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This is the third year that I have been lucky enough to take Chase’s portraits. Each year we schedule it relatively close to his birthday in order to capture yet another milestone in his life. For his seven-year-old portraits, we decided on the beautiful Cal Tech campus – a mix of some modern elements, some great older buildings, and nature within the campus – the turtles that Chase loved looking at, the lily pads, rosemary bushes, and beautiful trees. Becky (She is a high school counselor.) talked about how Chase is going to attend Cal Tech later on and that this is just a quick tour of the campus for Chase! With a wink, I said, “On a full ride, of course,” while she reminded Chase the importance of doing all his homework.

I love seeing Chase because he is such a fun, young boy. He didn’t disappoint with his smiles and sweet personality that I am so used to, but this time around, I also got to see him bust out his dance moves, sing “Everything is Awesome” from the Lego Movie, and showcase some breakdancing moves. Yes, those moves included spinning on the floor! It was seriously the best thing and I love that Chase feels that comfortable in front of me and the camera so much so that he told his mom to go away because he was trying to take pictures. It wasn’t in a mean-spirited way; at one point Becky went to go get Chase a bottle of water so it was just the two of us and I said, “Okay, let’s take some good pictures to surprise your mom!” So the go away comment was Chase wanting to give his mommy the best pictures possible! That is love right there.

It was so great seeing Chase again and to see how much he has changed from the previous year. I loved how he played with his Star Wars figurines, had a stuffed octopus doll because he loves pirates, and how he enjoys playing with dinosaurs. We talked about his recent Disneyland trip and I had a blast watching and photographing him jump around, climb trees, and pretend to fire the cannon on the campus. I cannot wait to see what he is like a year from now…but don’t grow up too fast, Chase, although you will forever be mommy’s little boy.

Thanks for the opportunity to photograph your son again, Becky and John! xoxo

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

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I met the Law family last Thanksgiving for an impromptu family session. It was set up within a couple days after Jennifer saw her friends’ holiday photos. After our session together, Jennifer already told me that they would return back to Southern California in the Spring and she wanted to have another session. So when Jennifer contacted me, it made me look forward to seeing her family again, especially her cute and fun kids. They trekked down during their Spring break to visit family, but unfortunately the original date we arranged to take photos was not only going to be overcast,  but there was a chance of rain! The sunny, 70ish degree weather was nowhere in sight! Luckily we were able to align our schedules together and take the photos a couple of days later and that Southern California weather was present. If anything, it was actually on the warmer side! (And yes, it did rain on that original date! Weather here can be unpredictable at times.)

We had our family photo session at the L.A. Arboretum. The kids loved checking out the art pieces and especially loved seeing the peacocks that roam around the arboretum and the city of Arcadia. They also enjoyed checking out the turtles and the geese that frequent the water. Similar to last time, the two older ones enjoyed climbing the trees and exploring everything that surrounded them. The lil’ one pretended the tree stump was a drum and loved smelling the colorful flowers around her. Overall, the kids had a great time and what I enjoyed most was seeing the three of them interact with one another. You can see the love they have for one another.

It was great seeing all of you again, Law family! I look forward to photographing you again on your next visit!

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

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On Tuesday (April 14th), Emi’s teacher told me a handful of things that made me laugh.

One: Emi wants to have a dance party with her teacher. Yes, we dance all silly when we are at home. Emi has just discovered Daft Punk and likes their music. Taro blasted it on his speaker and the three of us danced in the living room. Surprisingly Abby did not wake up to our madness. So the dance party comment was in ways a surprise (since she wants to do it at school) and not at the same time. Currently, this is Emi’s playlist: “Love Shack” by The B-52s (Long story about how she discovered this song, but it was to do with me identifying the wrong song during a Jamberry party game!), “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “Cool Kids” by Echosmith, “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry, “Tokyo” by Owl City, “Cool” by Gwen Stefani (Loving that Emi likes Gwen Stefani and No Doubt!), “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, and “Lose Yourself to Dance” by Daft Punk. As you can see, Emi has an eclectic choice in music, similar to her indecisive mom here.

Two: Emi has done Facetime with her previous teacher. And occasionally we send pictures and video. So when she showed Emi’s current teacher the video we sent, her teacher asked why Emi didn’t send her a video. Emi’s response? Emi told her teacher she needs her phone number! It totally makes sense, but I was so surprised Emi asked for it! So now we have Emi’s teacher’s phone number.

