Entries Tagged as 'derek'

Christmas Dinner at Aunty Gail’s

December 28th, 2013 · No Comments

Our family photo in front of the Christmas tree. (Photo by Heather)

Me & Makai (Photo by Heather)

Makai and Heather

Aunty Laura, Heather, Rachelle: We all got the memo to wear maroon sweaters!

On Christmas day we always go to Dallas’s Aunty Gail’s house out in Mount Prospect, IL. This year Danny, Caroline and Rory were in South Carolina and Scotty, Krystyn and Hideto were in Utah. Cory and Chris stayed in Vail where they live and Uncle Sonny and his family didn’t make it because he just had surgery. So, the group was smaller….. but still a lot of people!

Aunty Laura & Aunty Gail

Every year Aunty Gail makes beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole and her mom’s lettuce/mayo/crab/pea salad. It never varies. Dessert varies because other people always bring different desserts, but Aunty Gail always makes her signature cookies. Uncle Neil and Aunty Peggy’s family came later after they had dinner with Aunty Peggy’s family so we were actually all able to sit at one table without having side tables or kiddy tables. This is who was sitting across from me:



Hana & Makai

And we might not have had a kiddy table, but there was a baby section where babies were sleeping during dinner. Or maybe not sleeping, but hopefully being quiet.

Aunty Laura, Doug, Makai (Photo by Heather)

Grab Bag Gift Exchange (Photo by Heather)

Every year Aunty Gail reminds you a hundred times to bring your grab bag, “no junk!”. This year the gifts all seemed to be decent and the swap did not get too crazy. Almost everyone just took a gift from the middle without much stealing. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because the family had FOUR new babies to distract them!


Makai & Alexia (Photo by Heather)

Alexia was reaching out to touch Makai and Makai was tipping over on his own, but it totally looks like she is pushing him down!

There was Makai, of course. Austin was born in February, Alexia was born in July and Hanako was born one day before Makai in October! The family was shocked to add not one, but TWO girls. As you can see from this cousins photo, there are a LOT of boys. Poor Kate has been the only girl for AGES.

Tommy, Tyler, Ben, Austin, Derek, Makai, Chris, Eddy, Hana, Kenji, Mitch, Alexia, Kate (Photo by Heather)

Makai was such a good boy. He has a very calm demeanor even where there was so much going on. Aunty Laura was holding him and Hana at the same time and Hana was so upset. .. and Makai just sat there. “Whatever.. I’m chillin’!”.

Aunty Laura with Makai & Hana (Photo by Heather)

There was one time that I put him in a crib upstairs that Aunty Gail has and then I sat down to eat. I heard crying and it took me a minute to register, “Oh, that’s MY kid.” Another time I passed him off to Aunty Laura to eat a slice of delicious cake that Naoko made. I got to talking with people and a while later realized that Aunty Laura STILL had him. Not only that, she’d rocked him to sleep and was still holding him! I need to work on that. I promise, I don’t forget I have a baby when I’m at home! I guess it is good to forget once in a while.

Dallas, Tommy and Mitch playing with some fancy robot toy that Tommy got from his grandma in Japan.

Overall, great family dinner. Nice to see everyone, even if I only had brief conversations with a few. Until next year!

Dallas & Makai

Dallas & Makai (Photo by Heather)

Note: In the hustle and bustle of getting everything together for Makai and for the gift exchange and some things we were storing at Aunty Laura’s, I somehow forgot my camera! Luckily, Heather and Naoko are more seasoned moms than me and remembered their cameras. I must thank them for a bunch of these photos! The other photos are from my iPhone, as you can tell by the poor quality in the low lighting!

Aly, Aunty Laura, Makai, Aunty Glenna (Photo by Heather)

Previous Christmases at Aunty Gail’s:

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Starting To Come Together..

October 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments


Last weekend we got our baby furniture for the baby’s room. Big thanks* to Vanessa and Damien (and Derek!) for passing it on, and to my brother for helping transport it all. It was nice to get the furniture in place so that we could finally sort through all of the baby stuff that we’ve just been piling in the room. Since I took this photo we have rearranged the furniture a few times, but hey, it finally looks like a kid’s room. I have bedding on order and still need to hang artwork, but… YAY! for progress!!

Also, I recently came back across this photo I posted when we announced I was pregnant. I remember feeling like a whale at that time and now I look back at it and think how small and cute I look…. compared to this (photo taken last week, at 37 weeks):


* Also, thanks to my mom, who handmade a lot of the things in the room and my dad, who did the awesome paint job!

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Christmas Dinner at Aunty Gail’s

December 26th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Tyler, Amanda, Tommy, Eddy, Naoko

Rory and Grandma/Aunty Laura

Dallas and me (photo by Heather)

Danny, Rory, Caroline, Aunty Laura

Peggy, Derek, Neil, Kate, Ben, Kyle, Winnie

Siblings! Uncle BB, Aunty Gail, Uncle Sonny, Aunty Laura, Uncle Neil

On Christmas day we always go to Dallas’s Aunty Gail’s house out in Mount Prospect, IL. Every year Aunty Gail makes beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole and her mom’s lettuce/mayo/crab/pea salad. It never varies. Dessert varies because other people always bring different desserts, but Aunty Gail always makes her signature cookies. This year Doug didn’t make it because he was sick. I guess their whole family has rotated through some flu-like illness. Naoko had been sick the day before and all the kids had their turn as well.

Mitch wrote down all the names and facilitated the gift exchange.

Gift exchange in full swing.

Every year Aunty Gail tells you a thousand times, “Remember your gift bag, no junk, no junk!” And for years the spending limit was $10, which is very junk inducing. For the last couple years she raised the limit to $20 and last year we did good, but this year? Still some junk. Maybe not junk, but drill bits, Brad? No one wants drill bits. Or a raft to be pulled behind a boat when only one person out of everyone owns a boat! Dallas and I didn’t do too bad. We got a scale that you hook onto luggage handles to weigh your bags and a new cast iron pan. Dallas and I gave whiskey as one gift and printed and framed this photo as our other gift:


Heather & Jeff

Heather, Aunty Glenna, Jeff, Aunty Laura

This photo is of Dallas grandma and her mom with all of the grandkids. The tiny baby is Danny at probably about the same age his son Rory is now. The photo was from Dallas’s grandmother’s photo album that we got in Hawaii. The photos were taken when they traveled from Kauai to Chicago in 1978 and all of the Chicago relatives (who were born before 1978!) are in there. Everyone had a good time looking through the photo album.

Kenji kept yelling “Sister!” at me and running away. Naoko said he’s learning family roles and relationships (and he doesn’t have any sisters).

Kenji kept running away from the camera, but I got him!

Who is the tallest? Kyle, Chris, Brad, Dallas, Danny, Jeff, or KATE??


As always, amazing to see how the family is growing every year. Ty, Eddy, and Rory are still the babies of the families, but there are 2 more being baked right now! Next Christmas will again be different!

Literally 9 out of 10 of the kids are boys. (Tyler, Mitchell, Tommy, Kate, Rory, Derek, Ben, Chris, Eddy, Kenji)

Lots of boys = lots of rough housing.

Even with the older boys!

Kate doesn’t really get into that.

Derek and Ben. Ben is totally looking like a California kid, which he is.

Previous Christmases at Aunty Gail’s:

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