MY LIFE , Peanut



It is with a heavy heart that I write with about Peanut. On Sunday, January 3, 2015, we had to put him down. Upon returning from our Mammoth trip, we noticed Peanut was limping and having difficulty walking. Before we left, he was still dashing across the dining room, escaping the laughter and footsteps of Abby. So it came as a surprise, and I felt bad that he might have felt abandoned and alone, succumbing to the tumor and sickness that has been slowly growing within him. Did we get a long time with him after his diagnosis? Yes, but my time and attention was elsewhere and Peanut became so secondary that I took his presence for granted. I now wish I had spent more time with him…and Taro said with me taking care of Emi and Abby a majority of the time, it wasn’t like I wanted to ignore him; I just had new and more important priorities. But still…Peanut was the first pet Taro and I shared, the first (and only) cat I ever owned, a kitten who we adopted , a lover of these purple fuzzy cat toys, a ninja who jumped off the columns in our house, a cat who actually played fetch, a mean one to strangers and even friends but affectionate to me and Taro, a cat who respected my girls and knew never to harm them, a cricket killer and guardian of the house, a Christmas tree lover who snuggled on the tree skirt for the month of December, and just plain the best cat I could ever have had.

I came home today without Peanut’s greeting by the door and there was a stillness within the house. The lack of his presence was clear and in ways, it made the house feel lonely. I have been so used to seeing Peanut’s face and preventing him from dashing outside the door. It makes me sad that I won’t hear his meow anymore, even though it was bothersome early in the morning, or hear him try to swipe under the door, even though that oftentimes frightened the crap out of me in the middle of the night. Emi stated it best: “My heart is sad because Peanut isn’t coming home.”

Peanut was the best cat…and like I said, the only cat I will ever have. There was just something about him – his guarded self, his distance before warming up, his weariness of outsiders, and his love for those that were close within. Perhaps I saw a bit of myself, a connection, and something I could break…and that was the reason why we loved Peanut and he loved us.

I will miss his nutface dearly, but I know he is no longer suffering and feeling like a burden. I will always remember Peanut and cherish all the fond memories and pictures. Thank you for all the good times, Nutty, and I will miss and love you always.


It has been a while since I posted about Emi. With the planning of Emi and Abby’s joint party, the holidays, photo sessions, and teaching, I have been incredibly busy. Although I taught freshmen years and years ago – seriously, like my first year teaching – and the curriculum is familiar, in ways it is new, especially with the change to Common Core. So it feels like starting over, but I am sure I will get into the swing of things for next year when I probably will have freshmen again. Sigh.

October’s focus was definitely on the joint party and this year, Emi spent most of her time outside on the jumper water slide. She had so much fun going up and down, back and forth. At one point Taro’s mom dragged her in saying she was on it too long. Emi ran straight for Grandmama and was back on that slide in no time. It was the perfect, warm day so I wasn’t concerned, although the next day it did rain! That’s California weather for you. Emi enjoyed eating cake, cupcakes, and as usual we had our taco guy come out and our grilled cheese sandwiches station. In addition we had Porto’s and some Indian food. It’s always an eclectic mix so we can cater to all our friends which really requires guests to eat in multiple rounds.

This Halloween Emi dressed up as Elsa. Right when I thought Frozen was out, it came back out of nowhere. Emi actually got a Frozen karaoke radio for her birthday and she belts out Let It Go. Super cute and the fun part is that it actually connects to my phone so she can sing whatever song she wants. But back to Halloween…Emi wore the Frozen Fever dress and loved going from house to house trick-or-treating. The thing she enjoyed most in her candy collection? The bags of pretzels! Emi is actually not a big candy eater, minus gummy bears, but who doesn’t like gummy bears? Overall, Emi had a great time walking around the neighborhood and she also enjoyed passing out candy. However, it was a bit strange when Emi would give adults candy…as in adults with no little kids. At least Emi had a good time wishing everyone a happy Halloween!

Emi started Japanese school on Fridays, which is a huge change for her. First, the teachers only speak Japanese, which immediately prompted Emi to say she only wanted to go to English school. When I told her she is half Japanese, Emi said she wanted to be French like her friend, Lily. Overall, it is an adjustment not just for Emi, but me, too. I am out of my element, very much feeling like an outsider because everything – notices, bulletins, sign-in sheets – are written in Japanese. All the moms speak Japanese to one another (and even text in Japanese). It also is demanding of time. I spent three plus hours making two ornaments for Emi. While I don’t mind making things for her, I like that Emi’s teachers at her regular school create crafted projects for us for holidays and occasions. I treasure all of her creations and although I am sure Emi will appreciate the ornaments when she gets older, I want to have all the things she made filed and stored away so she can look back on them one day. Another thing I struggle with is that Emi can’t tell me what she is learning. She mainly says she plays all day, versus at her regular school, Emi writes, does creative work, role plays in the theater room, and also plays outside in the yard. I’m trying hard to give it a fair shot, but I think the standoffish disconnect between parent and teacher, which I feel is very Asian, turns me off. I mean, I text Emi’s teachers and we share funny things with each other on Instagram! I am spoiled with her teachers. Speaking of which, I am not looking forward to Emi moving up and leaving Ms. Tannya and Ms. Isela.

It feels like the holidays came so fast this year. Thanksgiving just came and went and now Christmas is just around the corner! For Thanksgiving Emi enjoyed eating chicken that Taro made. She tried some of the other things we had (We ordered from Bristol Farms again.), but Emi, since Thanksgiving, has had only on focus in mind – Christmas and getting that American Girl doll. That is Emi’s big wish on her list. Ever since she discovered the catalogue from the mail, she has asked for an American Girl doll. We even went to the store to see which doll she liked, since they now have different skin tones, hairstyles, and even eye shape, and I am surprised we made it out alive since the three times we went, every single girl at the store had at least one doll and many of them were wearing coordinating outfits! To encourage Emi that part of getting the doll for Christmas was earning it, we started using Chore Pad for the iPhone, which gives her check marks when she completes things for the day. Some of the categories include drinking milk, eating vegetables, no whining, no screaming/yelling, no talking back, and a handful more. Some days Emi earns very few check marks (especially on Fridays when she doesn’t nap and she goes bonkers) while other days she is super awesome. The no whining/screaming/talking back are big ones since I have a 4-ager, as I like to call her. Along with the American Girl doll, Emi has selected accessories that she would like to ask from Santa and also, she is really into Shopkins. She likes to tell Hat (our elf on the shelf) things when she completes them and also enjoys finding out what kind of shenanigans Hat gets into. Overall, it should be a fun Christmas, especially since I am taking her to the American Girl cafe with Julie and Laney!

December has been eventful so far with Emi’s Holiday Extravaganza show at school where she sang and dressed up in a Tigger inspired tutu. I am so glad I was able to get someone to cover my class so I didn’t have to miss it. Emi also had a performance at Japanese school and she did really well. She played an instrument and seemed to know the words to the songs.

Emi is still taking swimming lessons and can roll over on her back and float for ten seconds. She also is learning how to use her arms and with Wyatt as her teacher, I anticipate that she will get it. Emi can actually get across the length of the pool alternating between kicking on her stomach and floating on her back. That is a huge improvement since she began and I am pretty sure she could save herself if she fell into a pool as long as she doesn’t panic. We definitely need to practice that so she knows what to do. Swimming is the only activity Emi is doing right now and she doesn’t have an interest in joining other activities, but I feel like it is because she gets upset that I go to work. Hopefully I can convince her to join soccer again. However, she is going to try skiing when we go to Mammoth and I look forward to her flying down the mountain! I really hope she likes it because one day, I want to take Emi and Abby up to the top of the mountain and go down the run with them, even if it is the green one on the backside.

Emi is growing up fast. She is my chatterbox, my goofball, my girl who tests the limits and can drive me nuts nuts coconuts (but at the end of the day…20 minutes later I love her immensely and forget), my booty shaking partner, my sensitive little girl, and my daughter who loves and takes great care of her baby sister. I cannot wait to see what 2016 brings and what adventures we will go on.

Until the next update…


I feel so behind in updating about Abby and what she is up to. I have been swamped with work (teaching work), busy with photo sessions and holiday sessions (definitely a good thing, but editing is time consuming), prepping Emi’s Japanese school stuff (more about that when I update on Emi), and just getting ready for Christmas! The list gets longer and longer, both with gifts and Christmas cards, but I really do enjoy doing all of it. So now I get to sit and breathe and write this, although it is in the car as I am waiting for a family to arrive for their Christmas photos! You have to take whatever time you can get.

