Tag Archives: development

So Much Fun

Aliya is so much fun. I mean, not much else is expected in Team Hokama, but really, we have a blast with her. It hasn’t just been go-go-go since she started walking July 1, it’s been a blossoming of her little personality and her amazing sense of humor too.

She loves to dance. Yes, the girl has the dancin’ gene. It’s that adorable, kind of stiff, knees slightly bent, bouncing baby dance, and she’ll often put both arms in the air and bounce them too. One of the newest things she’s been doing too, mostly while sitting at the table in her highchair, is this cute little swaying motion to ballads or classical music, showing off her lyrical sense. Aliya also has this other new move where she’ll squat down, bend at the waist, shake her arm side to side, all while displaying the hammiest, squinty grin you’ve ever seen. The other day she walked right into the kitchen where Iana was, bent down, boogied down, and walked away. Perfect timing and Iana just had to laugh out loud. What a show off.

She’s a perpetual, earthly satellite. She orbits round and round the house, picking things up, checking in on her people, dropping things off, and on and on and on. Occasionally she’ll even work up to almost a trot, especially when her sisters chase her or she’s captured some treasure from them and tries to make a “run” for it. Her balance is still a little nerve-wracking, but mostly, she’s quite stable.

Aliya is a water girl. She loves to be in the spray of the hose, and often orbits around the yard, transporting water from one location to another in whatever tiny vessel she can find. Often she dumps half of it down her front while scooping and doesn’t flinch—she just rolls on. And when she takes a bath, and she thinks you’re going to pour the water over her head, she puckers her lips and begins taking quick breaths to prepare. She doesn’t really mind the water pouring down her face, though she does seem a bit surprised at first, but she never fusses. I wonder if this will last? Keana was like this too I think, tolerating water on the face, but Maia, oh no.

Aliya just loves to connect with people. She’ll wave at you, hello or goodbye, and if she doesn’t smile at first, she keeps her eyes in contact with yours until she’s got her assessment. She’s cuddly and she’s so solid and squishy at the same time, it is the best to give her a little squeeze or just hold her. She’s also recently started flirting by turning her head so her chin touches her shoulder, tilting slightly down, and giving the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen.

As far as language goes, Aliya has been trying out different syllables and sounds, still saying “mama” and “papa” and “bye-bye”, and enjoys call and response, especially in the car when she can’t see you. She’ll call out “maaaa-maaaa” and we call back “aliiii-yaaaa” or “baaaa-beeee”. So sweet.

There are just so many things that she’s adjusting to and figuring out, making day-to-day things so much easier (not that they were ever really that hard with her). Everything from getting dressed to getting in her car seat to communicating what she wants to eat. I was really impressed tonight when I was taking her jumper suit thing off for bath, and she stepped out of it, one foot at a time, like a real pro. She still does several big nods “yes” when she wants something or is doing something she likes to do, and shakes her hands in refusal in front of her when she’s done with something or doesn’t want it. She’s been squealing more and more with joy and disappointment (usually when here sisters steal something from her), and she’s definitely been showing that she’s not going to let her place in the line-up go unnoticed.

Aliya Walks!

I’m just going to say it now: I’m a bad PR papa. Aliya’s been walking a month (well, almost a month, July 1 was the day actually) and you’re just now finding out about it. Sure, maybe you’ve been here and seen it or “heard” me say it online or over the phone, but if not, you’re getting the news a month late. Okay, go ahead and have your angry moment or cry or whatever…

…feel better? Now, how about some celebration! WoOhOo! She did it. She’s a walker. Aliya has joined the ranks of the bipeds. You’ll see in the video below she started out tentative and small as all little humans do, and now she’s moving around pretty good. She has a little shuffle she does that definitely gets her around the house, and she’s even navigating bumps in the road quite well. She also loves to carry things with her. Today as she cruised around she had a book in one hand, a toy in the other, and a measuring cup in her mouth, held by the handle—quite the multi-tasker.

