March 31, 2013

Mika Sings "Thousand Miles" at the Variety Show

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February 11, 2013

Mika sings, watches, explores

Before a school concert

Watching The Hobbit with her class

Touching a ray at Monterey Bay Aquarium

At the Jellies exhibit

Spotting otters at Monterey Bay

Posing with a seahorse near the end of the exhibit

Exploring the shoreline in Monterey

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January 6, 2013

A little science doesn't hurt

Not historically accurate, but....

Checking out the Endeavour

A future mission specialist checking out her ride

Much time was spent with the fishes

Galapagos tortoise gets some love

With the Mars Viking Lander

With the Mars Viking Lander

If there's a climbable tree, Camila will find it

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January 15, 2012

Last week of circus class

At the end of each session of classes, the kids put on a little show to demonstrate their talents.

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January 27, 2011

Playing at parks and going to class







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January 11, 2011

Afternoon at Coyote Hills


Climbing through a little tunnel



Mika and Camila examining animal scat

Mika found a rodent skull in the scat


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December 19, 2010

On the Road With Mika

Breakfast on the Columbia River

At a monument near the Columbia River

Overlooking Pearson Field

Checking out a building at Fort Vancouver

Under a bridge over the Columbia River

At the Sundial Bridge

Hanging out on Sundial Bridge

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November 26, 2010

Out and About with Camila and Mika

Camila has mastered the monkey bars

Climbing a rock wall at a school festival

Inflatable slide at a school festival

Powering the carousel at the East Bay Maker Faire

Mika makes butter from cream

Camila at Halloween

Mika at Halloween

Climbing a tree at Lake Chabot

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September 27, 2010

I come from...

This is a poem Mika wrote for school today. She was given the phrase "I come from" and told to include things in her home, yard and neighborhood, as well as relatives, things people told her and foods. This is her second draft. I'm sure you'll agree it's just brilliant.

I come from

I come from soft, blue and brown couches.
I come from soft fragranced pillows lining the couch.
I come from a huge palm tree shading my eyes.
I come from a Chinese maple tree.
I come from a warm hug from a sunset hammock.
I come from looking out the window and seeing trees, cars and beautiful birds swooping down.
I come from a mom, sweet and loving.
I come from a dad, jolly and fine.
I come from a sister, funny and jumpy.
I come from "I love you", "go away, "give me, give me", "keep trying", "muy bien Mika".
I come from supple and tender squash soup, leafy green salad with buttermilk ranch.
I come from scrapbook, shiny brown frames with moments that can't be replaced.

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September 20, 2010

Hiking at Chabot

Found this tarantula on the hike up the hill to Lake Chabot.

Checking out the spillway into San Leandro Creek.

A little tree climbing

A peaceful time at Lake Chabot's shoreline

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July 24, 2010

Mika and Camila's First Motorcycle Ride

Before their first motorcycle ride
Before their first motorcycle ride at Laguna Seca

Mika riding at Laguna Seca

Camila riding at Laguna Seca

Mika on Valentino Rossi's motorcycle

Camila on Valentino Rossi's motorcycle

The girls with Elena Myers' motorcycle

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May 29, 2010

Mika and Her First Flight in a Small Plane

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May 23, 2010

At the Maker Faire

Mika and Camila on a pill bug vehicle

Camila poses with a structure that she posed.

Camila with Adam Savage of Mythbusters

Mika with Adam Savage of Mythbusters

Camila decorating the Lego Jeep

Mika with one of the many unique pedal-powered vehicles

Trying their hand at copper piping art

Posing with the popular remote control R2D2 robot from Star Wars

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March 22, 2010

Mika and Camila in their latest classes

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March 14, 2010

my cup cake maker

Today i went to the flea market in oakland.My mom saw this cup cake maker for 5$ and wanted to change the price to 4$.It worked.MY mom and i are now making cupcakes with the cup cake maker. I love how it only takes 20 minutes to make. all you have to do is add water to the cup cake mix and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It is so easy.

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March 7, 2010

The feared hornatapelles

Michaela has decided to create her own mythological religion (to be named). This religion will feature many wondrous mythological creatures, starting with the hornatapelles - pictured and described below.

First drawing of the hornatapelles


The hornatapelles and a human victim


Description of the hornatapelles

The hornatapelles has a bright red tail that has a swiggly line at the top. His body is a bright red oval. His legs are straight but they end in a sideway. He has a very straight neck that always has a blue collar. He has a purple face with brown eyes and a gray mouth. He has 8 orange horns around his face. He has four horns on his back, also orange.

The hornatapelles likes to eat grizzly bears and soggy fish. He likes to drink human blood. He usually tries to find sour blood in trees but he is so dumb he walks into them. Usually he will disguise himself as a huge dalmatian puppy when he's trying to drink blood. He'll pretend that his foot is hurt and he doesn't have a collar on his neck, and he tries little girls and boys and adults to let him in. Then he tricks them and makes them think he is a nice puppy and then he bites them in the stomach, his favorite place from where to draw blood.

His favorite dessert is fish skin covered bear meat with strawberries on top.

The Hornatapelles superstition

If you believe in the hornatapelles and kill a fish, the hornatapelles will kill you and drink your blood.

The story of the hornatapelles (written by Mika)

Once there lived a hornatapelles and he loved to scratch his horns on his favorite tree, an oak tree. While he scratched he heard a noise. He demanded to his servant. While his back was turned the servant took his jewelry and scratched it with his sharp claws. Oh kind master please let me out of the castle walls. Well OK, he said. I will let you but, say, look at my jewelry, it is all scratched. Who did these, he demanded to the servant. I did, he squeaked. Will you fire me? Well, no, he said. Yes, OK. I will get you some water to calm down. OK?

