Family vacation | Pittsburgh and Cleveland

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog the past week as we took our week-long vacation in the actual Midwest and East. This trip kind of snuck up on us. When we first received the invitation to his cousin’s wedding in Pittsburgh, Mr D and I went back and forth quite a bit. We wondered whether Caleb would be old enough and whether we’d all be up for such our first big trip as a family of four. Then plans were made to visit Mr D’s great-uncle in Cleveland, who will be turning 96 this year, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have the kids meet him. All in all, the D California contingent heading east would number eleven!

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A Daddy Daughter Dance

It all started a year ago when we sat in a darkened theater. We had watched Sofia make her dance debut as a bumblebee, and I was still recovering from the anxiety I’d been carrying, wondering whether she would actually make it onstage or not. (She actually was amazing—she did the entire number with the biggest smile on her face.) The last number was a daddy daughter dance. The idea of girls (ranging in age from 4 to 14) dancing with their fathers would usually seem awkward or cheesy, but I found myself with tears in my eyes. Looking around, everyone in the audience seemed to be wiping at their eyes.

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Remembering my uncle, our hero

Uncle Mark Helmet

It’s been over four years since I woke up and learned that my Uncle Mark had passed away. It was just a few days after our birthdays (his on January 12th, mine on the 26th). His passing was sudden, and saddened us all. At only 52, he was the youngest of my mother’s siblings and the closest to her in age. More than half his life was dedicated to the service and protection of others in his adopted country, and to loving and caring for his family.

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How to teach kids to embrace their heritage

May is Asian-Pacific Heritage Month this year, and one thing my sister and I talk about constantly is finding ways to teach our children about their heritage. We grew up in the Philippines, so it was very easy to know the Filipino culture—we were constantly surrounded by it. As I raise my family here in the United States, it is a little more challenging and requires more effort. It is important to me though that my children embrace their Filipino heritage as this helps them form an identity—who we are, where we come from, and what we believe in. These are some of the ways in which we have encouraged our kids to learn about, and be proud of, being Filipino.

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Teaching kids patience and perseverance

Sofia patience

The other day, I mentioned on Facebook how much I was craving boba milk tea (again), when someone mentioned using Doordash and having it delivered. I thought to myself, having food delivered when I was at work and in the middle of a project was one thing, but getting it brought to my home because I didn’t want get the baby ready, get in the car, and drive ten minutes away sounded a little ridiculous. Still, unwilling to wake a sleeping child, I signed up and got my boba in under an hour. And something went off in my brain, like an epiphany—though maybe not in the best way. The next day, when the boba craving hit again, it seemed too easy to use my new coupon from Doordash and get it delivered again. And it occurred to me, that in this age of convenience and near-instant gratification, how do we teach our kids the value of patience or working through things?

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