2019年5月1日水曜日

One month of Intermittent Fasting - Why, How, and results!

I often hear "gaining weight is easy, but losing weight is difficult." I've never actively tried to do either, but I grew up watching my mother struggle with yo-yo dieting, trying all the "fad" diets (Remember Atkins? and its still trendy successor Keto? and now gluten-free/paleo/etc) and getting down to around my size, then ballooning back up to "plus size" in no time. To me, it seemed like the problem was less about gaining or losing weight, and more about imposing unsustainable, unnatural restrictions on yourself only to go back to the exact same habits later, and be surprised when you return to the exact same state as before.

A little over a year ago, I started working for the call center and commuting 4 miles each way by bicycle. At first, it was kind of hard. My legs and core would especially be pretty sore the day after I worked. And then after a while, it became routine. And now, I have no problem riding 4 miles in 30 minutes, 6 times per week. And I generally enjoy making healthy meals with half the plate being colorful fresh vegetables most of the time.

However, sometime over the past few months, my weight crept up. Maybe it was the holidays, maybe it was the office snacks (always having a sweet treat with my coffee in the morning!) maybe my weekend glass of wine, whatever it was I needed to make a change. My weight which had hovered around 110-115 for the past 6 years or so except for pregnancy and immediate postpartum, had crept up to almost 130. For reference, when I lived in Japan I was at 125, and when I was in high school guzzling 2-3 sodas per day and thinking cheese/french fries or cheese/white bread was a legit meal I was 135. My pants were getting tight, my belly had a distinct soft layer, and I knew that it was time to do something.

So where could I make a change? Doing something like giving up all sweets, alcohol, etc. was unsustainable. I enjoy socializing and enjoying all kinds of foods and special occasions with my kids. Enjoying some cookies or cakes or a glass of wine on Saturdays wasn't the sole factor.

When I was at work, I usually snacked, ate something sweet with coffee for breakfast, and when I came home, I would eat something again before my nap. I realized that even though I was riding a bicycle I was still sitting for 10 hours, and then taking a nap at home. Was it really necessary to be eating at such regular intervals? Why did I just keep getting hungry again after a few hours?

Then I read about Intermittent Fasting. I read about the science behind fasting, the way it can regulate and reset digestion and blood sugar, and burn fat. Everything I heard so far about eating 6 meals per day, "keeping metabolism going" and "starvation mode" seemed a little far-fetched by comparison.

If I did a 24 hour fast. I could simply stop eating from after dinner before I went to work on Monday, and keep fasting until dinner on Tuesday night. On a fast, you were allowed to drink green tea and black coffee. On Tuesdays, I usually slept and recovered from Sunday and Monday nights work. If I fasted, my body would have a chance to recover as well.

I decided to try it, starting on April 2nd. Surprisingly, I only drank lots of water, a few cups of green tea, and a cup or two of black coffee, and I did get hungry for 10 minutes or so a few times, but I was able to fast for a whole day with very little difficulty.
I was surprised, because I always thought of snacks and chocolate as "fuel" or "quick energy". However, I found out that while I was fasting, I actually felt LESS hungry, and I felt like I had MORE energy, than while I was eating a cookie or a chocolate every couple hours!

I enjoyed the fast so much that I decided to do a shorter 18 hour fast from Wednesday night to Thursday. And on Wednesdays and Fridays, instead of eating the minute I woke up, I decided to wait until I did the 25 minute walk taking Chinami to school and coming back.

And then I did the same routine the next week as well. 24 hour fast, normal day, 18 hour fast, delaying breakfast until after a bit of light exercise.

After 2 weeks, I had lost 3 lbs, and I felt much better and more energetic.

And now, after one month, I am down 7lbs and have a lot more energy.

