Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brotha From Anotha Motha...

Over the past few years I have been noticing that my kids, Momo and Mango, are not really in-touch with an important part of their identities. When we went to Olivera Street the other day I was all too aware that my kids are in need of a cultural identity intervention.

You see, I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned this before, but we are a blended family, and with the blend, we have gained a lot and lost a bit...

He Who Must Not Be Named (HWMNBN) and I met about six and a half years ago when Momo was 5 years old and Mango was 7. I was a young, single mother to Momo and HWMNBN was a young, single dad to Mango. The kids were young, Momo and Mango had virtually no contact with their other biological parents and HWMNBN and I have the same ethnic/cultural backgrounds (Half Japanese/Half Irish American) so when we got serious, the blending of the family was quite smooth.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of our wedding... Momo and Mango get along quite well and (from what I am told about siblings who are close in age) their infighting is quite normal. They rarely refer to each other as step siblings, but a few months back they came up with funny nicknames for each other...Momo calls Mango her "Brotha from anotha motha" and Mango calls Momo his "Sista from anotha mista"'s actually quite funny.
Anyways, back to my point.
With our very homogeneous blending of families, our kids have really solidified their Japanses American identities and because both of them have another biological parent who they have no contact with & who is Latino, they have almost completely lost that part of their identities.

In fact, I think they are culturally retarded when it comes to this part of themselves. .
As a teacher who discusses cultural identity development in almost every course I teach, I really have been thinking about this for a while, and as we walked around the very quaint and historically interesting Olivera Street, I was sad that my kids are completely out of touch with this rich history and culture that also belongs to them. I realize that Olivera Street isn't the answer...despite being a cool place to explore some of the history of Los Angeles, it is kind of a tourist trap.
But, nevertheless, it still made me sad that as we walked around, I was made more and more aware of how out of touch my kids are...My heart hurt as we passed a beautiful Aztec costume, Momo said: "Hey mom, look at that cool Egyptian stuff" and when I told her that it was Aztec she said: "What's that?" And I cringed everytime I heard Mango (a child who once spoke Spanish) butcher simple Spanish words like Calle, Olivera or Historico...I guess what I am trying to say is that I want to do my best to help my children gain better awareness of their cultural backgrounds. I want to help them develop wholey and securely in the many facets of themselves.

Maybe that will be on the top of my list of New Year's Resolutions...

To make a more concious effort to help my kids learn about and accept the many diverse aspects of their identities.

Yeah, I like that...

Happy New Year---Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu---Feliz Año Nuevo

Monday, December 29, 2008

Week 2...What To Do?

Momo and Mango are officially in Week 2 of their Winter Vacation.

Yippee...Yahoo...What the hell should we do?

That's exactly what I thought when I woke up this morning.

I have 2 more weeks of the kids looking at me saying : "So mom, in what fantastic way are you going to entertain us today?"

And me replying:"You're 11 and 14, isn't there some way you can entertain yourselves without driving me and each other crazy"

And they (with crazed looks in their eyes) retorting: "Mwuahahahaha...we are evil robot children come to take away your sanity by having 3 weeks off of school, fighting incessantly and repeatedly asking how you are going to entertain us...Mwauhaha...hahaha...hahahahaha...."

Ok, so maybe that last part didn't really happen, but I bet you that's what they were thinking...

I mean, look how "evil roboty" they are...

Anyhow, after I woke up this morning, I was wracking my brain trying to think of some new, fun and interesting things to do with the kids this week. I came up with a good list of things I wanted to do but everything I came up with was in Los Angeles, which is about 1.5 - 2 hours from our house (1 way)... I chalk this up to the fact that I have a little cabin fever in our small (population 11,000) beach town.

I decided that over the next two weeks, we would do at least a couple of the things on my list, maybe make one day trip this week and one next... and then like a wonderful epiphany, I realized that maybe, just maybe, my parents would be interested in hitting up some Japanese markets in L.A. and maybe we could hitch a ride.

And look...It worked! My parents showed up at our house no less than an hour after I called them and we were on our way to The City of Angels! Here's a pic of my dad driving...

My mom, the evil robot children, and Milo the dog sat in the back... My mom would say she sits in back because I get car sick, but I think it has more to do with the fact that her backside is a whole lot smaller than mine and therefor offers a more comfortable and spacious ride...

