Posted by: Missytak | March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

He is risen, just as He said! It’s been wonderful to celebrate Easter this year. I figured this was the first year Caleb could really get the idea of what we’re celebrating. A few days ago I brought it up, all casual.

“Hey Buddy! Do you know why we celebrate Easter? Did you know that Jesus died for us? But guess what, Bud! He didn’t stay dead! He came back to — “
“Mama. I learned that at church already.”

Good job, Sunday school teachers.

To make sure he really got it, we talked about when he steps on a bug in the backyard – something he’s been up to lately – and how the bug stays dead. When things die, they stay dead, they don’t get back up. But not Jesus! He lives again! He won! “Jesus wins??” he asked me excitedly. I assured him that yes, Jesus wins. Now I’m concerned that he thinks Jesus was in some kind of race, since that’s his main concept of winning, but whatever. Not bad for a three year old’s soteriology. Anyway, we did a little photo shoot today, so enjoy!IMGP5895

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Posted by: Missytak | March 3, 2013

Elias is A Year Old!

God help me, for a few weeks I’ve got a one year-old and a two year-old. Elias turned 1 on February 12th, and I must admit that I didn’t put as much effort into a birthday bash as I did with my firstborn. But we did sing “Happy Birthday” and have a cake as a family, and the next day some cupcakes with a few friends.

birthday cakin'

One of his new gifts: this ridiculadorable track suit that arrived in the mail from Uncle Bubba, Auntie Lulu, big cousin Jolie, and BRAND NEW little cousin Silas.
rockin his new digs

And in case you’re noticing a pattern starting to develop, yes. He is ALWAYS eating.

One of my favorite things to do is set photos up for comparisons. A couple days ago I recreated a picture I took of Elias when he was really tiny. So first, here he is at three days old.

3 days old. tiny bear, tiny baby, softest blanket wrapped all the way around.

3 days old. tiny bear, tiny baby, softest blanket wrapped all the way around.

And now, nearly exactly a year later, I brought out the same blanket, same bear, and most importantly: same Elias.

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1 year old. tiny bear, giant baby, softest blanket barely covers him.

It’s amazing, looking at this, to see how much his coloring has changed as well as the obvious size change. He’s three times bigger and practically a different race! When did that happen?

And to wrap up this post, a few photos from our trip to Happy Hollow. There’s a local park/zoo nearby and we decided to spring for memberships. Friday was the first of many trips we hope to make this spring and summer! The boys had a great time – despite a rather traumatic first roller-coaster ride for Buddy – and I snapped a couple pictures before the camera battery died.

So that’s most of February! Coming up soon: Caleb turns 3 and hopefully more sunny-day adventures ahead!

Posted by: Missytak | January 17, 2013

Park Day

I’ve been marveling lately that two children raised by the same two parents can be so incredibly different. The biggest gap I see so far is that Caleb is a picky, particular, cautious kid while Elias is easy-going, adventurous, and up for anything. I really saw that anew today at the park.

The cold snap has ended and we’ve got a beautiful, sunny day in the mid-60s. I packed us all up for the 1-mile walk to the library/playground, excited for baby Eli to crawl around the playground at last. (Call me crazy, but I was hesitant on the nice autumn days to let him belly-scoot on the ground and put his mouth on everything.)

We had a great time, and sure enough, Elias adventurously clambered over slides, through tunnels, and attempted ladders and swings and all sorts of dangerous things. At the same age, Caleb was mostly taking things in, quietly and seriously, and never venturing too far. I love to see how different my boys can be! Today, Caleb made friends with three girls his age and they all played together rather adorably. One girl in particular – a hilarious, tiny, super-verbal pixie named Anika – took a liking to him. You’ll see.

They played soccer, climbed the ladders together, went down slides together, and just played good old tag.

They played soccer, climbed the ladders together, went down slides together, and played good old tag.

Then they sat on a bench in the shade for a quick break. Couldn't handle the cuteness.

Then they sat on a bench in the shade for a quick break. Couldn’t handle the cuteness.

Caleb had fun on the swings – his new favorite thing to do is “the tummy swing” – but was NOT as amused as I was when his shoe came off.

He probably only went on the swings 8 different times.

He probably only went on the swings 8 different times.

"My shoe comed off! MAMA! MY SHOE! MY SHOE COMED OFF!"