If I continue like this, I can see myself being able to cut down to 110lbs or so within another 2-3 months. And coupled with the addition of light exercise in addition to my regular 30-60 minutes of cycling and or walking every day, (planking at the park, yoga in the morning) this could mean an amazing transformation for my body. It's all very exciting, and above everything, it's sustainable. It's not some impossible harsh diet that I'm going to quit as soon as I've reached my "goal". I can keep fasting in my routine for life, tapering to a shorter fast or just once per week to reset and rejuvenate myself once a week.

I hope to update this blog next month with more progress!



Links about Fasting+Science:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits#section9
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156
https://www.johnshopkinshealthreview.com/issues/spring-summer-2016/articles/are-there-any-proven-benefits-to-fasting






2019年3月1日金曜日

#ThrowbackThursday February anniversaries

http://33sammi32.blogspot.com/2016/02/take a little time and reflect on our family's February milestones.

In February 2019....
It has been 14 years since Yasushi and I met, and 11 years since we got married.
7 years since we started our life in Hawaii, and also 7 years since I stopped using shampoo in my hair (no-poo, google it!)

It has been 6 years since I went NC with my parents, after trying to suggest various types of mediation and therapy, only to be met with hostility and psychotic threatening/stalking behavior.

It's been 4 years since Yasushi was promoted to head chef at his workplace. In the revolving door of restaurants in Honolulu, his restaurant has not only managed to stay afloat, but he has curated and prepared multi-course meals for various prominent figures and celebrities such as our mayor, Hakuho, and of course, President Obama and his family.

And even though I started working at my company (one of the biggest names in Japanese travel) in October 2013, the achievement award ceremonies are held in February, so just yesterday I received a lei, a certificate, and a monetary bonus commemorating my 5th year working for the company.

For such a short month, February has a lot of big milestones for us.

And 3 years ago, around this time, I was hugely pregnant and anxiously preparing for the homebirth of our son Kairu...and now, I'm excitedly preparing for his 3rd birthday party. As always, we have a BBQ at home, local style, inviting all the ones in our life who have given us and especially Kairu love and support for the past 3 years, and treating them to delicious food like grilled steak and a sashimi boat cut and served by our very own chef dad. The kids play, eat, and of course there is lots of cake at the end.
I've been gradually getting better at the planning end, and for Chinami's 6th we did a Coco-themed party with a home made banner "papel picado" style, yellow tissue paper flowers, a white guitar shaped pinata, tamales and tequila (for the adults!) and a bluetooth speaker playing the Coco soundtrack on loop. Kairu has been obsessed with "The Greatest Showman" since we saw it last year, so I started to plan a circus themed party....and then just a couple weeks ago, Kairu watched Bohemian Rhapsody with me, and now he's obsessed with Freddie Mercury! So it's going to be an interesting party, dedicated to our own greatest showman and rockstar! I hope everyone likes red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese/white chocolate topping!





2019年2月8日金曜日

A New Year!

2019 has started and it's already February.
The end of 2018 was spent with friends and lots of fun. I had my annual Kohaku viewing party on New Year's Eve, and this was the first year in 5 years I didn't have to worry about going to work at 4am the next day, so I ended up staying up way past midnight, and the kids tried their best but fell asleep before the big moment. New Year's day the kids, our dear roommate from Japan, and I went to mochitsuki, Gagaku performances, ate osechi for lunch, and visited the shrine. It was a great local style and Japanese style start to the new year. 
This year, for some reason I feel like I got a head start going in. The first month of 2019 my work schedule stabilized and I started earning almost 3x as much as I was earning back in the beginning of 2018 when I still did airport runs, plus for my commute I get to ride my bicycle 4 miles one way, 6 times a week which is amazing exercise. Now that it's February, I have a pretty good handle on my routine and am somehow able to do 3 overnight shifts per week while still taking care of my kids during the day, and keeping Kairu in preschool for just 2 days per week. 
I've also been itching to really tidy up our home, and the #konmari wave of January really gave me the extra push. I've decluttered a good amount and still have a ways to go, but I'm happy with the progress I've made. 
2019 is really the first year in a while that I haven't really made a clear resolution. We have some goals as a family, mostly financial that we would like to achieve in the next few years such as going to Japan as a family and maybe a new car in the next couple years. 

