It’s easy to want to look back and recount the year. How many accomplishments or trips or injuries or performances were there? Who did we see and what did we do? And it’s almost as easy to imagine what the next year will hold for us. But why? What amount of remembering or fortune telling changes how we are doing right now? Continue reading Now→
Is it too late to say Happy New Years? I can’t believe that was almost a week ago! We headed to Fresno on December 26 and planned to leave “early”, but got on the road around 11:30 a.m. As I was saying in one of my recent posts though, Maia is really getting used to our world, and it showed in this road trip. She slept for the first hour-and-a-half and then hung out peacefully in the car until we stopped for lunch in Los Banos. Then we preceded to have a relatively mellow ride the rest of the way. Until this point, we hadn’t had an extended car ride like this where Maia wasn’t screaming the saddest sobs you’ve ever heard for almost an hour. We had a great afternoon with Grandma Jennie and Uncle Michael, and finished out the day by watching Pixar’s Wall-E. We’re probably some of the last people on earth to have watched this movie, and we all thoroughly loved it. It was amazing how much of story could be told with almost no dialogue, something that really appealed to Keana.
The next day we had Christmas, opening lots of gifts and enjoying a generally mellow day, followed by a great turkey dinner, courtesy of Grandma Jennie. Aside from being with family, one of the best things about traveling to someone else’s house for events is not having to worry about food. I feel like many of our days just consist of planning meals and eating, interspersed with sleeping. So with Grandma on all the meals, we actually had time to relax and just play and visit; it was great! Both the girls absolutely love playing with Grandma and Uncle Michael, and Michael is still in school up at Evergreen, and we rarely see him, so it was a treat indeed.
The next day we headed over to Grandpa Robert and Nana Cin’s to keep the Christmas cheer flowing. They are always very hospitable and we can always depend on amazing food and plenty of it. It was great to catch up with them and the girls had fun running around and playing while we visited. We probably could have used a couple more days in Fresno to spend with family there, but we had to hit the road once more for our last stop: Los Angeles.
Getting out of Fresno proved harder than we thought. MIchael took off early for wisdom teeth removal, so we had the house to ourselves to pack up and attempt to find everything to pack. We did pretty good packing and decided to just get breakfast on the road, and as we were putting the kids in the car, Sarah realized she locked her purse in the house and we didn’t have a key. So we called Jennie and luckily she and Michael were almost done, so we went to get a quick bite to eat and gas. Of course the guy at Starbucks forgot one of our sandwiches, so once again, as we got the kids strapped in the car, we realized this and I had to run back in to get the missing sandwich, which hadn’t been made, so it was five more minutes, which is about 2 hours in kid time. During this time Maia had decided this was all bullshit and began to cry. And at this point, none of us blamed her. We headed back to Grandma Jennie’s house and got the purse, and miraculously made it out of Fresno. This did not bode well for our 4 hour trip to L.A. But actually, it was another miraculous day of travel for Maia. She and Keana slept for a couple hours and we made it all the way to Crenshaw without having to stop. We grabbed a quick lunch and headed the rest of the way Seal Beach for Hokama/Uno/Yoshimoto Christmas.
This was the first time the Japanese side of our family was all together since our wedding, so it was pretty special. Auntie Helene and Cousins Helen, Stan, Riki had never met the girls, and Great Nana and Granddad Hokama (from Hawaii) had never met Maia, so it was a momentous occasion indeed. Grandpa Jon made this all possible by orchestrating the rendezvous, and his wife Susan and their girls Grace and Lilli also flew out from Denver. Of course Uncle Peter came down from Santa Cruz, so with the exception of Auntie Julie, Uncle Lance, and Cousin Sasha, we were all there. Oh, and due to crazy schedules we were unable to see Riki, so that was unfortunate too. But we basically hung out in Seal Beach until New Years Eve when we headed to Disneyland for the Keana and Maia’s first visit to the magical kingdom.
Disneyland was in-sane. By 2 p.m. the park had sold out and you could tell on the inside. Lines for rides probably averaged 60 minutes and you could barely walk anywhere. As you can imagine with a one and three-year-old, there were some stressful times, but as a whole it was a lot of fun. We all had to split up because there was no way to keep 11 of us together in that mess, so Maia, Keana, Sarah, and I set out for kiddy rides. We rode King Arthur’s Carousel, Keana rode the Casey Jr. train and the Dumbo ride with Grandpa Jon and Grandma Susie, then the four of us rode the Pirates of the Caribbean, and Storybook Land. Keana really wanted to go into the whale’s mouth and I think she really enjoyed it. Maia did great and was only slightly scared on Pirates. As the day went on, the park seemed to get impossibly more crowded. Somehow we all were able to get a table at the Plaza Inn for dinner, after which our Quadripod had to head home. The girls were so strung out from Disneyland they couldn’t sleep, so they played around in the hotel room to unwind and we rang in the new year with Uncle Peter. What a day.