Anyway, without further ado, the early moments, caught on flash card:

Six and Sassy

Keana is six and sassy and not always in that cute, confident way. You ask her to do something and she does the opposite. Examples:

  • Keana’s bothering her sister and I can hear Maia scream “Stop! Stop!” over and over, yet Keana persists. I know she hears us tell her to listen to Maia, and knows herself what “good” choices are, but she continues just a little bit longer.
  • She picks up Aliya and swings her around, and Aliya thinks it’s fun the first time, but of course the second and third time she’s not so sure. We bring Keana’s attention to Aliya’s signs that she doesn’t like it, but she does it again, a minute later.
  • She says she wants to do something like turn on the TV. You say it’s not a good time, that she’s already watched enough, and even as you’re talking, she walks away towards the living room to turn it on. Oh man. That one really gets me.

I get the sense it’s because she needs attention and/or she’s trying out the boundaries of her own power, but we’ve still struggled with how best to handle it. I find myself echoing what I was told growing up: “keep your hands to yourself” and “if you can’t do a good job listening, there will be consequences”. In these moments, my best examples and logic eventually feel like threats, and at the end of the day I worry about what I’m really teaching her. At the same time, of course, we need to keep everyone happy and safe.

Maia is now old enough that we’ve been able to have them work things out between the two of them, with one of us facilitating the discussion. We make sure they both get to talk and tell the other how the conflict made them feel and think of ways to remedy the issue together. It’s definitely going to take patience and discipline to work at this higher level, but I know the payoff will be much greater. The really tough times though, are those moments when Ms. Thang pulls her power play at the end of the day, when everyone’s tired, you’re cooking dinner, holding Aliya, and trying to mentally and emotionally wrastle with her.

I really need to get that book, How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen so Your Kids Will Talk. I’ve been saying that for years to myself, but I think it’s finally at the time where I need some back-up. And of course it’s especially difficult, because most of the time Keana is a brilliant, sweet angel, so the contrast in behavior is striking and therefore harder to handle at times. We’ve come to trust and expect a lot from her and maybe that’s part of the problem too. Then there’s always that part of any situation with all of us, really, that we can chalk it up to development. We are all learning and growing, not just the kids, but Sarah and I too. For me though, labeling it as “normal behavior” sure doesn’t make it any easier to know how to deal with it. Basically, I guess, there are just going to be these challenges as a parent, and I really do need to just keep at it with everything I’ve got to avoid falling into bad habits, complacency, and handling these difficult situations with my own damaging behavior.

[big sigh]

The Bo-Bíj

She’s almost one. She’s amazing. She’s a stink-bug. She squeals with pure joy when you return from the outside world. She’s the only silent crier I’ve ever met. She’s not just a leaner but a real cuddler. She’s the sweetest. I’ve said that about all my girls, but really, she’s the sweetest. For reals.

Aliya’s at that stage where she wants to know about everything. She makes a break for that open drawer or that thing you dropped that she’s never gotten to have. If she doesn’t get it, she rarely gets upset…maybe for a second, but there’s so much to learn and explore she just moves on. Aliya gets so excited sometimes, that she has bursts of super-speed in her stink-bug crawling form. Butt up in the air, hands and feet on the ground, she navigates her world. When she’s tired or gets going too fast, she falls flat on her face, literally. It’s heart-breaking. We jump and our insides twist up and I want to just follow her around everywhere she goes to catch her, but I know I can’t. Even as our third child, it’s like she’s our first.

Just a little time with Aliya is like a sip from the fountain of rejuvenation (if there was such a thing). She reminds you what it’s like to be excited in what your body can do. With each tentative stand, she shows how vulnerable we are, but at the same time how capable we are. She squeals when she has somewhere to get to fast. You can lie on the floor and she’ll just crawl all over you, sometimes almost diving over the edge of you to get to the other side. Yes, she’s a diver, a lunger, she goes for it.

Aliya loves sounds. She clicks with her mouth to make a beat to music or just for fun. When she loves a piece of music, she puts both arms up, dancing. When the music’s live, she claps for the performer, no matter what the performance sounds like, because to her, it’s like all sound is some kind of music. Aliya loves call and response. You can say, “Aliiiyaaaaa” and she responds “Babaaaaa”. You can say, “Obawabawaba” and she puts the back of her hand to her mouth and responds, “Obawabawaba”. She is so much fun.

