Tag Archives: family

A Day in the Snow!

One of the benefits of living in Fresno is close proximity to the mountains, and for us, close proximity to family near the mountains with a house. With this cold winter storm, snow fell as low as 2000 ft., so we woke up this morning with a text message from Sarah’s dad that they had lots of snow up in North Fork and to come on up. So we did.

We all had a blast sledding and playing, then going inside to dry off and enjoy our gracious hosts’ hospitality. Nana Cin always provides a great meal and lots of treats for the kiddos. We had the added joy of Tia and Cousin Olivia’s company, so it was a great day of family and play. And there was so much snow! It blanketed everything and provided a magical landscape for us to enjoy. We even got to play as it was snowing, so the kids really got the full experience. The kids were also just overjoyed with being able to go up there on short notice and were in awe of how everything had been transformed overnight. Today we really felt very fortunate to be able to enjoy something like a full day in the snow so easily and comfortably.

Here’s a little snapshot of the day, thrown together on my iPhone:

Being There

Last weekend we headed over to the Sacramento area for the 2011 Sacramento AIDS Walk to raise money for the Capital City AIDS Fund. My aunt and brother organized the team this year, and the whole Peterson clan participated. My mom and her husband Sam even drove out from Texas for the event.

I’m not sure the girls really knew what was going on, at least they didn’t ask many questions. They were mostly just excited to see their family and it was fun for them to be downtown for something different—something special.

And it was special. It was emotional. I have to admit that Sarah and I got a bit choked up on and off throughout the walk. I was remembering all the people I’ve known that have died from AIDS-related illnesses. I may have attended their funerals years ago, but the memories of their fiery spirits came rushing back like it was yesterday. And of course thinking about our loved ones living with HIV brought tears, but at the same time it really was a celebration, because they are still with us and we were helping to raise money, awareness, and support to help provide the services that allow them to stay healthy and hopefully happy. So it was also a time to be thankful.

Before and during the event I thought about what to tell the kids should they ask, but as I said before, it really didn’t come up this year—but it will. I’m thankful that Sarah and I are on the same page with being honest and open with our kids, and at the same time support our kids in love and acceptance rather than fear.

[pe2-gallery class=”alignleft” ]

Off the Clock and Outdoors

Whenever I talk to people about where I live, especially people from other states or countries, I can’t help but brag that in California, we have it all. Beaches, deserts, mountains, forests, you name the environment, we have it. And although it was really hard leaving the bay area and being close to the ocean, being in the central valley is, well, very central, to all the different environments Cali has to offer. For vacation this past week, we hit just about all of them.

To start things off, we made a brief appearance at the annual family campout. Sarah’s been attending this campout with her family and friends pretty much her whole life, so when I came on the scene, it became my tradition too. Keana first went when she was 4 months old, Maia when she was 8 months, and Aliya has never been since she had just been born when it happened last year. Usually we attend this soirée for a week, but the time off didn’t work out this year, so we just went up for the day on Saturday, the day they have the big potluck. The girls loved playing in the river and rock-hopping, even though it was freezing and pretty full due to this year’s crazy snowfall. We enjoyed having the day to catch up with everyone who was there, and even though it was about a 2.5 hour drive each way, it was definitely worth keeping up with the tradition.

I have to say, our family is happiest at the beach though. So just a day after coming down from the mountains, we headed over to Santa Cruz, our old stomping grounds. Sarah and I both attended school there, and met a year after we graduated, in August of 2002. There is nothing quite like Santa Cruz in the summer. The days often start out foggy and chilly, but about noon or one, it burns off for pretty much perfect weather. Sunshine, temperature in the seventies, and a mellow beachfront vibe is pretty irresistible. The first morning there everyone slept in except Aliya, so I bundled her up, put her in the car, and we went cruising along West Cliff drive, along the ocean. I remembered back to many-a-thought-filled time spent along that path, often unwinding from the stresses of academia or past troubles of love and relationships. And on this day, I got to share it with my youngest, who fell right back asleep, allowing me to take some liberty down memory lane.

We spent our first day at the Twin Lakes beach with Sarah’s brother Michael, and all had a blast playing in the ocean and building a sand castle. Keana loves running in and out of the ocean and rolling in the sand, and just like her big sisters before her, Aliya was fearless. We had to really watch her as she took every opportunity to run, walk, crawl, and tumble toward the crashing waves. Even as she shivered and got super sandy, she squealed with delight. It was almost too much for Maia though, and we lost her to a late afternoon nap under the umbrella. Even Aliya was laying her face down straight in the sand from exhaustion. After leaving the beach, we walked back to the hotel and grabbed dinner at the taqueria next door and finished off the night with Kung-Fu Panda, which, I have to say, was filled with awesomeness.

