, I like to walk around with just a t-shirt and diapers on.
  • I have heart-melting facial expressions before, during and after consuming sweets/special treats.
  • I enjoy making Mama and Papa kiss each other and kiss me.
  • I enjoy singing “A is for Apple” Song by Richard Scarry at bedtime.
  • I can carry a tune. (“Twinkle Twinkle”, “Happy Birthday”, etc.)
  • I can wink.
  • At the beginning of meals, I do the sign of the cross as my いただきます(Let’s eat!) gesture. (I am very well-trained by Lola and Lolo.)

WORDS + PHRASES:

  1. あか (red)
  2. あお (blue)
  3. みどり(green)
  4. きいろ (yellow)
  5. と(and)
  6. はっぱ (leaf)
  7. いち (one)
  8. に (two)
  9. ご (five)
  10. みて (look)
  11. あれ (huh?!)
  12. ごちそうさまでした (Thank you for the meal.)
  13. ano? (what?)
  14. apat (four)
  15. aso (dog)
  16. Ate (big sister)
  17. Ate Nuna
  18. baho (smelly)
  19. dinding (wall)
  20. dito (here)
  21. gatas (milk)
  22. hindi po (no, sir/ma’am)
  23. isda (fish)
  24. ito (this one)
  25. Kuya (big brother)
  26. Kuya Issei
  27. Lola (Grandma)
  28. Lolo (Grandpa)
  29. mata (eyes)
  30. o po (yes, sir/ma’am)
  31. pamaypay (hand fan)
  32. Tita (Aunt)
  33. Tita Ging
  34. Tita Lisa
  35. Tito (Uncle)
  36. Tito Danny
  37. Tito Ray
  38. Aiden
  39. apple
  40. ball
  41. bed
  42. Brandon
  43. bubble
  44. bye
  45. car
  46. cake
  47. cookie
  48. cracker
  49. down
  50. eat
  51. echo
  52. eight, nine, ten
  53. Elmo
  54. eye
  55. fish
  56. five
  57. go
  58. Happy Birthday to you!
  59. hat
  60. head
  61. help!
  62. Here you go!
  63. hi
  64. huh?
  65. kite
  66. Kylie
  67. M&M
  68. Mama
  69. me, too!
  70. Mickey
  71. mine
  72. moon
  73. more
  74. Niki
  75. no
  76. noodles
  77. off
  78. oh no
  79. oh, Toodles!
  80. ok
  81. on
  82. O-Papa (name for Papa’s papa)
  83. Papa
  84. please
  85. pool
  86. purple
  87. push
  88. ready, set, go!
  89. sorry
  90. ten
  91. thank you
  92. this
  93. truck
  94. TV
  95. two
  96. uh oh
  97. Uncle
  98. up
  99. water
  100. wow!
  101. milk (sign language)
  102. train (sign language)
  103. more (sign language)
  104. please (sign language)
  105. sorry (sign language)
  106. sleep (Charades sign language)
  107. thank you (Japanese bow)

MLK Weekend

22 Jan

20130122-010235.jpgSpent most of my time in a car this past weekend but I also had good quality time with family and friends.

Tita Sarah + Tita Misa kept me fully entertained between LA and Folsom and Dublin. I saw a lot of California during these past 3 days! I learned that all I have to do is pump my arm to make big rigs honk their horns! And that it might even be more entertaining each time Tita Misa called, “SteeeeeeeeRIKE!” when it didn’t work!

It goes without saying that I had fun with Lola and Lolo! This is probably the last time I’ll see them before my baby cousin is born so I cherished every last bit of their undivided attention! After just a few hours, I was saying more Tagalog words like “bahay” (house), “baho” (stinky) and “paki” (please). And I was also counting “8-9-10!” on my own. I sure will miss one-on-one time with Lola and Lolo.

ABC in Berkeley

5 Oct

ABC in Berkeley

Today, Cedro is 2 years and 2 months old! What a great time and place in his/our lives!

