Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...

As you can see, Hana has been really busy this holiday season. She had her photo shoot with Santa at Steamworks Coffee in North Minneapolis.

Though she was a little bored at times, there were some really cute shots.

Mieko had her first Santa pictures taken here last year. Though it was hard to go back without her, we really wanted Hana to have the same experience. She did a great job!

Hana also hit the holiday party circuit. She tried bowling at the WCCO Kids' party. She didn't mind being passed around at the Osseo Senior High English Department Party and even shared a few smiles. She also showed people how she could pout. Good thing she didn't do this for Santa.

Hana is definitely showing more personality. She often gets excited and kicks her legs and waves her arms while she smiles. She's "talking" more and we have fun taking turns making sounds. For the past couple of weeks, Hana has started sleeping for longer stretches at night, usually about four to four and a half hours. We're feeling more rested and used to our routine. The next challenge is getting her to take a bottle well. I'll be going back to work January 9th. I can't believe how fast the twelve weeks have gone.

We wanted to do something for the kids at Rondo for Christmas in honor of Mieko. We added some new instruments to the music bus, including an electronic keyboard type instrument that Mieko loved. The bus is fully decorated now and looks great. We got to see the kids in action with the instruments and they seemed to be having a blast. We'll add more goodies to the bus on Mieko's birthday in March. We think she would be happy to know her friends are enjoying the instruments so much.

We'll have one last hurrah before my leave is over. We're headed to Fargo for an early Christmas celebration with the Johnsons, then it's off the Los Angeles. We're hoping for good weather, but it looks like another storm is on the way here in the Upper Midwest. We're anxious for some warmth and authentic carne asada tacos. Of course, we're excited to see our family and friends in Southern California too.

Though the holidays will be so different this year without Mieko, we're trying to focus on all the wonderful memories. Her stocking is up next to her sister's new one. Mieko and Hana both have handprint ornaments on the tree. We're also giving family members a special remembrance of Mieko. She will be included in our family celebrations this year and always. We want to wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season. We hope you have a healthy and happy 2009.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Here come the cheeks!

Hana is becoming a chubby baby. The round cheeks are making her look more like Mommy and Mieko. Hana weighs around 10 and a half pounds now. She's also smiling more and making new cooing sounds. Her head control is pretty good, but she's not holding it up on her own yet. She also seems to really enjoy books and focuses a lot on the pictures.

We've been going to the New Parent Connection group at United Hospital in St. Paul for the past couple of weeks. It's been fun meeting other parents and all their cute babies. We get to ask a lot of questions about all those newborn issues like feeding and sleeping. We've also heard about some other interesting classes we might try, like baby yoga and infant massage. I'd like to take Hana to Baby Ballroom dancing. Mieko really enjoyed it.

The grief support groups through Children's Hospital are wrapping up. We've made some good friends there and plan on keeping in touch. We've even started our own facebook group called "Remembering Our Children". Though none of us wanted to be in this situation, we're glad we've found each other.

Mieko's Music Bus has been decorated and it looks fabulous. Bev did a wonderful job drawing the children riding the bus. We hear the children at Rondo are enjoying the instruments and we plan on donating more for Christmas and Mieko's birthday. This is such a fitting tribute to our happy little girl.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving over at Uncle Shane and Auntie Jodi's.
We also spent some time with our friends the Nelsons and the Hammonds. We're thankful for such good friends and family to share these times.
For the Christmas season, we'll be on the road. We'll be having an early celebration in Fargo with the Johnsons and then we're driving to L.A. We'll be bringing our cat Bailey with us since she needs medication and fluids for her kidney condition.

We're excited to see family and friends there and enjoy some warm weather for a while. It's in the single digits in St. Paul right now. Hopefully, Hana and Bailey will enjoy the ride.

You might have noticed Hana's little swirl (cowlick).
Here's a little verse a friend showed me:

There was a little girl ,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
(uh oh!)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow