Summer! For Emi that means swimming lessons – we are one week into them and the teacher makes her go underwater every day (insert scary, bugged eye face), the splash pads next to the pool, ice cream – strawberry or an ice cream sandwich, random trips – so far Huntington Library and The Getty, painting, playing with Min (Emi’s Minnie Mouse doll), obsessing over using the iPad and watching TV (which we do our best to limit), discovering she likes more food – pizza from Casa Bianca and Luggage Room, and just enjoying the time before I have to go back to teaching (insert sad music).

Emi continues to be her silly self. She likes to push this button on a toy in Abby’s room and say, “We’re going to Disneyland!” and do a silly dance. This past week when I picked her up from school, she asked if I had a surprise for her and I actually did! My mom and I tried to give Emi hints, starting with, “The surprise starts with the letter C.” Emi stated in a serious voice, “Chicken nuggets.” My mom and I laughed so hard and when I said no, Emi said, “Chicken.” Eventually we were able to get to the true surprise, which was a cupcake from Dots, which Emi said is her favorite. She especially loves the red velvet cupcakes from there. Emi makes me laugh all the time, and this is just one example of her silliness.

Emi has discovered she likes potatoes (mainly the breakfast ones from Bristol Farms) and french fries. The other day she asked for french fries and strawberry ice cream from M…which is McDonalds. I ended up getting her some the next day, but at the location closer to my parents’ house. She nearly refused, which continues to show how she is set in her ways and likes things to be exactly the same (hence going to the M that she went to with Taro). I wonder if she will be like this as she continues to get older.

This update was brief, but we do have some exciting things coming up for the remainder of the summer. Stay tuned!


Emi loves carrying her camera around and takes pictures of everything around her. She forgot to bring her camera to the Getty so I let her use my phone instead.




Happy 8 months to my Abby girl! Abby continues to be on the roll and can cover the area of the rug in a blink of an eye. She moves so fast now and is able to scot and turn in the direction she wants to go in. And then Abby is off in that direction! Like I mentioned previously, this is something new (since Emi was not a roller) so I am extremely thankful that I have Emi to keep an eye on her little sister as I quickly prepare breakfast, get a bath ready, or just run to get clothes for Emi to change into. I feel like Abby will crawl earlier than Emi, especially because she has her knees moving and she is doing worm-like movement on the ground. Abby is definitely active and curious, rolling to toys, the couch, or even to the door to check up on me when I need to grab something from the kitchen! I am pretty sure I will have my hands full once she starts crawling (so perhaps we should just hold off on that for a little bit)!

Abby loves playing. She loves banging her hands on the table to hear the sound, loves banging on her drums or pushing buttons that play music, chewing on toys, making things spin, and transferring toys from one hand to the other. Abby enjoys reaching and grabbing for things so when we go out to dinner, plates and utensils have to be pushed in or else she leans over and tries to get a hold of them. She is very curious about food and makes a sound with her mouth when we eat. Although I mainly nurse Abby, I have introduced rice cereal, green beans, and sweet potatoes to her. I want to say green beans are Abby’s favorite right now. She opens her mouth and lunges for the spoon, which is pretty funny. When Abby is done, she tends to grab the spoon and if she catches you off guard, food goes flying like something launched from a catapult. Because she is eating solid food, it definitely makes it easier for my mom when I go out for lunch or go to a photo session. Now my mom can just grab a bowl and spoon rather than try to give Abby a bottle, which she continues to refuse. (I definitely worry when I have to go back to teaching!)

Abby’s fifth tooth popped out on June 1, 2015 and I can already see the white cap of tooth #6. Luckily Abby doesn’t break a fever or get irritable when she is teething now. Those teeth are helping her chomp down on solids for sure!

Besides sticking her toes in her mouth or holding her feet and going back and forth (happy baby yoga pose), Abby just recently learned how to clap. She thinks it is funny. Abby especially loves hearing her voice echo. She says “Aaaaaa!” or “Ah!” in the parking structure and will laugh to herself. If Emi repeats and copies Abby, Abby also finds it funny and will repeat after Emi. The two of them just go back and forth and entertain one another. The other sound Abby likes to make is wa-wa-wa. She does that while putting her mouth against my shoulder or on my face. I get drool and saliva all over my cheek, but it’s okay. Abby only does this to me I do it back to her which makes her laugh and smile.

One of the things that makes my heart melt is seeing Emi and Abby interact with one another. Emi gives Abby a kiss before they go to sleep and Emi knows how to make Abby laugh. All Emi has to say is, “Gucci-gucci!” and Abby just laughs. The other day when I picked up Emi from school, Abby was asleep in the car. My mom stayed with Abby as I rushed to get Emi and once Emi was in, she started talking. Abby woke up and turned to look for Emi. When I looked in my mirror, I could see the two of them staring at each other and smiling. It doesn’t get better than that.

I don’t know where the time has gone because I just cannot believe Abby is 8 months old. I get to spend a little bit more time with her before I go back to work and I will definitely make the most of it. I already have to start planning her one year party because I know it will sneak up on me!

Stay tuned for next month’s update!


My pride and joy is teaching AP. It’s not because the class has the top students. That is one of the reasons, but it’s the literature we study and the depth we are able to go into, which is unlike any other class. Yes, it is hard. Yes, there are sad faces during pop quizzes and the days when essays are returned. It may be devastating in the moment, but I always have the end goal in mind – passing that AP exam.

I have kept in touch with so many former AP students and to hear of their success in college and afterwards makes me proud. Kathryna was one of my AP-ers, as I like to call them. She was sweet, hardworking, and dedicated to making Rowland a better place. Fast forward to now and she is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in food science. She has many adventures ahead, one of which is moving up north to start her career! (Big congrats to that!) Even though it has been four years, what hasn’t changed is Kathryna’s sweet self. She is still that girl I remember, who is just all grown up now.

It was wonderful to meet Kathryna’s family and to see that special bond she has with her brother. Even though they are miles apart, you can see the love that they have for one another. That love is mirrored in the parents as well and you could especially see it when Kathryna’s dad would do a thumbs up. Even though everyone laughed at how goofy and cheesy it looked, it brought out the best smile on Dad’s face and made everyone laugh. By the way, Kathryna’s parents were seriously the cutest when they took pictures together!

In addition to seeing new faces, it was nice to see some old ones as well. Peter joined in on the photos and it was adorable seeing Kathryna with her UCSD half. Like Kathryna, Peter is still that goofy and sweet self and I am super proud of him as well. I’ll never forget not giving him the quiz, but that is what made having Peter as a student unforgettable.

Congratulations on graduating, Kathryna! I know you are going to do great things and I look forward to hearing about them! Hopefully our paths will cross soon…perhaps during breakfast at Delicious Food Corner.

(Big congrats to Peter as well and good luck with Med School!)

{Know someone interested in a portrait session? Feel free to share my phone app: Andrea Takeoka Photography}