“My shoe comed off! MAMA! MY SHOE! MY SHOE COMED OFF!”

Then, of course, the slides, which were WONDERFULLY staticky today. I was delighted every time he came down with this hair.

Who needs Benjamin Franklin? All we need to know about electricity is right here.

Who needs Benjamin Franklin? All we need to know about electricity is right here.

And Elias had such fun, too…

I wasn't sure if he'd make it up into the tunnel, but it was no prob.

I wasn’t sure if he’d make it up into the tunnel, but it was no prob.

This is one of those, "should I help him?" moments. I didn't. I just took pictures.

This is one of those, “should I help him?” moments. I didn’t. I just took pictures.

And he was totally fine!

And he was totally fine!

And quite proud of himself. Looking good, little man!

And quite proud of himself. Looking good, little man!

It’s hard to get pictures of myself with the boys, let alone flattering ones, but I think it’s important to be in some shots with them, too. Here we are: my little men and me!

After Elias pulled off his shoes and socks, and before he broke my sunglasses...

After Elias pulled off his shoes and socks, and before he broke my sunglasses…

And last, this gem, which was actually Caleb’s idea and request…

My wonderful, amazing Buddy.

My wonderful, amazing Buddy.

Posted by: Missytak | December 31, 2012

Train of Lights

December ends tonight, taking 2012 and all its adventures with it! We finished out the year with a wonderful week-long trip to Seattle to be with our Takano side of the family for Christmas. I didn’t take a camera along with me, so I have no pictures of my own to post for our trip. But here are a few gems that my father in-law took while we were there…

Mom-in-law bought matching pajama pants for her six kids. Chris got a contract with Victoria's Secret modeling.

Mom-in-law bought matching pajama pants for her six kids. Chris got a contract with Victoria’s Secret modeling.

Mr. Cuteface McCrawler was a gem on our trip. Flight home, different story.

Mr. Cuteface McCrawler was a gem on our trip. Flight home, different story.

We had such a wonderful time in Seattle and are so thankful to our family for hosting, feeding, and lavishing us. I was sick on Christmas Day and I’m so sorry for giving it to other family members, but besides that it was just awesome to spend a good long chunk of time with everyone. Caleb and Elias really love their two cousins, Jolie & Roman, and it’s fun to anticipate the other one set to arrive in a few weeks. I really do wish I had more photos to post, but it would mostly be Caleb playing with various train sets, since that’s ALL he did the WHOLE time we were there…

Upon our return, we got to enjoy Caleb’s big Christmas present from Van & Vannie – my parents – a journey on the Train of Lights!! This was SO MUCH FUN!! And this time, I remembered a camera.

Caleb was very excited as we started our trip to the Niles Canyon Railway Depot.

Caleb was very excited as we started our trip to the Niles Canyon Railway Depot.

So excited that it knocked him out by the time we got there.

So excited that it knocked him out by the time we got there.

Just one end of the quarter-mile-long train! The journey started before sunset and ended after dark.

Just one end of the quarter-mile-long train! The journey started before sunset and ended after dark.

He was still asleep when we arrived at the station... and then...

He was still asleep when we arrived at the station… and then…

HE WOKE UP TO SEE THE TRAIN!!!

HE WOKE UP TO SEE THE TRAIN!!!

Here's the boys saying, "It's SO BIG!"

Here’s the boys saying, “It’s SO BIG!”

Oh how I love this boy! He's excited just to look out the window of the train before it's going anywhere.

Oh how I love this boy! He’s excited just to look out the window of the train before it’s going anywhere.

Then he noticed the Christmas decorations overhead!

Then he noticed the Christmas decorations overhead!

Love.

Love.

Journey's underway. His excitement turned to intense focus.

Journey’s underway. His excitement turned to intense focus.

Boy & father. We were welcome to get up and walk from car to car on the train, so we spent some time on the outside cars in the cold, watching the canyon go by.

Boy & father. We were welcome to get up and walk from car to car on the train, so we spent some time on the outside cars in the cold, watching the canyon go by.

After the sunset, the Train of Lights really shone, inside and out!

After the sunset, the Train of Lights really shone, inside and out!

Not the best quality picture, I know, but a happy family after our fun trip. Buddy's tired, but boy did he love this! Thanks Van & Vannie!