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February 25, 2010

Girls on the Road




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December 20, 2009

Fun days and a walk in the park

Face painting at a local school

Gaming day at the local library

Camila during tumbling class (photo by Mika)

At the Northern California premier of Squeakquel (photo by Mika)

Camila showing affection to the rapidly growing kitten (photo by Mika)

Mika shows off her find during a walk through the redwoods

Mika next to the tree where she said she wants a coat made of tree moss

Camila at the end of the walk through the redwoods

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December 4, 2009

Mika's first (?) story

Mika wrote this story yesterday. I think it's quite good. I'm providing the punctuation in parenthesis for easier reading.

A Job

One day I needed like a 100 bucks but didn't know how to earn it. But then it came to me. I had to get a job(,) I wanted to baby site(.) I wanted to baby site the most crazy girl on our block(,) Nancy Higinstire. She is crasy(.) She is so crazy that she eats paper! I know(,) I know(,) I'm kind of weird. Hey(,) I know what I'll do "I'LL DO IT(.)"

So I did(.) I walked right over(,) I knocked (and) said(, ")do you need babysiting tonight(?".) He said (")yes(,) I do(,) thank you very much(.) I'll pay you 100 dollars to babysite her(.) She is very crazy!(")

(")Ok(,) i said(, ")I'll do it. Thank you very much(").

So when I walked in there she was(,) stuck to the sealing with (caramel) because she got it out of the kitchen again. I (said ")this will be hard(") and it was. First she tried to poop in the sink and wash in the toilet(.) I(t) was dis(g)usting.

I did not like my job but still(,) I got 100 dollars.i needed the money for a flat screen tv she wanted. so i told her id get it. when i got homesat down to rest just when i was getting comfy the phone rang

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December 3, 2009

Christmas preparations

Yesterday the girls and I made gingerbread houses from a "Gingerbread mini village kit" that we bought at target. The kit came with 5 small houses, rather than one big one, and I think it was perfect for the girls - as they would have fought like cats and dogs if they'd had to decorate the same house AND they would have probably not finished. As it was, Camila had only enough patience to do two houses, and Mika one. Their creations are below, Camila decided to follow the pictures on the box while Mika chose to let her own imagination guide her.

Camila's houses:


MIka's house:


Last night, after Mike came home from work, we went to the Xmas tree lot that opened up at the closed car dealership around the block and picked up a Xmas tree. Mike carried it home on his shoulders (I think he's still sore!). Today we decorated it, though by "we" I really mean "me" - Mika had no interest (she got her own tree a couple of days ago) and Camila found other things to do. In any case, here is the result:


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December 2, 2009


today and yesterday i decorated my beutiful house tada .i had stuffed xmas animals,my very own xmas tree, and bunch things that look like lights.

BYE BYE see yal

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today i got out of school 2 hours early . then when i got home i had this big struggle with my cat indi.i wun. now im bloging see. now im going to make ginger bread houses. see ya bye.

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December 1, 2009

what do i love

i love cleaning decorating but most of all my family.

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my xmas list

i just wrote my 1st christmas list. with a bunch of stuff. this is what i wrote dear santa i want a ds bikini size twelve a book that will teach me how to write hierogyphs and a very marry xmas.

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November 16, 2009


i love fashon . i mean im cool i wear jeans with holes and stuff. have you seen me when i was 4 i had cvlothes for each hour i wore a bat dress at 8 a monkey dress at 9 and so on. what i mean is im realy cool.

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i love cleaning

cleaning is cool i clean my room,i clean the windows, i clean my desk, and and and i clean the kitchen. i love cleaning.

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Fun is fun but bit by bit its tyring thats why I blog you can sit down relax and write what whats on your mind.

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November 12, 2009

a good day

on friday the day before hollaween i had two cupcakes, a cookie and abunch of candy.

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i deflea my cats syria and indi .i love thaem but somtimes they get on my nerves.

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my kitten

today my kitten gave me the worst bite ever and I TRIED to take my revenge but mom held me back

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November 9, 2009

Mika as Rosencrantz in Hamlet

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November 8, 2009

Halloween 2009

A week before Halloween

At the pumpkin patch




Ready for the big night

Friends, friends, friends

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September 27, 2009

In the Great Outdoors






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Fun at the Cherry Festival




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June 14, 2009

Maker Faire

Watching sparks from a tesla coil
Watching sparks from a tesla coil

Playing with a prototype toy
Playing with a prototype toy

Playing on the wheel-o-rator
Playing on the wheel-o-rator

A bit more nervous on the wheel-o-rator
A bit more nervous on the wheel-o-rator

Posing on a sculpture
Posing on a sculpture

Creativity flowing
Creativity flowing

More creativity
More creativity

They loved the decorated cars
They loved the decorated cars, but they are not allowed to do that to our car

Posing the figures
Posing the figures

hanging swing
Hanging from the structure of a huge swing

Hanging out with a robot
Hanging out with a robot

Mika in one of the cupcake cars
Mika in one of the cupcake cars

Camila in one of the cupcake cars
Camila in one of the cupcake cars

Checking out a doghouse
Checking out a doghouse

Checking out a doghouse
Checking out a doghouse

Edible art
Edible art

Edible art
Edible art

Cavegirl Camila
Cavegirl Camila

Too young to be a propeller head
Too young to be a propeller head

Playing with a spinning table
Playing with a spinning table

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June 7, 2009

Getting ready for summer

wall dance
Dancing on a wall

Goofing around during garden day at school
Goofing around during garden day at school