It took under an hour and a half to get to this part of the journey... I always get a little tingly inside when I get close to Hollywood... Having grown up in the larger L.A. area, I spent some of my most formative years roaming around Hollywood, and various parts of Los Angeles... I really do love it!Ohhhh...loook! There's downtown L.A.! And yes folks, that is a freeway we are sitting on with all those other cars...It was about this point that I had my second "grand idea" of the day...Realizing that both of my kids are like little country bumpkins who hardly know the little treasures that exist in Los Angeles. I asked my parents if they wouldn't mind stopping at Olivera Street so we could take the kids around a bit. And...Drumroll...guess what? It worked!

Here are some pics of our stroll down the historic street...
Momo and her grandma pausing to fidget with Milo...Mango desperately looking for a hat to buy...And a beautiful little store we passed with amazinlgy, vibrant merchandise...There really are a zillion more photos that I really want to share, but I'll save those for another post... I know this is long, but stick with me, it's worth it!

After Olivera Street We decided to hit up Little Tokyo. It's definitely not our favorite place to shop but there was "little hole in the wall" Ramen Shop that my parents insisted we had to try. Apparently everyone and their mothers also thought they needed to eat there, so we ended up waiting on the sidewalk for about 40 minutes... The wait was well worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was everything they had promised and much more... Once inside we were given a booth but check out the cool "ramen bar" typical of little ramen shops in Japan: And for a little hole in the wall place, the ambiance was really great... lots of old Japanese advertisements and t.v./movie posters covered the walls: but better than anything was the food...check out what we ate:
Japanese Pickles:Fried Spicy Tuna (spicy tuna wrapped in shiso leaves then fried in tempura batter) Amazing!!!!Gyoza (a.k.a. pot stickers)And the infamous Ramen, which tastes a lot better than it looks in this photo:Mango loved it And so did MomoWe were all full and satfisfied and really happy...even my dad...who picked up the tabAs I made a run for it...No, not really, I didn't run. But he did drive AND give up his day off AND pay for our yummy dinner (and I did thank him and my mom) but maybe, just maybe I am the evil robot child in this story, who needed to be driven all over L.A. fed and entertained...Muahahahahaha!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I Got It

I got a camera!


I am so excited...I am going to take a ton of pictures and torture you with them later!

Merry X-mas Everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Did I ever tell you that Momo, Mango and I are Swing Dancers?

We started dancing about 2 years ago (when Mango was 12 and Momo was 9). Initially my husband and I went to a beginners class, but after one lesson, HWMNBN decided that he was not interested in continuing, so I was on my own.

One night, for whatever reason, I decided to bring the kids with me to my class.

The kids pouted and whined and annoyed the crap out of me on the way to the lesson. they continued to pout when we got there but they quickly found seats in the corner of the ballroom and told me to "have fun neglecting their every whim for an hour" (not really, but I know that's what they were thinking).

About 15 minutes into the class, however, I noticed that both Momo and Mango were in the corner of the ballroom trying all the steps that the instructor was teaching. They danced with each other that night and by the end of the class they both wanted to sign up.

And...the rest is history! Momo and Mango fell in love with swing dancing and we were soon on our way... advancing through various levels and adding Lindy Hop and some Charleston (even a little Balboa) and we now want to add Shag and Jitterbug to our repoitaire.

Here's a pic of Mango and Momo warming up for a leasson

Now, it's important to tell you that the classes that we go to are dominted by adults. Occasionally we run into another kid but they are few and far between. This is not much of an issue for Mango (who is about 5'8" tall and can dance with just about anyone) but for Momo (who is barely over 4 feet tall) it leads to a lot of dancing with partners who are much taller than she is.

Here's a pic of Momo and one of her much taller counterparts, John (who happens to be a fantastic dancer and one of our favorites)

Funny thing is the size issue never seems to phase Momo. One of my favorite memories was one night when there was this very tall guy who must have been at least 6'2". When it was his turn to dance with Momo, he was very gracious and he took some hints from the instructor to lift Momo through some turn and other moves and it turned out to be the first time she did a couple of aerial style kicks in the air!