Not the best quality picture, I know, but a happy family after our fun trip. Buddy’s tired, but boy did he love this! Thanks Van & Vannie!

We’re not sure what 2013 will hold, but with Chris having completed his Teaching Credential, there will hopefully be some exciting new things ahead for us. No matter what, we’re so blessed and thankful to have each other and our wonderful family and friends. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Posted by: Missytak | December 4, 2012

All Aboard the Potty Train!

It’s convenient that potty training includes the word “train.” That’s certainly been the theme for our experience with Caleb.

He’ll be three years old (what?!) in a few months, and it was about darn time to potty train the kid. This summer, Caleb showed major interest and initiative to start using the toilet, but I had a very young baby on my hands and other big things going on, so we didn’t get serious about training him until this fall. The tried and true M&Ms method worked for a while: when he used the “potty seat” he got to have a couple little candies. That probably would have worked ad infinitum, but I saw a book of Thomas the Train stickers in the $1 section at Target and my wheels started turning, so to speak.

I never thought I'd be proud of knowing all 8 trains by first glance.

I never thought I’d be proud of knowing all 8 trains at a glance.

I scrawled a train track on a piece of construction paper and taped it to the bathroom door. Caleb understood that each use of the potty seat would get him a sticker, and filling up the track with stickers would get him a new train for his beloved set. He was stoked.

Chart #1. Spoiler alert: he has filled four charts to date!

Bonus incentive: Thomas underpants. Thanks Grandma!! (We have since added a pack of Cars underpants. It’s really amusing when we put a pair on him and he asks, “Who’s on my bottom? Oh it’s Mater. Mater’s on my bottom.”)

He learned this from his Uncle Ben.

He earned a few trains this way – thanks for the cheap trains, Ikea – at a rate of about a train a week. I figured he was good to go and didn’t make a new chart after the first three. Suddenly, he started having accidents. I was angry at first, interpreting this as defiance or laziness. Then I remembered that this is a very new skill and he’s two years old, so it was alright if he couldn’t will himself to remembering without a reward over his head. New train track up, this time with MANY spaces to fill and the promise of a train book!

He has been a total champion, working toward filling up the new track, and I think we’re going on 5 days accident-free. He finished the track today, so off we went to the mall to choose a book!

I know Caleb doesn’t look happy, but he was. Whether he liked it or not.

Boy Scouts of America is offering me an honorary badge for preparedness: 1 double stroller, 2 children, 2 jackets, 2 blankets, snacks, water, 1 purse with diaper bag essentials, 1 pacifier in case of baby nap attack, and (not pictured) a partridge in a pear tree.

Caleb’s excitedly looking at the mall Christmas decorations – sparkly lights everywhere! – and the kid in the back is just chillin.

An outing to the mall is quite the adventure. A 20-lb double stroller with 50+ lbs of children and gear is unwieldy, so it’s a great workout for this mama to walk the 0.8 miles each way. I also may or may not have confronted an unsafe driver in the mall parking lot, who apologized profusely for nearly mowing us down with his tow truck.

This little dinosaur was glad to be along for the ride. He’s a champ at going along with whatever adventures may come!

We picked out his book, shared a McDonald’s ice cream, and came back home.

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Sleepy, proud of his new book, and diaper-free!!

Choo choo!

Posted by: Missytak | October 8, 2012

Welcoming Fall

Fall is when people get excited about going back to school and the weather turning cooler. We Takanos are no exception.

Back to School: Chris is nearly finished with his credential program – less than two months left! He’s been student-teaching for the last 7 weeks at MCS, the same school where he was an aide last year. After observing for a while, he started slowly taking over by stepping in to teach one subject daily, then two, then three, and so on. Today was his first full day of teaching. It’s almost like he’s a real, live teacher! He’ll finish out this week and then start over at a public school. I’m so proud of him. It’s great to see this starting to be a reality. This weekend was a fun event at MCS called the Race for Education. Caleb had a BLAST on the inflatables and a battery-powered, toddler-sized train. While we were there, Chris was chatting with a couple of kids in the class he’s been teaching. When he stepped away, I asked them how he’s doing as a teacher. A fifth grade girl thought for a minute, then said, “He’s really good. I mean… he can be serious when he needs to be… but mostly he’s really funny.”  Awesome.