Roller coaster video ride
Roller coaster video ride

Cooling off on a hot spring day
Cooling off on a hot spring day

Getting ready for school
Getting ready for school

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Climbing, parade, and a fair

Climbing a fence
Climbing a fence

Climbing the backstop fence at school
Climbing the backstop fence at school

On a fire truck before the parade
On a fire truck before the parade

Trying on a firefighter's hat
Trying on a firefighter's hat

At the local heritage faire
At the local heritage faire

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May 8, 2009

Trip to the Egyptian Museum

Sphinx at the front of the museum
Sphinx at the front of the museum

Posing with Tawaret, Goddess-Demoness of Birth, Rebirth and the Northern Sky

Trees must be climbed
Trees must be climbed

Posing at the obelisk on the grounds
Posing at the obelisk on the museum grounds

Another sphinx
Another sphinx on the museum grounds

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Salamanders and Party Girl

The kids love finding salamanders, but it's not so good for the salamanders

Snacking at a friend's party
Snacking at a friend's party

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May 3, 2009

Science Festival

Making bubbles
Making bubbles

More bubbles
More bubbles

Making new friends
Making friends with a king snake

Playing with our solar-powered car
It took a few tries, but we finally got a working solar car made from legos

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April 27, 2009

Cal Day

BART ride

Camila plants a poppy seed
Camila plants a poppy seed

Velociraptor Awareness
Velociraptor Awareness

Tree climbing at Cal
Tree climbing at Cal

Hillside Picnic
Hillside picnic


Tree climbing at Cal
Tree climbing at Cal

Mika tries out the tightrope
Mika tries out the tightrope

Camila tries out the tightrope
Camila tries out the tightrope

Blowing a bubble
Blowing a bubble

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Partying, Rain and the Zoo

Mika and some friends
Mika and some friends

Camila having fun in a huge puddle
Camila having fun in a huge puddle

Camila jumping and dancing
Camila jumping and dancing

Mika on her first solo roller coaster ride
Mika on her first solo roller coaster ride

On the zoo carousel
On the zoo carousel

On a car ride at the zoo
On a car ride at the zoo

On a plane ride at the zoo
On a plane ride at the zoo

Atop a lion
Atop a lion

Girls atop a turtle
Girls atop a turtle

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April 12, 2009

Wheels, jumping, exploration

Mika then and now
Mika then and now

Tennis class
Tennis class

On stage with Step Down
On stage with Step Down

Having a treat at the park
Having a treat at the park


Tennis class
Tennis class

Riding around at school
Riding around at school

Riding around at school
Riding around at school

Finding wildlife
Finding wildlife: a big worm

Jumping from a swing
Jumping from a swing

On a ride to the library
On a ride to the library

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Cooking, Rain and Snow

Cooking with mommy
Camila loves to cook

Jumping in rain puddles
Jumping in rain puddles

Jumping in rain puddles
Jumping in rain puddles

Playing at San Leandro Creek
Playing at San Leandro Creek

Throwing rocks at San Leandro Creek
Throwing rocks at San Leandro Creek

Dressed up for skating
Dressed up for skating

Resting after a little rock climbing
Resting after a little rock climbing

Dressed for the snow
Dressed for the snow

Building a fort in the snow
Building a fort in the snow

Mika the storyteller
Mika the storyteller

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February 22, 2009

A weekend in the snow

Mika during her first snowboard lesson
Mika during her first snowboard lesson

Mika on the chairlift during her snowboard lesson
Mika on the chairlift during her snowboard lesson

Her first snowman
Her first snowman

Camila helps build a snowman
Camila helps build a snowman

Mika takes a break while Camila starts another run
Mika takes a break while Camila starts another run

Camila and friend walk the sled back up the hill
Camila and friend walk the sled back up the hill

Mika sets off down the hill
Mika sets off down the hill

Camila at the end of a run
Camila at the end of a run

Headfirst down the hill
Fearless and headfirst down the hill

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In Mika's world

Trying on glasses at the Chinese New Year celebration
Trying on glasses at the Chinese New Year celebration

Mika at a school_fundraiser
Mika at a school_fundraiser

Holding a gecko in Berkeley
Holding a gecko in Berkeley

Holding a hamster in Berkeley
Holding a hamster in Berkeley

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Kids at the wildlife museum

Camila posing with Obama
Camila posing with Obama

Baby birds waiting for mother bird
Baby birds waiting for mother bird

Working on a floor puzzle at the museum
Working on a floor puzzle at the museum

Camila working on a dragonfly puzzle
Camila working on a dragonfly puzzle

Mika working the rings at the park next to the museum
Mika working the rings at the park next to the museum

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January 19, 2009

Exploring at the park

Mika found these salamanders under a log at the park.
Mika found these salamanders under a log at the park.

Helping out natural decay of a log
Helping out natural decay of a log

Camila and a friend walking with a doll
Camila and a friend walking with a doll

Climbing a tree at the park
Climbing a tree at the park

Camila joined her friend to
Camila joined her friend to "hide" in this tree nook

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January 16, 2009

Snow fun




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January 15, 2009

Christmas 2008








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November 24, 2008

All Around









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At the fair and a show






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September 29, 2008

Camping and other stuff








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June 27, 2008

Mika at the Cherry Festival and elsewhere

Holding a friend's baby
Holding a friend's baby

On a San Leandro Police motorcycle
On a San Leandro Police motorcycle

At the wheel of a bus
At the wheel of a bus

On a freefall ride
On a freefall ride

On the bars at the playground
On the bars at the playground

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June 12, 2008

Mika graduated

Today was Mika's last day of Kindergarten. There was a little party, which Mike filmed. Afterwards one of her teachers came to me and thanked me for the opportunity to teach my daughter. She said it'd been an honor and a privilege to have her in her class. The other teacher told me that she thought Mika was a superstar.

