It's the end of August already? What happened to the summer?
Maybe having a baby in May had something to do with the fact that I've suddenly started to come out of my stupor and realize that I've missed my favorite ice cream eating, beach going, pedicure needing, hamburger barbecuing months! The summer of 2009 has been more of a diaper changing, 2 hour feeding, sleep missing, onesie washing summer!
Mina is already three and a half months old and I've fallen in love. She "talks" to me and laughs at all my silly stories. She rolls around and loves her little animal toys. She's a bit demanding and a bit of a comedian. She's a good egg!
I didn't want to do a baby shower because my husband and I wanted to throw a welcome baby party instead. Finally, that anticipated date was set for 8/8/09 and we had a wonderful party with our close friends and family. Of course, Mina decided to sleep through most of it. "It's my party and I'll SLEEP if I want to" was her motto! Sleep is better than crying, I say, so go ahead. Here's a photo of us the morning of the welcome baby party. We're all dressed up, ready to greet our guests.
I hope you've had a wonderful summer and created many memories to last a lifetime. If not, there's always next year!
Ps. We've already received Mina's first bikini as as gift. Be prepared next year for its unveiling at the beach.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a bunch of new things and thought I'd sneak in a little product shoot while Mina was sleeping. Here's what it looked like....Very professional!
No, I'm not losing my mind yet....
It's sunny and summery outside, but in the merchandise world, it's Christmas everywhere! So I've been getting all my Holiday catalogues and placing orders for things I hope you like! Here's something I couldn't help but share.
Back in February, when we made our pilgrimage to Shinzi Katoh's studio and met the man himself, we received a great gift of Christmas plates and mugs. He mentioned that they were still in design and production, but I loved them so much, I placed an order right then and there for our Christmas inventory.
Finally, they are ready to unveil and here they are! I hope you like them. They'll be on the website by early November. Now is that too early??? Maybe mid-November will feel better, a bit more Christmassy!
What a thrill to go to the supermarket for my regular Sunday grocery shopping and finally peruse the check stand magazines with a business-like purpose! As I looked through the stacks of tabloids, I finally found what I was looking for...Do It Yourself magazine by Better Homes and Gardens. As I quickly flipped through the pages, my eyes lit up on page 24. There it was, GINKO PAPERS in print! Our little labor of love is making it to bigger places and all thanks to my favorite Japanese masking tape.
Here we are under the best title "DIY Must Haves."
The second night of the Gion Matsuri is so exciting. The city streets are shut down and vendors put up stalls all along the inner streets, while the large boulevards show off the parade structures that have been built all week. Here are some photos of the wooden structures that are pulled the next night in the parade. The amazing thing is that not a single nail is used in their construction. You can see the lanterns dangling from the tops of the structures and the musicians sitting in each playing their flutes. As you walk down the streets, this flute music accompanies you from one point to the next. It's quite beautiful!
Once you turn down a small street, you're hit with bright lights and the yummy smells of fried chicken and sautéed yakitori. Get ready to eat as you go. The stalls also sell bright colored toys and masks for the children. The best sight to see are all the yukkata, summer kimono, worn by most of the public. I bought one too, but was too shy to wear it. I promise to go again and dress in my summer kimono too!
The Gion Festival in Kyoto is magical. I highly recommend visiting it if you can! Kanpai!
It was my birthday on July 3rd and we celebrated it with four generations of women! Here are three generations: my mom, sister, me, and Mina on the bed.
Here we are, all four generations: my sister, me, my maternal grandmother, Mina, and my mom.
Mina is 8 weeks old and getting to be a big girl (but our cat is still bigger!).
July in Kyoto is synonymous with the Gion Matsuri, Japanese for Festival. The Gion Festival turns the city upside down in an organized kind of way, after all it's Japan! Last year, we had the fortune to be in Kyoto for the Gion Festival and had a blast. Summer in Japan is another wonderful season with so many little traditions that you look forward to the sweltering, humid heat to set in. The riverbank restaurants decorate their patio dining areas with hanging lights and at dusk you see the most beautiful scenes of cranes flying into the water as lantern reflections shimmer in the water below. It's truly magical.
The maiko and geisha of the Gion district and neighboring regions are quite busy during this season. At 4pm you can hear the pitter patter of their wooden shoes clacking down the cobbled sidewalks to meet their dinner engagements. often, those meetings take place in the riverbank restaurants. We rented an apartment on the Kamogawa River and were a whiteness to many maiko and geisha standing on the outdoor dining patios as they poured sake for their guests. Of course, Garo couldn't help but pull out his spy-cam lens and take a few photos. Here's one of a maiko and her guests.
When I think back upon this time, it's hard for me to remember anything other than the magic. Although, summer is not the best season to see Kyoto -it's humid and hot - thousands of people still gather to watch the Gion Parade on the first day of the Gion Festival. The parade opens with young men bearing lanterns. Then quickly a procession of the cutest children you've ever seen, make their way down the closed city streets. Here are some images from that day.
The parade leads to Kyoto City Hall. Outside the City Hall is a great plaza where the children gather to await their turn to perform. They dance intricate traditional Japanese dances and carry themselves with great poise and seriousness. It's a sight to see. On the way back from City Hall all the lanterns held during the parade are lit and as the sun sets, you can see a million bouncing lights walking down the street.
Well, we've made it a month with Mina. Are the nights sleepless? Yes! Does she cry after she's been fed and changed? Yes! Do we know what we're doing? Sometimes....maybe. Overall, it's baby boot camp and I hope there's a diploma or a certificate or something at the end? Note to self: give my mom a gift!!
Here are some photos of Mina. She loves bath time and so does our kitty, Wiz!
It's a girl!
We've al been waiting in big anticipation for the birth of our baby girl, Mina. She arrived on Friday, May 15th at 5:45am, weighing 7lbs & 3oz. We're happy, tired, and still amazed that she's home and she's ours! She'll be helping me take all the photos of our Ginko summer line of products and we'll keep you posted on her growth with photos!
(Ps. she's asleep now so I'm quickly typing this!)
Here she is, home sweet home...
"When will this be over already?" That's the thought running in my head as I carry and extra 31 lbs in the summer heat of Los Angeles. But then I stop myself and feel grateful that after everything we've been through, the little one had gotten much closer to term than we expected. YAY!
But let me be brutally honest about this...pregnancy does CRAZY things to the body. I know, those of you who've been there and done that are laughing at that statement. But those of us who are not war veterans yet, are surprised by the daily changes.
For example, yesterday, I'm sitting at my desk working my heart out on Ginko Papers when suddenly, I feel a tingling and discomfort in my feet. I look down and WOW, I have elephant's ankles and balloon feet all of a sudden. Needless to say, I start ranting in disbelief, get Garo to look away from his computer, and proceed to walk to the bedroom mirror to make sure I'm seeing things correctly.
Oh yes, my ankles, feet, and toes were completely swollen and round. Then I look up to my face - another puffball stares back at me. In panic, I pull out my wedding ring to see if it still fits and it won't go down past my knuckle.
If Garo tied a string to me, I'd float away.
Lie in bed from 4pm to this morning and voila, swelling down!
Now I'm on constant ankle watch 2009! Are they swelling? Are they red? Should I prop them up? Oh I love absurd obsessions....
Here's a photo of us taken a few days ago. I see some swelling in my face :-)
And by the way, the jeans I'm wearing in the photo before no longer fit! I think it's time to deliver this baby!