But personally, while there are some big things I would like to start doing, I'm feeling really secure with myself and satisfied to keep taking it one day, one small thing at a time. Physically, I'm in excellent health and my lifestyle is keeping me on track to many more decades of the same. Mentally, I've done a lot of healing personally. Life's definitely too short to worry about people who would willingly harm you and your family repeatedly.  With Kairu turning 3 next month, I've also gotten to a point where I don't feel overwhelmed by everything, I can take time for myself and feel okay about it. 

All in all, life is definitely a lot more fun when you have less to worry about! #blessed
#sparkjoy


2018年12月25日火曜日

Ready for Christmas!!

Growing up in Pennsylvania and spending time in Japan, I know what winter is supposed to be like. Snow, pine trees, hot cocoa and soup, etc. So for some people spending Christmas in Hawaii would seem a bit monotonous. 
But Hawaii has its own unique winter. The temperatures drop just enough to make fuzzy blankets and hot showers at night feel good. During the day we have trade winds and light rains that almost look like snow when you see the drops fluttering around in the wind. 
Honolulu has its own unique holiday events, in addition to all the amazing unique traditions and cultures shared by the families that live here. Every year I enjoy watching parades, seeing the City Lights display, riding a christmas trolley, and taking pictures with a Santa who wears an aloha shirt. Our condo and surrounding buildings on our street have fantastic light displays, and this year I even joined in decorating my lanai window with a simple yet bold design--a string of lights taped up into a triangle shape, with a color-changing star at the top. From the street, it looks like I have an amazing Christmas tree in my window! My actual Christmas tree is a "pop up" style rainbow tinsel cone that we decorated with all of the usual ornaments like my signature spelling of "LOVE".
We have a big stack of presents by the tree for all of us, not including the loft bed that needs to be put together. Since we usually don't spend money on things like furniture and such, many of our Christmas gifts are household items. On my husband's birthday, I upgraded our coffee table from a low folding wood one to a nice false marble lift-top table, since Yasushi prefers sitting on the sofa to sitting on the floor. I still have the old one folded up just in case for parties and such, so it's not a waste. For Christmas, Chinami is finally getting a loft bed, which will really optimize and organize our bedroom space. I think I'm a bit more excited than anyone for it!
Of course there are things like video games, etc. non essentials, non practical items I would love to buy but this year seeing family and furniture came first. 

2018 was definitely a great year and a year where we came first. We welcomed some great people into our home, we had an amazing family vacation where my children could get in touch with their roots on my side, and I took another step forward in my career and in my personal pursuits. Speaking of which, once again a door shut and a window opened. In December, I was told my hours would be cut, and instead of working 2 overnights and 1 morning shift, I would only be doing 2 overnights. However, the following week, one of our overnight ladies announced she would be leaving us, freeing up two overnight shifts, one of which I was able to take over starting next January. So instead of being uncertain, having Tuesday and Thursday free but not sure if I would be able to find a job to occupy the strange hours, and having a pay cut, I got another pay raise (more hours than before and at the higher overnight rate!) and Tuesday and Thursday can remain as "rest" days. 
So that is part of the reason that I am here on Christmas Eve, awake past midnight despite having worked overnight shift yesterday. Doing overnight shifts two days in a row(and then again one day later) is not going to be easy, but it's the best option for me to be able to provide for my family and still have time to spend with my kids and pursue my own personal projects in 2019. 
Merry Christmas to my beloved family, and may 2019 bring you peace and success. 


