Monday, December 31, 2007

Maiya Goes to Manzanar

Another homemade Christmas gift we made this year was a book I wrote, Maiya Goes to Manzanar about Maiya's 2nd trip to Manzanar. It was inspired by my Literacy and Language Arts for Young Children class and written to share our experiences of teaching Maiya about our family's history. Click on the link above to view the book.

XMas 07 - Photo Blog

Trimming the Tree (Or Playing with Ornaments)
DJ Maiya Giving Daddy a MassageOpening Gifts at the Ayala's on Xmas Eve
XMas Morning at homeXmas Day at Auntie Gayle's House
Uncle Darin, Auntie Sao, Cousins Kyle & Kevin
Posing with Grandma & Grandpa
Not interested in taking a family photoOk, so don't be in the picture, little girl!
Tony & Grandpa Larry on Xmas Night at Uncle Bill's
Aunt Janice & Uncle Meg watching Pirate movie

Saturday, December 29, 2007

DJ Maiya's Music Mix

This year we made CDs for Christmas presents: "DJ Maiya's Music Mix - Volume 1." It is a compilation of Maiya's favorite music, and some of the music that has influenced our lives beginning from Maiya's birth. In characteristic last-minute Kuida-Osumi style, Tony proposed the idea 2 days before we needed them. Which means that we produced the first 14 copies of this project in 20 hours, Tony taking the first shift of 13 hours, and then me staying up all night to finish at 5:30 am. Since the first run 8 days ago, we added two songs and burned another 25+ copies.

One thing that we didn't put in the intro (which on the CD case is size 6.5 font) is that if you are reading this and don't know an artist, it might be because we intentionally included a mix of friends and acquaintances who are independent artists, so if you are interested, google them, BUY one of their CDs and support the arts!

Child projenni Maiya Grace Kuida-Osumi has hit the scene with her debut album, DJ Maiya’s Music Mix – Volume 1. Almost three years in the making, Maiya combines the chart topping sounds of Pop, Folk, Soul, Alternative and Contemporary Children’s Rock into a sippy cup of good times. With the help from her lifelong collaborators Kuida-Osumi, known in the business as Mommy and Daddy, each song was carefully chosen from Maiya’s most prolific period to date—prenatal to preschool. This CD, like a history book, chronicles Maiya’s growth into what she calls a “big girl.” Give a listen, enjoy, and find out what this “big girl” is all about.
Peace and Happy Holidays, The Kuida-Osumi Family

The Sesame Street Theme by Elmo
The Best of Elmo was one of the first CDs we bought for Maiya. For a time, Elmo was it and the first few notes of this song could stop her in her tracks.
I Dream a Garden by Nobuko Miyamoto
Nobuko wrote this song for youth in the urban gardening movement in Detroit and was also our birth doula. This song became Jenni’s anthem during 37 hours of labor birthing Maiya.
Strength, Courage & Wisdom by india.arie
Jenni learned this song in a Women’s Leadership program a few years ago. Songs from Acoustic Soul were played at Maiya’s birth, over and over.
Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder
Stevie wrote this about his daughter Aisha. We feel the same about Maiya.
Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tennille
When Maiya was a baby, this song would get her to stop crying at night. Jenni would turn up the volume loud, dance and swing Maiya back and forth in her arms.
Didi Wadi by Chic Street Man
Chic, one of Jenni’s favorite musicians from Great Leap, wrote “Lullablues” songs when his son was a baby. Maiya loves the fun lyrics to Didi Wadi.
Luna by Roxy Especial
It is the only non-kiddie CD that Maiya requests time and time again. You may have seen Maiya’s video at
My Favorite Ice Cream Song by Lionel Jean Baptiste
One day Jenni and Maiya saw a guy pulling a wagon playing reggae children’s music at the Farmer’s Market. We bought his CD, and it’s another of Maiya’s favorites.
Two Little Girls by Sesame Street audio conversion from YouTube video
Vintage Sesame Street that Maiya watches on DVD and YouTube
The Alphabet Song by Golden Books Music
Maiya enjoys this childhood standard, especially now that she is learning her ABCs.
Ni Hao My Friends by Dora’s World Adventure
Maiya loves these songs from around the world. Tony is more dubious.
Watch It Grow Cha Cha by The InvestiGator Club
Maiya laughs when the “Cha Cha Cha” part comes on and says, “What’s that?”
La Bamba by Los Lobos with Lalo Guerrero
From “Papa’s Dream” - a great children’s album that Maiya is still growing into.
Kids Are Gonna Love by Holly Near
This song by Jenni’s favorite artist is about how kids love who they choose without prejudice.
Holdin’ by SKIM
Maiya met SKIM when she performed at an NCRR event that Lt. Ehren Watada’s parents spoke at last year. Watada is facing court martial as the only military officer to publicly oppose the war in Iraq.
Celebration by Kool and the Gang
This is another fun song that Tony introduced Maiya to. When she hears this, she goes wild with excitement. See her and Tony keeping beat on Maiya’s YouTube video.
On Mars by Visiting Violette
Tony and Jenni have known Glenn Suravech and Lee Takasugi from Visiting Violette for years. This song is about Lee’s Japanese American mom’s concentration camp experience.
Caffeine Free by Long Hairz Collective
The Long Hairz are activists/poets we met in Detroit through our friendship with Grace Lee Boggs, who Maiya Grace is named after.
Harvest For The World by The Isley Brothers
The kind of world we hope Maiya helps build.
If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out by Cat Stevens
Fun, Freedom, Joy, Opportunity, Possibilities…