On New Years Day we headed over to Great Auntie Helene’s house where we celebrated with Helen and her new husband John, Stan, Great Nana and Granddad, Grandpa Jon and Grandma Susie, Aunties Grace and Lilli, and Uncle Peter. It was a lot of fun and we all got caught up, remembered visits to L.A. that Peter and I had had as kids, and played music together. It was really a great time and made me realize how important it was to me to stay in touch with our Japanese roots. Sarah and I both think it’s especially important we make the effort for the girls so they can know about this important part of where they come from.
On January 2nd we hit the road once more, and it took us about 9 hours to get home. A very long drive but very worth it. And so ended Christmas Tour 2008. It’s a ton of work to travel so much with the girls being so young, but the great time we had with all the various family more than made up for it and we hopefully look forward to much more time with family in 2009. Happy New Year and good night!
This year, “Home for the holidays” really took on its true meaning for us. I mean, we had three Christmas celebrations with three different portions of family in three different locations, but we spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s at home, in OUR house, just the three of us. Was it a little selfish? Maybe. Was it fun, amazing, and wonderful? Yes.
I took two weeks off work which was just barely enough. We celebrated Christmas with my Mom’s family on 12/22 and had the usual great time with the Petersons at Keana’s great grandparent’s house in Los Altos. She adores her second cousins (which are closer to her age than mine). They’re still years ahead of her, but lots of fun. And now that Keana is walking, running, and talking, she’s just a like a “real person” to them now, which means running all over the house, passing out gifts together, and sharing gifts- at least for a moment or two. At dinner she sat on Great Grandpa’s end of the table and even got him to play a little game of “I’ll throw my toy on the floor and you pick it up for me” which lasted longer than I thought it would. It’s good to see I’m not the only softy for those baby-blues. Keana also enjoyed a nice dance session with Great Grandma Jacquie after dinner. Great Grandma kept an excellent beat and Keana obliged with some nice shakin’ of the tail feathers. Keana was having such a blast that night that we couldn’t get her to go to bed and she stayed up till almost midnight.
The next day we spent time with my immediate family for a mellower Christmas celebration. Keana had a great day walking around in Grandma’s shoes and playing on the floor of the kitchen while dinner was being prepared. She loves to say, “Boots are walkin'” which often spawns round after round of the song, “Those Boots Are Made for Walkin'” to which she dances and calls out for more verses at the end of each previous verse. She never gets tired of dancing to that song. That night while opening gifts we had a great time with tons of laughs. Pretty much any time we get Uncle Peter in the mix, laughter is never far behind, and we all feed off of eachother’s stories and laughter until the night is late. Christmas Eve morning we packed up our loot and headed back to the east bay.
On Christmas Eve I bbq’d some New York steaks to get our stomachs prepped for the amazing rib roast that Sarah fixed on Christmas. Sarah and I also made biscuits and gravy for a special Christmas breakfast. And because it was just the three of us, we moved at our own pace, opening gifts all day long and Keana got a chance to enjoy each gift as she opened it, before moving on to the next. I also felt that we really had time to enjoy eachother and especially Keana which was something new for a big holiday event such as Christmas. Eventually the last gift was opened, only bones were left on the table after dinner, and it was time for Ms. Keana to don her PJs and sleep out of her second Christmas and on towards the new year.
The next day we packed up our gifts and our cooler and headed to Great Grandma Bev’s house—which overlooks Millerton Lake outside of Fresno—to celebrate Christmas once again, this time with Sarah’s immediate family. We spent a couple days up there and had lots of fun, including a great dance party with Keana leading the way, paying tribute to the recently deceased Godfather of Soul, James Brown. We also had a chance to make a visit to the snow up by Shaver Lake and it was gorgeous—bright and sunny and clean with fresh snow. Keana’s very first encounter with snow was tentative. She did walk a little on it, with the help of Tia Iana and Rachael, and Sarah was able to feed her a little bit to try it out on the tastebuds. So it was a fun, new experience and I’m sure she’ll dig the snow to a much higher degree when she’s older.
On 12/29, once again, we packed up our loot, said our goodbyes, and hit the road back to the east bay. Keana’s break-down, complete with tears and screams of “I hold your hand!”, an hour from home was a clear signal that she was ready for a break from our holiday tour schedule.
In the following days the new year approached and started without much event. It was amazing to think back on 2006 and remember the major life events that took place. Here’s just a few:
Keana’s first steps (and subsequently running, jumping, and more dancing)
Keana’s first birthday
The beginning of sentences
Keana’s first plane ride and trip to Hawaii
Our second wedding anniversary
Grandma Linda turned 50
Great Grandma Ellie passed away
365 days is a long stretch. And given the fact that most major events in life, good and bad, happen in split seconds, a year is bound to be packed full of both. Day six of 2007 is coming to a close and we can only look forward, ready to laugh, cry, walk, crawl, and dance through the other 358.