Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy Valentine's Grandpa!

The day before my dad's birthday, which happens to be Valentine's Day, Maiya and I drove out to visit my parents on my day off. We went out to celebrate Mom's Belated Bday and Dad's Bday by going to a Japanese restaurant. Maiya was a little nutso that evening. We also got to visit my friend Kaz and her daughter Sklyer Mariko who live right down the street from my parents' house. We had a nice time hanging out and playing with the girls. When we left, Maiya gave Skyler and the dog Summit a hug.

Great Leap Fundraising update: The LA Marathon is this Sunday. It's not too late to sponsor us--in fact it would be great if you would sponsor Tony! I've gotten about 30 sponsors so far, thanks to generous friends, family, and 20 of my LTSC coworkers. But Tony is just getting started... Tony's going to be riding 23 miles in the Bike Marathon. Let us know if you'd like to sponsor him!

Monday, February 19, 2007

MG Meets Elmo in the OC (Tony Blogs)

On the weekends, Maiya usually ends up doing what we’re doing. She’s usually along for the ride when we’re at community events, shopping, kicking back, etc. So when Jenni said we needed to start planning more of our days around Maiya, I had to agree. So today we drove on down to the Orange County Discovery Science Center for the traveling exhibit, Sesame Street Presents: The Body. Within the Science Center, there’s a Sesame Street themed, child-friendly take on the body and its functions. Pretty cool stuff for young kids.

We weren’t the only parents spending the day with their kid. The place was packed. The line for tickets was long, but luckily moved fast. Once inside, parked strollers were herded together like a drive-in movie. Older kids darted here and there and one 6-year old girl slid in front of me and took over the exhibit joystick I was working. I was powerless. Adults were merely traffic cones to be avoided. Teams of toddlers ran the first floor and the under 10 crowd controlled the second. Think suburban “Lord of the Flies” meets “Romper Room” with 1/2 the lights on and 4-times the kids—but in a nice way.

Highlights for Maiya were shopping for toy vegetables and fruits at Mr. Hooper’s grocery store, running through the soft-padded obstacle course for kids under five, and pressing the buttons at all the exhibits, even if she was too short to see what they were actually doing.

After about an hour and a half, we made it out alive, resisting the onsite clutches of Pizza Hut Express and Taco Bell. We also didn’t have any meltdowns leaving the gift shop. We ended on a high note with the family taking a picture with a Bert, from Bert & Ernie fame. He’s much taller in person.

Our next outing will probably be to the LA County Museum of Natural History where I just got a family membership through The HeArt Project. We also need to check out the Museum of Science and Industry. And of course there’s the LA Zoo. If you have any ideas about places to take toddlers around Southern California, let us know.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Support GL in the LA Marathon!

It's Saturday, 11 am and 80 degrees. Whoo hoo! Maiya has a bit of a cold today. Five toddlers from childcare have come down with hand, foot, mouth virus, and I think it's possible she and I have a light case of it. It's very contagious.

Oh! I need to blog about the LA Marathon coming up in 2 weeks... KuidaOsumi is going to be participating in it this year! No, no, we're not running the 26 miles. Instead, Tony is going to be riding in the Bike Marathon, while Maiya and I will be walking/strollering in the 5K. We're doing it as a fundraiser for Great Leap.

LA Marathon Fundraiser for Great Leap!
Sponsor our bikers and joggers, or join us!

We've been stuck at our desks waaaay too long! Along with several friends, we are going to be riding our bikes/walking at the L.A. Marathon on March 4 – joining 15,000 other riders for the L.A. Marathon Acura L.A. Bike Tour. In addition to fun, exercise, and a unique Los Angeles experience, our group is riding to raise funds for your favorite arts org... Great Leap!

I would be thrilled if you would sponsor me on our ride/walk! Your contribution will be put to use immediately in support of Great Leap's programming and you’ll get a letter from Great Leap thanking you for your tax-deductible contribution.

Just email me, or send me a comment below, and you can sponsor me & Maiya in the walk at $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $10 per kilometer (or more) for the 5 kilometers (or sponsor Tony for biking the 23 miles). Whatever you can donate is wonderful. We’ll send you an email confirming our completion of the event, but feel free to send your check earlier if that is convenient. You may send your donation check directly to:

Great Leap, Inc.
1145 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100-D
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Attn. ArtRider

Or, you can send it to me and I'll turn them in. either way is fine with me, but please let me know if you would like to sponsor us!

Also, if you would like to join the L.A. marathon as a runner, rider or walker and help raise funds for Great Leap, please register online at www.lamarathon. com and then visit www.greatleap. org to get instructions and a sponsor form – it would be great to have you along!

Other riders so far:
Glen Kitayama
Jorge Diaz

Sponsors so far:
Letty & Paul

Monday, February 12, 2007

Maiya's 2nd Bday Party

Elmo Cake... What else?

Cousins Kieth and Kaylee make Boboli pizza

Maiya with Auntie Nobuko eating fruits

Letty, Paul & Francisco eating BBQ!