Just a note of caution, if you received a copy, we burned it ourselves. It should play on any computer or CD-R or MP3 player, but doesn't play in older model CD players.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holidays at Work

I had 5, yes 5 holiday events/parties at work in the last week. The first was our Family Literacy parents and staff potluck. They played Musical Chairs twice--it was hysterical.

Then was our Preschool Holiday Program. Talk about cute! These kids singing holiday songs in costume and acting out "Gingerbread Man" was really adorable. The teachers work really hard to get the kids ready for this annual delight.

Then was our Gift Giveaway at our Infant/Toddler Childcare program.

Then was our After-School Program Holiday Party. My program, the childcare program recently joined the Neighborhood Services unit of Social Services which includes the After-School kids who live in our building ages 5-17.

And finally our All Staff Holiday Party on Friday which I pretty much zombied through since I had been up until 5:30 am working on a CD project for gifts (More on DJ Maiya's Music Mix-Volume 1 later). I don't know if anyone noticed, but I brought the same Chinese Chicken salad from the health food store to 3 different potlucks.

For the last month, we have been receiving donations of toys and books from so many people and it has been a lot of work coordinating, sorting and distributing them. About 95% of the children in our childcare programs are from low-income families, so these gifts are very much appreciated. Anyways, it was nice to see all the families in our programs having a good time during the holidays.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For Auntie Nobu

Acting as my doula (birthing support coach), Auntie Nobu was there when Maiya took her first breath and supporting me spiritually and holistically for many years leading up to that moment. When we listen to our Charlie Chin Jataka Tales cassette in the car (almost every day), Maiya yells out when she hears Auntie Nobu singing. So, when she pulled out the Singing Bowl that Nobuko helped me pick out in Boulder, Colorado many years ago, it really sweet.

Then she brought the bowl out to perform under the Christmas tree in front of her "audience." It was her idea to put on the yamaka. Later I found the singing bowl, yamaka and Hanukah Pooh sitting under the tree.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tree shoppin' n' trimmin'

I am not one of those people who easily gets into the Xmas spirit. Since Tony & I have been together the last dozen years, we've only had 2-3 trees. Last year I bought a 10 inch juniper from Trader Joe's, but left the battery operated lights on overnight and only had one or two nights of lights.

But this year I've been looking forward to getting a tree for Maiya since she is older now. So this afternoon, after our weekly pancakes, we went to our neighborhood tree lot to get a tree. Maiya had a lot of fun running around and looking at the trees. We picked a small tree, just under 5 feet, for $24 plus a $10 base.

Once we got home, I went into the garage to look for my 5 crates of Xmas stuff, but only found 3 of them. But that was enough to trim the tree. Maiya unwrapped each ornament, one-by-one, enjoying all of the "vintage" Garfield and Snoopy ornaments, and the homemade ornaments, mostly from my cousin Jackie over the years. It was fun to see all of the ornaments dating from the late 70s to the mid-90s in my collection from the perspective of a 2 1/2 year old saying "wow" as she uncovered new treasures. Then there are the ones from the last few years with Maiya's baby pictures in them.

Ok, now that we have our tree up, it's time to order holiday cards, make a list of all the gifts I need to buy (I have given up the idea of making them), and get organized for all the toy donations and books for the kids in our childcare program, and get and wrap gifts for the 49 people on my staff. Augghh. Let the holidays begin.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Maiya & Daddy on a cold night

Saturday, we stayed home and painted the wall of our side yard. Sure was cold. We went to Mitsuwa for dinner since Maiya said she wanted noodles. Tony and I got a pretty good Miso Ramen to warm our cold bones. Maiya ordered the cold soba with dipping sauce, a deal at $3.80. For 6:30 pm on a Saturday night, that place was pretty busy. Here's another cutie one of Maiya and Daddy as we were getting in the car. She wanted to wear a hat like Daddy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

She wore pants!

