Friday, February 29, 2008

Busy Leap Year Weekend

Maiya helping Yumi on the potty
(err Dora Neck Pillow & Parachute)

Ah, it's going to be a busy weekend. Here's our weekend "plan":

* Tony baseball game (he's helping his friend Danny coach his son's baseball team)
* Jenni & Maiya breakfast with Auntie Keiko and her friends
* Jenni to chiropractor/healer (fine tuning my sciatica before the walk)
* Our friend Scott Kurashige's book reading at Southern California Library
* LA Marathon Expo (to pick up our Marathon bibs, tshirts & race packets)
* Nishi Fundraiser Dinner (preschool event - made a carrot cake last night for the bake sale)
* Retirement party for Tak Yamamoto from Manzanar Committee

* Tony - Bike Marathon
* Jenni & Maiya - Marathon 5K
* Great Leap DimSum
* Jessica's 3rd Bday Party
* Laundry? Dishes?

Tonight, I have insomnia, Maiya woke me up at 2am and I'm still up. Maiya has a runny nose and eyes, so I'm not sure if we'll be able to do it all, but we have to do the Marathon, and I'd really like to see Scott, Emily & Tula. Thank goodness for the extra day for (Great) Leap Year. By the way, it's not too late to sponsor KuidaOsumi in the LA Marathon this weekend! Send a comment or email if you're interested. Ok, I'm going to go frost my cake and go back to bed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

If Preschoolers Could Vote...

Wednesday night at dinner:
MG: Mommy, I don't like Barack Obama.
JK: Really? Why not? I like him.
MG: I don't like him.
JK: Oh. Well do you like Hillary Clinton?
MG: No.
JK: Uhhh... (pause) do you like John McCain?
MG: No, I don't like him either.
(Jenni and Tony let out a sigh of relief and look at each other across the table.)
JK: Oh ok, well maybe you like Cynthia McKinney? Daddy voted for her.
MG: No.
JK: Well, who do you like?
MG: AUNTIE KEIKO!!!! (Big smile)


Thursday morning:
As we're running out the door, Maiya pulls the newspaper out which is sitting on the end table and opened to a photo of Barack Obama pointing and speaking.
MG: Mommy, I don't like Barack Obama.
JK: Why? He's running for President. I voted for him.
MG: He is a bad man. His eyes are mean.
JK: Maiya, his eyes look like that because he's talking about Hope and Change.

I mean, really where does this come from? Too much background TV? Kids at preschool? Honestly she caught me off guard that she even recognized his picture in the paper. Yesterday was the first time I ever talked to her about him, when I was showing her his myspace page. Well, I guess I have to take a deep breath and be proud that my child will have thoughts and ideas that are different from mine, but I really didn't think it would be the 2008 Presidential primaries. I better get to work on some age-appropriate politicking, so she can make an informed preschooler's decision.

Here's Barack Obama's stand on Education. It's actually pretty refreshing.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jenni & Maiya Walking for a Great Leap

Last year's Marathon - notice we're at the end of the pack!

I've been involved with Great Leap, a nonprofit multicultural performing arts organization for the last 11 years, first as the Managing Director, and now as a Board member. Along with some friends from Great Leap, Maiya and I will be walking in the LA Marathon 5K next Sunday, March 2nd.

It will be our 2nd time to walk in the Emerald Nuts 5K Run/Walk. Last year, Maiya rode in the stroller at the beginning, but ended up walking more than half of the way. This year we will see if she wants to walk the whole way. Or not.

In addition to mother-daughter bonding, fun, exercise, and a unique Los Angeles experience, our group is walking to raise funds for Great Leap, presenting arts and community building initiatives in Los Angeles for 30 years. This year, Great Leap is an official charity of the LA Marathon.

I would be thrilled if you would sponsor us. 100% of your contribution will go to supporting Great Leap's programs such as Collaboratory and Art of Weaving Faiths.