2018年12月1日土曜日

Reflections as we near 2019


After we returned from our trip, the time seemed to fly by. Soon, Halloween was already upon us, and instead of doing a Dias de Muertos /Coco theme, the kids and I decided on the Greatest Showman. It gave me a chance to wear the amazing sparkly dress I got as a gift from my dear "aunty" Rachel X when we stayed with them in Pennsylvania (I wore the dress plus gave myself a beard with face paint, easiest costume!) it gave Kyle a chance to shine as the star of his first real Trick or Treating excursion (he walked it this year!!) and Chinami was an amazing "Ann", it was perfect! And since Yasushi was off work this year, he was able to join in the fun and have his first Trick or Treating! Since he is tall, he played "the elephant" using the hat Kyle had used for his very first Halloween at 7 months old. The kids' costumes came together at the last minute, using lots of tacky glue and other sneaky techniques but we got lots of compliments!
After Halloween it was already November, and just like that, it was already Thanksgiving in just another week or so! Yasushi's workplace closed for dinner on that day, so I went shopping little by little during the week to amass all the ingredients we needed for our family feast -- a turkey of course (7.99 for a 15 pounder from Safeway with an in app coupon) some mixed wild rices and quinoas for our "stuffing" which is really takikomi wild rice with the turkey neck/tail/giblets, celery and carrots, creamed spinach which was my favorite dish at Boston Market and something unique to my American heritage, some brussels sprouts and corn, and this year instead of having mashed potatoes and doing sweet potato/kabocha pie and the like, I changed it up a little and just threw a bunch of different kinds of sweet potato (traditional orange yams, Japanese yellow satsumaimo, and "local" Okinawan purple) and some kabocha for good measure into the oven all wrapped up in foil when I put the turkey in. And for dessert, we had a special "new" family dish-- pumpkin butter mochi! Kyle has always loved butter mochi, since he was just a baby and his uncle Brandon brought some over and he just couldn't stop eating it!! At his 2nd birthday I made a butter mochi bus-shaped birthday cake with donut tires. And so I thought for our family Thanksgiving it would be appropriate to incorporate this piece of our family culture into the menu, and got us some butter mochi mix, and some canned pumpkin, and did a little adjustment and made it all work.
This year, I worked overnight on Wednesday, plus we were invited to a lunch potluck, so more than ever it was so important to prepare as much as I could ahead of time. On Tuesday I started the dry-brine on the turkey and put it in the nylon baking bag. On Wednesday I made sure all the ingredients were put together and grouped in the fridge, and on Thursday in the hour between coming home and leaving for the potluck I double checked and made sure everything would be ready to shove into the oven and push the "on" button on the pressure cooker when we got home around 1-2pm so I could nap for an hour or so before waking up again to check on things and clean up, and heat up the creamed spinach.
At the potluck, they had a microphone and amp set up for anyone to jump in and do some entertaining. So of course, with a little hesitation, I jumped in and sang a song. Kiyoshi no Zundoko Bushi. And so now everyone at the church knows that I like to sing Enka. I mean it's not something I actively keep a secret, I just never had the opportunity to bring it up, and now even people I don't know already know I sing Enka. After that a bunch of people had brought ukuleles and we had a good old fashioned kanikapila or "jam session", me with my accordion for the first time in years playing with others. It felt good!
Yasushi's friend from work came to have dinner with us and he brought us some wine. And luckily our roommate arrived home before we all passed out so I was able to make her a plate as well.
And just like that, now it's December. We have our Christmas tree up, and I even decorated our balcony door as well! This Sunday is the day of the JLPT test, which I signed up to take the N1 since it's been 10 years already since I passed it the first time.
I feel like the last few years I have lost focus on myself. But now I am getting back to my old passions. And I'm in a place now thanks to my overnight (premium pay) job where I am going to have more time to give the things I used to do another try. Sure, a lot has changed in the 6 years since I became a mom, but we'll see if I can adapt.

2018年11月26日月曜日

NYC and PA Trip!

I secured a new credit card with a bonus miles deal AND 2 free checked bags, and booked our plane tickets, our airport shuttle in Honolulu, our airbnb in Jersey City for the NYC leg, and our rental car for our PA leg. We packed one bag full of goodies from Hawaii and Japan to distribute, and one bag with one weeks worth of clothes, and headed off on our first journey to the East Coast in 7 years, the first time for both of my children.