Of course she’s not all about the fun and games. When she’s a little bit upset she has a silent cry. She scrunches her eyes, opens her mouth really wide as if she’s going to belt one out, but it’s completely silent. She follows that up with a pouty lower lip and a scrunched up nose. She can cry out loud of course, but she saves that for when she’s just had a face-plant or she’s been put in her crib for a nap that she doesn’t think she’s ready for.

What can I say? Aliya is just a kid. I mean, she’s just like lots of kids, but actually, she’s not just like lots of kids. She’s our kid. She’s our last child, our third daughter, our baby-baby. She’s the one who made it through some scary odds. She’s the best of both of us with the added benefit of being able to learn from two older sisters. She’s the reminder that we’re all human but we’re all unique. There is no one like any of us in the world, and there is certainly no other girl like Aliya.

Summer Approaches

Summer is on it’s way. Another school year is coming to a close, and even just saying it like that is funny, because we haven’t been participating in the whole school thing for long. But when I see new parents I realize that the six years we have under our belts at this point is a substantial amount of “street cred”.

The stuff Keana is doing, and has done this year, is amazing. All this year we’ve worried that she’s being pushed too hard, from the longer-than-average school day, to the level of work, to the amount of homework she’s had. But now that we’re at the end, it’s clear this school has been the perfect fit for Keana. Even now, two weeks before the end of the year, she wakes up every day with an excited, eager look and says, “Is there school today papa?!!” She loves her teacher, she loves her friends (which is practically the entire class), she loves the extra social activities (i.e. field trips, carnivals, fund-raisers, etc.), and she loves her new-found powers of knowledge. She tries to read everything around her and it’s really cool seeing her be able to navigate things in this world, through reading, at such an early age. And I have to say, personally, it brings me great joy to see her tear through double-digit addition/subtraction. I realize this accelerated learning isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t guarantee life-long happiness, but right now, it seems like just the right thing for Keana.

Maia has been changing every day and continues to prove she won’t get lost in the middle child slot. Our little tiny is definitely getting bigger, and her understanding of how the world works and where her place is grows every day too. She does not love school…yet. She wakes up every day and asks, “Do I have school today?” and when we say no, she screams, “Yesssss!” She loves to play at home and I think she loves being the only older sister when Keana’s at school. She also truly misses Keana when she’s at school as they continue to have a really great relationship, being each other’s favorite playmates. Maia will be going back to preschool in the fall, so I think as she gets older she’ll get more into it. In many ways she’s our toughest little baby, and in others she’s our most sensitive. She may not be any more complex emotionally than the other two, but knowing where her thresholds are and what their triggers are definitely takes some deft maneuvering.

Today I decided to go in order. So now, last, but certainly not least, is Aliya. I don’t know if it’s because she’s our last baby or what, but there isn’t a moment that doesn’t go by without one of us thinking how cute or amazing or smart she is. In this past week she’s started standing up on her own, and her fearless exploration has been nerve-racking. She loves to crawl on her hands and feet, not her knees, and while she’s discovered this is a much faster way to get around, it also has caused many-a-face-plant. Of course, she doesn’t let this slow her down. She forges on and can’t be stopped. This is another girl who wants what she wants, and I think that’s good, because being the youngest of two other powerhouse sisters, she definitely will be holding her own. For instance, she doesn’t’ like to just try and stand. She usually is holding onto a couple objects, and as she stands she likes to bang them together or wave her arms wildly with excitement. She’s also started shaking her head “no” when she knows she’s not supposed to do something or if she’s actually saying no. Why is that so damn cute? Oh yeah, and she claps to signal she’s all done eating. There’s a baby sign language move that’s similar, but she just likes clapping. Aliya will be a year old in just three weeks, and as I’ve been remembering what we all went through to get to this point, I can’t help but be thankful and feel blessed.