The next day we spent a little time downtown, had breakfast at Zachary’s, then it was back to the beach. Sometimes I wonder why the beach is so important to our family. Maybe it’s our history there, or the perfect blend of chaos and predictability, or just having sand, wind, ocean, and sun, whilst having your nostrils filled with salty, seaweediness—I don’t know. What I do know is it is necessary for our health and sanity, and therefore always at the top of our list for vacations. That night, being so close to the ocean, it was also necessary to get some good sushi at our favorite spot in Santa Cruz, Shogun (also the location of our very first date). Michael and his girlfriend Laura joined us, and although we were all very tired, it was a great last dinner in SC.

As all good things come to an end, so must the visit to Santa Cruz. Maia especially did not want to leave the hotel, but lunch and a pot of chocolate (literally) at Chocolate (shitty website, great food), helped things a bit. Almost uncomfortably full of richness, we packed back into the car and headed home.

The next day we headed up to North Fork to stay at Sarah’s dad’s “cabin” which is near Bass Lake (where the amazing movie The Great Outdoors was filmed). We spent the afternoon at the lake and the girls loved the fact that the water was cool but not cold, and the mellow waves created by motor boats was just right. Keana is getting braver and braver in water, going in up to her chin and Maia slowly overcame her anxiety around the water. I hate to say that she got her papa’s comfort level with water. That night I barbecued tri-tip out on the deck and we dined outside with a great view of a monstrous “hill”, or little mountain, that’s covered with pines and granite boulders. The next day Sarah’s sister Iana, and her offspring Olivia, joined us at Bass Lake for more sun, fun, and general silliness.

The funny thing that I notice every time, and maybe it was even more striking since we had just been in Santa Cruz, was that there are two types of people: ocean people and lake people. Lake people are just slightly more rugged, maybe a little rough around the edges, and definitely more, how should I say…patriotic. Nevertheless, they are always friendly and we have yet to encounter any drunken-yahoo-badness. On the other hand, lake people are more down-to-earth and tend not to live in a spoiled fantasy.

Saturday morning was spent with Grandpa Robert and Nana Cin, and it’s always great to visit with them. The girls love performing for them and asking and answering a hundred questions. They especially love to help bake something in the kitchen with Cin so they were not disappointed there (Grandpa helped out too, especially with the logistics associated with shortness and counters and ovens). The car ride back to town was a sleepy one, the kids being totally worked from all our adventures.

So it was to the mountains and rivers, over to the beaches and oceans, and back up to the mountains and lakes for our last bit of summer vacation. Overall a really great week off, mostly outdoors, full of great weather, great smiles and laughter, and some great, and pretty classic, memories.

[pe2-gallery class=”alignleft” ]

Holiday run-down

I have a lot of interesting stories, quotes, funny kid moments, and development news, but I’m going to be a big tease and just say I have it, it’s in here (points to head), but you’ll have to wait till I have the energy to write it down, sorry:-)

In other news, for the record, here’s what’s been happening this holiday season…

The kids are out of school from December 20 through January 7, and I’m taking this whole time off too, so that’s really good. I’d say three weeks is just about enough time to handle the holidays, get the house sort of back into shape, and maybe, just maybe, get a little extra rest. Of course all three girls have been sick, starting with Maia, then moving on to Keana and Aliya on the 21st. It’s Aliya’s first Christmas and first time getting sick, but she’s handled both like a champ.

We were in Los Altos for Peterson Christmas the 20-21 at Great Grandma Jacquie and Great Grandpa Vic’s, and they were gracious hosts as usual. We had our now-annual game of hide-and-go-seek with the cousins (McKenna (for a short time), Cassidy and Riley (for the whole time)), and it was a lot of fun as usual. We played a brief game of tag too, but those girls are actually getting too fast for me. For the record, in an all out sprint I think I could still take them, but for short distance tag, they got me whooped. But it was great to see the great grandparents of course, Grandma Linda and Grandpa Sam (out from Texas), Great Aunt Janet, Great Uncle Vic and Aunt Kristie, and Uncle Peter (and we met his boyfriend DeAnthonie for the first time as well). Maia, Aliya, Sarah, and I slept in Aunt Janet’s old room upstairs, and Keana tried to hang with the big girls campout-style downstairs, but some time in the middle of the night snuck into bed with Sarah. The next day was not-so-great, with Keana throwing up at the grandparents’, in the car, then again at home, but luckily it didn’t last. I think I earned some major dad points that day by catching several throw-ups before they hit the ground, and one even in my cupped hands. That’s right, you heard me. In. My. Hands.