Both Momo and Mango are pretty good dancers but for Momo the judgement is harsher becasue of her size and misjudgement of her age. Momo is actually really good and it is not uncommon for new people kind of freak out that they have to dance with her (a kid they think isn't going to be any good) then they're shocked when she really shows them how it's done!

Here is a funny video of Shorty George and Big Bea (2 well known dancers from back in the day...Momo's dancing dilemma looks something like this, just the other way around)

On a differnt note, last year we had the privilige of going to a workshop with the legendary Frankie Manning (he was 93 years old at the time). We all fell in love with Frankie and at the end of the workshop, we got some great pictures with him along with a wonderful autograph for Momo which says "To Momo, my youngest and most beautiful student, keep on dancing...Frankie Manning".

Frankie Manning will be celebrating his 95th birthday on the same weekend as Momo's 12th B-day in 2009. This year they are throwing a huge birthday bash for Frankie in New York City and we REALLY want to go. Right now, our beloved and world reknowned teacher Sylvia Sykes (who is friends with Frankie) is trying to help us figure out how we can finance the trip and possibly find someone willing to host us in their home so we won't have to pay for a hotel.

Sylvia is really encouraging us to come to the party, and has even offered to let the kids hold bake sales and other fundraisers in the ballroom. She really wants us at the party and just last night (at a fun holiday dance) she told us again how much she wants us to be there. Sylvia has said to me on many occasions that Frankie was so happy to meet Momo and Mango and after we met him he told her how grateful he was that his craft would continue to live on in these young kids who are learning to "hop".

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mom, what's a Sex Shop?

Just the other night, after telling my kids to go to bed, I began tidying the house a bit so I could relax.

He Who Must Not Be Named (HWMNBN) has labeled this fit of cleaning anxiety "Mom's in a mood"'

...but I just call it "I can't relax if their is shit all over the place, because I'll keep thinking about it until I clean it up"

Anyways...I was organizing the mess on the coffee table, stacking, arranging, throwing away etc. I moved on to the kitchen, putting a few things in the sink and straightening the counters.

Then, in a last fit effort to "relax" I stopped by the bathroom where I found my latest copy of Vanity Fair sitting on the counter.

The magazine on the counter was not a problem (as was the toothpaste which was inevitably left capless and the little remnants of HWMNBN's morning shave that were all over the place) I mean, there is always a magazine or two (or ten) in the bathroom but this one was open to an article about a Sex and the City Tour through New York.

The page which was on display, was one that I recalled folding over and reading earlier in the day (yes folks, I read in the loo).

The article itself was pretty bland but there was a large cartoon of a woman and large bold text saying "WE PULL UP TO A SEX SHOP. THERE'S A BUZZ OF ANTICIPATION".

My first thought was:

"Great, Momo used this bathroom today...I wonder if she read the article???"

My second thought was:

"Oh well, if Momo did read the article, she'll probably ask me about it later and I'm sure it'll be a hilarious conversation" ...

You see, Momo just finished a Sex Ed class at her school and since then we have been having some great conversations about...well...SEX!

In all honesty, I thought the class would be some "this is your body", "you will begin to menstruate", "stay away from boys", abstinence only type program, and to be honest, that sort of turned me off.

I mean, I want Momo to know about her body and to stay sex free for as long as she can, but as a former sex educator, I wanted her to learn about how to take care of herself, how to be safe and most of all, to know that there was someone out there that she could talk to about this stuff (be it me or her teacher or some other responsible adult).

Funny thing is, I was not quite as prepared for Momo learning about sex as I thought I had been...

My first notion of just how unprepared I was, came when I was tucking her in one night and I made a little joke about the baby in my tummy (I'm not pregnant, but I was very full from dinner and developed a pooch). Anyhow, We all laughed at the joke then this conversation ensued:

Momo: (very seriously) Dad, I do not want a baby brother or sister, so when you use a condom, make sure to squeeze the air out of the tip okay? Otherwise some sperm could get out.

HWMNBN: (mortified and turning to walk out of the room, looks back and says), "Okay Momo, I'll make sure to squeeze the tip"

Me: Wow, Momo, did you learn that in Sex Ed?

Momo: Yeah, we're learning a lot of stuff...I just wished that kid didn't ask that one question...

Me: What question?

Momo: Oral sex...It's really gross!