So what are we doing this summer? Who knows? I do know we need to go camping and get out into the woods. A few trips to the beach will definitely be necessary. Sarah was also researching music festivals that are kid friendly, so that should be fun too. I’m also already anticipating the, “I’m boooored papa, take us somewhere.”; not sure anticipating that will make it any easier, but at least I know it’s coming, which should help, right?


It’s not a very glamorous word, but it seems like such an important one. Progress. We can’t really help it, actually. And the kids, man, they are beyond it if that’s possible. I almost feel like my humble writings, even combined with all the photos and video, barely do their amazing lives justice. Not to mention their vast and rapid development. It overwhelms me really, but then I remember that even the most basic of accounts speaks volumes years down the road, and we can already see this at this early stage of the game.

Keana is simply a delight. From the instant she wakes up until she falls quickly asleep, she is essentially a ray of light. She has definitely been trying out her defiance, coupled with sneers and powerful growling expressions, but we know it’s natural and it rarely lasts. She’ll ignore what we say until we force the issue but it’s actually really good to see her healthy questioning and the strength that’s behind it. I think it will serve her well later in life. She’s also excelling in school and gets along with everybody, even the kids in other classes. I’m still surprised when other teachers and parents know her and greet her on the way to school. Keana is definitely our social butterfly.

Tonight was special too. She was chosen by all the kindergarten teachers to present a piece of what she’s learned in school. There were three kindergarteners and three first graders. Here’s what she read from her animal journal:

We’ve worried a little about how much the kids are expected to learn in kindergarten, but Keana has really done well with it and seems to really enjoy the power that comes with reading and writing.

The epitome of progress though is Aliya. She has the unfair advantage of being baby, but she changes every day. After she began sitting up, it wasn’t long until she started to crawl, and she first crawled just a week ago. Sure, it’s still mostly a scoot crawl, but it’s surprising how far she can get in just a short amount of time. We’ve really had to watch out for all those older kid tiny toys, as well as anything else a baby shouldn’t be ingesting.

Aliya is very curious about everything and loves taking the magnet off the fridge and putting them back on, as well as banging things together to make sound. She may be our little percussionist. She’s always been a thump-a-foot, and a game we like playing recently is when I’m changing her diaper, I pretty to defend myself as she kicks wildly at my arms and face; kind of like a faux-karate match. Laughs and squeals and loves it, and so do I. She continues to be quite flirty with everyone really, waving hello and goodbye, and her super-smile is irresistible. I also love how she squeals really high when she’s excited to see someone she knows.

As for food, Aliya is eating much of what we eat with the exception of cheese, cow milk products, bread and that sort of thing. She loves turkey, peas, zucchini, gnawing on chicken bones, and these puff cereal things made for little babies. I like to line little bites up in a row on her tray and she just mows right through it.

We also started Aliya sleeping on her own, in her own room, about two weeks ago. She fusses for 5-10 minutes and then sleeps through the night. It is really amazing having our evenings to ourselves again. Sure she was adorable to hold while she slept peacefully, but it was time. She’s still not used to napping yet, fussing for 5-10 minutes and falling asleep, but not sleeping for more than an hour and is noticeably tired throughout he day. So that’s still being worked out. This is the earliest we’ve started the sleep training though, so we’re in slightly uncharted territory.

Finally The Maij…our fierce little Maia. She is hilarious. She is adorable. She is quick as a whip. And she is mad as hell sometimes. Her will will not bend or brake, and though it’s quite challenging now, I know it will be a strength someday. It seems she’s been having a hard time eating lately. We think she may be too tired at the end of the day to focus on it, or maybe she’s just going through some developmental thing that affects her intake. She’s growing fast and we’re trying not to make issues out of it, but it certainly has been challenging. And of course, bedtime and sleeping has been a challenge too, just as it was with Keana when she was three. We ditched the bunk beds and are having Keana and Maia sleep in the queen together. So far, they are able to go to sleep together most of the time, but Maia often pitches a fit in the middle of the night and Keana comes to sleep with me and Maia falls back asleep with Sarah. We would let her cry it out, but she’s so damn loud and persistent, that she keeps everyone awake. So we’re feeling our way through this one at the moment.