The past few weeks have been a bit challenging, especially since Abby has been teething constantly. Her molars popped out, even before what my mom calls the vampire teeth. She broke a high fever and it did concern Taro, although I kept on reassuring him it was her teeth. In total Abby has 12 teeth (as far as I can see). Tooth #11 came out on November 8th and I noticed #12 on November 23rd. Her gums are still pretty swollen so I am sure the next two are coming out soon. I definitely get cues when Abby is teething since she sticks her finger in her mouth and will even stuck her spoon all the back to chew on.

Speaking of food and eating, Abby loves to eat! She wants to try everything, even salad. She literally had a piece of arugula yesterday and she kept on pointing at my pizza. When Abby wants something she points. It’s a matter of guessing what she wants. So far Abby has enjoyed the following: porridge (both at restaurants and when I make it at home), udon (Emi and Abby shared a double portion at Maragume!), eggs, pancakes, rice crackers (The same ones Emi eats all the time!), tofu, fruit, Cheerios, shrimp (Yes, completely random, but enjoyed it.), chicken, beef, tomatoes, rice, pasta/spaghetti, graham crackers, bread – croissants, rolls, any type is good, cheese…she eats it all. I hope she continues on this path, although I know it can easily change. However, she does eat more things than Emi did at this age, and she started solids far earlier. I still nurse Abby, but she definitely loves to eat food, especially anything I am eating! Both Abby and Emi now steal my food.

Abby is not officially walking, but she can take about six steps on her own. Her feet are flat on the floor, but now it is a matter of confidence. She will take a few steps and then resort to crawling. I’m definitely afraid of what kind of trouble she will get in, especially since I caught her sitting on the small chair backwards after going to get something in the kitchen and then another time standing up on that very same chair! Abby likes to get into everything so once she figures out this whole walking thing…oy vey. Despite not walking, Abby is able to maneuver herself well, even “walking” on her knees, which she does rather quickly. She is able to get on top of a box or can even seat herself in the push car. Abby even knows that the seat belt needs to go on and grabs it. We do laps around the dining room and race with Emi. I get a lot of steps in when I do this! She is definitely a curious one. Update: I started writing this on Sunday, December 6th to get a jump start and as of today, December 12th, she is fully walking around the house! She has walked all around the dining room and kitchen. Abby can walk across the living room, the length of the rug. And now, here comes trouble!

Abby is my fighter. She is the I-don’t-want-to-sit-in-my-car-seat girl who stands up, the one who stands up on the changing table, the girl who I feel like I am having a battle with just to put on a diaper, the baby who crawls away when I am trying to change her or put on clothes, and the girl who tries to crawl away after bath time…naked.

But Abby is also super sweet, who gives hugs or leans her head on my shoulder. She snuggles up to feel safe and her warmth is just…all kinds of wonderful. She makes me laugh whenever she responds back to Emi. When we are in the car and it might be close to nap time or bed time, I always ask Emi to see if Abby is sleeping. Emi always says, “Aaaaa-bby?!?” and follows it up with a laugh. Abby always copies Emi’s laugh and then they both start laughing and copying one another. This definitely makes having two girls awesome. Besides that, I love seeing how attached Abby is to my dad. She loves waving to him and makes it a point to go to him when he comes over. As far as my mom, Abby is actually afraid of her! I mean, she loves my mom, but when my mom says, “No!” Abby actually frowns and cries, but stops pretty quickly if my mom just looks at her. Tiger Mom. As for me, Abby just looks at me and continues doing what she is doing!

I look forward to celebrating Abby’s 2nd Christmas and spending time at home for the holidays. It was nice having Halloween on the weekend and trick-or-treating with the girls. Abby was a strawberry this year and she made it to a good number of houses, although we didn’t bring a bucket for her. Our neighbors still have her candy, though, and just put it in Emi’s pail. Abby enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family and enjoyed Taro’s cooking (chicken and rice). I am sure Abby is going to enjoy my mom’s cooking for Christmas – I am definitely looking forward to it!

My baby is growing up too fast. I just received her one year book that I made in the mail and it is crazy to see how much she has grown, changed, and developed. It feels so long ago and it is definitely a reminder to hold on to both Abby and Emi as tightly as possible.

Until the next update…

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