It's nice to hear it. Sometimes I don't appreciate how well she's doing in school, my expectations are so high. But she does have a great father who offers her tons of opportunities to learn and she's very bright.

She's got a new silkworm. I'm taking bets on how long it takes for it to die.

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May 30, 2008

Visiting with Aunt Kathy

Falling asleep at the school open house

Bear Hug

Climbing a statue in the City

An afternoon nap
An afternoon nap

Dancing at a Moroccan restaurant
Dancing at a Moroccan restaurant

Waiting for ballon animals at the farmers' market

Fun shopping

At the movies
At the movies

Fun at the mall
Fun at the mall

Watching performances at the Heritage Faire
Watching performances at the Heritage Faire

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Jumping at the Library's Heritage Faire with Asheba

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May 1, 2008

Mika Helps a Magician at the Library

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April 27, 2008

And now she is six...

Mika after using her gift card
Mika after she used a gift card from Grandma. Thanks Grandma!

Reaching out to touch a boa constrictor
Reaching out to touch a boa constrictor

Getting her face painted at Cal Day
Getting her face painted at Cal Day

Throwing a pot at Cal Day
Throwing a pot at Cal Day

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March 15, 2008

School, library, park, dentist and zoo

Mika reading at school
Mika reading at school

Making slime
Mika added sodium borate to polyvinyl alcohol to make some slime at the library

Playing in sand at the marina
Playing in the sand with a friend

At the school assembly
School assembly

Cavity time at the dentist
Sedated at the dentist to have a cavity filled

Climbing a tomato frog at the zoo
Climbing a tomato frog at the zoo

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March 5, 2008

Mika and Camila Rolling Down a Hill

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March 3, 2008

A Day in Berkeley

Climbing trees
Climbing trees

Making a new friend
Making a new friend

A true flower child
A true flower child

Screaming in the tunnel
Screaming in the tunnel

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February 22, 2008

A ferry trip, dancing, and losing a tooth

Mika poses in San Francisco
Posing in San Francisco

Dance class
Working on her dance moves

Mika shows off the space left by losing a second tooth
Mika shows off the space left by losing a second tooth

The second tooth
The first tooth was lost, but here's the second.

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January 5, 2008

The official portrait


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January 2, 2008

Mika at tea

We had a tea party - our last tea party with C. - the week before Xmas and our friend K. took some amazing pictures. Here are a couple of Mika's:




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December 31, 2007

Xmas pictures of the girls

My parents and siblings came to visit us for Xmas. They took the girls to San Francisco and Berkeley and then took them home with them.

My brother took many pictures of them and you can see them here.

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December 19, 2007

Hanging out at the zoo with Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi

Mika and Camila at the zoo with California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi
Mika has on a purple jacket and Camila is in the red. The picture was published in the December 15, 2007, edition of the Daily Review.

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December 17, 2007

Fun on a Friday night

The Mika monster
Having fun with friends at a local restaurant.

Mika with a dragon
Fun at Miracle on E. 14th Street

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December 8, 2007

Santa at Garfield Elementary School

Camila with Santa at Garfield Elementary School
Camila with Santa at Garfield Elementary School

Mika with Santa at Garfield Elementary School
Mika with Santa at Garfield Elementary School

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December 6, 2007

The Kindergarten Picture

Mika's Kindergarten picture
Mika's Kindergarten picture

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Mika at grandparents & Thanksgiving


Mika was very affectionate with grandma


And she loved her dog


Mika in the Shasta caves


She had fun at a recent birthday party


Looking for trees was fun. Fortunately we all agreed on one.


She was a trooper posing with the Xmas tree.

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Grandparents and Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving we took our kids to Mike's parents home, so the kids could meet their cousins. They had an amazing time and Camila still tell us - every time we are in the car - "I want to go to grandma's house". On the way back we stopped at the Shasta caves, which Mika, at least, appreciated.

Then it's been home and Xmas preparations. We have the tree and have decorated - now it's time for the holiday celebrations!


The kids with cousins and grandparents


What will Santa bring us?


All ready for Xmas


We saw Santa at the lightening of the tree in San Leandro - Mika asked for Bratz, Camila for a Dora doll.


And then again at our realtor's office. Camila wasn't very cooperative.

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November 26, 2007

Road Trip North

At a restaurant for dinner
At a restaurant for dinner

Pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast
Pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast

Pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast
Pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast for Camila as well

Mika was a little lamb
Mika was a little lamb, little lamb...

Camila was a little lamb too
Camila was a little lamb too

Bear statue
A bear hug

Bear statue
Camila with the bear

Rhinoceros up close
A rhinoceros at Wildlife Safari made Mika and Mom nervous

Beautiful elk
An impressive elk

The kids on the lookout for animals
The kids on the lookout for animals

Curious rhea at Wildlife Safari
This curious rhea pecked at Dad's shirt

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November 25, 2007

Riding, digging, and hanging out

The Carousel in Downtown San Francisco
At the carousel in San Francisco

Mika exploring a possible career in archaeology
Exploring a possible career in archaeology

Hanging out with public art
Hanging out with public art

Hanging out near one of her favorite treats
Hanging out near one of her favorite treats

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November 14, 2007

Mika can be quite helpful

Mika is quite thoughtful and often thinks of ways to help out. Yesterday, for example, she saw that my toothbrush was dirty and took it upon herself to clean it. I found out when I started to brush my teeth because the toothbrush tasted like soap! We've been encouraging her to tell the truth and I guess it's working because she told me that she washed my toothbrush when I asked her about it.