And that’s just a snapshot but I’m operating from the perspective that something, anything, is better than nothing.

Aliya Update

To say “so much” has happened with Aliya since I last wrote about her specifically, is beyond an understatement. For that, Aliya, I apologize. I’m just thankful we have the photos and video to show what’s been happening. But let me write it down here too for posterity’s sake.

At the beginning of February Aliya really started varying her sounds when she talked, but now at nine months, she says mama, papa, bye, more, and hi, and a whole slew of new sounds that aren’t quite words yet. Yesterday we were running errands together in the car and it was fun to talk to her and have little nonsensical conversations just like I did with Keana and Maia as babies. Two weeks ago she also started waving regularly when people arrived or left. Of course, she continues to be quite smily and huggy too.

In the second week of February Aliya started sitting up on her own with minimal tipping over, and not long after that could be left confidently knowing she was okay. She often leans all the way over to reach things, folding in half, and can then push herself back up. When she moves to her stomach she’s been able to do push ups and has gotten up on her hands and knees and rocked back and forth, so crawling is on its way; no idea when, but she’s definitely practicing.

She of course has been interested in objects and playing with toys, but it really feels like in the last week her desire to play with things has increased and often motivates her to scoot, backwards for the time being, to try and get new things. Aliya still loves to play with her sisters and is quick to crack up at any sort of little game anyone plays with her.

Her appetite is voracious and her favorite thing at the moment is goat yogurt, vanilla. Her little fangs have poked through and her two front teeth are visible below the gum. “Mmm, mmm” is a constant with her when she sees food on the way or wants to try something. Aliya eats much of what we eat, but her primary meal is still mama’s milk. She has really been loving water too and just this weekend started drinking out of a regular bottle with a twist top. She even had a little fun and tried sprinkling it on Maia’s seat while we were riding in the car today as well, which, of course, Maia did not tolerate in the least.

Aliya is just super fun now and changing daily as most babies seem to do that first year. Even as our third child, we’re still amazed by her blossoming vocabulary and ability to articulate what she wants or likes. Even though her development reminds of us Maia and Keana moments, Aliya is very much her own little person with a whole new range of unique moments of her own. Unique and similar, Keana, Maia, and Aliya get along so well together, and the fact that they often do best when all playing in the same room definitely brings Sarah and I much joy and peace.


Oh Little Aliya, I feel like you’ve been neglected here. Clearly the writing has slowed since you’ve been born, but it’s not your fault. Many people think that it’s the second kid that gets lost with regard to photos and video, but I’m starting to think it’s the third. Don’t worry, I think we have plenty of photos and video of you, but I need to work on the writing. And what better time than now?

You’re seven months old now. SEVEN. And just like we had done when Maia came along, we’ve forgotten what amazing little beings babies are. You continually amaze us with your even temperament and your quick smiles. When one of us walks in the room your eyes light up, your mouth opens wide with a smile, your body springs into action, and it’s as if we hadn’t seen each other for a month. All this is especially sweet given the fact that we had just left the room 30 seconds before.

You have seven rolls on each arm and wonderful little sumo thighs. You’ve been marveling at how your wrists move and how you can match your thumb up with just one of your other fingers. This also allows you to pinch your mama and mess with her neck when you nurse, and while she loves you dearly, this seems hard for her to endure at times. She asks you to stop and you just laugh at her (and she laughs back).

Your bottom teeth broke through just after Christmas and they’re about halfway out. Two tiny, cute little chompers. You’re a master at tummy time and stick with it longer than Keana or Maia did without getting frustrated (I think…this fact should be checked though). You still like to bounce yourself in your bouncy seat with your left leg, and of course love to grab your toes striking those famous makes-your-heart-want-break-baby-poses. You do suck on your toes, but’s it’s been so damn cold they’re usually covered up.