Christmas Eve we spent with Grandma Jennie, Tia, Uncle Ryan, Cousin Olivia, and Great Grandma Bev and it was short but sweet. The girls love their cousin Olivia, who is now walking, so even twice the fun. Christmas Day we went over to Jennie’s house and enjoyed a nice brunch, with more gifts, and returned home for a little rest before my mom and Sam showed up, fresh (or nearly) from their visit in Folsom (with the family out there, not the inmates). Mom and Sam stayed till the 28th, and we basically lounged around, rested up, put them to work doing dishes, grocery shopping, and baking. Sounds like work but I think we would all agree it was really nice hanging with them, especially since we rarely see them since they live all the way out in…aghem…Texas.

And now we’re basically here. Right now. Eve of New Year’s Eve. In about 8 hours we’re heading up to North Fork to visit with Grandpa Robert and Nana Cin. We were hoping there would be snow, but I don’t think it will happen yet. I’ve considered seeing what the girls think of a new year, 2011, but I think we’ll just skip that conversation this year. They live in the present. Minutes and hours are sort of a concept now, but weeks, months, years…no, they don’t matter. What matters is what we’re playing with right now, what we’re talking about right now, and I like that. Something I think we all could work on. Maybe in 2011? Wait. What’s that?

Zooba and Screimsties

With all this fuss about Little Miss Aliya (a.k.a. Nüni), some of you may be wondering how Keana (a.k.a. Zooba) and Maia (a.k.a. Screimsties a.k.a. Maija) have been adjusting. First, let’s back track briefly (or not-so-briefly) to Aliya’s first week out in the world. During the birth, I was holding Maia most of the time, even while I was on the phone with 911, and Keana was rubbing Sarah’s shoulder, telling her everything was going to be okay. Throughout everything, I was explaining to them what was happening and that we were going to have go to the hospital and they’d stay with Grandma until everything was okay. Even after I left with the ambulance, Jennie (a.k.a. Grandma) said they really took everything in stride. I love that they have that youthful optimism and considering everything that happened that day and that week, they really handled it all amazingly well.

A couple hours after the birth, after Aliya was stabilized and up in the ICU, waiting for transport to UCSF, and Sarah was checked into her own room, Jennie brought the girls over to the hospital. I was able to take each of them individually to visit their new sister and they loved her immediately. Of course there were some questions about the tubes and wires and why Aliya had to stay there, but overall they were curious about the little things. Keana was really impressed with her finger nails and Maia was concerned about the ink on the bottoms of her feet. After a brief visit with Mama in her room, Jennie, Jacque, Keana, Maia, and I headed home so I could pack a bag for UCSF. It wasn’t easy leaving them, but I knew they were in good hands and I knew that our newest baby needed us.

While we were gone, I tried to call them at least once a day and found each time that they were being thoroughly entertained by either Grandma Jennie, Tia (Iana), Grandpa Robert or Nana Cin, Great Grandma Bev, and later Uncle Ryan. I would check in with Keana for a few minutes, and she would ask how Aliya was doing and what I was up to. That would shortly be followed by, “Well Papa, I think I should get back to what I was doing.” I would say okay, I love you, and hang up happy. Maia often wasn’t in the mood to talk and I was totally fine with that. It took a minute, but Iana and Jennie finally got into a good routine getting Maia calmed down before bedtime and sleeping through the night. On Wednesday my mom (a.k.a. Grandma Linda) and Peter (a.k.a. Uncle Pud a.k.a. Uncle Pedie) went from Sacramento to Fresno as reinforcements.

