Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dear Abby

It's been two years since you burst into our lives coughing, sputtering, purple with anger and not afraid to show it. Your daddy and I were a bit startled to find such a strong personality in such a small body. You cried your first night home with us so much that your daddy bolted out of the house the next morning and headed straight to Pottery Barn convinced that a glider chair would be the secret to a good night's sleep. Little did we know that you were not easily bribed to do what we thought you ought to be doing. I would sing you altered Christmas Carols:

What child is this who laid to rest
on Reiko's lap is not sleeping...

and sometimes you would choose to cooperate on your own terms...


Lucky for us, you've grown into a happy toddler with an easy smile and a loud, infectious laugh. You seem to have a constant soundtrack in your mind since you're always singing. You probably know 20 Japanese children's songs and another 20-30 American songs. Your favorites include "Yurikago", "Donguri", "Karasu", "Hiyoko", "Sing a Song", "Sesame Street Theme Song", "ABC", "Farmer in the Dell (aka Apa chi chi)", and "Old McDonald"


You also love books. Sometimes you just love to turn the pages. Other times, you want me to read it to you or you want to read the story in your own language to your imaginary friends. Either way, we're always charmed when you reveal your inner and undeniable nerd by openly embracing your books. You're great with puzzles. We've bought you a few but you quickly master them and need a new challenge.


Your favorite toy is easily your ukelele. It's your prized possession. You call it your "GEE-tar" and you must have it in your hands when you watch the Wiggles in case the red Wiggle is also playing his red guitar. You love these stringed instruments so much you charmed the bands at the Sheraton in Maui, demanding that we let you out of the pool so that you could saunter over, inner tube still around your waist, to get a closer look at the men playing guitars. Often, if a fast tempo came on, you'd point your fingers in the air and shake your butt to their music.


You savor your independence - left unattended with an unlocked door, you would make your way out the driveway, turn left finding the path to the park and your beloved swing. Your favorite time of day is probably when Ya-yan comes home to Ma-chan's house and takes you for a walk with Aki to the park.


Should mommy or daddy make the mistake of coming at this time to pick you up and deny you your chance to spend time with Ya-yan, you would throw a monumental fit - so we're always careful to time our pickups carefully. I'm not sure exactly what you do at the park but I think Ya-yan lets you sit on the swing for nearly half an hour and then rolls around the grass with you. He also lets you walk Aki by yourself which must make you feel like such a big girl.


Sometimes I wonder if you know of all of the changes ahead. That you'll be joined by a best friend/foe in late April as we become a family of 4. That you'll have to share your toys with others. That sleeping by yourself in your bed isn't the biggest challenge you'll ever face. What I do know is that no matter what you're faced with, you'll put your brave face on (the one I saw you put on today when we went to check out the new day care and you weren't sure of how you ought to react). You'll probably try to have fun anyway. And if all else fails, you'll know that you have a safe place to return to where we can try to show you that all of the important things don't change.

Happy Birthday Abby.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1460 days

That's how many days Albert and I have now been married. That's four years. I'd known for at least another two years that he was my ultimate partner in crime.


But after 1460 days, the inevitable happened and he messed up. Big time. Well, not really. He forgot the all too important wedding anniversary. When I nonchalantly asked if he knew what day it was, he stood by the door, mind racing, going through all possible holidays and special dates and finally got to the correct answer. He felt bad. Terrible, even.

And he made up for it. Flowers at the office. Shirt from my favorite boutique in Palo Alto.

The only thing is... I don't need all of this stuff. Albert remembers the important things every day. He knows how to make the ladies in his life feel important and remembered. From before Abby was born to today, we have many memories that are shared and treasured.

Here's one such moment for all of you who wonder how we manage to keep up our good looks...


Monday, August 18, 2008

An exuberant life

I want to live life with this kind of spirit...


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Simmering down

The last month and a half have been absolutely crazy for the Miura-Ko family. I started at a new job without fully finishing the Ph.D. and so I'm trying to do 4 things at once: mom, research, teaching and job.

The job is as an investor in a new venture capital firm with Mike Maples - a fantastic entrepreneur with a great track record over the last few years as an angel investor. I'll likely write more about this in the future but the general idea is that there is a gap between financing that angel investors provide and the amount of capital venture capitalists typically look to invest. We call ourselves micro-cap investors. The quality of the companies I've seen coming through the door have been truly impressive and I'm really excited to be in the working world again. Having said that, it doesn't mean that I'm done with the Ph.D. or that I'm quitting. I plan on finishing. I know lots of people say that but I'm committed to it and hope to be done in due time.

In the mean time, Abby has been growing and we have done some traveling! The family went back East for our 10 year college reunion at Yale. I don't think I've sung "Bright College Years" or "Boola Boola" with such gusto in a really long time. Walking through that beautiful campus really brought back a flood of wonderful memories. Yale has really flourished in the last few years.
The renovations have been done spectacularly. I was only disappointed that we couldn't visit the library and visit the circulation desk beneath the altar of Sterling Library. We did get a chance to see many of our old friends including Terry, my dear old engineering partner who bravely made it out with his wife and THREE kids, Camelia and her lovely family,
(where Abby and Aiden gave us a preview of Aiden spotting Abby on campus in 16 years) and David Gergin.