9/5-9/6
Our plane ride from Honolulu to Newark Airport was a direct overnight flight which had its good points and bad...Kairu was very fussy on some legs of the flight which led to a tired family arriving in Newark at 6:45 AM, with an airbnb check in time of 4PM. Plus my poor judgement of how difficult a rail journey would be with 2 bags and 2 kids. Somehow we made it, and around 8AM we had dropped off all of our bags and carryons at the airbnb, and were hungry for some good food. Yasushi decided he was up for some dim sum in Chinatown. We ate at Shanghai Joe's, and then went to a nearby park which had an amazing playground and played away the rest of the day until it was time to check in, and promptly went to bed (after moving one of the mattresses to the floor for me and Kairu! 

9/7
Our second day in NYC started out cold, and rainy! We were all surprised by the change in weather from hotter and more humid than Honolulu, to the equivalent of our winter! We had some donuts for a snack, then headed up to Harlem hoping to get some gospel and soul food brunch, but the place I wanted to go was closed unexpectedly! Oh well, we enjoyed lunch at a nearby bar and grill which turned out to be pleasantly delicious, and walked around the neighborhood, and played at another park, which again, looked and felt safer and cleaner than the ones around our home in Honolulu. We headed to Times Square, went to the Top of the Rock, enjoyed classic NYC sightseeing, and finished the day off with pizza. 

9/8 
Today was the day we split off into mom-daughter and father-son teams, because for very good reason, small children aren't allowed into Broadway performances, and Chinami and I had tickets to the matinee of Anastasia the Musical: starring none other than our homegrown Pennsbury High School Thespian Troupe star Christy Altomare! She was a grade below me, and due to the way our high school split into two buildings, we actually were together in productions when I was in 10th and 12th grade. She was always the star, I was always somewhere in the back, we had our separate groups of friends, but definitely saw each other here and there. The show, and her performance, were absolutely amazing! I loved the story and the way they handled the controversy.



We headed straight for the stage door the minute the show was over and I was able to hand over a modest gift (Hawaiian honey and Japanese herbal throat candies) and say hello...we ended up getting all teary eyed...Success comes in many different forms. Some people end up on Broadway with like millions of adoring fans, some  people end up owning a condo in Honolulu, raising two amazing bilingual kids, and getting a moderately well paying job using the skills they went to college for. 
After that, we met back up with the other half of our family, ate street foods for dinner, and went home to sleep and prepare for the next leg of our journey!