If you would like to sponsor us, please email or leave a comment and let me know how much you'd like to pledge. I'll send you an email (and photos!) confirming our completion of the event. Thanks for supporting me, Maiya and Great Leap on its 30th anniversary. Great Leap is truly using the arts for social change in our community.

Love and Peace,

Jenni & Maiya

P.S. If you don't want to sponsor us... Tony is riding 26 miles in the Acura Bike Marathon for Great Leap as well! You are welcome to sponsor him!

Hooray, we finished! Support multicultural arts!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

(Great) Leaps of Faith

Who: Great Leap
What: Collaboratory V
When: Saturday, March 8 (2pm, 7pm) & Sunday March 9 (2pm)
Where: JANM Democracy Center, 369 E. First Street
Why: Ten artists of different faiths boldly jump into the swirling waters of interfaith collaboration through personal stories, dance, poetry and song
How: RSVP (213) 250-8800 or email clara

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making Valentine's

So, when did Valentine's become Halloween? Maiya got so much candy and stuff for Valentine's Day from preschool. I couldn't believe it. She got to eat 1 piece of candy, one of those little chalky hearts, and Tony put the bag away somewhere, and she seems to have forgotten about it. Same as Halloween. Anyways, here are Maiya and Tony making Valentine's cards for her class. Tony carved out hearts from potatoes and they stamped them on the card.

On Valentine's Day, I had a really busy and exciting day at work. We had a visit from the former governor of Iowa, and his wife, who is a champion for family literacy and technology. I'll blog and post pictures about it later. On Valentine's night, we stopped at Uncle Bill's house, then went to Marie Callendars for dinner. I got a pretty good chicken pot pie and a delicious apple waldorf salad, Tony got soup and sandwich, and Maiya got the macaroni & cheese kid's plate. Afterwards, Tony was sneaking banana cream pie in the kitchen... $5.99 on all pies until the end of the month.

I'm off today. It's raining. We made sugar-free cranberry-orange-carrot pulp muffins this morning. I think we're going to go to the library. Tonight I have a JACS meeting/dinner and Tony is taking Maiya to Talpa's with "the guys." That's it for now.

Friday, February 15, 2008

3 years ago or so

Here's a repeat of a slideshow from Maiya's birth and 1st month at home. I love watching it. I remember thinking how beautiful she was. It was my best work to date. Probably time to make another. (Video, that is.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Maiya's 1st Quincenera

Last weekend, Maiya & I went to my co-worker Rocio's daughter Laura's quincenera. It was the first for both of us. It was nice to see several kids from Maiya's old childcare, and several of the caregivers. It was a very touching event and reminded me of a wedding, except no groom. Maiya's not into princesses, but she was following Laura around--totally in awe of how beautiful she looked in her dress. Watching Laura dancing with her older brother Angel was breathtaking, even for me.

Maiya was also following Justin's every move. I think Justin has become Maiya's best friend. They were running around screaming, chasing, crawling on the dance floor like bugs, actually wrestling on the dance floor, and doing some 70s disco dancing for several hours.

Maiya hadn't had a nap, and we didn't leave there until almost 9:30 pm. Maiya had her biggest meltdown possibly in her lifetime just after we left, walking down the street, getting into the car, and screaming and crying the entire drive home. Anyways, we had a wonderful time.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Baby Legs Product Review

I won a pair of "Baby Legs" on Here is my product review:

My 3 year old daughter Maiya is one of those kids who must have complete control over what she wears. I thought the BabyLegs would be a good fit for her because she went through this 4 month phase of wearing dresses only and no pants and had just recently potty learned. But just before they arrived, my girl started wearing sweats and stretchy pants and went out of the dress phase. Luckly that only lasted a few weeks, so it took her a few weeks to decide to wear them. She had gotten a pair of the Retro Turquose & Orange BabyLegs for Christmas. In the meantime, the Dark Rye Baby Legs (chocolate brown & polka dots) arrived for us to review. Me explaining that she had to wear them so I could do my review, did not have any impact. So both pairs sat in their pretty packaging for a few weeks. I contemplated giving mine to a friend so I could review their child. I worried that this product was more for babies and that maybe I shouldn't have offered to review them. But, finally, she decided to put them on, she fell in love with them. She wore the Retro ones 5 days in a row, calling them "Stripeys" and "BigGirl Legs." Then when I insisted on washing them, she took to the brown pair, and wore them 3 days in a row, including one day under pants. Any ways, the moral of the story is that they are a big hit around here.