When we finally arrived home on June 24, we found the girls in really great shape considering everything that had happened. We had several nights of Maia throwing tantrums and Keana had a couple breakdowns too, but all-in-all, Sarah and I have been amazed at the girls’ resilience. Now, three weeks after Aliya’s birth, it feels like we’re settling into things as a Pentapod. Sure Maia still screams bloody hell when Sarah’s unavailable and Keana reminds us how fun things were with Tia and Grandma when we were gone, especially with regard to sweets and bed time, but I think they’re actually happy to have their old boundaries back (at least their general moods reflect that). I’m trying to treat this time off as vacation as much as it’s been healing time, so Keana, Maia, and I have been having little adventures while Sarah and Aliya rest. On Wednesdays and Fridays we swim at our neighbor’s pool down the street, we’ve had some trips to the park, and we went to the zoo yesterday for a birthday party, so it’s really been great time together.

Well, I sat down to write about some other fun things that Maia and Keana have been up to, but I better leave at this for now. This is definitely a story that’s going to slowly get filled in, piece-by-piece along the way.

Pentapod, ride on

It’s happened. Team Hokama is now five strong. When Maia was born I coined the term Quadripod because there were four of us and we were a pod, like a heard of sea mammals, or tripod but with, um, four legs (plus I just thought it sounded cool). Now of course we’ve graduated to Pentapod status. Aliya Nakine Hokama was born June 18 at 7:41 a.m. via emergency c-section at Fresno Community Regional Hospital. Unfortunately there were some complications with a prolapsed cord, and just four hours after birth she had to be flown to UCSF Children’s Hospital to undergo a 72 hour cooling therapy to prevent damage to her brain. I drove over right behind her and was met and supported by family until Sarah could get there on the following Monday (June 21). That Monday, at 4:30 p.m., they began warming her up slowly, half-a-degree an hour. She was very sleepy at first, which was expected, and her MRI on Tuesday showed a perfect, healthy, little brain. Of course we have to do some follow-ups down the road and keep an eye on her, but so far she is the perfect, fifth member of our team.

Sarah’s family primarily took care of Maia and Keana while we were at UCSF, until we returned home on Thursday, June 24, just less than one week after Aliya was born. My mom Linda and brother Peter had driven down the day before to help out as well, so it was quite a reunion.

We are slowly getting used to being home and being altogether, but Keana and Maia are overjoyed to have their new sister present and healthy. I’m in the process of writing the full birth story and will hopefully have that up here soon as well. And of course, with my time off, I hope to catch up on all the other amazing things Keana and Maia have been up to as well. In the mean time, be sure to check out Aliya’s gallery, and we’ll get her photos and video up on this site soon too.

We want to once again send out our greatest appreciation to our family and friends that have shown so much support and love during this, how should I say, exciting time.

Your 1st 50th

Hey Little Baby, it’s me again, Papa. I thought you’d like to know what’s been going on out here since I last wrote. Your sisters were sick last week so that was exciting as usual. Fevers, copious amounts of snot, more tissue than you can believe- you’ll see. Not fun but not all that bad. Just another one of the things you get used to on the outside. I had another work trip to Berkeley also, and I couldn’t believe that it was probably my last trip to the bay until after you’re born! You’ll be within your dates to pop out in three weeks now, but there’s no rush. You just stay in there and bake as long as you need. Make sure you’re really ready for this Team Hokama craziness.

Last week was filled with the usual antics around the house. Mama helped Keana and Maia build a castle out of cardboard which is still around, being used for all kinds of make-believe goodness. And Thursday morning before Keana went to school, she and Maia got into Mama’s makeup and painted on their faces and arms. I think they were pretending they were kitties. I definitely got a glimpse of the future that morning.

Keana and I continued the piano lessons, and started to learn Three Blind Mice which then turned into a chasing game around the house where we each took turns chopping off each other’s tails. Maybe you heard your sisters squealing with delight while they held onto their butts as I was chasing them down the hall? Good times ahead for you Little One! We also finished up planting the zucchini, carrots, bush beans, chard, tomatoes, mint, basil, rosemary, and parsley so you’ll have a nice little garden here when you arrive.

On Friday we had another prenatal appointment with Dr. Kopascz. Everything looked good, you’re “measuring perfectly”, and just after the doctor checked your heartbeat with the doppler, you moved so fast that it surprised even her. It was really funny to see a doctor be so astonished, especially when you imagine that she’s probably seen thousands of babies. It was a very defined movement, so maybe it was your knee or elbow? Anyway, you continue to amaze us with all your action.

