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December into January was a bit crazy. We all got pretty sick from a nasty bug that Emi caught. She ended up getting tonsillitis and it quickly spread to me, Taro, and Abby. And right when everyone was off antibiotics, another bug seemed to hit us pretty quick so things started off on a rocky start. Regardless, we persevered, but after Christmas, I really had to start working on Abby’s Red Egg Party (hence the delay in updating on Abby). It ate up every minute I had available since I was making all the decorations, labels, centerpieces…you name it, I had some part in it. Overall, though, it felt like a success and it seemed like everyone had a good time and enjoyed great food (catered by Aloha Café, sweets and treats from Melissa Ferdinandus). I was busy trying to catch up with everyone while taking care of Abby and Emi and of course, the next day, I had no voice! I haven’t completely lost it, but it is hard to talk and somehow, I came down with a cold again. I feel like this season, it is a vicious cycle of getting better/getting sick! I cannot wait until it is gone.

Since the last update, Abby has been “talking” a lot more. She enjoys babbling and I feel like if I am gone for an hour or two (to do photo sessions), Abby needs to catch me up on what she was up to during the time she wasn’t with me. It is pretty funny and she can actually talk quite loud at times. My mom sometimes thinks she is crying when Abby is actually just babbling away. It’s really cute…even at 5:30 a.m., which is right now as I am typing away and she is sitting next to me because she is up. Even though it is early, she did go seven hours so I guess it is fine until she falls asleep.

Abby has opened up her hands (You know how babies hold fists for a while and hide lint in their palms!) and likes to hold on to my finger. She has also discovered that she can suck on her fingers, but it makes her gag sometimes. I am sure she will discover her thumb at some point and then she will just be like her big sister Emi. Abby doesn’t like the pacifier so we probably have two thumb suckers in this household!

Abby continues to love taking a bath and we have started giving her a bath at night to indicate bedtime. It has definitely helped, but Abby still likes having her bath in the morning. Eventually the morning bath will be eliminated, but for now, Abby is taking two baths. She loves kicking her feet around in the bath tub and she splashes so much that the floor always gets wet!

Tummy time is going well, although Abby hates it. She’s pretty strong, especially when you hold her. We don’t have to worry too much about her wobbling around. If anything, Abby enjoys turning and looking around. She especially had a good time looking at everything when we went to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland.

It’s crazy how much time has passed and I am glad that I get to stay home and watch Abby grow and develop. I can’t wait to see what happens in month four!

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Does Abby look like Emi? We decided to take a photo of Abby next to a picture of Emi in the exact same outfit.

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Tricia and I go waaaaay back, as in high school (Summer before senior year, I believe?) when we used to lifeguard/teach swimming lessons together at Barnes Park. It was the summer of doing flips off the diving board into gushing water, standing on boogie boards or on the tops of the shoulders of the male lifeguards, cappuccino blast drinks at Baskin-Robbins practically every day, eating dim sum and random goodies that the parents brought for us, and choreographing a dance routine kind of summer days. We were young and had fun at our first serious job…which at times was not so serious! It was me, Tricia, and Kris and the beginning of a friendship that has lasted into our 30s. Even though there are spans of time where we all don’t see each other, when we do get together we pick up from where we last left off – still with tons of gossip and fun and usually shared over good and tasty food.

So when Tricia contacted me regarding taking family photos, I was thrilled! First off, I really do enjoy taking photos of friends, but what I was excited about was that I was taking photos for her grandparents, who were excited to have their kids (and son-in-laws) and grandchildren around for the holidays. In total there are 15 of them and it was great to see individual families interact, but also how the entire family interacts with one another. The sisters teased each other about who stood next to their dad during the photos, the parents teased their kids while they were taking pictures and vice versa, the daughters had fun messing around with their dad, the cousins were able to make fun of one another during individual family photos, but the absolute best thing was seeing Tricia’s grandmother clap ever so slightly, but enthusiastically, while taking photos with her grandchildren. She had a smile on her face and was SO happy. I was seriously smiling behind the camera and this made all the parents smile and laugh, too, so much so that the kids had to stop and ask them what was going on. Once they all found out what their grandmother was doing, it brought out the best smiles and laughter. The clapping was the cutest thing and it made me recall what my BF said. Parents enjoy raising their kids, but they find even more joy and feel proud when they have grandchildren. You could definitely see that in Tricia’s grandmother.