Three: Apparently Emi does shoulder shimmies and flips her hair and says, “I’m pretty.” Ummm…whhhhhat? Where did she get that from? Seriously…that is all Taro right there. Haha!

Emi is a complete goofball at school and her teacher said Emi is super funny and she can see why her previous teacher enjoyed having her. I’m glad she is opening up in her class and with her (not so new anymore) teachers even though Emi insists every Tuesday and Thursday she doesn’t like school and doesn’t want to go. I know it is hard leaving home and knowing I am home, but once she is there, Emi really does have a great time. Emi is getting better at writing and coloring and her paper cutting skills is improving! Emi loves showing me her work that is displayed in the classroom and I enjoy hearing the songs she learns at school (the days of the week and also a Spanish song she learned).

Emi is really becoming her own person. She is very stubborn (definitely a combination of me and Taro) and likes to have things her way (everything has to have its place). I call her a hoarder because she likes to keep things, like receipts (In my opinion, all Taro right here!), and can remember if things came in a specific bag or box. Emi stuffs her purse with the most random things! She hates band-aids and nail polish. Emi wanted her nails painted like mine and after painting just one nail, she screamed, “Take it off!” She enjoys playing in her toy kitchen and if you are over, she will make some kind of meal. She especially loves cooking it up for Grandmama and her Auntie Viv. Her new thing is making pie and she tried her first real pie just recently – a bite size blueberry pie from 85 Degrees. Emi still continues to enjoy eating cake and just had her first ice cream sandwich which she thoroughly enjoyed. Emi is eating more, as in she is willing to try new things. It’s probably a mixture of being on the lunch program at school and knowing she will get a quarter if she eats veggies, although she still wants to just eat chicken and rice for dinner almost every night. She loves going to Tasty Garden and having the hot pot rice, “brown chicken” (which is really beef in the chow fun), and Hong Kong egg waffle. And did I mention at times I have a 3-year-old going on 15? Emi calls me “Mom” and tells me, “Don’t worry about it.” I want to say, “Whoa there, girl.” I guess this is just a preview into the teenage years. On top of all this, shopping with Emi is an adventure now. She loves Gap and the minute we step in, she starts looking for things that are 3T and tries to throw them into my bag. She is definitely my lil’ shopping buddy.

During the past couple of months we were able to go to Knott’s Berry Farm again. Now that I’m not pregnant I go on practically all the rides with Emi unless I have to nurse Abby. The rollercoaster at Camp Snoopy is so bumpy and I have to hold on to Emi so tight, but she absolutely loves it! She still doesn’t want to go on the rides where she would have to ride by herself, but she definitely still enjoys the camp bus, boat, trucks, and all the other good stuff at Camp Snoopy.

We also went to Carlsbad Flower Fields with my mom. Emi loved seeing all the colorful flowers and sniffing them to see how they smell. Way back when, before kids and even before we got married, Taro and I went to Carlsbad and we have these pictures where we were jumping. So what I had Emi do was also jump with the flowers in the background and take photos of her. Even though she was just inches from the ground, I took them so it looks like she is a bit higher than that. Emi loved doing it and it was hilarious. We had a really great time out in Carlsbad and I look forward to going back again.

For Easter we took pictures at the mall. I was really proud of Emi because she didn’t freak out with the Easter bunny, even though she was really tense and weary about the bunny. We also went to her school for the Easter party and egg hunt. Emi enjoyed it and found five eggs in a row (the max number they could have). Jen and Herman had their annual Easter party and Emi didn’t run off crying in the picture this year. (Last year’s picture was memorable and super funny.) She LOVED looking for eggs and seeing what was inside. An extra treat was that on Easter day itself, my mom hid eggs in the backyard and Emi was able to find even more eggs! It was really a lot of fun and I cannot wait until next year when Emi and Abby can do it together.

May is going to be filled with fun, especially because we are going to take a two day trip to Disneyland! Emi is really looking forward to it, especially because she is obsessed with Minnie Mouse right now. She has already planned her 4th birthday which will include a Mickey Mouse cake. This girl knows what she wants. I look forward to sharing the next update on Emi. Until then…

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