I'll file this under the category of "Things You Never Expected When You Decided to Have Kids."

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November 4, 2007

Halloween Before and After

Halloween option 1
One of many options for Halloween.

Mika at the Oakland Museum
Coloring at the Oakland Museum.

Using flowers for face paint.
These flowers make great face paint!

Rockin' out to Cowboy Jared
Rockin' out to Cowboy Jared at Cherrytown Kids

Trash discovery at Oyster Bay
Trash discovery at Oyster Bay

Hugging a friend at the Kids Save the Planet Festival
Hugging a friend at the Kids Save the Planet Festival

Friends at Ardenwood
Friends at Ardenwood

Modeling the Xmas dress
Modeling the Xmas dress

Gratuitous fall picture
Gratuitous fall picture

Getting the guts out of the pumpkin
Getting the guts out of the pumpkin

The end result of gut removal

Milk makes great bubbles
Milk makes great bubbles

Mika is in the yellow dress

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I haven't put up pictures forever

Or rather, Mike hasn't, as he downloaded them to his camera.

The girls are doing well. Mika finds kindergarten a little bit slow, though they are finally ready to start working on words. The teacher gave us a long list and instructions to help our kids with them - fortunately my sister kathy is a teacher and she could give me some ideas of how to help her.

Mika has a new boyfriend named Angel, she's very much in love with him. They play at recess and have weekly playdates (we alternate houses). She's also made friends with the other kids, everyone seems to say goodbye when she leaves, which indicates to me that they like her. What's not to like? She's always been very socially intelligent.

Camila is doing better and becoming more independent without her sister around, though I realize I treat her much more like a baby that I ever did Mika. It's the curse of being the baby of the family. She's speaking much more clearly, and I'm hoping that by 3 she'll be speaking well.
She's very rambunctious but also very whiny. She has this weird condition now that her skin is peeling on her hands and feet - I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow and have her seen.

The two of them, as I've mentioned over and over, play very well together. They love dolls, babies and Mika is lately into puzzles (what she wants for Xmas are pluzzles and Bratz). Camila is into whatever her sister likes.

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October 4, 2007

Santa Claus

Yesterday Mika told me that she didn't really believe in Santa, that she only believes in things she sees with her own eyes. So I asked her where the presents on Xmas morning came from, and she said "magic".

She did also tell me that she didn't believe in God. That's my girl! :)

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September 9, 2007

Bump bump bump

Mika, what are you doing?

bumping my apple on the door so I can make a bruise

She likes bruises

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September 4, 2007

Mika was on the paper today

Check her out at

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September 3, 2007

First day and stuff


Mika at the Adventure Park having the time of her life.


At our campsite


Isn't she beautiful?


Wednesday was Mika's first day of kindergarten. She was a little apprehensive at first, there was a tear or two, but she quickly adapted. She loves it now, and loves her teacher. They seem to play more than anything, but do a little bit of drawing and tracing in between. She was quite lucky in that one of her friends, Joshua, is in the same kindergarten class than her. They've known each other since they were babies.


And here she is, going to school

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August 22, 2007

In the stroller

A couple of days ago Mika had an upset stomach. She woke up during the night and threw up several times (we slept through it :(. She was a bit bitter during the day, but way tired. We went to Zocalo, where she laid down to sleep on the stroller. It looks so uncomfortable. Later, when she woke up, I convinced her to lie on the couches - and she slept for another hour.

Mika in the stroller


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August 20, 2007

Mika as a baby

I didn't really keep baby albums for my two kids - this place sort of makes up for that - but when Mika was a baby my mother sort of started one for her. She didn't write much, but the kids got into it and destroyed the little that was there. So I figured I'd copy it here so it can remain for posterity (or at least until the server crashes).

Your first babysitters were Joy & Doug

Strangers who stopped to admire you said these things about you:

"she looks like the gerber baby"
"she's the cutest baby I ever saw"
"she's so big"

Your very first baby was at 3 weeks bathed by daddy

You loved this new sensation

Once you got used to them baths usually made you feel relaxed and playful.

you would not, could not go to bed, without your bottle and company

Your first summer holiday was 4th of July celebrated at Joy's house

Autumn holidays: halloween and thanksgiving

Winter holidays: Xmas and New Years

Ninth months check-up: crawled all over the office, cried at the vaccines

You discovered your hands at two months

You discovered your feet at 5 months

You found the comfort of your thumbs or pacifier all by yourself: at 4 months you left the pacifier and put your hand in your mouth.

you first grabbed for a toy around 5 months old.

You were so busy learning about the world! Your other discoveries:

How to move pushing with your legs (5 months)
how to turn around (5 months)
to smile (3 months)
play with toys (5 months)

You began eating solid food at 5 months

The baby foods you most enjoy were: you were indifferent to carrots, apple and rice.

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August 18, 2007

Singing at the playground

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August 1, 2007

Mi Mika

Mika continues having transition problems, coming back from nona's house was painful. She spent a good 20 minutes crying for kathy ("my real mamá") before falling asleep on the way back. She does miss Kathy terribly, specially when she's in trouble and/or tired. I'm glad she has another adult she can be so close to.

I think she grows more beautiful every day - but of course, I'm biased. Today we went to get her hearing tested, as with Camila, because she's been complaining she can't hear in her right ear. She failed the test as well, so we're also waiting for a referral for an ear doctor.

She continues to surprise me with the amount of knowledge she has, and her wide interest in the world. She asks "why" a lot, but she really seems to process the information.

Unfortunately, she's heard a lot about Jesus Christ from her friend Sadie and I'm still trying to explain to her about gods and teachers and death. I'm not sure if the information is sinking in, but she's very curious.