Cooler Weather: we had a crazy hot streak last week, then blissful temperatures in the mid 70s all this week and (hopefully) next. This is a good time of the year to be in California. With the evenings cooling down so much, Vannie couldn’t resist buying the boys some matching warm pajamas. This afternoon, I put them in ’em and snapped a few…

You can sorta tell that Elias isn’t feeling well here. He’s got roseola infantum, the poor kid, so his face (and back and tummy and neck) are splotchy here. He still manages to be crazy cute, and in this picture, Caleb still manages to look real sneaky.

Then there’s this incredible gem:

Elias was bawling, so I told Caleb to pretend he was crying, too.

So c’mon over, fall. We’re ready for you. Well, maybe Elias isn’t…

Posted by: Missytak | September 19, 2012

So, This Happened…

Last Tuesday, Caleb went down for a nap. An hour later, we heard him yelling for Chris. This is what we found.

 

And then today, he put on a hat and asked me to tie on a “cape” so he could be Superman.

I had no idea he would get this cute this fast.

Things have been really busy around here lately. Too busy for this mama. I declared this week a STAY-HOME week so that my boys and I can just chill, potty-train (Caleb), and stay in our pajamas most days until after the afternoon nap.  Elias is either going through a growth spurt or teething or something, because he’s taken FOUR naps each of the last two days. He had a doctor’s appointment last night in which he got a few vaccinations, which could contribute to the sleepiness, but he was this snoozy yesterday too.  I’m not complaining: when he’s awake he’s cuddly and happy and cute, and as soon as he gets fussy and I lay him down he conks right out. Sweet boy.

Caleb is a potty-training genius. We’re pretty much done, but just getting plenty of practice before we venture out of the house. He’s had 3 days accident-free and doesn’t even need to be asked anymore if he needs to go – he lets me know in plenty of time.  I’m glad he figured this whole thing out because I didn’t read up on any methods or techniques, so who knows if I’m doing the recommended thing here? He was just ready. According to the story I’ve heard my mother-in-law tell a couple times, he got this from his Dad. (Chris has also been accident-free for 3 days.)

So that’s us. Oh! This picture of Eli is a couple months old, but I just put it into a collage with his celebrity doppelganger. Enjoy.

Winston’s the one on the right. No, left. No, right. Wait…

Posted by: Missytak | September 3, 2012

Holiday Hike

Last Memorial Day, we took our then-14-month-old son Caleb for a hike up Squak Mountain near our home in Renton, Washington. I found a hiking backpack on Craigslist for cheap and we took turns hauling him on the arduous journey. And by taking turns I mean: Chris carried him UP the mountain, I cheerfully skipped DOWN the mountain with a bit of tiny-tot weight on my back. The easy part.

There is no more easy part. And no taking turns.

Today being Labor Day, we thought it would be a great little family “awenture” to go for another hike. Again Caleb was in the backpack, but a bit heftier than last year:

Thumbs up for hiking!

And Elias was in the Baby Bjorn, far outweighing his predecessor at a whopping twenty pounds:

Feeling great at this point!

We headed over to Almaden Quicksilver County Park – the site of several old mines (cool!) and some gently rolling hills (little mountains). It was beautiful!

See that trail waaaaaaay down below? That’s not even the half of it.

Both kids were quite content and delighted to be in their packs.

Caleb stayed in the backpack almost the whole hike before asking to get out. We were amazed at how well he did hiking on his own!

Eli and I set the pace, with the big boys behind us. Hearing Chris and Caleb narrate the hike was my favorite part. They were not just talking about everything they saw, but to it. Example: “Dada, those plants scratched me.” “Plants! Don’t scratch Caleb!” “Yeah, time-out, plants! Don’t scratch!” “Silly plants.” “So silly.” It’s wonderful to have a boy whose imagination and verbal skills are progressing in such a funny way, and having such a goofy dad doesn’t hurt either!

After a while of hiking, I started getting a little worn out…

Only slightly dramatized for photographic purposes.

Then Caleb wanted to touch the same tree that I was touching in that silly picture…

Nice work, guys.

And just before we wrapped it up, we attempted a family photo!

Family Photo Looking At The Camera Success Rate: 50%. The boys are looking at each other instead.

Happy Labor Day!