When you’re distressed, a few times, we’ve heard you say “ama” and Mama swears you’ve said “mama”. I wouldn’t doubt it given the fact that I’ve definitely heard word-like sounds coming out of your mouth. Generally you’re quiet, but you can ramp it up when you’re done sitting in on position or need some food. Speaking of which, you’ve tried a ton of things so far: apple sauce, avocado, carrots, turkey, chicken, goat yogurt, pears, and some baby cereal stuff which you don’t really like. When we sit down to eat you often say, “Mmmmm” and you watch us eat with such intense curiosity. You’re also really fast with high precision grabbing. Just last night Mama turned away for a second and you lunged out and snagged a big chunk of meat off her plate. Yup, you’re definitely a member of Team Hokama.

You’ve rolled over from your stomach to your back for a couple months now, but not the other way. Don’t worry, we’re not worried. You’re perfect…and really strong. You have such a sold little body that you haven’t met anyone yet that doesn’t think you’re just “the huggiest”. I think your super-sweet demeanor helps a lot with this too.

When Keana messes with you or dances around you or even just looks at you really, you crack up. You have a great laugh and Keana really brings it out in you. Maia too, but Keana really likes to get up in your face, which you mostly like. You’ll grab her hair and bang on her head, and every once in a while you pull her face close for a nice wet, open-mouthed baby kiss. Keana’s strong enough to hold you too, which she loves to do, but still makes us a little nervous. Maia is very helpful to you too. When you drop something she springs up, runs over, and gets it back in your hand. I’ll often here you cry out and it’s immediately followed by Maia’s fast little stomping steps as she runs to see what you need. And when we ride in the car, both your sisters are very helpful and only torture you occasionally. This winter they’ve especially liked pulling your hat over your eyes or just over one eye and call you a pirate. Luckily I think you’ll be big enough and fast enough to hold your own…some day.

So I guess that’s it for now. You’re bouncing yourself in your seat as I write this, starting to maybe get a little upset (barely). Plus Keana’s nagging me to make her second breakfasts, so I better get on that. You’re doing great Chuberoo and I’ll try and keep the words up to go with those amazing photos and videos we have of you.


That pretty much sums Aliya up: perpetusmile. She is so mellow, so easy going, and so damn smiley it’s ridiculous. Sure, she gets upset if she’s hungry or tired, but she can be talked out of it very easily.

Anyway, we had our 6 month check-up at UCSF last Friday (December 10) and the doctors confirmed what we’ve all suspected and have been observing since Aliya came home: she’s perfect. She handled all the “test” objects well, manipulated them, followed them when they moved/dropped/etc. She’s making sounds with inflection- she even says “mama” from time to time and “mmmmm” and has started “b”- and generally aced all the doctor’s tests. In fact, she did so well they said we could skip the 9 month follow-up.

We’ve also been trying out a few foods with Aliya since Thanksgiving in very small tastes at a time, mostly because she’s seemed so interested. She’s tried avocado, turkey, rice, pears, applesauce, and egg yolks (cooked of course), but she threw those up this morning and we’ve realized that maybe we’ve been a little overkill with it. I’m pretty sure Keana started much later than 5 months, and Maia was a little earlier than that, but not this early. So we’ll back off for a while. She’s a little over 19lbs and is over 26 inches long, so she’s getting enough to grow at a good pace.

Maia has taken huge leaps since turning three. Just before, and certainly now, she seems like a really different kid. More articulate. More reasonable. But of course, still her feisty, scrimesties self. She’s pretty much sleeping through the night and since I’ve been her only go-to guy at night, she’s done really well. I think she needed it to be clear who was on duty and what was going to be happen if she woke up and called out. She often doesn’t fights nap time and sometimes has enough energy to make it through the day sans nap, but if anyone’s going to fall asleep at the dinner table, it’s her. Or, of she’s in a car or stroller in the later day, early evening, she’s a goner. With being three there is some new fire for Maia, but in a lot of ways, that fire doesn’t quite burn you as much.