What I like about them is that they are very versatile. They can warm her cold feet if we're at home or they can keep her legs warm wearing a dress on winter days, they can protect her knees from scabs and bruises if she's out playing, they are made of a soft fabric that isn't scratchy or itchy, they come in lots of vibrant colors and styles, and they allow her to be the unique little girl that she is. But the best part is simply that she loves them.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Three Big Changes

3 Big changes for Maiya...

(1) The first is that Thursday, 1/31 was Maiya's last day as a 2 year old, and her last day at Grace Iino, the child care program where she has been going since she was 9 months old. I was lucky that when I went back to work, I was able to nurse Maiya 4 times a day, and that she was in a program where I work, in a program I am working for. I was sad for her to leave because it has been a second home to her and she has really enjoyed being in the Toddler Plus program the last few months. As one of the oldest children, I have watched her grow into a confident, outgoing, bubbly young girl with a funny sense of humor. But, it was time for her to leave. On her last day, she was sad to say goodbye, and even went home sick early without really saying a good goodbye. Here she is on her last morning outside with one of her best friends Verenice.

(2) Yesterday was Maiya's 3rd Birthday party for our family. Even though we wanted to keep it small, we had 27 people over, including 7 kids. And we even had about 10 people cancel since they were sick. We ordered Ono's Hawaiian BBQ, Chinese Chicken salad from Feast from the East, and California Rolls from Asakuma. Tony spent about 3 hours cleaning the bathroom yesterday, and I started cleaning and decluttering back on Wednesday. Maiya was pretty excited. She could recite almost the entire guest list from memory, the day before the party. A few people asked me the theme: it was Maiya's Groovy Peace Party, complete with happy faces, peace signs, flowers and butterflies.

Maiya grinning with her Carrot Bundt Cake

I also made Rainbow Confetti Happy Face Cupcakes--
big hit with the under 7 crowd

Family Photo

With Cousin Danika and her cousins

With Tony's godmother Val, godsister Beth, and Maiya's godcousin Erin
and her new dragon from Erin

Uncle Tony with nephews Kieth and new best friend Kevin

Opening presents with help from cousin Kyle

(3) And today, Maiya's first day at preschool at one of the Buddhist temples in Little Tokyo. Here we are outside, right before going in to meet her new teacher Ms. Laura and classmates. It's funny that she is wearing the same outfit that she wore on her last day at childcare.

So we went inside, and immediately, Maiya grew shy and quiet. I sat with the class, about 8 kids during their circle time. The teacher asked each child if they had any announcements. Maiya sat on my lap for about 10 minutes. I watched as she stood in line to wash her hands and sit down for morning snack. Then, when her friend Justin (I work with his mom Janet) came in and said hi, she perked up a bit and actually spoke a little bit. When it was time for me to leave, she cried, reaching for me. Her new teacher picked her up, and I blew her a kiss and walked out with Janet & Cliff (Justin's dad). Before I got to the end of the hall, less than a minute, she stopped crying. Tony & I went to pick her up together at the end of the day. One of the teachers said that she cried a little before and after naptime, but that she had a good day. Ah! I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. We'll see how it goes tomorrow for Day 2.

One cool thing is that everyone at the preschool is given a symbol, which starts with the letter of their first name. Maiya's symbol is a Monkey, which is so fitting since the girl loves monkeys (we have a monkey bathroom, monkey PJs, and at least 7 stuffed monkeys in the house), and her Chinese zodiac sign is the Monkey (she made it by 2 days).

Well I'm feeling fluish and sick... hope it passes quickly. Don't forget to vote tomorrow.