super duper huge oops

so, if all had gone according to plan, we should've been driving from bozeman to big sky, montana right now. clearly, i'm not posting this from a car. which means we didn't get to bozeman. which means our 5-day winter vacation is not off to a good start.

our flight was supposed to leave at 6am this morning. we got to the airport at 5 but apparently that was not early enough. when we tried to check in the computer said we were too late to check baggage and, therefore, too late to get on the darn plane (which is where my father- and brother-in-law were waiting for us).

we got the typical run around from the airline, tried to find an alternate route to montana, and were not successful. when i broke the news to ian that we missed our flight and it looked like the next available flight wasn't until friday (the day we were supposed to come back) he started to cry. he was so disappointed and it crushed our hearts that because we didn't get to the airport early enough we had ruined christmas for our son.

my mom picked us up from the airport and drove us home. we lugged our heavy baggage back into the house and sat down on the couch completely deflated. rupert and i only got 2 hours of sleep because we spent hours packing and preparing for the trip after celebrating an early christmas with my folks. the family vacation we had planned for months was not going to happen; no skiing for ian, no first snow for maya, no walk in the snowy woods for me and rupert. rupert's aunt had also supplied us with wonderful ski jackets and pants, gloves, etc. and they were all for naught.

but rupert was determined to go somewhere cold and snowy. in the end we decided that he and ian would make the trip by flying into missoula (where rupert grew up) and then driving (in the snow) for four hours to big sky. not to be a party-pooper or anything, but i was just not willing to go through all of that with maya. so she and i will stay home.

frankly, it sucks that we won't be together for five days of this winter vacation, but there was no way we could disappoint ian by not delivering on what we had promised him: snow.

hopefully rupert will take some wonderful photos and video of them in montana. and hopefully maya won't drive me crazy for five days. it'll be quite the winter vacation, no?

[the one good thing that came out of this: the man who took one of our seats from the lax --> denver leg of our flight had been on stand-by since the 21st. at least he was able to get home for christmas.]


breaking with tradition

for the last six christmas eves our friends have gathered at a bar in hermosa beach called the poop deck. and for six christmas eves we have turned down their invitation to join them. it was our tradition to not attend their tradition.

but we finally broke with our tradition and joined them for the seventh annual poop deck christmas eve. a couple of hours of child-free socializing was definitely something i could've used. needless to say, it was great to hang with friends -- merry christmas!

p.s. the three people on the left are our closest friends and they were super generous with their gifts for maya and ian: check out my flickr pics of the kids opening their presents. thanks guys!


merry chanumas!

[knott's berry farm :: december 16, 2006]
happy holidays to my friends and family!
the month since thanksgiving just flew by and before i could get my lazy butt off the couch it's now the last day of chanukah and we're four days away from christmas. where indeed did the days go? our holiday card will be going out in the mail this afternoon -- god willing -- but no end-of-the-year-recap-letter will be included. that's what this blog post is for.
looking back on 2006, single days seemed uneventful and slow. but the year as a whole passed more quickly than any year in recent memory. i blame it on chasing after two kids, hitting 30, and poor time management. i have many a new year's resolution to prevent 2007 from being a repeat of '06 ... but we all know what happens with new year's resolutions.
i am happy to report that ian is doing quite well in first grade despite some initial emotional adjustments that had to be made (tweaking still in progress). he reads like a maniac (chapter books and non-fiction reference books), obsessed over geography the first half of the year, and is now quite enamored with lego star wars. he continues to make dad proud with his espn-watching, sports stats reciting, and ball playing. he had a great soccer season and i'm sure he'll enjoy his second year of t-ball in the spring.
maya continues to terrorize us daily with her tantrums, demands, and mood swings. however, being with her 24 hours a day has desensitized me and i've gotten used to it; most days she seems fine to me. not quite so with rupert. being the smart, manipulative type, maya quickly figured out that daddy has "sucker" tattooed across his forehead and she can get him to do almost anything. poor rupert is exhausted and a slave to maya's whims while mama is off in her own world ignoring her children and husband. so far maya has only taken a few steps; she doesn't seem ready or willing to walk yet. i'm in no hurry to have to chase her around so i don't care about her progress in that front. the one thing i'm making an effort with is speaking japanese to her. as a result, she doesn't talk as much as other babies (it takes longer for babies to process two languages in their head before actually speaking), but she clearly understands what we say in both languages. and a positive side effect has been that ian is showing more interest in japanese.
rupert, when he's not being the devoted father that he is, goes to work diligently everyday. he works longer hours than he did at ucla and we all wish he would come home earlier. i secretly think he goes to work earlier and stays longer so he doesn't have to deal with us! i would like to tell you what he does as a career, but i'm not quite sure. his title is educational research analyst for los angeles unified school district, but beyond that you'll have to ask him directly for more details. while he seems to be content (for the most part) at work, he applied to the phd program at ucla's school of education for next fall; we'll find out in the spring if he'll be a student again. at night, after the kids have gone to bed, rupert watches an inordinate amount of television thanks to the cable his mom signed us up for as part of his birthday present this year. other than that he constantly (and unsuccessfully) battles the weeds in our yard, refereed some games for ian's soccer team, escaped for five days in the spring to a conference/training at northwestern university, and deals with the biggest pains in the butt (me and maya) on a daily basis. for that i am grateful.
as for me, i'm at home with the kids. i don't seem to accomplish much on a daily basis but i'm as content as i'm gonna be. after all, i get to watch every minute of my kids growing up and changing. to this day i can't believe they are my children, my flesh and blood, that they came out of my body. it continues to be surreal. when i'm not being a "good enough" mother and wife i'm usually sitting at the computer checking out the blogosphere, scrapbooking, reading or trying to get some much needed sleep. i've also been a bit more adventurous in the kitchen, trying out new (super simple) recipes so i can expand my culinary repertoire. i've become totally established in my stay-at-home mom capacity that i'm not sure i could ever go back to work. but if rupert is accepted into the phd program i'll have to start working to help pay the mortgage. but what could i do? if you have any ideas, please let me know. (seriously.) right now my interests lean towards books; i've considered getting a retail job at a bookstore, becoming a librarian, or getting my masters in children's literature. sadly, all of these things require a level of commitment and work i'm just not accustomed to.
for awhile there i thought family life was pretty static. turns out i was wrong. while it seems like things never change, families are constantly evolving (albeit at a snail's pace). i hope that 2007 brings some changes that i'm capable of dealing with. there are so many things i am looking forward to: ian's continued development and progress socially and academically, maya walking and talking, rupert fulfilling his professional and academic goals, and my vacation to argentina!
and, of course, i wish for peace, health and happiness to my family and yours. eat, drink & be merry, hug the ones you love, do something a bit daring and crazy, and drop me a line when you get a chance. here's to a fantastic 2007 -- cheers!
in memoriam :: tomiko kawamoto & tadamasa fujita