I am so happy I was able to capture family photos for you, Mr. and Mrs. Saisho! Thanks for giving me the opportunity, Tricia, and I hope everyone can look back and see how much happiness and love you bring to one another!

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The first official outing we made was to Christmas at the Zoo. It opened early for members so it was perfect to take Abby to. We didn’t have to worry about it being crowded or germs galore. Essentially we could test things out and everything went smoothly! Emi enjoyed going out as the four of us and we saw familiar animals (when we use to frequent the zoo, just the two of us): meerkats, Reggie the alligator, flamingos, an elephant, and the Rainforest exhibit. We even paid a visit to Santa! Emi was on the brink of tears, but I reminded her that Santa is Hat’s friend and Emi was able to muster through a photo with him…not smiling, of course. I’m just happy we got a picture and that Abby…I survived our first outing and even squeezed in a ride around the carousel!

Every year my brother’s work has a holiday party for its employees and family. It’s actually pretty nice – arts and crafts for the kids, face painting, balloon animals, kettle corn, cookies and an array of coffee and tea, a green screen for photos, and Santa. We waited in line to take photos with Santa – I wanted one with my mom in it since we have done this for two years in a row – and once it was out turn, Emi had a meltdown. She ran away from Santa, tears and all, and my brother captured it all on the camera. In ways it has become a tradition and I feel like the crying you have to get me out of here picture is part of the holiday spirit! My brother did get a good picture of me, Abby, Santa, and his elves so that was nice. All in all, we had a good time at Edison and we look forward to it again next year.

Every Christmas Eve we go to Morton’s for dinner. It really has become this great tradition that we enjoy and I always look forward to steak! This year my cousin Sean joined us (He is attending UCLA and didn’t go back to Singapore for the holidays.) and we all dived into steak (Emi enjoyed her chicken.), sautéed mushrooms, brussel sprouts with bacon, and mashed potatoes with horseradish (Yummy!). We ended the meal with raspberry soufflé and it was a successful dinner with both Emi and Abby! I have to say that taking Abby out so far hasn’t been too difficult. She actually either sleeps through most of the meal or sits in her stroller checking out her surroundings. Crossing my fingers that this will continue!

This year, Emi enjoyed opening all her presents. Even for her birthday, Emi refused to tear into the gifts. However, I  think it was because the gifts were sitting under the tree and she had to look at them every single day so she couldn’t wait to open them. Emi didn’t even wait for me to begin (I was giving Abby a morning bath.) and when she opened the first one – Thank you Fong family! She had her eye on that gift for weeks! – she ran into the bathroom and yelled in delight, “Look, Legos!!!” Emi shook the box and ran out to the living room so Taro could open it. Emi had picked up the present the day the Fong family left it under our tree and she had asked, “Is this Legos?” because it made the sound of Legos and it made me laugh. I, of course, said, “I don’t know,” so Emi was definitely happy to see it was.

We spent Christmas Day at my parents’ house and enjoyed a great spread: ham, potatoes au gratin, shrimp, vegetables, albacore sashimi (courtesy of Taro’s dad), sticky rice (My fave!), and countless desserts from Porto’s. We had our annual Secret Santa gift exchange and this year, Emi gave out presents. I stole the idea from my BFF, Julie, who takes her kids to the dollar store to pick out gifts for family and friends. It’s to teach the idea of giving and I thought I could start this with Emi, too. Taro suggested taking her to Daiso so here is what Emi picked up: a snow globe for Grandmama, a frog shaped deodorizer for Grandpapa, sushi erasers for Fufu, sushi erasers for Jichan, a banana eraser for Uncle Daisuke, and star washcloths for Auntie Vivian. It was funny as I watched Emi select gifts for everyone and I look forward to doing to again next year!

The holidays were great and 2015 is going to bring more excitement, growth, and change. It can’t top 2011 and 2014 since those are the years my girls were born, but it will definitely be exciting with Abby and Emi growing up together and becoming their own individual selves! Here is to a great new year!

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