Making a "chanchito face"

mika like a chanchito

Isn't she gorgeous?



Saying goodbye to Kathy and nono

hugging kathy


My mother bought her a bunch of beautiful, fancy dresses, she has nowhere to wear. Please do not buy her any more dresses! They are beautiful and she looks darling, but what am I to do with them?

mika in her new dress

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July 8, 2007

the butterflies are my girlfriend and the circles are my boyfriends

She pastes a sticker page, in which all the round stickers have been removed, into a blank page. then she draws half circles and half butterflies inside them. She tells me that the circles are her boyfriends and the butterflies her girlfriends. The fat butterfly is tía, as she wants it to look like real life (I ask her how about mommy, "moooom, I haven't drawn you yet"). then she comes and shows them to me. Guess which half I'm going to invite to my birthday party. I guess the butterflies. I'm right, she wants an all girl party.

Monster Camila meanwhiles comes after her "aaahghmm". They are in the bedroom. Laughing.

Yesterday we went to my friend Andrew's and Laura's for dinner. I've known them since college. the girls played beautifully with their 4 and 2yo. I was particularly impressed how well Camila played with Sara, the 2 yo. They pretty much aged segregated most of the evening. My little girl is growing up.

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July 3, 2007

2 little girls

Here are pictures from some activities. A couple of weeks ago Mike took them to the helicopter show, and both of them flew in a helicopter. We also took them to the Alameda County fair, and to the beach at Alameda. And then to socials here and there. For more info on them read my last report on Vox Publica







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May 20, 2007

Words and Random Pictures

So the kids are growing up. Mika is doing pretty well, all in all, though she still has huge problems with transitions. She's outright rude when she has to interact with a new person (whether she knows them well or not), though eventually she warms up and is her friendly, bubbly self. She is both looking forward to, and apprehensive of kindergarden. Her social skills continue to amaze us, as her ability and desire to take care of all. However, she has began to judge herself in negative ways. The other day she was complaining about how she is always last at running races, she doesn't understand it and doesn't want to do it if she can't be good at it. She has also started to notice when people compliment Camila on how cute she is and not her. She gets very hurt by the idea the Camila could be cuter or Camila could have something cuter than her. I'm somewhat at a loss as to how to deal with these issues.

As for Camila, she is in the controlling phase of her life. She wants to do everything herself "me do it, me do it, me do it", and this can be very annoying specially when we are talking about serving herself milk, putting herself in the car seat or doing things she can't do. When she can't do something she is very specific as to who should do it, and will go into a fit if the wrong person does it. This is becoming very frustrating. Her vocabulary is improving and she can usually communicate quite well, though not always verbally. however, I'm concerned about her lack of correct pronunciation.

Both are pretty happy girls, though Mika has been missing daddy a lot now that he's in Seattle all the time. me too.







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Having fun

I haven't posted pictures in a while, but it doesn't mean that the kids have not been all over the place, having fun in a million ways. In recent weeks they've been to the new water park at the Washington Manor twice, at the Oakland Museum, the Children's Discovery Museum, at the recycling center, at the airplane museum in oakland, and, to top it off, to an amusement park (discovery world) for MOTHER'S DAY (that was my stupid idea).

So here are the pictures of all of these events.


having fun at the water park





The discovery museum is always fun



As is flying planes



You can also be an artist at the Oakland Museum



And pose with garbage at the recycling center


The kids had fun at the Discovery World, or whatever it's called, though not as much as they should have given the expense and effort on our part - and the fact that it was Mother's Day for God's sake. Mika was very grumpy when she couldn't get all she wanted, and she didn't have the patience to wait in line. Camila behaved wonderfully and stayed in her stroller most of the time. I'm glad we went, but we won't be hurrying back.





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April 22, 2007


Last year I took the kids to the Day of the Death celebration at the Oakland Museum. Five months later I'd forgotten all about it. Then a couple of days ago Mika asks "are you going to write that paper for Gladys like you did for that other man?". I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she reminded me that when we went to the Oakland Museum there was a large exhibit, where, I think, you could write a short note for the souls of the dead. I have *no idea* to whom I did that. My grandfather, perhaps, given that Mika remembered it was a man. I vaguely remember the exhibit at all. But she remembered, and she realized it was for the dead, and that Gladys is now among them. Her perceptions - as well as her memory and how she processes things - astounds me.

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April 15, 2007

Michaela's 5th birthday party

Michaela had her 5th birthday party yesterday - a couple of weeks after her birthday 'cause we screwed up and didn't send the invites on time. It worked well, however, as I had time to clean the house. For her actual birthday day we went to the Ice Creamery in Castro Valley. Carol, Ethan & Ricky & the kids and Diana & her kids came along as well. We all had food and ice cream and the kids had a blast.

This birthday party started more mellow (we didn't take pictures so I figure I'll write it up for posterity). It was a teddy bear tea party so all her friends came with their stuffed animals. We set up the coffee table with a nice lace tablecloth (one of Gladys' - Kathy says Gladys would have liked Mika using it for her own tea party), paper placemats and plastic tea cups & saucers. We served mini food (mini p&J sandwiches, mini cookies, mini oreos, mini ritz crackers, baby carrots and HUGE strawberries - the kids were very amused by how big the strawberries were) and chocolate milk out of plastic teapots. The kids spent quite a bit of time eating, very quietly, to the point that my friend Daniela said this was the mellowest party she'd attended.

Then all the fun started and all the kids started to play. They chased each other through the house, the climbed on the bunk beds, and God knows what else they did, but they sounded very loud and happy. Just put a bunch of kids together and they'll have fun.