making me smile

  • argyle socks
  • matzoh ball soup
  • labeling stuff
  • sweet sesame paste on toast
  • brown all-star shoes
  • being a borders rewards member
  • tea with turbinado sugar & lots of half-and-half
  • spending money


he is his mother's son

how do you console a kid who's upset about his straight-a (okay, one a-), mostly outstanding effort report card? i was hoping, hoping, hoping ian would be okay with his report card. but the second he saw that, despite the a in reading, there were areas he could work on, he started to cry.

now, i know this is his initial gut reaction to most things he perceives as negative. in fact, it's an area we're working on at school because he has the occasional teary breakdown in class. given time he usually gets over it and it'll cease to bother him. so i went on and on about his excellent report card, effort is what matters, there's always room for improvement, blah, blah, blah.

but what he said after my spiel made me cringe because it was like listening to my inner self 20+ years ago:

me: so why are you sad?

ian: because it wasn't perfect ...

i've gotten to the point where i really don't care what his grades are; i'm much more concerned about his emotional state. when he's 30 years old it won't matter one iota what his grades were in first grade. but you can't convince my 6-year old that grades aren't the most important thing in the world (much less that it's hardly that important at all), and that i want him to have other things in his life that bring him happiness.


south bay == rep*re*sent!

just had to mention last night's "the hungry detective" episode about los angeles. i already knew which restaurants chris was going to go to but it was so great to see only south bay restaurants featured. our area is always neglected; reviewers and diners seem to focus on the westside/eastside/downtown and then apparently, there's nothing until you get down to the oc. granted, there aren't a lot of high-end eateries in the south bay worth going to, but you can't discredit all of the mom and pop places that serve good food cheap.

needless to say, i was happy for all of the restaurants chris featured. how wonderful to be recognized and acknowledged in such a vast area like los angeles. i hadn't been to any of them, but all of them except for san pedro fish market are near stores i frequent so i'm excited to try them. and, in case you're wondering, here are my recommendations for similar fare: el gaucho market (corner of inglewood and manhattan beach boulevard) for carne asada (no taco stand, though); beach hut (just north of the corner of rosecrans and highland in manhattan beach) for hawaiian; valentino's pizza in manhattan beach and el segundo (you can order a heart-shaped pizza for your amore!).


13 months.

maya @ 13 months :: december 4, 2006
  • some of the many new foods she's had this month: broccoli, freeze dried fruit (apples, strawberries), osekihan (red sticky rice), persimmon, rice crispies, bean sprouts
  • dislikes jarred baby food? she won't finish her pureed food anymore. loves loves loves yogurt (yobaby) and cheese (and the ice cream bar my mom let her lick), fish, rice. she's kinda picky about the texture of her food.
  • will wear her booty shoes (i.e., soft-soled moccasin-like shoes).
  • can almost take a few steps by herself. also, when she feels like it she'll grab on to our hands and take a few steps. took three steps at my parents' house (where they have carpet) on november 12.
  • instead of calling everything "mama" she started saying "bebe?" (yes, with the questioning inflection), but that only lasted a few days. she's still not saying much but she somehow gets her point across very well. she definitely likes to communicate with rupert and ian ("bye da-ee" and "hi een").
  • most days she only has one nap in the morning and then we try to put her down early in the evening. unfortunately, she gets hungry (or is conditioned to get hungry) and wakes up pretty darn early in the morning.
  • finally starting to show some interest in books but will hardly sit still for a whole story. we're still at the point at pictures stage before she closes the book on your finger.
  • learned to pillow fight watching her dad and brother.
  • does a fake wail when she's not happy about something. it's not her usual ear-splitting cry and there are no tears so she's just expressing her discontent.
  • she likes to identify and point at birds ("bir") and dogs ("run run" -- a hybrid of "wan wan," the japanese way dogs bark, and "ruff ruff").