Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Missing Grandma

Here's a story about Tony's Great Uncle Chi's sister, Tazu Higashi. The bad news is that she has been missing from Lake Oswego, Oregon since January 10th. The good news is that there seems to have been quite a bit of news coverage, and many people have reported in that they've seen her in several locations over several days. Some of Tony's Washington relatives went last week to help the family follow up on tips and try to help find her. Our best thoughts and good wishes for Tazu's safe return home.

Auntie Tazu's grandson has created a website dedicated to helping find her: Bring Grandma Home

TV News: Search continues for missing Lake Oswego grandmother

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Baby Signs

Maiya explains her aversion to pink polka dots in so many words

This picture doesn't have to do with anything. It's just a funny photo of a crying girl wearing pink polka dots on a polka dot blanket. My news for today, is that Maiya did her first "baby sign" at dinner last night! Tony was feeding Maiya carrots and pear slices and doing the sign for "more" which is making a fist and putting his knuckles together. Then she started doing it too! Tony yelled for me to look, and sure enough, she did it some more! (We've been doing milk, drink, food, and more for the last few months.)

Then tonight at dinner, Maiya was eating tofu. She was pointing and babbling as usual. But she seemed more pointed in her pointing, so I looked and noticed she seemed to be pointing at my glass, and saying "wa wa wa wa wa." What? Did she say water? Does she want some water? Who knows if she did or not, but Tony went and got her sippy cup and filled it with water. She grabbed it, smiled and started drinking. The other exciting thing is that for weeks, if not months, she drinks, but really needs us to lift the cup high enough so she can get to the water. Last few nights, I've been lifting the cup, explaining what I'm doing and telling her to lift it up. So tonight, when she took the water, she tilted her head sideways and back, and was getting the water. Click. Success!

We're so excited. We're happy that Maiya is learning to communicate. We really want for her to learn baby sign language, not just so she can communicate with us for water and more food before she learns to talk, but more importantly so she can learn to communicate with her cousin Kevin, who was born with profound hearing loss. Kevin is a happy, active one year old, and just keeps getting cuter every time I see him. Kevin is having surgery next week that will hopefully help him to hear... so please keep Kevin and his family in your thoughts and best wishes!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bubbe & Zeyde's Visit

We had a great visit from Tony's Mom and Don (aka Bubbe and Zeyde) last week. They came down from Idaho for Don's mom Marie's memorial service. While they were here, we got to visit with Valerie, Beth, Brian, and Erin. We also saw Nina, Danika and Chris at least 3 times, which was a lot of fun. Maiya and I were sick, but Tony also got to visit with Aunt Sarah, Uncle Izzy, and Patti as well. We spent a lot of time just hanging out, eating, and even playing Sudoku. We hope they come visit again soon!

At Don's Mom's Memorial Service in Compton

Grandma Fran wearing Maiya after enchilada dinner

Maiya with cousin Danika

Fran and Don with Uncle Izzy, Aunt Sarah and Patti

Friday, January 13, 2006

What's new at 11?

At almost 11 1/2 months, Maiya is a lot of fun. The girl can empty a bookshelf in 1 minute. She can move fast. She says, "dad? dad? dad? dad?" repeatedly. When she's happy and smiling she says, "Dhish" or "Dis" quite frequently. When she wants me but I'm not focused on her she cries, "Ma ma ma ma ma ma." Unfortunately, Maiya and I have had back-to-back colds since the 2nd week of November. We cough and hack all day and night. She's had a runny nose almost consistently since starting childcare, and has had several days of low-grade fever and not her usual self, although she seems to be coming out of it slowly.

Today, I took her for a ride to the laundry room in the laundry basket and filled the basket with clothes around her and she laughed. Yesterday when Lily left, she beamed and waved goodbye like crazy. She's been starting to stand up on her own for a few seconds at a time, but no walking yet. No worries, no rushing. Here's a picture of Maiya in her room, after one of her famous shelf-clearing incidents:

Cute, huh?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year 06!

Happy New Year! Can't believe that it's 2006, and Maiya is now 11 months old.

We celebrated a day early with a New Year's Oshogatsu party at our house on New Year's Eve/Day. Yes, it rained and poured all day long. In total, 36 people came over and we had a great time visiting with friends and family. And even though we ordered and bought a lot of the foods, it is still a lot of work, just getting our humble little abode ready for such a large group of people. And with the rain, that meant pretty much that everyone was crammed in our living/dining room and den. This year, it was more challenging to get ready because I'm still sick, and Maiya wanted to be held the whole time we were trying to get the house ready. Not that I did any cooking. My culinary contribution was making a chipotle dip from scratch, and without a recipe. Tony put together all the Japanese foods, and grilled the stuff.

Then yesterday on New Year's, Tony crashed out and slept pretty much all day. Maiya and I went to my cousin Marlon & Hiroko's house and we spent the afternoon there. Then in the evening, we picked up Tony and went to our friend Evelyn & Bruce's house. They always put together a nice spread, with lots of friends and community folks. I still wasn't feeling well, so when we got home, I immediately went to sleep, which I really needed after a busy few days.

Today, was cleanup day. It took me 12 hours (with many breaks to play, change, feed, nurse and manage Maiya) to clean the kitchen and front room (yes, from the party 2 days ago). We had cleaned up maybe half of it, but there was still a lot of work to be done. But, the house looks good now. My friend Maria, gave me a Sudoku puzzle book on New Year's--I hate that kind of stuff where I *have* to use my brain for non-critical functions, but I have to say, I think I'm getting addicted. I have finished 4 puzzles so far.

Well, that's all i have for today. 2005 was a pretty awesome year for the Kuida–Osumi family. I look forward to seeing what 2006 has in store for us. Very soon, Maiya will be walking and talking, and she will continue playing, laughing, learning and exploring; amazing and entertaining her mama and daddy at every turn.

Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu!

More condolences...

in the past 2 days, I learned that we've lost two really great guys who were connected to Great Leap. Chris Iijima, who toured with Nobuko and Charlie Chin from 1969-1972, and recorded the first Asian American album back in 1973, passed away on New Year's Eve after being pretty ill the last two years. Chris was an amazingly gifted musician, who got nervous every time he performed. I worked with Chris a lot my first few years at Great Leap because we were booking a lot of "Grain of Sand Reunion Concerts" for Nobuko, Chris and Charlie Chin.

Herb Holman also passed away. Herb was Yuri Kochiyama's son-in-law, and Great Leap's financial guru. Herb was very smart, a really cool guy and totally supportive of the work we do. I just got an email from Herb not too long ago, giving an update on his battle against cancer, and I really thought he was going to beat it. I was stunned hearing about the passing of both Chris and Herb, and was fortunate to work with both of them for many years. My deep condolences to their families.