One little boy, however, was very sad when his mom left. We tried to entice him with boy stuff, but we didn't have much of it. Mika offered him something Batman, but when she went to look for it she couldn't find anything, so she drew him a picture of Batman and brought it to him. He was not convinced. She tried to explain that this, indeed, was Batman, but the little boy kept saying he missed his mommy. So Mika went to her room and came back with a picture of his mommy! Later, when that didn't seem to satisfy him, she went ahead and drew a picture of his other mommy. I have such a cool kid.

Later on she showed how full of herself she is when Kathy told her how lucky she was that she got so many presents. Mika answered "I'm not lucky, they are lucky they could give me presents". What am I going to do with this child?

To everyone who reads this who was lucky enough to give her a present ;), thank you so much for them. We may, one day, get to actually write thank you cards but I doubt it.

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April 1, 2007

Mika will


Mika climbing

and climb


Mika will dig

Mika digging

Mika will eat

Mika eating

and Mika will run


Mika will draw

heart drawing

and draw

girls drawing

even her insides


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March 4, 2007

Pictures, old and new

We often go to Angelinas, a local pizzeria with a kids area. Big Mika, the kids teacher, works there, and our friends Eddie and Arthur love going there as well. The kids love it, and the pizza is pretty good.

at Angnlina's

The kids love climbing the book case



Some times it's hard taking pictures of Camila because she keeps reaching for the camera


But Mika can be the same


Obligatory picture of Camila with frosting on her face


I love this picture


The girls have learned to peel garlic on their own - without mommy's approval, that is. They left garlic peel all over the living room and my office.


Mika loves to draw. Here is a pictures of kisses that she made


and here are snowflakes


and here are baby carriages


She also likes to write and is definitely ready to learn to read and write. She knows all her letters and is able to spell out words - like signs on the streets. But there are few words she can spell on her own. Her name is the most common one.


This picture is from a few months ago, but she still likes to dress like a ballernina. We haven't taken her to ballet classes because she was bored when she took them at 3 1/2. She thinks she knows all of it and doesn't need to learn. Still, we should try again.


My aunt María del Carmen in Argentina made this beautiful poncho for Michaela


Lately Mika has been into climbing everything, and the roof of her little structure is one of the easiest things for her to climb. We got this structure for free on the street.


Camila, meanwhile, loves to swing


Mika loves animals, snakes, bugs and all things of the sort.


Aren't they cute together?


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February 16, 2007

And now some lame videos

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and now the two togehter

They had a great time together at Yerba Buena Gardens


They love taking baths together and having water fights. Though the last time around Camila pooped in the water.



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Mika Tika

Michaela continues to be a very mature (for her age) little girl. Her knowledge amazes me. She proved it at insect lab at her school, when she was able to tell the difference between an insect and an arachnid. No wonder! Her father is constantly teaching her about the world around her. She knows about the war in Iraq, and what a civil war is - though there are tough questions I'm not sure how to answer. She's happy at preschool and at Rosemarie's. She knows all her letters and can spell out almost any word. She can also do basic math (3 + 2), though she uses her fingers sometimes. It's amazing how much 5-yo can learn!

At the insect lab:


She's learning how to do whatever they are called, vueltas carnero in Spanish.


We went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago


As part of daddy's many school activities, he has to go to spaghetti feeds, crab feeds and other school events. Here they are at a spaghetti feed at one of the junior highs.


Michaela likes to do physical activity and is quite courageous, though she usually knows her limits


She also likes climbing on trees


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January 24, 2007

Dancing girls

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Of dresses and castles

Michaela is more incredible every day - more intelligent, more curious, more difficult. And yet we can't think of any Michaela anecdotes as we speak. Oh well, next time. Meanwhile here are some pictures

Mika in a new dress

Grandma got her the most beautiful party dress, and she loves wearing. I'm trying hard to find some party for her to wear it at.

Mika in her new dress


For her birthday Camila got a Barbie "My size castle" to share with her sister. It's a combination play house and Barbie doll house, and so far it's proved pretty popular.

Mika in her castle

Mike loves reading to his girls

reading with dad

And they all love having fun together


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January 3, 2007

Mika's wisdom

She comes and shows me an empty bottle of shampoo (which I suspect she emptied but that's another matter). She tells me "look it's empty" and I go "throw it away". And she says "I'm not going to throw it away, I'm going to play with it. It's like recycling. I'm going to make it into something new". And there she is now, playing with the bottle and Camila.

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December 9, 2006

A bonanza of old pictures















No doubt as to her father is

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December 8, 2006

Still no pictures

But I should say how wonderful Mika is.

Today when Camila pooped, she took off her diaper, put her in the toilet (where Camila finished pooping) and then cleaned her up.

She takes care of Camila quite well, looking after her, getting her away from trouble (and letting me know when she's doing something dangerous), playing with her, etc. She loves her a lot, and hugs her and kisses her often. Camila reciprocates, she adores Mika and does everything Mika does.

She still loves dressing up and changing her clothing all the time. She also loves the Simpsons and, of course, princesses and ballerinas. She is extremely curious and asks about everything she hears. I've had a difficult time explaining why Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who died today, was a bad person. And her reasoning powers are, of course, amazing, though I can't think of any examples right now.

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August 6, 2006

Mika on a boat

Our friend turned 40 recently (shhhhh) and to celebrate she rented a boat for a 3 hour cruise around the bay (OK, 2 1/2 hours, but 3 sounds more gilliganish). We took Mika who had a lot of fun. Her little friend is Amara, the daughter of another friend. Here are some pictures:





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August 5, 2006

Also at nonos'

Who's the princess?