Keana’s really been working hard writing the letters in her name and figuring out how to spell words. You can bet she’ll be a great teacher for you. A lot of parents stress out or brag about how much their kids read or write, even before kindergarten, but you’ll be happy to know we have complete confidence in your abilities already, and all will be learned in good time. We think we’ll be sending Keana to Dailey Elementary Charter School, which is a new charter that uses the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Basically its a focus is on global standards, so the kids learn another language starting in kindergarten (Spanish), and continue on through 5th grade. They also hire specialty teachers in physical education, art, and music, so it seems there’s a good emphasis on the whole student, not just reading, writing, and math. The idea is to teach kids to be a part of a global community and help each kid grow so they can compete on an international stage. At least that’s what I gather from my research. They do have longer days though, 90 minutes longer for kindergarten and 180 for the other grades I think. Hopefully that’s just so there’s plenty of time for the extra language and arts without neglecting the basics. We’ll see though. It is a new school, so Keana will have to test it out for you. Aren’t you lucky to have two older sisters to test the waters before you have to jump in?

On Saturday we headed to Sacramento for your Great Uncle Vic’s 50th birthday celebration. Keana and Maia had a blast playing with cousins McKenna, Cassidy, and Riley, and I’m sure you’ll love them too. They’ll be pretty old by the time you’re able to run around with them, but they’re so sweet I’m sure they’ll slow down for you (at least they do for Keana and Maia). Your sisters really enjoyed swimming and jumping on the giant trampoline too. I also realized that we probably won’t see most of that family until after you’re born as well. They’re all quite excited to meet you and see what kind of scruffer you’ll turn out to be.

Man, it was crazy though. The party was great, but Maia was really getting tired, so we headed to our hotel. And we all crashed after getting settled, but Maia woke up at 2 a.m. Maybe you heard her? Anyway, she would not settle down and as you know, Mama needed rest to keep up with you, so we told Maia if she didn’t quiet down and go to sleep, we’d have to drive her around in the car until she was ready to sleep. She called our bluff and said, “I want to go in the car.” So she and I got dressed and I took her out. It was windy and cold and I figured she’d be asleep in 20 or 30 minutes. Oh no. She was ready to go. She was pretending bad guys were chasing us and I’d look back and she’d have this mischievous smile and she’d say, “Papa, I’m scared!” I drove and drove and it was quite clear she wasn’t settling down. Eventually we got hungry so I found a Safeway and I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was either kidnapping her or that we were crazy. It was almost 4 a.m. at this point and you’ll see that that is not the time for kids to be out and about. We got some flowers for Mama for Mother’s Day, then some bread, cheese, salami, and water and had a little picnic in the car with the motor running to keep the heat on. You should have seen your sister. She was having a blast, and I must admit, so was I. When I was younger I used to do stuff like that all time, so it was great to be on a night adventure with your sister. Every once in a while Maia would say, “More cheese Papa!” followed by a high-pitched, “Thank youuuu!” It was really a lot of fun. But as 5 a.m. approached I realized how horrible the day was going to be without some sleep. We finished up and I put Maia back in her seat and asked if she was ready to sleep now. She said, “Let’s keep driving!” I realized my mistake was fueling her up, so we drove a little longer, then headed back to the hotel. It was a little after five before she crawled into bed with Keana and I. Hilarious. Three people in a double bed. Around 7 a.m. I think I crawled into bed with you and Mama and I thought for a brief moment, “What the hell are we going to do with THREE kids! Where are we all going to sleep?” Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out. Or we won’t ever leave our house. Just kidding. Maybe.

We woke up kind of late (surprise surprise) and headed over to Great Aunt Krisite’s Mom’s house for Mother’s Day brunch. It was an elaborate spread and great to see all the Petersons one last time before heading home. You all slept for a while in the car heading back to Fresno, but then Little Miss Maia woke up and was pissed. She always has a hard time the last part of any trip, so hopefully she’ll be over that by the time you start rolling side-by-side with that crazy girl. Keana’s pretty easy going in the car though, so at least you’ll have her to balance things out. This is, of course, assuming you’re not going to be as crazy as Maia, but I know you’ll have your own flavor of crazy however it turns out. Otherwise you wouldn’t have made the team.

Anyway, we got our appointment with Jacque tomorrow, so rest up and we’ll just keep getting things ready out here for your arrival! I think this weekend I’ll be cleaning out the garage and getting all the baby gear out. Oh, and maybe we’ll see if Tia’s birth tub will work for us.


Happy “Balentimes”!