9/9
Having learned from our dreadful journey through the underground the first time, we decided to order a Lyft to Newark Airport to pick up our rental car. It turned out to be just about the same amount, with a lot less stress. Or so it seemed. When I chose "EWR" as my destination in the app, it asked for my departure information, so I pressed the "skip" button, which I guess just set a generic "airport" destination. When the Lyft driver came, I told him that I was going to Hertz Rental Car, which is in Building 23, that is the address I have on the reservation and on Google. He told me OK, then proceeded to take us to the airport....and try to go to the random spot the app had originally sent.....and then asked me why I had given him that wrong address in the Lyft app. I told him that I was going to Hertz Rental Car, in building 23, not a departure like the app was trying to ask me, so that's why I told him the address when we got in the car. He then proceeded to drive in circles, around random places around the airport, all the while telling me I was wrong for not giving him the right address. I told him multiple times, Hertz, Building 23, and at one point he seemed to put it in his GPS, then deliberately ignored the navigation, then got mad at me again because he couldn't find the destination, he wouldn't listen to the navigation, or me or my husband. It was unbelievable. Then he started to ask his phone "Newark Airport Rental Car" and looking at what came up, Enterprise, National, Dollar, etc. I asked him why he was doing that when I already gave him the name and address of the place where we were going and had a reservation. Finally he just drove to another rental car place, despite Hertz being literally next to it, and we got out because we just couldn't deal with his absolute batshit behavior anymore. I complained to Lyft and got a $10 refund. Even so, I was still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe EWR is one of those places that is just a nightmare to navigate, maybe Google doesn't have their maps up-to-date, maybe there was some kind of reason we didn't know about. However, when it was time to return the car, Yasushi (who is very obviously not a local to the Newark Area,) simply put in "Newark Airport, Building 23, Hertz Rental Car" into Google Maps, followed the navigation on the screen which did lead us to one closed road that had a detour, and we got there with no problems. 
We picked up our "new" car, a Nissan Pathfinder, installed the kids car seats, and were on our way to New Hope! We had other plans that fell through due to rain and other issues, so New Hope was a good backup plan. We had a quick lunch at Salt, which was a place I had never gone before but was an amazing little spot with delicious food in a gorgeous setting. After lunch, we headed to Morrisville, which took us through the one street in Yardley, taking in all the sights along the way. 
We got to my family's home, where they had just gotten back from church and were preparing to take us on a visit to my Grandpop's nursing home. Unfortunately, he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and put into a care home earlier this year. He definitely seemed a bit foggy, but I enjoyed seeing him and I could tell he enjoyed spending time with his family, even if he wasn't quite sure who they all were. We also spent time looking at old photos of his from when he was in Japan for military service in his younger days. I bet he never imagined that some day he would have half-Japanese great grandkids! 
We spent the evening at their home until it was time for us to check in to our second "airbnb"...the home of two dear family friends who had been at our wedding and provided a lot of validation and advice for me when I had first started healing and separating from my parents. Even though they are very different from my parents, and their house was not one I had spent a lot of time in, something about it felt very comforting and homey to me, and I was really able to enjoy my time in PA. Of course, after I moved one of the futon mattresses from the other room to the floor of the room that we were all going to sleep in! Co-sleeping as a family takes a little bit of creative planning when travelling in America! 




9/10 
A combination of cold germs, all the different environments and all the talking and laughing I did with my family led to me having almost no voice on this day! But it was a pretty low-key day with us mostly driving way out into the middle of nowhere (even moreso than the Yardley area) to meet some friends who lived in Reading for a lunch at the Shady Maple Smorgasboard in Amish country. In all my years actually living in Pennsylvania I had never actually gone to Amish country, so it was pretty exciting, and the lunch was the biggest buffet I had ever seen! It was definitely worth the 90 minute drive! After lunch, we took a detour to a cluster of Jewish cemeteries near Philadelphia to look for my grandfather's grave. However, since I had never seen it, and the cemetery was very poorly organized we ended up not being able to find it. I was ready to give up and wait another 7 years or so but Yasushi offered to come again in the morning when the cemetery caretaker would be there. We drove back to the house and went to sleep.




9/11
I woke up this morning feeling much better and we headed off to the cemetery again, with a quick stop at WaWa for some various breakfast foods and coffee.
We got to the cemetery and headed to the office, but found the caretaker walking the grounds before we got there. I explained the situation and we went into his office, which was basically a desk with aged photocopies various maps of the plots strewn about, and a small index card filing cabinet which he was rifling through to find my grandfather's grave. He found the little handwritten card and led us to the grave. It was like something out of an old movie, I thought most people had converted their resources to digital but apparently not.
Visiting my Poppy's grave and paying him the last respects I was never able to until now, plus giving him an update and bringing his great grandchildren was an incredibly important and healing experience that I am so grateful I was finally able to have.


After that, since we were near Philadelphia we spent a couple hours in the area by the Art Museum. There was another nice playground there and the kids had a great time. There was a Whole Foods right near there so we stopped by and did a little shopping, and I bought some salad, vegetables, fruits and desserts to bring to my family's place since my uncle was making dinner for us.
We enjoyed a home-cooked meal and quality family time on our last night before our plane ride. Except for being just a little concerned about a hurricane heading up the East Coast towards the Carolinas, and a hurricane hanging around the Pacific as well, it was a very pleasant evening! Chinami loved doing puzzles with her cousins, and Kairu was engrossed in the vintage Thomas trains they brought up from the basement for him.
After dinner, it was time for us to head off to the house again and get a little sleep before our 7AM flight.