And our big Zoob. Little Miss Sunshine. When we were in Berkeley last week, Keana was dancing down the sidewalk, around the office, and in the hospital telling everyone she was the sun. And in so many ways, she is. Keana is the brightest, sweetest, most positive, open, person you’ll ever meet. She and I have been butting heads a lot lately, but I only have to take a breath and look at her, and she teaches me all I need to know about patience, love, and understanding. Oh, and the other day, we’re driving along and she blurts out, “Hey! 5 plus 3 equals 8!” I was blown away but at the same time not surprised at all. Also, while we were in Long Beach, Tia taught her Itsy Bitsy Spider in spanish and one day, weeks later, Keana was just singing it perfectly, as if she’d learned it an hour ago. She’s been doing stuff like this since she was born, and having little Aliya Baby in the house now reminds us how gifted these kids are from the time they’re born and on and on.

So there you go. Not all the times in Casa de Team Hokama have been bubbles and cookies lately, but as we struggle through learning to be good parents and good spouses, we have only to look at our kids’ tiny but growing faces to know that it’s all worth it, and it all shakes down in the end.

When Papa got a minute

We got the kids to bed kind of early tonight so here I go…

Last week Aliya was still just figuring out grabbing things well with her hands and now, seven days later, she’s so much smoother. Yeah, she still drops things and doesn’t always rotate them smoothly, but she is so much more dexterous and accurate with her grip, it’s scary. These damn babies develop so fast and we are beyond thankful. Aliya still laughs hysterically at her sisters, so much so it almost sounds like something between a smoky bar laugh and baby’s cry. First time she did it I wasn’t sure she was actually happy until I saw her big smile at the silly things her sisters were doing. She’s also figured out how to thump her leg in her bouncer to back it bounce and once it stops, she thumps again to get it going. Brilliant.

Maia is still struggling with sleeping through the night. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t, but she always wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. People are always saying not to look forward too much to the teen years, but I have to say right now, I’m ready to get back to sleeping in until noon. I think Maia is still really struggling with not being the baby anymore and she wants to grow up and be independent like Sissy (Keana), but she’s just not quite there yet. It’s a big step and although we’re quite frustrated with her, I have a soft spot for what she’s going through. I remember feeling exactly like her at several stages when I was coming up.

Keana continues to be our extraordinary pioneer. Her parent/teacher conference was amazing and her teacher said that she is well beyond where they expect at this point in kindergarten. We, of course, try not to put too much weight in evaluations like this, but I have to say it’s what every parent wants to hear. There’s a little boy in her class that has been trying to kiss her and/or talk about kissing her, so that has been interesting. Keana and this boy played all the time together but when he started this behavior, she was done. Thankfully the school is taking it seriously and wants Keana to be comfortable, so we’ll see how everything turns out. Sarah and I know that this little guy just likes her a lot, and perhaps doesn’t have great modeling at home, so we’re just rolling with it for now and letting her teacher deal; don’t want to make it a bigger deal than it is. I guess the whole “boys and girls can’t just be friends” starts early (just joking…sort of).

Last weekend we went down to Long Beach to visit Tia, Uncle Ryan, and Cousin Olivia. We hadn’t been down there since last Thanksgiving, so it was time. It was a lot of fun, minus the 6+hour drive to get down there. But Iana and Ryan were very good to us and the girls had a blast with Olivia. She’s starting to walk, so Keana had fun leading her around by her hands, and both Maia and her had fun torturing her with as much love as she could take. Honestly though, I think Olivia really enjoyed having her boisterous cousins around for a couple days and it was fun watching them together. Of course the World Series was on so some time had to be spent rooting for our Giants, and there was the costume/trick-or-treating-candy-eating-mayhem on Halloween, but all-in-all it was pretty restful and great to get away. (SO many pics from October/Halloween, not enough time tonight, so I’ll get them up tomorrow.)

I can’t believe we’re already entering into the holiday season, with Maia’s birthday falling on Thanksgiving this year. This month is going to be crazy, especially with me having a work trip the week before Thanksgiving, but we’re looking forward to it. Today we had a very productive day around the house and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed raking leaves off the roof and cleaning out gutters. Why is being on a roof so much fun? I do not know. But it did feel good to get give away some things, clean up a bit, and prepare for this great month we’re about to have.