Posted by: Missytak | August 31, 2012

Duck Pond, Duck Bumps, & Daily Life

For the last month or so, the boys and I have been spending our Tuesday and Thursday mornings at a wonderful little place called the Duck Pond. It’s actually an indoor play-time environment for kids ages 0-5, not a body of water full of feathered friends. It has been an answer to prayer that my kids and I are building up some community with other moms/kids around here.

The Duck Pond also lets me see Caleb grow in the way that he plays. He’s way more independent of me than he used to be and occasionally checks in to have me watch him do something.  When we’re at home, he wants me to be entertaining/playing with him most of the time. Not so at the Duck Pond. I think it’s a nice break for both of us!  His social skills are developing and it cracks me up to see him figuring out how to interact with other kids. He’s such a funny guy and (for the most part, but not always) continues to be a well-behaved, obedient kid.

Elias just keeps growing and this month has started consuming solid foods. He was unsure at first, but now gulps down most baby food as if his 19-lb frame is wasting away.  He is the happiest baby I’ve ever met and will let anybody hold him.  My mom often remarks that he’s such a dear boy, and I agree. He’s just loving and lovable, and we’re so glad he’s our dude. He’s also starting to crawl and is sleeping LONG stretches of the night: his record so far is 8pm to 6:45am! It has indeed been a big month for “Baby Eyi.”

Caleb said something yesterday that made me so proud. Last week, I taught him that the little bumps all over his body when he was cold are called goose bumps. He thought that was hilarious. Then yesterday morning as we changed his clothes and his skin was bare to the chilly breeze coming in, he said, “Look, Mama! I have duck bumps!” Now. From an educational standpoint, this thrilled me. He clearly made a mental image for goose bumps, and when he needed to recall that image to name the bumps on his skin, he saw a duck-like creature in his mind. Duck bumps. PERFECT!

One more update for this wordy blog, then I’ll scrounge up a recent picture or video to save it all. Chris has begun his student teaching, so we’re another step closer to his teaching credential and (please, Lord) the start of a wonderful teaching career. He’s got 7 weeks in a private school that will be followed by 7 weeks in a public. That, combined with his continued schooling, will get him his credential in December. I’m proud of him for jumping through these hoops and I think we’re all glad to have things moving forward in this new phase with student teaching.

Both kids are down for a nap! What am I doing sitting at the computer a second longer??

Posted by: Missytak | August 15, 2012

Recent Pics & Seattle Trip!

Caleb loves to beat the heat by hanging out in his swimming pool!

 

A few weeks ago, we took a little family trip to Gilroy Gardens. Highlight of the day? Elias in this hat.

 

I wanted some pictures of them together. When Eli started eating his toes, I told Caleb to do the same.

We had the wonderful opportunity to go to Seattle a couple weeks ago. It was a way-too-short weekend crammed with as much family time as possible, plus a bonus visit from Laura and Libs who drove up from Portland for the day. The boys were great travelers and loved spending time with their cousins. We miss our dear Takano family and church family, so the brief time we had was a treasure indeed.

Jolie, Caleb, Elias, and Roman!

Jolie is not only the smartest/cutest big girl in the world, but is soooooo sweet with her little cousins. She and Caleb played together tirelessly while we “adults” played our own games, did puzzles, or just chatted. She was the most wonderful babysitter/entertainer for our Buddy Boo! And she left quite the impression on him: Caleb often pushes his sunglasses onto his forehead and says, “I’m like Jolie!” He definitely remembered his big cousin before this trip, but now he talks about her all the time.

And oh, Baby Roman. This little man is an adorable, snuggly, smiling, perfect bundle of love.  He’s an exact blend of his parents in looks, and we’ll see whose temperament he takes after – though either way I think we can expect him to be an easy-going, gentle guy.  What a darling baby he is. It was too funny to have him and Elias side by side; they’re only two months apart but Eli looks enormous and super pale next to Roman’s aerodynamic brown figure.  I don’t know if I can make it till Christmas before seeing this baby boy again! Alli, maybe ship him down for a weekend?

Elias and Roman, the little kids.

Besides these little adventures, we’re still hanging out locally in the Bay Area while Chris works on his teaching credential and our two boys grow up so fast. I think the fall will bring a few small changes in the routine (Chris’s work, new activities for the kids and me) but in all we’re trying to see what God might have for us in both the immediate and distant futures. We’d love your prayer over our little fam of four! Thanks for checking in! 🙂

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