As Keana says, “Happy Balentimes”! Don’t you remember how crazy that word was when you were little? What little kid can actually pronounce “Valentine”? Anyway, we’ve made several decorated hearts today, and also attended Fresno’s Mardi Gras parade in the area called the Tower District. I can’t say it was the best parade ever, but there were some fun costumes and some great live music on flatbed tow trucks. The girls seemed to enjoy it, but it was a lot of waiting. Something different to do though. Thanks for the tip Grandma Jennie!

In other news, number 3 is kickin’ up a storm! What’s that you say? THREE?!! You haven’t heard? Well, consider yourself informed. What’s that you say? THREE?!! Yes. We are crazy. Sarah’s about 21 weeks now and everything is looking perfect. This was really the first week I was able to feel the scruffer kicking too, and it was good to remember that “in utero” magic. I guess the little baby had hiccups most of yesterday too, which is pretty fun and much less alarming with each pregnancy. For those of you who know, those first hiccups are weird, right? Even on our third it’s something to pause about and enter a space of wonder.

The girls have been amazing lately. I think I mentioned last time that they’ve been playing really well together and that certainly continues. They’ve been taking the cushions off the couch and making forts and magic forests. Hearing their laughter and squeals streaming into the kitchen or back rooms always brings a smile to our faces. And even when those squeals of pain or rage come charging in, we sit for a second and try and let them resolve things themselves. They do surprisingly well and I think we have to intervene less and less.

In other news. Uncle Peter has been crashing in our garage, applying for jobs and looking into life in Fresno. He’s been on constant dish/kitchen duty and I know we’re going to miss that. If we could we might just employ him as our house boy. The girls certainly have loved having him around and it’s good to see them strengthen their relationship with him. I’m pretty sure our frantic, non-stop lifestyle is challenging for him, but he also seems to enjoy being one of the kids.

Anyway, I best be on to some photo/video editing now. Stay tuned for some footage from our trip to the snow up at Grandpa Robert’s house in North Fork, and stuff from Iana and Olivia’s visit last weekend!


Here’s a snippet I wrote Christmas day before “play bath” was over and, in fact, maybe I just need to start publishing incomplete pieces since I seam to be rarely having enough time to write down complete thoughts…

Sitting on the counter in the bathroom. Zooba’s in the bath playing w/ her super cool Little Mermaid water slide thingy. Flounder even squirts water; pretty awesome. Got my Dundee “festive ale” nearby, one of nine holiday brews in my stocking. Mamas and Maia are napping in the room next door. Poor little Scrimesties couldn’t sleep until she took care of her special Christmas poo. But after that “gift” was opened, she crashed like a champ. Uncle Peter’s visiting us for the holidays and he’s keeping Miko company in the living room, checking his email, even though he should probably sleeping. It’s good to have big brother in town, we’ve missed him here at Team Hokama Headquarters.

The festivities basically started last night at Sarah’s Uncle Jim’s house for their annual tamale feed. Scrumdidilyumptious. I matched my record of seven and I wasn’t even too full. Good or bad? Who knows? But the girls were perfect little pre-Christmas Angels and we all had a lot of fun. I think Keana and Maia were asleep by 10:30 with visions of Santa, smooth-sleighing through Fresno’s Old Fig area, ready to drop Team Hokama loot down the brick stack. Peter, Sarah, and I proceeded to wrap presents, a task which had been grossly underestimated. Luckily Peter’s elf-like wrapping prowess was at hand to help guide us through this arduous task. At the last minute I remembered Santa’s treat, and forced down a strangely garlic flavored ginger cookie, leaving just a bite for further dental analysis for proof of Santa, followed by a little milk, followed by a thank you note and a self-portrait; had to be sure the little scrubbers knew who ate their offering. Then we nodded off, finally, around 2 a.m., with visions of the impossibility of sleeping in past 8 a.m., dancing sadistically in our heads.