The ABC Nishiis have been thoroughly enjoying Berkeley and everything NorCal has to offer. For starters, the weather is PERFECT. Not too hot. Not too cold. Where we live in downtown Berkeley is a nice mix of urban and suburban. We can easily walk to plenty of restaurants and shops (such as our new favorite grocery store, Berkeley Bowl) or hop on BART and be in downtown San Francisco in mere minutes. We can also walk to Cedro’s new school, but we tend to drive him there more often than not like the Angelenos that we sorta-kinda are!

So let’s talk about St. John’s Childcare Center for a minute. WE LOVE THIS PLACE! They had us all at “Hello”. Maybe because the head teacher of his class is half-Filipina?… Sold!… But truthfully, there are so many reasons why we love this school, not the least of which is how much Cedro has enjoyed it and has thrived there. On Cedro’s first full day at the school without either of us, we weren’t really worried about him. Nevertheless, we received text messages and photos of Cedro to assure us that he was doing really well! What a nice touch.

He has grown so much since we arrived 2 months ago. He is more independent and has become interested in so many new things. His class has about 16 kids but probably on any given day there are only 10 or less. There are generally 3 – 4 staff members in each room who are all so sweet, loving, attentive, patient and strong teachers. The vibe is very Berkeley — diverse, mulit-cultural, great mix between hippie and yuppie with a nice family feel. No pretense. The classroom is full of different learning stations while there’s a great playground, garden and an abundance of toys and sports equipment outside. They also often go on walks in the neighborhood. So far, he has only cried a couple times at drop-off but for the most part he is so happy to be there. He plays well, sleeps well, eats well. He is learning so much! It’s a shame we have to leave! We are so thankful to Berkeley Rep Theatre for facilitating Cedro’s placement. We thank our lucky stars every day that he is in such a great school!

On the flip side of regular school time is the constant germ-a-thon that goes along with being exposed to so many young kids. Ah well! C’est la vie! It’s building his immune system, right? Cedro can’t seem to kick this cough that has persisted for half the time that we’ve been here and the poor guy had a puke fest during his Tita Ging’s bday weekend here in Berkeley. Thankfully, we found great doctors in the area! (Thanks again to Berkeley Rep for taking the initiative to provide us with a list of recommended family services.) Berkeley Pediatrics is outstanding! Cedro is in love with Dr. Grace So. She is very sweet and helpful. Cedro is very comfortable with her. (OK, she also scored some bonus points for having tickets to watch Chinglish without knowing that Brian was in the play!) During Cedro’s weekend puke-a-thon, Dr. Lisa Kalar was on-call and walked us through the process of getting him better. The next day, she called us a couple times until she got through to us to follow-up and make sure that Cedro was OK. Wow! What service! Another reason we wish we could stay in the area!

Northern California is home to me. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by familiar faces. I am thrilled to be nearby as my best friend, Chris, prepares to have her first baby! It has been 7 years since we lived in the same city and now I am here just in time! If she doesn’t deliver on her own in the next few days, she has an appointment to be induced next week. Wow! Wow! Wow! (I repeat, “I am so glad Brian landed this Berkeley Chinglish gig!”)

Alameda is only a short drive away, too. We have been having fun play dates with cousins and old friends. And let’s not forget how amazing it is to live relatively close to Lola and Lolo! As usual, they have been so helpful with any babysitting for Cedro, especially the kind that involves leaving him with them in Sacramento for almost a week while Cedro’s school was closed and so we could enjoy the Chinglish opening night without worrying about getting a sitter! They drop everything for him! And you can bet that any visit involves some special surprise like Cedro’s first tricycle or something train-related like a visit to the Railroad Museum or ride on the steam train at the Folsom Zoo!