Grandpa Walt & Grandpa Larry with Uncle Darin & Kevin

Keiko, Tina, Janice, Kyle, Danika, Nina, Clarissa, Grandpa, Kevin

With Nobuko, Tarabu & Mamie (97 years young)

Blowing out the candles, make a wish!

Maiya's birthday party was chaotic! A small, mostly family gathering wound up with over 30 people. The good thing is that it forced us to clean the house, organize the office/den, and clear out the backyard (from construction mess). Tony made teriyaki chicken, salmon and BBQ kabocha, red peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, potatoes, macaroni, cheese & wieners, the kids made Boboli pizza, my mom brought fruit platter, Nobuko brought a green salad, I made rice, and we ordered sushi and chow mein.

I wondered if Maiya knew that the party was for her. She had so much fun playing with all her cousins and friends. By the time the presents and cake time happened, she got it. We had a good time, but it went so fast, and Tony & I were so busy the entire day. I think next year we will have to move the location or think of something different. The important thing is that we got to spend time with friends and family, and Maiya had a great time.

As I reflect on the last two years, my heart fills with happiness at how I got so lucky. Maiya brings so much joy and fun to our lives, and makes our community and political work even more meaningful. I look forward to watching her grow and learn and live and love.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Maiya videos (Part 2 & 3)

Maiya and Chango Play Gimme 5

Maiya and Daddy Play Touch Your Chin

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

KuidaOsumi Supporting War Resisters

On Saturday, we went to the "Stop the Illegal & Unjust War in Iraq/Support our Soldiers Courage to Resist" Vigil/March and Program in Little Tokyo. We went because we wanted to show our support for Lt. Ehren Watada who is the first military officer who refused to go to Iraq. The military wants to make an example of him and he faces 4 years in military prison, 2 years for speaking out against the war in public. We also went because we support Spc. Agustin Aguayo, who is the first one to apply for conscientious objector status. He actually went to Iraq, but refused to put ammunition in his guns (or something like that).

Watada's court martial trial began yesterday in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Some of our friends from NCRR went up to Washington so that they could attend the trial. But the judge has refused to allow any evidence about the illegality of the war, only whether or not he made public statements and refused to serve. A few months ago, we were able to attend an event where Watada's parents spoke about his courageous decision to stand up and speak out.

Anyways, we were busy cleaning the house and getting ready for Maiya's birthday party the following day, but it was important to us to take Maiya to this event. Tony made a little pin for her with the peace sign and the words "Support War Resisters" with two little Hello Kitty stickers on it.

It was great to see so many of our community friends, and even cooler to be on a peace march through Little Tokyo, our "home" base. Speaking of which, the march went right past the Little Tokyo Mural, and Tony got some great pictures of people walking by the mural... At the program following the march, Nobuko, Olmeca and Quetzal performed, along with our friends Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Ruben Guevara.

For more info about Lt. Ehren Watada, see http://www.thankyoult.org

Saturday, February 03, 2007

@ Childcare and @ Office

Here are some photos of Maiya en route to childcare where she goes 4 days a week, outside playing in the yard of her childcare center, and after hours at my work. The first photo is from a few weeks ago, the rest are from her birthday on Thursday.

Maiya in the car eating cereal & sipping agua.

Maiya with her primary caregiver,
who she's been with since she was 9 months old.

Maiya with her friend. They greet each other with
a kiss and hug every morning then they run off together.

Maiya having fun in the yard at childcare.

After childcare, we go to the office to hang out a bit.
Here we are with Justin, who now goes to preschool.

After hours visiting with Davis, Devin, Jennifer & Helen.

Friday, February 02, 2007

For Fran

Recently, we watched the video from our baby shower. Tony's mom's main words of wisdom for us was, "Best to breastfeed for two years." Nothing that the World Health Organization wasn't saying, and yet as of 1998, only 29% of moms in this country still breastfeed after 6 months. (See www.gotmom.org)

I am happy to say that at 2, Maiya is a poster child for extended nursing. She is independent, not clingy or developmentally challenged. Yes, she has age-appropriate tantrums. But she has never taken any medication stronger than Infant Tylenol or Motrin, relying on "mama's milk" to keep her healthy. Doesn't mean she never catches cold, because she has had her share of runny noses and icky coughs, but she has never had the flu, and has only had a few mild fevers.

So, this video (which is Part 1 of a 6 Part You Tube series on guess who), is dedicated to Fran. We thank her for her years of experience as a nurse midwife, prenatal care policy expert, breastfeeding advocate, and of course, for providing support and encouragement at Maiya's birth.

And the photo below, is a gift that I bought for Maiya's birthday and my 2nd year birthing anniversary. It's a made to order pair of wool felted dolls, a brown-skinned Mama doll with nursing toddler doll in our likeness, made by my friend Julie. See her online shop: (Julie's Lactation Nation).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Looking Back... 2 years

Happy 2nd Birthday to Maiya Grace!
Here is our first family picture 2/1/05.

And here she is a year ago...

Can't believe how fast time flies. Seems like only a short time ago.
Little did we know then how much she would change our lives.
Life is good. Really good.