On Friday night, we were at Uncle Bill's house. We needed to change clothes, and had no skirts. So, guesss what? Maiya wore pants! So happy! She even slept in them. She's only worn them once since summertime. Maybe it's time to go pants shopping. These were a little on the small side. Maiya was pretty excited to put on a shirt the same color as Daddy's.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Can't believe this picture is almost 2 years ago. She keeps telling me, "Mommy, I a big girl. I not a baby." But she is my baby.

Yesterday morning she said, "Carlos has a fly in his nose." I said, "What?" She giggled and I realized she was talking in her sleep. When she woke up I asked if she was dreaming about Carlos having a fly in his nose, and she didn't know what I was talking about.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Weekend Update

Yesterday, Maiya and I went to my cousin Marlon's inauguration as the 4th Head Minister of his church on its 80th anniversary. He is taking over for my Uncle Fumio and Auntie Kaz who are retiring after 40 years. Uncle Fumio took over the church from my grandfather in 1968. No pictures of the kiddies, they were all too busy running around. Yesterday when Maiya was running and I told her to slow down, she stopped, put her hands on her hips and said, "What? Why?"

After the reception, we went with my cousin Cherie (who is visitng from France), to Jose Ramirez' art studio in Boyle Heights. He is an amazing artist and illustrator. I love the combination of politics/art/education--it appeals to me on so many levels. I picked up some great kids books and a few gifts. Check out his website, he will have another art sale next Saturday, December 15th:

Maiya has a bit of a croupy cough this weekend and she's been watching videos today, Babe and Jungle Book. She slept until 10:45 this morning and had no nap. Our house, along with 6 others in the neighborhood was hit with graffiti last night. Tony was dealing with it this afternoon.

Here is Maiya acting and looking more and more like a preschooler and less of a toddler this afternoon.

Well, we didn't get a tree this weekend. Still haven't decided on live vs. fake. Neither is so good for the environment or the pocketbook. It will be our first tree in maybe 7-8 years. Maybe next weekend.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First Night of Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah! Thanks to Bubbe & Zeyde for sending Hanukkah gifts for Maiya from Idaho. They were on our doorstep when we got home tonight. Here she is wearing her first yarmulke (yamaka). She was so excited when she heard the box was for her.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Congrats to Hiroko

Congrats to Hiroko, who is now the 4th Head Minister of the Tenrikyo Hollywood Church. Hiroko is taking over for my cousin Marlon, who has taken over duties at my Uncle's church. Tony & Maiya went on Saturday to celebrate Hiroko's new position. I was busy all day with a Great Leap Board retreat. Here's a few pictures:

Maiya with Hiroko

With Grandma & Grandpa

Having Fun with Cousin Kaylee - same nose & smile!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

No Mo' PoMo: Reflections

Ack! I can't believe I missed the last day of NaBloPoMo! But still, I did do 30 blogs in 30 days (one day I did 2 entries, and another day that I missed I did two the next day), so I'm not feeling so bad about it.

Excuses, excuses: I was so tired last night. I had been up till 3:30 two nights earlier, and till 2am the night before. We were watching "Babe" again, and at 10:30, I just couldn't keep my eyes open. I went to take Maiya to bed, and of course, the next thing I know it's 11:59 and I for sure knew I wasn't going to get up and blog. I woke up again at 4:30 am and was up, mind racing for an hour and a half.

Anyways, I did have fun with it. I kept a running list of topics that I wanted to write about, but I often found that at 11:50 pm, I didn't always have the energy to write about them, so I would dig up a few photos and post a story or caption for it. Here are some of the topics on my Blog Ideas list:

* Playdates with Lauren
* The Great Preschool Debate
* Upcoming publication Nanka Nikkei Voices: Living JA
* Kanteen Kleen (stainless steel water bottles)
* ABC Meme (Tagged by Cynematic--sorry!)
* Goldilocks and the Three Bears
* Holiday Non-Shopping Ideas
* Maiya Born Story
* Saying goodbye to the Rafu column (since 1996)

Anyways, thanks to new friends, and those of you who stopped by regularly. I hit 800 visits and almost 1,400 page views according to my Site Meter, which is almost double my usual traffic.

So, the big question is, will I continue? Will I go back to my usual 1-2 times a week? Who knows? Maybe it won't be daily, but I'll continue to write. I mean there's still war and Bush, Maiya's going to keep on doing cute things, and we have a pretty full life, so I don't think I'm going to run out of things to blog about.

But until next year, Adios to NaBloPoMo07!