I met Caroline through my BFF and recently we were bridesmaids together at our BFF’s wedding. Through the years we have seen each other at dinners, gatherings, but more recently, spent time planning, organizing, and executing a memorable bachelorette party and bridal shower. Caroline is the go-to person for ideas, detailed planning – you should have seen the beautifully crafted email with visuals, and fun. So it was no surprise that she planned, organized, and hosted her Going Away Pink Party to commemorate a big change in her life – moving to Japan to participate in the JET program. She was able to get nearly every guest to wear some form of pink, even if it was socks, include a delicious and gorgeous spread of desserts made by Mr. and Mrs. Creamery – handcrafted ice cream popsicles, delicate macarons, and just yumminess in bite size portions, have a photo booth set-up where guests could be as silly as they wanted to be, and provide an environment where people from her life could eat, drink, and be merry in a unique space, APT 503. Everyone was celebrating Caroline and her upcoming adventures in Japan, but also a bit sad to see her leave for a while. I was very fortunate enough to take photos at her party and see how much Caroline is loved by those around her and document just the start of her adventure and new chapter in her life.

Caroline, I wish you all the best while you teach in Japan! I love traveling to Japan so I hope you get to enjoy the culture, the food, the beautiful architecture, and the lifestyle, but more importantly, I hope you enjoy the teaching experience with your friends and colleagues! Good luck and I look forward to seeing your pictures online!

Venue: APT 503

Dessert Table: Mr. and Mrs. Creamery

{Know someone interested in a family session or event photography? Feel free to view more photos from this event: Andrea Takeoka Photography}

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What’s great is the experience with Abby is somewhat similar to Emi, but also drastically different in ways. Abby is much more independent at this age in comparison to Emi. She will gladly feed herself, grabbing a spoonful of porridge or a handful of rice and shoving it into her mouth. Since Abby enjoys eating, she will ask for whatever is on her mind or in sight – crackers, bananas, strawberry Pocky. Right now Abby especially likes blueberries, strawberries, rice with nori, porridge for lunch at my parents’ house, apples – in large slices so she can hold them, and will try everything for the first time to determine whether she likes it or not! Abby will eat greens and broccoli and even carrots, which she is not allergic to. Abby is my good eater, but she does get “hangry” if she has to wait too long at a restaurant and she is quite punctual with meal times. At 5:30 pm, she is ready for dinner!

Abby is able to say the word “ball” and it is something she wants when I am nursing her or when she goes to sleep. She loves holding it, along with her swaddle blanket and baby. Abby has taken an interest with dolls and even stuffed animals, carrying them from room to room and even sleeping with her baby. I’m not sure if it is because Emi plays with her American Girl doll, but I think it is funny that Abby totes around a doll half her size. She sits with it, hugs it, and even puts it in the toy stroller and pushes the baby around. Sometimes it is Minnie Mouse in place of her baby, but how funny is it seeing a baby push around a stroller? Considering Abby can’t see above the top of the stroller, she can maneuver it quite well. Abby can even get in the toy car and mimicked buckling herself in. That is our cue to then push Abby around in the toy car around the dining room table. We used to do that with Emi, too, but now Emi rides her bike alongside Abby.

The only other thing Abby says quite often is “uh-oh.” When she drops something she says it. Other than that, according to my mom, Abby just screams and makes a lot of noise to get what she wants. I wouldn’t necessarily say that she does this all the time. I can pick up an object and ask her if she wants it and she will shake her head no or just smile, which means yes. Abby communicates in her own way. She does understand things, like when I tell her to sit down, especially when she tries to stand up on a chair or stand up during bath time, or when I say, Can I have a kiss kiss? Abby turns and gives a kiss on the lips…or pretends not to, that little stinker! Abby also likes to put her face against mine and blow to make a funny sound. Abby is definitely a jokester and is very playful.