9/12 
After Yasushi and I slept in shifts as to not miss our wakeup time, we loaded the kids in the car, said goodbye to our lovely hosts and headed to the airport. Everything went smoothly this time, Yasushi was able to go straight to the car rental return lot with no "GPS" problems, and from there it was a short distance to our check in and gate. By the time we got to the gate, they had already started boarding and when we got on the plane, it was almost empty due to the hurricane scares. So theoretically we had plenty of room to stretch out and sleep but with 2 kids it sounded a lot easier than it actually was. We got at least a few hours in and the rest of the time was spent watching a lot of in flight movies.


It wasn't what you would call a relaxing vacation, especially with 2 kids, but the experiences and memories we made during this week are such an amazing gift, and so I felt I needed to write it all down. While there were still so many people we wanted to see and so many things we wanted to do, I was satisfied with all of the things we did get done in the week we were on the East Coast.


2018年7月31日火曜日

End of summer!!!

Even though it's always summer in Hawaii, this year was Chinami's first "summer vacation" since she finished her first year of Kindergarten in May. I was lucky enough to be able to enroll her in our local Parks and Rec Summer Fun program which was right within our budget and filled her days with lots of new experiences, friends, and memories.
She turned 6 and had an amazing party during the week (that had a quick burst of drama when our property manager accidentally forgot my reservation for the BBQ area the afternoon of!) followed by a Chuck E Cheese outing with Summer Fun on the actual day of, an outdoor festival seeing her favorite Tongan Sisters singing group and local ukulele players, and then a big mermaid/cosplay/geek meet at the beach to round out the weekend!
This Wednesday, she starts 1st grade. and starting the Monday after that, she will be attending Japanese school on top of her regular school. She's only just turned 6, but she is facing a lot of new challenges and adventures, and growing up so fast.
For the past few months, Chinami has been asking about getting her hair cut. She has not had it cut a single time since she was born--it has just been growing wild all the way down her back! So I made sure that she was serious and secure in her decision, we looked at different hair styles together, and I had her discuss it with her Auntie who happens to own a salon and is extremely talented. We thought about it and decided to cut it in a style that suits her cuteness and her wildness. And since she loves the color purple and has had colored extensions before, I asked her if she wanted a couple purple highlights and she loved the idea. So this past Sunday, we celebrated the milestone-Chinami's first hair cut. I now have 12 inches of beautiful straight brown hair to donate to charity, and Chinami has a layered chin length asymmetrical bob with a bright purple streak framing her face. She looks even more confident and stylish if that's possible. I'm so proud of what a smart, strong and cool girl she has become.
So all the shopping, all the paperwork, all the checks, everything is all done and lined up for the new school year.
And while this has been going on, we've had another plan in the works. Since Kairu was born, and then we got life insurance as well, we've been playing catch-up with finances a little bit, and haven't been able to save up much, but we decided that it was time to stop putting it off indefinitely and take our next family trip--this time to my side of the world, Pennsylvania..with a couple days in NYC for some family fun. It has been almost 7 years since I was there last, and I would really like to see some of my family (mainly my grandparents, who aren't getting any younger..) and friends again, and give my children their first glimpses of some of the scenery and cultures I grew up with.
As for my parents...well, I've waited 6 years now for them to reach out in a positive, empathetic way. They could have contacted me via a public forum, taken me up on one of my many suggestions of family therapy, personal therapy, a diagnostic visit for their peace of mind, etc. They could have shown concern or empathy towards me instead of judgement and hostility. I am always willing to give someone a second chance. However, their silence has told me exactly what they really feel about me and about my whole family. I don't feel any anger towards them anymore. Just sadness and disappointment. And a bit of pity for them, they won't get to meet my amazingly cool daughter and my adorable charming son. Their loss!
So this month I will be securing our lodging for the week, Broadway tickets to see Anastasia (the star just so happens to be someone I went to high school with....) and thinking of all the yummy things I'm gonna eat :D