Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dancing Queen (Princess)

We've been getting used to new routines, now that the holidays are over. I went back to work earlier in January. Hana has been taking a bottle pretty well, but she wakes up more often at night. Instead of once a night, she now gets up about three times a night. She doesn't usually stay up, but either wants to eat or take a pacifier. We're really hoping for some longer stretches soon. However, the work schedule is fine. On Fridays, one of Mieko's former care attendants and another college student take care of Hana. Daddy has her all weekend. He's anxious for the weather to get warmer, so they can walk the neighborhood. Until then, it's trips to the Mall of America or snuggling up with a good book.

Hana had her two month appointment in January and her first shots. She did pretty well. Sorry this info is so delayed, but on January 7th she weighed 12 pounds and 2 ounces and was 24 inches long. She's in the 66% for weight and 78% height. I don't know where the height comes from, definitely not from the Nishikawas. As you can tell from her cheeks, she doesn't miss too many meals.

Hana seems to be getting more interested in her hands. She's grabbing toys more often and batting at things. She's still cooing away, which we love. She also really likes being on her feet. We've been putting her on the exersaucer with a pillow underneath, since she can't reach the bottom. She really likes being upright and seeing things.

We started Baby Ballroom with Meghan. Hana's in a class with three little boys, all a little older. She seems to like the movement as well as the songs and parachute time. It's fun to dance around with the babies and let them look at each others like partners. Hana also likes to admire herself in the mirror, of course. Mieko always loved the dancing and it's nice to carry on this tradition. This session we're re-learning Tango, Salsa, and Rhumba. It's all coming back to me. We'll be continuing for a few weeks with the New Parent Connection class at United as well. We're also thinking about baby yoga. We like to be busy, even if it is cold.

In other news, we have a strange update on our kitty Bailey. We received a letter from the organization in charge of cremating her remains. They said the van carrying Bailey's body had been stolen from an animal clinic. But, they later found the van with the animals inside. Whoever stole it, left it on the street somewhere and it ended up in the impound lot. The organization not only paid for the cremation, but also gave us a free urn. Weird huh?

Lastly, we want to wish Grandpa Mits a happy 70th birthday! Woo hoo! We'll be seeing him and all the family and friends in California in early April for Spring Break and my cousin Jeff's wedding. Until then, we're thinking warm thoughts. For those of you outside Minnesota, it's been the coldest January in 30 years!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fargo to South Pasadena Express

Get ready... this is a long post with many pictures!

We just returned from a great couple of weeks on the road for the holidays. First, we went to Fargo for an early Christmas celebration with the Johnson family. Hana enjoyed all the attention from her cousins, aunts, and uncles and a special visit from Santa.

It was 12 below zero with a 40 mile an hour wind when we left Fargo for the Los Angeles area. The blowing snow made visibility tough, but we were fine by the time we left the Dakotas. It took us three days to get to South Pasadena, where I grew up. Both Hana and Bailey (our second oldest cat) did well. Bailey needed daily medication and other care, which is why she went with us.

It was rainy, but of course, much warmer in South Pas. for Christmas. We spent it with Grandpa Mits and Grandma Akemi and the Sakai family.

Hana especially enjoyed meeting Rabbit.

We included Mieko in our celebrations by giving each family member an ornament with her picture and a dvd of the videos from her Celebration Service. The last time I had been home was two years ago with Mieko.

We spent the next week visiting with friends home for the holidays from all over the U.S. and even Africa. Hana hit a lot of tourist attractions, including the Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, and La Jolla Cove in San Diego.

She also went hiking for the first time (in Daddy's backpack) in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.

Luckily, Hana is very easy going. She's smiling and babbling a lot now, which delighted her family and new found friends.

One of the highlights of the trip was an historic tour of Little Tokyo in Downtown L.A. I had been there many times, but never knew the history of the buildings. We also visited the WWII monument to Japanese American service members, where I found my Uncle Frank's name.

A California vacation wouldn't be complete without a lot of our favorite food. Shawn satisfied his craving for carne asada tacos from the taco truck at Nishikawa Auto Service. In fact, one night he ate 18 of them! We also had Chinese Dim Sum, Korean BBQ, Baja fish tacos, and much more. To top off the culinary adventure, my Dad made soba noodles from scratch.

If you eat the noodles on New Year's Eve, it's supposed to bring you long life. On New Year's Day, we had a traditional Japanese soup called Ozoni. The other dishes symbolized peace, family, and wealth. Our tastebuds had quite a workout.

New Year's Day we did what the locals do around Pasadena... watch the Rose Parade on T.V. and avoid the parade route. Instead, we walked around Lacy Park and enjoyed the sunshine and 70 degree weather.

Our trip home was not quite as bright. Bailey took a turn for the worse and we tried to get to St. Paul as soon as possible. The freezing rain in Iowa and Southern Minnesota made the trip even longer. When we took Bailey to the emergency vet clinic, we discovered her kidney disease had advanced and she also had lymphoma. We were glad we spent some quality time together before she went to the hospital. We said goodbye to her early Sunday morning. We're trying not to be sad because she had a long and happy life. We hope Mieko is taking care of her now.

We wish you all the best in 2009!