The Birthday Trip That Almost Didn’t Happen

In a previous post about backpacking in Point Reyes, I had mentioned that I had given myself this birthday goal to hike part of the Lost Coast Trail in northern California before the next birthday.  I had never gone on that long of a hike before and I don’t really do too much in the backcountry.  Maybe it was a way to just literally break free of all the things that weighed me down in my last birthday, and get back to a feeling of independence, self-reliance, and the general untethered-ness that one would like to feel again after having a child and family.  Of course I love my family and my life, but that birthday hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was faced with a lot of feelings about turning off my life’s auto-pilot.  That year was a turning point for me, and I’m happy to report a […]

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The Importance of Cooking with Kids

Last week, I had the pleasure of baking some Filipino bread rolls, called Pandesal, with Evie’s transitional kindergarten class.  The whole experience is so important for my family and I not only to share some of our culture with her school, but also to aid in her development. I have this memory of being in the second grade and bringing a Filipino steamed pork bun to school that I tell people often.  Kid’s can be mean when they don’t understand, and I was ridiculed for bringing such a thing to lunch.  Once home, I asked my mom to pack me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because I was so mortified to bring more Filipino food. Years later, my daughter is in school and I am making her lunches.  I am pleased to say her school encourages having various fare, encouraging families to share their culture to give students a sense […]

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A Quick 24 Hours in San Diego

Back when we were deciding where to move to when exiting Chicago, San Diego was actually my first choice.  I knew I wanted to be in California, and I knew that I had a lot of family there for when I got homesick.  As much time as we’ve spent in Los Angeles, or even Anaheim, I had not gone back to visit San Diego since first moving out to the Bay Area about 8 years ago. I have been wanting to go back for the past 4 years and introduce everyone to Evie, especially to my Auntie out there who always took care of my siblings and I when we came to visit on family vacations.  We’ve talked about spending the day at Legoland, or taking her to visit the pandas at San Diego Zoo.  It was finally time to stop talking about it and make a trip there. To […]

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Running Oakland’s Pride 5K When You Aren’t Ready To Run

A couple months ago, I was convinced by my friend, Jessie, that we would start running together again and run another 5K together.  We had run together before, almost every day at one point, as she helped me to train for my first 5K over four years ago.  We decided to do it again, set ourselves a goal, and work towards it.  I even convinced a third friend, Kirk Ann, to run with us. Back when we ran regularly, I was feeling pretty unhealthy and wanting to make some changes with my life.  I ate better, took up running, signed up for the San Francisco Marathon 5K race, and even raised a couple thousand dollars for the American Institute for Cancer Research in honor of some very important relatives that I had lost.  That first race was pretty tough as well as rewarding for me.  Shortly after running it, I […]

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Hiking Muir Woods National Park

With Evie back in school, I have the time now to really just spend a day to myself.  I guess recently, I’ve been dealing with some phony people and discouraging situations, so it’s nice to get out of your head for a bit. Nature is the reminder for me that no matter how crazy life gets, it’s all pretty insignificant in comparison.  I couldn’t ask for a better situation when my girl, Rachelle, and I decided to take a little hike in Muir woods. The drive across the Richmond bridge and up through Mill Valley was beautiful.  Roads were winding up the mountain with breathtaking vistas of the bay.  Once we arrived there, we couldn’t believe how many people were there.  It was surprising for a regular weekday morning. I am still amazed at how much different the California landscape can change from one mile to the next, this park was no […]

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Backpack Camping in Point Reyes National Seashore

Last year I had told myself on my birthday that I was going to do the California “Lost Coast” Trail as a birthday challenge for myself.  My birthday was in October, and I am not that far from the next birthday now.  Life gets busy, I can start to loose a little focus,  and sometimes those goals get a little further during the course that time. The Lost Coast Trail is actually where the people in charge of building California’s famous Highway 1 actually decided not to build.  Where the Highway known for its beautiful cliffside and coastlines, decided… “meh… this area looks a little too rough for roads”.  Where you actually have to shuttle a couple hours, or have two cars so that you can get from the start and the end of the trail.  It’s a couple days long and can take you on some challenging terrain… and […]

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Dogs Need Love Too: Toaster Time

With all the summertime adventuring, I wanted to also give a special day for Evie’s older sibling, Toaster.   He’s our “special” child who sometimes doesn’t get the spotlight so every now and then we try to plan some time just for him. I’ve always been a dog person, partially because I am so allergic to cats, but also because they are such loyal and lovable pets.  My first childhood dog was kept in a cage in the basement and played with us outside in the yard, but was never allowed to freely roam the house or be completely integrated into our lives.  Super sad, I know.  I knew when we adopted him that we wanted to try to take Toaster with us everywhere, but sometimes he’s not allowed or it becomes a cost issue. Traveling with a dog has become easier with airlines, but some of them do not […]

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Hiking and Hot Springs in Olympic National Park

Now looking back to blog about it, it seems like we were out in Washington for waaaay longer than we actually were.  From family time at my cousin’s wedding to camping in the beautiful Mount Rainier National Park, maybe I was a little too much from the kids to do a couple more days with me in Olympic National Park. I mean, I really wanted to take advantage of being out there with so many beautiful parks, but I could already tell it was starting to wear on the kids.  (Which in turn, starts wearing down all the adults too, so I guess the joke is on me). From Mount Rainier, we packed back into the car and drove about 4 hours to another gorgeous park in Washington.  Olympic is actually pretty special when it comes to the National Parks as it has a very diverse ecology.  From coastline to […]

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Disconnecting the Kiddos and Getting Back to Nature

After a whirlwind couple days of lots of family time for my cousin Sheena’s wedding, we were so excited to disconnect for a bit and enjoy some of National Parks in this beautiful state.  Washington has about 15 National Parks to enjoy; from biodiverse parks to Native American significance, to even a historic atom bomb park. TIP! For those who have so many options available to them, I would highly recommend purchasing a National Parks Annual Pass.  The pass itself costs $80, and this gives you unlimited park access (which some parks can charge up to $30 for this), one car entering (this can be anything up to $20 per vehicle), covers 4 people (for those parks that charge per person), and can even discount camping costs at some parks. Some parks are free, so I would consider where you are and where you plan to go before purchasing.  We […]

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Who Doesn’t Love a Good Family Out-of-State Wedding?

What’s not to love about out-of-state family weddings.  Especially if you have a large family as I do.  Of course, I miss them and I jump at most opportunities to see all of them, but weddings are on a different level for us. My family on my dad’s side has pretty large clusters of relatives all over.  Chicago, Toronto, and southern California are some of the larger clans and I have early memories of traveling to these cities for different weddings throughout my life. My cousin, Sheena (on my dad’s side), moved to Seattle a couple years ago and I was so excited because it just happens to be where my mom’s family lives, and she doesn’t have much family stateside.  Evie’s first time to this beautiful city was when she was about 2.5  years old, and she was excited to go back. It seems like forever since I’ve had some quality […]

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