Being in the Bay Area means that I am revisiting places that I used to go to as a child, like Fairyland in Oakland or the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. It’s very special to experience these places once again with my own little boy. It certainly is a magical time and place for us. We seem to have landed in Train Heaven on Earth. Brian’s days off usually involve some excursion up to Tilden Park for a mini steam engine ride with Cedro or adventure into the city to watch and ride the trolley and cable cars. From our apartment, we can hear the sound of the Amtrak and commuter trains in the distance. Cedro often cups his hands behind his ears and calls out to us to make sure we notice the passing trains, too. And of course, Cedro has learned to identify the BART tracks along the freeway or elevated along the boulevards. (It blows my mind that these are the same trains from 40 years ago. There are pictures of me with my parents shoulder to shoulder with hordes of people at the opening of the Daly City BART station.)

It feels almost like a vacation to be here! But both Brian and I are working hard. I am so proud of B. He has waited so long to perform in Chinglish (understudying in Chicago and Broadway) and now he gets to be on stage 6 days a week as Peter Timms, a British teacher-turned-consultant, fluent in Mandarin. I have lost track of how many times I have seen the show here in Berkeley, but I never get sick of watching Brian up there. He has to navigate between funny and serious and sometimes heart-wrenching moments. He certainly brings a sense of gravitas to the character. He’s not just a pretty face, people! You should’ve seen me when I first saw him on TV in an interview in Mandarin! I accidentally woke up my pregnant best friend; I was screaming so much! The fact of the matter is that it’s a great show and this cast and production are so tight!

As for me… between rubbing elbows with literary icons like David Henry Hwang, reliving my childhood in the Bay Area, and reconnecting with family and friends, I have time to tackle my own freelance design projects now that Cedro is in daycare for most of the week. It has been enriching to reclaim my career as a graphic designer and ride the wave that started back in LA when I was freelancing for Belkin.

I’ve gone on and on and painted an idyllic picture of our life here. Truth be told: it’s stressful to be on the road constantly, to live in small spaces with a 2-year-old, to wonder what we’re going to do in the long gap between the Berkeley and SoCal productions, to wonder what we’re going to do after this international tour is over in March!

But for every question or ounce of anxiety there are a million moments of happiness and reasons to feel lucky and blessed.

Our Superstar Cedro

Holidays + Being in NYC

28 Dec


I never thought I would find myself back in New York so soon and with a toddler to boot!  Cedro and I have been here since early November and immediately felt at home.  Beyond the fact that we brought 17 boxes of our stuff from Los Angeles precisely for that purpose, being reunited with B is has been the main reason why this feels so right!  To quote Peaches and Herb, “Reunited and it feeeeeels so goooood!”

It’s clear that Cedro is a city boy.  Our apartment is steps away from the heart of Times Square where he is constantly mesmerized by the bright lights, taxis, fire trucks, police cars, masses of tourists and all the sights and sounds that are so uniquely NYC.  He loves it and that makes me so happy.  It makes this journey all the more worthwhile.

It’s also a huge blessing to have so many dear friends in NYC, many of whom have their own kids.  Cedro has already had a bunch of play dates with his Kuya Kai, Keila and Kuya Mateo.

Kai, Mateo, Cedro + Keila // 11 November 2011 (© Photo by Goldie Gareza)

As a side note, we have also had some star sightings in our few weeks here (apart from the “Chinglish” cast, of course).  Alex Wong of Season 7 So You Think You Can Dance, Heather Graham and Dan Finnerty of The Dan Band have all been within a few feet of us!  I wonder if Cedro will be as starstruck as I am when he grows up?  I ask myself this because he is obviously bound for super-stardom!

But I digress…

We certainly miss our family and friends back in California.  We thank our lucky stars every day that we live in an age where video chatting is possible!  This year, to decorate our rosemary Christmas tree, I made ornaments with family photos… wanted to remind Cedro who the VIPs are in his life despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to need any reminding.

© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

Family Christmas Tree 2011

Our Christmas Eve was still spent with family — our “Chinglish” family!  Jennifer Lim, the lead in the play, hosted a fantastic Cedro-friendly holiday party at her apartment.  Cedro got a chance to play on a real drum set for the first time!  (Stay tuned for pictures/video soon!)