Abby’s personality is really starting to develop. Whether she is running around exploring or putting on sunglasses and laughing wildly or trying to put on my shoes and walking around the house, I look forward to all the adventures with this little one. Until the next update!

 

December was a busy month for Emi! She had her school performance that was super fun and cute. Tannya and Isela made Tigger tutus and bows for all the girls to wear and they sang The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers. I was glad I didn’t miss it, even though I completely forgot my camera battery! Luckily we all have phones and were able to take pictures and record Emi. Emi’s second Christmas performance was at her Japanese school. Luckily she didn’t cry like at practice (Although with that, I am pretty sure she was afraid I was leaving her at school.) and she enjoyed singing and playing instruments with her class. Afterwards Santa came – Asian Santa, which made me think about the Fresh Off the Boat episode – and delivered presents to all the kids. It was a nice performance and show before Emi went on her break from Japanese school.

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This Christmas Emi was very aware of the holiday and the presence of Hat the Elf. Emi would look for him every morning and enjoyed seeing what kind of trouble he would get himself into. This Christmas Emi asked for an American Girl Doll, the Frozen cake, and Shopkins. Emi got her doll early since we met up with Julie and Laney for a surprise lunch at The American Girl Cafe. The four of us had fun – the adults chatting and catching up while the girls played with their new dolls! It was great to see Emi getting along with Laney and I hope they will be friends in the future, regardless of the distance. Emi was really excited for Christmas Day and was super excited to open her presents. She loved all the accessories for her AG doll and the Shopkins toys. It was a great Christmas with our traditions – Christmas Eve dinner at Morton’s and then Christmas dinner at my parents’ house. This was the second year Emi picked out gifts from Daiso for everyone and there were some funny ones: paper cups for Grandmama, a strawberry shaped back massager for Fufu, tape for Auntie Viv, a green pot for Uncle Daisuke, and pot holders for Jichan and Bachan. The only person not to get a Daiso gift was Grandpapa. The story behind Grandpapa’s gift stemmed from Emi’s confusion on why Grandpapa wears clothes (as in regular clothes) to sleep rather than pajamas. So Emi insisted Grandpapa needed pajamas and she even asked if he wanted Spiderman pajamas! I’m pretty sure it was a mix of not paying attention and not understanding Emi, but my dad said, “Okay!” I tried my best to find Spiderman pajamas, but only found an adult onesie, and I knew my dad would not wear that. Emi and I eventually settled on Minions pajamas and now, whenever she sees him, Emi checks to see if he wears them…or questions why he is wearing half clothes (jeans or pants) and half pajamas (the shirt portion of the set)! Emi seriously makes me laugh hard.

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Emi is still continuing her swimming lessons and she has made a lot of progress! She can roll over on her back and float, and then roll on to her stomach and kick and try to use her arms. Emi can get across the pool using this method so all the (gentle) yelling, hardcore attitude from Emi’s instructor has worked. Does Emi still cry at lessons? Sometimes, but her instructor gives her tough love, which I think she needs sometimes. He definitely doesn’t mess around and keeps track of the time during her lesson so I guess he is at least maximizing the time spent with her. It seriously is an expensive 20 minute semi-private lesson. (On the days when she is by herself, I feel like a winner getting a private lesson!) Emi is looking forward to when these lessons end, though, and when she can have Scott back as her teacher.

Emi definitely copies a lot more so we really have to be aware of what we say, how we act, and just what we do. I try to not react when other drivers try to run me off the road, but even me honking at another car prompted Emi to say, “What the…you dumbo!” My mom was in the car with me and we both laughed really hard and I tried to casually say that she shouldn’t say those things. It could be worse, though, so I will settle for “What the…”

Emi continues to grow and change and just become…her own person and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings. I look forward to Disneyland trips (hopefully), the first time we go on the log ride at Knotts, more dinners at Monzo (Emi’s favorite udon place) and Luggage Room (Emi’s favorite restaurant), and watching her bond grow with Abby.

Until next time…

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