Honestly, I don't remember what happened next...I think I said, yeah that's kinda gross but I really can't be sure I didn't fall on the floor and die for a minute... I mean, I'm glad that Sex Ed isn't about chastity belts and promise rings... and avoiding the reality of teenagehood in the year 2008, but my Momo is only 11.

Anyways, few nights later, also at bed time, this conversation took place:

Momo: Mom, is it true that boys ejaculate in their sleep when they have "the dream"?

Me: (cracking up, because I knew my hubby would be mortified by this) "I don't know, ask daddy if he has ever had "the dream"

Momo: Well dad...did you ever have "the dream" where it makes you ejaculate in your sleep?

HWMNBN: (mortified and turning to walk out of the room, looks back and says) "Yeah Momo, but it usually only happens to boys when they are young...teenagers, I mean.

Momo: Does it happen to Mango?

Me: Probably. (Yelling playfully to Mango who is washing his face in the bathroom) Does is ever happen to you?

Mango: What?

Me: Say yes.

Mango: Yes...wait, what did I say yes too?

At this point Momo and I are cracking up, then she tells Mango what we were talking about he looks at us, walks to his room and says:

Mango: "Oh my guys are so weird"

Momo: "But does it happen?"

Mango: (Walking into his room, shutting the door) "yes..."

Believe me, it was a hilariously funny conversation and at the same time, very heartwarming (not the talk of wet dreams but the bonding). I mean, I think the biggest lesson learned from all this is that even though I wasn't totally ready for Momo to be learning about squeezing the tip of a condom, or what oral sex is...I am totally cool with the fact that both of my kids feel like they can talk to me about anything!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I just got my first meme from a fun blogger named Lisa over at Left Coast Cowboys

Here are "the rules":

1.Link to the person who tagged you.
2.Post the rules on your blog.
3.Write six random things about yourself.
4.Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5.Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6.Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I am totally up for the challenge, but I am a little confused...

Being that I am sorta new to this whole blogging thing, I am not totally hip to the etiquette (I mean, is it okay for me to just go ahead and tag other bloggers?..what if they don't like meme's?..should I let them know first?..what if I don't even know 6 other bloggers?..) I guess the best thing for me to do is to just go ahead do it.

I can post my "6 things" then tag some bloggers that I know, and hope I don't get out casted... right? (crosses fingers) Here goes...

6 Random Facts About Me:

1. I always sit on the left side of my couch. I don't know why, but the left side of my couch, nearest the wall, has become my favorite spot in my house. Unfortunately, this spot isn't as comfortable as it was when I adopted it, what with the deflation of the cushions due to my ever growing backside and a large (single pane) window that lets a draft in... the spot is not the best, but it is mine...

2. I don't know how to drive in the snow. I'm sure that sounds completely lame to those of you who live in colder climates, but I grew up in Southern California and there really was no reason for me to learn. Actually, I have only been to the snow a handful of times and unless it snows here on the beach, I may not see it again for a long time...

3. At the very beginning of my pregnancy with Momo I had this insatiable craving for lasagna with tortilla chips. I thought about this food combo all day and relished the moment I got home, microwaved a box of frozen lasagna and finally sat down to scoop the lasagna with tortilla chips..WEIRD! Funny thing is, that within about 3 or 4 weeks, my tastes changed and for the rest of my pregnancy I loathed the smell of marinara sauce...smelling it would send me into a fit of nausea and vomiting and thinking about it wasn't much better.

4. I don't really like this particular meme because it is too random...I don't like semi-structured things...either give me rules and structure, or let me do what I want!

5. I have only received 3 Christmas cards so far this year...that seems really low. I guess I shouldn't complain considering I haven't sent my cards out yet, but I sure I hope I get more than 3...

6. I really miss that magical Christmas feeling I had as a kid. You know, that anticipation that builds and builds and on Christmas morning you feel as though you are just going to burst...I miss that and I hope I can create it for my kids at least for a few more years...

Okay, all done! Here are the people I am tagging for this meme, some are public, others private and one is my dad (who really needs some motivation to "get writing"...maybe this will be it) I hope you’ll all stop by their blogs (if you can) and see what you think!

