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Cedro’s 1st Tinikling Performance

17 Dec

Today, I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I witnessed Cedro do a brief oral report about himself in Tagalog and then later, perform the Tinikling (Filipino folk dance) for the first time at the Filipino Cultural School – FCS Fall Program Graduation and Holiday Party.  He’s been working hard for the past 8 weeks and sacrificing his Saturday mornings to learn about his Filipino culture and heritage.  I am beyond proud.

Fundraiser for My Amazing Public School

17 Sep

It’s that time of year again!  Please help me raise money for my amazing public school — El Marino Language School.  I am now in 2nd grade in the Japanese Immersion Program.

No purchase is too small. Get your holiday shopping done early! Proceeds from your order go towards funding field trips, school assemblies and other resources for the school.

To order, please click on this unique link below:  http://charlestonwrapstore.com/studentaffiliate.php?code=561043

Thanks in advance for your support!

xoxo Cedro

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!

Kendo – Bogu Test

28 Jan

I have been taking Kendo (Japanese sword fighting) for a year now thanks to a great after-school program at El Marino.  Tito Danny got me my first two shinai (bamboo sword) and carrying case even before he knew they offered classes at my school.  He told me that the light sabers in Star Wars were inspired by Kendo.  It’s true!

I recently passed a test to advance to a level where I could start training with bogu (protective gear).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BP1TKg3l6nx/?taken-by=ardiddy

https://www.instagram.com/p/BP1Sbd0lABX/?taken-by=ardiddy

Wave Rider Award

25 Jan

We had to keep it a secret that Cedro would be one of four 1st Grade to receive an award today.  I’ll never forget the look on his face.  He was so surprised.  He was so thrilled to be recognized in front of all the Kindergarteners and 1st Graders. Love the fact that the award was for “Always Being One of the First to Give His Full Attention in Class.”  His teacher told me during the last Parent-Teacher Conference that she can always count on Cedro to be the first one to quiet down and establish eye contact when she’s trying to start the day.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BPsiy6bl3s3/?taken-by=ardiddy

2013 Luau Celebrating End of School Year at SMAP

16 Aug

I can’t believe that the school year is coming to an end!  I started in January as a very shy and cautious boy, barely speaking.  And now, almost 9 months later, I am talking, communicating and exploring.  I have made some very close friends at SMAP and I am looking forward to the next couple of years.

I want to share this great video by Ibuki’s papa.  He captured the fun from the luau. Thank you, Konishi-san!

 

As you can see, Michi-san has created a great family atmosphere. I can’t imagine being at a better school than SMAP!

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)

My 2nd Haircut!

5 Jan

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A new home. A new look!… We are back in LA to settle down after a year and a half on the road! Found a new apartment and I’m starting at a new school — a Japanese daycare in Santa Monica — on Monday. What better reason to cut off my dreadlocks!

I was a very good boy thanks to the distraction of Netflix on Mama’s phone! Thanks to Tita Ging for tagging along, too. The cut was done in 15 minutes! I love The Yellow Balloon! I’ve had a great experience for both of my haircuts!

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

22 Months Old Today!

5 Jun

© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

  • MILESTONES:
    • 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.
  • FAVORITE ACTIVITIES:
    • 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
  • NEW FAVORITE FOODS/FLAVORS:
    • 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!)