Our Christmas day was very relaxed.  Brian’s Uncle Richard lives within walking distance of our place and he was able to spend the day with us.  After a leisurely afternoon at home unwrapping presents, Skyping with family in California and Japan, receiving a visit from Stephen Pucci, one of the other actors in the show, we braved the crowds to watch the ice skaters in Bryant Park, see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, witness the lights and projections on Fifth Avenue, and catch some peaceful moments in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  We were pleasantly surprised to find several restaurants open and concluded the day with a cozy, fireside dinner just south of Central Park.

We had a very good weekend.

Goodbye to Our First Home

28 Oct
© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

Cedro in his first bedroom (26 October 2011 // Los Angeles, CA)

It has admittedly been an extremely hectic, stressful and emotional month getting our family packed up and ready to live in the Big Apple.  “It takes a village…” And it did!  Thanks to all those who helped with what felt like Mission Impossible.  Couldn’t have gotten out the door today without you.

Brad and Eirene, you’re our heroes for being our live-in support staff this past month — First, for taking care of Cedro and sharing your love and attention and positive energy during this crazy time.  Thank you for making it possible for me to get work done by taking him out and distracting him with walks and park visits!  Thank you for cooking and sharing amazing meals.  I have never enjoyed kale so much!  Thank you for doing all the heavy manual labor necessary to get the apartment in shape worthy of our security deposit back.  We appreciate you taking down our office shelves, spackling, making constant drop-offs to our storage space, clearing out your bus to make our Amtrak shipment happen (17 boxes of 563 lbs. of our crap!), for packing up the kitchen (who would’ve known we could fill 12 boxes of non-food items!?!) and last but not least, for steamcleaning so that our black carpet looked beige again!  You guys moved mountains and made miracles happen for us!  Thank you!

Thanks also to Derrick and Jules who magically appeared when I needed extra hands to help weigh the boxes to make sure we didn’t exceed the Amtrak limit.  You came to say goodbye to Cedro and instead, you got sucked into carrying boxes weighing btwn 25 – 60 lbs. while standing on a crappy bathroom scale!

Extra special thanks to my sisters.  I hope this won’t be the last time that we live in the center of a 1 mile radius between the two of you!  Lisa, thanks to you for sweeping in and taking Cedro for long chunks of time at critical moments so I could get work done and for the legendary despedida dinner!  I’m still dreaming about the deep-fried mac-n-cheese cubes with panko batter and amazing beef stroganoff!  WOW!   And to Ging, for anticipating all my needs without me asking.  I appreciate all those days that you came to help me with marathon packing sessions.  I feel like those were the most productive days.  And thanks for all the passes to Cardio Barre, 24-Hour Fitness, Bar Method, and Your Neighborhood Studio so I could exercise and feel healthy and not be driven to drink instead!

So I survived this rough month relatively unscathed thanks to the love and support of dear family and friends.  Luckily, I had my angel baby boy with me the whole time.  No matter how stressful this whole experience was, he would cheer me up without fail.  The photos in this post were taken after everything was almost out of the apartment.  I was sad that we were leaving the home we lived in when Cedro was born, but he was laughing and shrieking while popping out behind the closet doors.  He was having so much fun!  Seeing him happy makes everything else melt away.

It doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re together.  There was a time when I never thought I’d live in LA and now, I’ve grown to love it and miss it!  I’m sure it’ll be the same with NYC.  Even though I consider myself a New Yorker, I’m daunted by the thought of living right in heart of Manhattan with a toddler, but I’m sure Brian and I will cherish the adventure.  B landing a Broadway gig is going to be so great for our family. Goodbye to LA for now.  We’ll be back for sure!

“Ittekimasu!”

© Photos by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

Cedro's temporary playground --- our empty bedroom closet (24 October 2011 // Los Angeles, CA)