Coach J at Hey Coach J A self proclaimed "professional crazy person" who is a much more than your typical mommy blogger

Frank at Frank's Blog (this is my dad's blog...he's in need of blogging motivation)

Karen atBrian and Karen's blog (this one is private, but I wanted to tag Karen anyhow>

Erika at Erika Jean a very funny "un-employed college graduate...who really needs to find a real job"

Lynilu at Never Ending Journey who has some fantastic posts about old memories & present thoughts.

Eden at Fussy I'm kinda embarrassed to tag Eden as she is a "big time" blogger (and founder of Nablopomo) and I don't know if she does meme's. *remember, I don't really know blogger etiquette... so I hope I don't offend...just in case, here's a pic of Eden's son Jackson and my Momo about 2 years ago (maybe this'll soften her to my meme)

Anyhow, I really did think about contacting the bloggers that I tagged, to ask if they would be okay with participating in a meme. Then I thought about what the person who tagged me, said about this whole meme/tag process:

"... it’s not really tag unless someone sneaks up behind you and screams, 'TAG YOU’RE IT!' really, really loudly in your ear"...

So that's what I did, don't be mad okay, just write fast and tag someone else!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Real Tear Jerker...

I spoke with a very dear friend mine today, I'll call my friend "Super-mom" (because she is a fantastic mom to 3 of my favorite kids - aside from my own). In fact, her oldest daughter is one of Momo's oldest and "bestest" friends from back when they were toddlers AND I cared for her 2nd born from the time he was about 6 months until he went off to preschool...

Anyhow, Super-mom has a husband who was deployed to Iraq last May. It was a real shocker to everyone when he got his orders, partly because he is a reservist and partly (I guess) because no one is ever really prepared for the news that a loved one is going to a war-zone FOR A YEAR!

So, Super-mom's husband has been gone for about the last 7 months and the whole family misses him, something terrible. Today, Super-mom took the kids to visit Santa and take some pictures. The kids weren't too excited because as the Holidays approach, they are missing their dad even more and as the time wears on, the missing seems to be harder and harder to handle.

Super-mom told me that her 8 year old son (the one I used to take care of) told Santa that the only thing he wanted was for his daddy to come home. It was painful for me to imagine this little guy, sitting on Santa's lap, looking into his eyes and wondering if...

Super-mom then told me that her youngest (who is about 4) listed a few fun things she wanted then added that, she too, really just wanted her daddy to come home.

The oldest (Momo's BFF) was last to talk to Santa. She kept telling Santa that she didn't really want anything (typical 11 year old, not sure about whether or not she wanted to indulge in the whole Santa thing) but after some prodding she told him that actually, all she really wanted was for her dad to come home.

Super-mom said Santa was really touched... as were his elves...I think everyone was teary eyed at the sight of these three children sitting with Santa and wishing beyond all wishes that their daddy could come home.

It was just about this time that one of Santa's elves told Santa that he had a very special UPS delivery outside, and could he please come out to get it. Santa got up, and told Super-mom and the kids to please wait a moment while he retrieved his special delivery.

Santa was gone for a minute or so, and when he came back in he brought with him...

Super-mom's husband and the Daddy who was so lovingly missed and wished for! The kids were flabbergasted and broke down in sobs and squeals and hugs and love and Santa's magic.

You see, Super-mom found out (just a day or two ago) that her lovely husband had been granted a 15 day "release" to spend Christmas with his family and she planned the very best reunion that I am sure her children (and Santa) will remember forever...

Monday, December 15, 2008

X-mas Photos...Sans Beach camera has finally seen it's last days...

This is the main reason that I only post old photos...I don't have any new ones! **Hint to "He who must not be named"... if you read this, a new camera is at the TOP of my X-mas list!)

Shameless begging for gifts aside, I was able to get some new photos of the kids, for our X-mas cards this year. As I mentioned in my last post, I had hoped to get the kids photographed on the beach, but since my dad was the photographer (and I didn't want to drag my very busy parents to the beach for a photo session) we settled for their front and back yard.

Despite having to take photos with foliage instead of sand and waves, we got some cute & festive shots. Here's one of Mango, Momo and R. Kelley (note the short, shorts and ugg boots on Momo):
It really is amazing how a photo captures just how much our kids are growing! They seem so much older in these pics than the in the photos from the last post which were taken in 2006 (I think). I a bad mom that I don't know when those old X-mas pictures were taken? Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all this stuff! Kids are a lot of work, and keeping track of their growth is even harder! I generally do a good job of this stuff but at times, I feel like this:
On days like that, we call Mango and Momo "the neighbor kids" and we ask them why they are in our house then we tell them to go home.