I nearly thrust Abby at David Gergin and had him hold her for a photo but we (read: Albert) decided that that would be inappropriate. David Gergin is as thoughtful in person as he is on CNN. He actually stopped to talk with us for a little while after we took our requisite photos.

The only other celebrity sighting of the weekend was Barbara Bush of the Bush twins fame. We couldn't figure out a subtle way of taking her photo so that is not included in this blog.

The other highlight for the weekend was the fact that we got to eat some Pepe's pizza. It was as delicious as I had remembered it. For all of you who knock New Haven, I have to say there is no other city in the world that has pizza as good as that town.


The low point for us was related to travel to and from New Haven. On the way out, we were on the tarmac for nearly 4 hours in Chicago with no air conditioning. On the way back, we were stuck in the airport in Hartford for nearly 4 hours due to delays in Chicago. Lessons learned: 1) do not fly through Chicago and 2) 4 hours spent in airport is highly preferable to 4 hours on tarmac. We did get home safely, though, and even knowing what I know now, I would have gone for our 10 year reunion. I'm definitely going back for the 15th!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Living it up in Phoenix

One of my best friends, Camelia, lives in Phoenix. We visited her in January and loved it so much that we had to go again when Albert had a conference there a few weeks ago. Camelia has a son, Aiden, who is just a little over 2 years old. Little Aiden has big blue eyes and blond curls that would make any 18 month old swoon. He also has an incredible memory which makes it fun to go visit him because he remembers us.

Camelia is part of a mommy's group including one person who was nice enough to let us crash her son's birthday party on Saturday so that Cams and I could continue to catch up. It was at Chuck E. Cheese and Abby loved all of the cars there that she could "drive".


Sunday morning there was yet another birthday party that we were invited to crash but given that it was the only time when Al had free time to hang out, we chose to do that instead.


Abby absolutely loved the pool at the Biltmore. She never wanted to leave. I eventually bought her an inner tube so she could manage by herself a little bit (not that I'd leave her in the pool on her own but so she could get around a little bit by herself). After that, she wanted little to do with me and would get mad if I held on to her while she was "swimming". Abby even went down the water slide which she enjoyed by saying "weeeee" the entire time she was going down. Here's a picture of her with Albert immediately post-splashdown.


But let's be honest. I was there to honor the tradition of generations of Japanese women who have intruded upon their daughters' lives to set them up with their friends' sons. Sometimes it went well...


... yes, Aiden is holding a phone up to Abby's ear while he watches the Elmo movie. They actually got into the chair together themselves. And here's one of them at Whole Foods. Abby dragged Aiden into this car so she could show him her driving skillz


But as in any relationship, there are also the more trying moments - like when Abby tried to grab Aiden's Elmo guitar from him before he wanted to share...


Note the look of utter disdain in Abby's face.

The quick highlights and lowlights of the weekend:
1. Abby pulled Aiden's hair and we heard Aiden cry, "Abby boom my hair!". Abby then runs out of the kitchen to see a mad mommy and emits her fake distress call.

2. Abby comes down with severe case of eczema and Ann rushes her to hospital. Apparently pool and dry air are not a good combination for Abby. Strong steroids do the trick and all is well within a couple of hours.

3. Anthony takes a day off of work to do his backyard which when we last visited was a putting green. It is now a beautiful desert landscape with a firepit

4. When Abby falls asleep in the car, Aiden quietly lets us know that, "Abby sleeping." When Aiden falls asleep in the car, Abby leans over and loudly shouts, "NO!".

5. We celebrate Anthony's birthday twice with a bbq and with a nice dinner at a local Mexican restaurant the next night.

To the Tuminellos: Thank you for a great weekend in Phoenix. We had the best time and can't wait to see you all again for reunion!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

a life perfect

Life is incredibly busy these days. The quarter ended with a bang and before I knew it I had 120 finals and 12 papers to grade and final grades to submit. I picked up my sis-in-law, Cindy, and mom-in-law from the airport and we all headed up to the mountains for some spring skiing.


You read that right. Double black and we're not scared. It was a win-win situation to say the least. Albert's mom got some alone time with Abby...


while Albert, Cindy and I hit the slopes. See here how Albert and Cindy enjoyed the scenery...

The snow was slushy but we had 2 great days of skiing and it was wonderful to see family and have them see Abby. When we got home, we went on a bike ride through Palo Alto and I had yet another moment where I just felt a lot of love from Abby:


Words Abby knows: No, Mommy, Daddy, Ya-yan (grandpa Miura), Aki (the dog), Ma-chan (grandma Miura), Georgia (friend at daycare), wheeeeee (when something fun happens), woof woof, cookie, ba-bou, up, down, hi, bu-bye, achiiii (hot), bubble, kanpai (pronounced banbai, means cheers), all done

Songs Abby sings: Twinkle twinkle, Old MacDonald, Wheels on the Bus, Farmer in the Dell , ABC's (up to P), John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt, Tulip Song (Japanese), Yurikago Lullaby, Butterfly song (Japanese)

Friday, March 21, 2008


So Abby has finally mastered calling me "Mommy". This had started to click over the last few days but Abby chose last night at 1AM to really master this trick. I was thrilled for about 2 seconds until I realized she was really wide awake and wanted to play. 2 hours later, we finally managed to get her to sleep.