Keana woke first at a respectable 7 a.m., mostly because she had to pee I think. Maia followed about 30 minutes later, mostly because she was hungry I think. The urge to wake Uncle Peter, and check for evidence of Santa, overwhelmed all parental procrastination and reason around 8…

So I could give more of a blow-by-blow, but honestly I don’t have the patience. If you were involved in our holiday celebrations, don’t take it personally, we loved seeing you:-) Here’s the rundown:

  • 12/19-20, Peterson Christmas: Headed to Great Grandma and Grandpa’s in Los Altos to see my mom’s side of the family. It was really good to spend the night and have a little extra time there. The girls had a blast (as usual) with their cousins McKenna, Cassidy, and Riley. Also met up with Kacie, Larry, and Ksenya for our 6th annual Sagittarius Brunch!
  • 12/24, Tamale Feed: Went to Sarah’s Uncle Jim’s house for their annual Tamale Party. SO good. Stayed up till almost 2 a.m. wrapping presents with Uncle Peter.
  • 12/25, Grandma Jennie’s: Tia Iana, Ryan, and Cousin Olivia came up from Long Beach and we all gathered at Grandma Jennie’s. Great Grandma Bev made a special guest appearance which we all loved (of course).
  • 12/26-27, North Fork: Headed to Grandpa Robert and Nana Cin’s house/cabin-thingy up in North Fork. Really good to get away to the country/hills, and it was fun to have Uncle Peter along for the first time.
  • 12/28-31, I got hit with gut demons (gnarly) but Sarah, Keana, and Maia enjoyed a little R’n’R and extra time with Tia, Olivia, and Uncle Michael. Uncle Peter went back to the bay and Uncle Ryan headed back to Long Beach.
  • 1/1-3, Grandpa Jon: My dad came and stayed with us for a couple nights on his way back from visiting his parents in Honolulu. It was great to see him and Maia kept calling him Grandpa Robert (oops).
  • 1/4, Back to Work: Enough said.

As usual, the two weeks blew by like nothin’, and we’re already two weeks into 2010! In fact, I had to work in Berkeley 1/6-8, so The Ladies came with me and enjoyed some time with good friends Caroiine, Jay, and Sage, and we got to meet up with all our homebirth homies from when Keana was born. (As well as the usual friends from work.) REALLY good to reconnect with bay area.


Keana and Maia’s first, first cousin was born last Thursday, September 17 at 9:38 a.m. and we were in town for the big show. Her name is Olivia and she was 6 lbs. 14 oz. and 20 inches long. The girls were SO excited when they heard the good news. Sarah was already at the hospital and we were on our way, driving on the I-5 north towards Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Keana and Maia were in the backseat, holding hands as they did throughout our trip to Long Beach, and I got The Call. Just minutes before, Keana, Maia, and I had taken bets on whether we thought it would be a girl or a boy. We all decided it would be a girl, and I got to be the good messenger that told them, “It’s a girl, Girls!” Maia squealed and Keana yelled, “Yaaaay!” and they proceeded to jump and wiggle in their car seats the rest of the way to the hospital in anxious anticipation of meeting the new baby.

Earlier that week I had traveled to Berkeley for some meetings, but had rented a car just in case this very thing happened. Tuesday morning, at 7:24 a.m. Iana called me and said, “My water broke around 12:30 last night and I think I want you guys to come down.” I immediately got on the phone with Sarah and worked out the plan; I’d drive from Tiburon (where the meeting was at), and She, Keana, Maia, and Jennie would drive from Fresno so they’d get there faster. I arrived at Iana and Ryan’s house around 4 p.m. and I could already see Iana had been doing some work. The contractions were still relatively mellow, but she had that pre-baby look. For the next couple of days, Keana, Maia and I hung out around Long Beach and in the hotel, waiting for the good news. Sarah stayed with Iana and Ryan most of the time to support them, and visited us every now again to check in and remind the girls she was still close. It definitely wasn’t easy being in a different town taking care of Keana and Maia myself. Keana’s pretty easy, but Maia is still really attached to her mama. The good thing was that it gave Maia and I a chance to bond, so I think it really brought the two of us closer. We definitely had fun at the beach and had a couple late-night “Papa Movie Nights”, staying up later than usual before the three of us retired to the king-size.

The tough part for me was not knowing exactly what was going on. Sarah gave me good updates, but it was such a roller coaster. Iana and Ryan really wanted to have a home birth, but since Iana’s water broke, there was a bit of deadline to get that baby out, and the contractions- and ultimately the baby’s position- weren’t necessarily aligned with the original plan. As with every birth, there were a lot of things you just can’t predict so you have to roll with it, which is never easy, especially over several days.

In the end I was really thankful that we were all able to be down there for the exciting moment and we’re looking forward to getting to know little Olivia much better. It’s fun to see Iana and Ryan become parents and embark on their new, greatest adventure, and it reminds me of all the tough, but magical moments Sarah and I have been through up until now.