Anyways, back to the X-mas photos. This was one of the contenders for our X-mas cards, but I didn't like the way Mango was sitting and the fact that we could see the bottom of their shoes, it just didn't flow well:
So, we went back outside for a re-do, and this is what we got: and...drumroll...
I loved it!!! This weirdo mom thought that this was one of the best pics our weirdo kids took! Needless to say, this pic made it onto our X-mas cards!

So, you see, I can be pretty sure that these weirdo kids are mine...simply because they are just about as weird as me...

Bottom of shoes- OUT
Gimpy looking kids - IN...totally IN

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas in California

A few years back I took my kids to the beach a few blocks from our house in an attempt to take the quintessential "Christmas in California" photo.

Here is the photo that I used for our Christmas cards that year:
I chose this one because both of the kids had Santa hats on and I thought the sky was absolutely amazing.

This one was a close second, but the Santa hats in the first photo won out.

I also like this one a lot. I think it totally captures Momo's spirit. She is naturally funny, always up to some sort of mischeif and frequently adding a perfect punch line to a situation:

This one captures Mango's spirit...He often seems to look right through the camera... into your soul...with eyes that say "I'm too sexy for this beach"...

I was thinking about doing another round of beach photos this year to add to our X-mas cards. I wish I had done it earlier this week because the weather was in the mid 70's and I would have loved the have the kids wear their swim suits with Santa hats...maybe even playing in the water or building a sand castle...

Unfortunately, today was the last of the "good weather" and we are now bracing ourselves for a weekend with "high's in the 50's"... (I know this sounds downright idiotic to those of you who live in truly cold weather) but 50 degree weather in our California beach town is enough to cause a mild panic and the occasional "STORM WATCH" breaking news report... As if that's not enough, as soon as the the minions feel a slight nip in the air, they clad themselves in various weird outfits such as:

-mittens, turtle necks & miniskirts
-Ugg boots, hoodies & super short shorts
-cozy scarves, comfy jeans and teeny, tiny tank tops

Us California beach folk are weird!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Go To Bed...

"Go To Bed" - Three simple words that are:

A. Whispered gently into my kids ears as I tuck them in

B. Spoken softly into a dimly lit room, as I close the door at exactly the right angle (to let just enough light in from the hallway)

C. Yelled up the stairs (20 minutes after lovingly tucking-in said children) at, at least one of the kids, who is making way too much noise to really be asleep

D. Hollered at the top of my lungs (sometime around midnight, when I am still awake, but way too tired and preoccupied with the internet to have better judgement) at one of my kids (who by this time are usually asleep) due to some "creaky-ness" in my house

Friday, December 5, 2008

Like Funky Without the "F"

My daughter is obsessed with my brother. They are 11 years apart in age, and she loves him somethin' special...

Ever since she could talk she has called him "uncle" or "Unkie" (like funky without the "f"). She talks about him constantly, looks up to him like a god and tells me on a daily basis how much she misses him...

You see, my brother (her Unkie) moved away for college about 4 years ago. He usually lives about 5 hours away (which is not too bad) but right now he is living in Prague (which is really, really far away)...

Here's a pic of Momo and her Unkie waiting for a train in Japan

Here they are, deep in conversation about what to eat.
Like I said, this girl of mine loves her Unkie. If he is around, she is stuck to his side...The poor guy can't breathe.

Kinda of like this...
See that look in her eyes...that's the Unkie look. She's been doing that since she was about 1 year old...

And let me tell you, my brother is probably the best 23 year old uncle in the world. He is always engaged in whatever Momo likes, he'll take the time to hang out with her and he pretty much always puts up with her excessive "cuddliness".

He's a really good sport. Even at the end of the day, during an extremely hot and humid Japanese summer, while sitting in a toy store that too many adults (and no kids) are shopping at. Like this one:

Occasionally (or better yet, rarely) someone else can get a spot next to Unkie. Somehow (in the next pic) I was able to finagle my way next to my brother.

But that never lasts too long...Momo always finds her spot, right back where she belongs, next to her Unkie...

We love you Unkie...and can't wait until you come home!