Michaela had a little breakdown on Friday, she missed mommy (not daddy) too much.

Cousins love each other

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July 28, 2006

Ballerina girl

Yesterday I went to Cherrytown Kids, a local new & used kids clothing store, to get some robeez for Camila. She loves shoes - that was one of her first words - but she can't stand having them on. So her feet are always dirty and I'm always afraid that she'll hurt herself. So I've decided to go back to using robeez. So far, so good, she's been keeping them on.

But when I went to get them, Mika wanted to go with me. And then she wanted me to buy her something. And that something ended up being a ballerina costume. I didn't want to. I really tried not to. But... I have no will power. On my defense, this costume was an actual leotard with a skirt attached to it, and it's 5-6, so if she ever goes back to taking dance she could actually wear it. But yes, I suck.

Anyway, here is my ballerina:


Mika not only dressed herself, but dressed her little sister. Camila is very coquetish and was very eager to show me how cute she looked.


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Lola takes on Mika

Mika & chick

Mika & chick redux
Rosemarie got a new chick, Mika loves it

Our little princess

can be very angry when you try to take her picture

bubble girl
But she loves bubbles

little elf
And she can be a cute elf

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July 25, 2006

Mika's song

My 4-year old is already making up songs already. This is one she just sang to me to the tune of "Are you sleeping, brother John".

The whole world is burning
The whole world is burning
to us all
to us all
All the meteorites
All the meteorites
are here
are here.

Yes, I do question her father's decision of letting her watch "Dinosaur"

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July 24, 2006

Camping and County Fair



KC and the Sunshine Band

Watching KC and the Sunshine Band



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July 21, 2006

At Zocalo

Tim from Zocalo took this picture of the girls at, you guessed it, Zocalo. Mika did all the drawings. She's really into drawing human figures now, parents & friends. Sometimes she starts by drawing the person she wants, others she makes a figure and then assigns them a personna. Lately she's been drawing pictures of mommys with babies inside.


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June 21, 2006

A grown, happy girl

What can one say about a happy, wise and yet extremely active 4 year old? She amazes us every day as much as she challenges us. She loves to play with anything forbidden. I just had to take a cleaner away from her because she was using it to clean the walls and floor in her room. She loves to get into creams and other cosmetics and rub them all over herself. She loves make up, dressing up and making her own combinations. She's still "Sleeping Beauty" and into princesses, but not as much as before. She is active, likes to climb and jump, but a bit more fearful than in the past. She is very, very messy.

She is going through a phase in which she's having problems with transitions. She never wants to go, change conditions. Getting her out of the house (or back in) is always a struggle. She is very nice and loving, a big giver of hugs and 'I love yous.' Her emotional intelligence and ability to manage my own emotionality are amazing. Recently she told me she didn't like how Mike and I fought because we didn't apologize at the end of fights.

Here are some pictures:

She loves to climb onto the cat tree and pet the cats. Syria is a sweetie and lets her, Jordan doesn't like to be bothered as much. Mika also likes to jump into the couch from up in the tree.

Mika and Camila play a lot together, specially with water.

She likes to pose, but alas, she'll then give us that fake smile

It's wonderful how affectionate 4-year-olds are

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April 16, 2006

Biking, swimming, and chocolate (Oh my)





I love the Ghirardelli factory store!


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April 3, 2006

Four years old









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March 20, 2006

In the Snow






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March 13, 2006

Rainy days of March

These 3D Imax movies are very captivating.

Now this is a gun.


My first time flying a kite.

I used to do this when I was a baby.

Snow? (well, hail) At our house?

Now can I take off my shoes and get wet?

I'm a shark.


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February 26, 2006

Mika's Family Visit





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February 15, 2006

Mika dances

Mika is going through a "girl" stage. She is very much into princesses and barbies and will shriek with joy when she sees anything with a picture of any of them. She also likes wearing make up and playing dress up (though she's been doing the latter for months). She's been insisting that we take her to "ballerina class" for months, and we finally started her. The first class was a bit of a disappointment, as she didn't really get to dance but we'll see what she thinks after the cycle is over.

My folks came a couple of weekends ago to pick her up to spend some time with them, and soon she'll be going to visit Mike's parents as well.

She will dance

Aren't my two big girls gorgeous?

Hug me tight!

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January 29, 2006

Mika in Argentina

I had a great time with Sasha

It looks like it has two tongues.

Me gusta la calesita!

Can I go back to sleep now?

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December 3, 2005

Holiday Fun with Mika

Mika sometimes amazes us with her confidence and, well, chutzpah. Recently, she observed a number of older children who were singing songs into a microphone at a radio station booth at a local holiday event. Mika got closer, saw what was happening, and then got into the line so that she would have an opportunity to sing. Note that she did this without consulting her parents. When the kid next to her finished, she asked for the microphone and sung her song. We don't know what it was, but it seemed to be made up. Her performance had her parents bursting with pride.

And I want.....

I don't want to hang it on the tree. I want to take it home.

It's much easier to jump when you hold onto the net.

I made up the song myself.

I think this one is a little big for me.

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November 22, 2005

Fun at the Zoo





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November 18, 2005


Michaela has been in a fury of mischief for the last week or so. Some of her travesuras have been documented like when I hear her little voice calling me from somewhere far in the house and I find her in the drier:


Or when I hear "crunch, crunch" come from the kitchen and I find my baby sitting on a sea of cheerios. Yep, Mika got them for her:


Others have not been chronicled by pictures, but are even worse. Tuesday night we were babysitting her friend N. and made the huge mistake of leaving them alone in her room. When we dropped N. back home his mom noticed his breath smelled like toothpaste - we go on to find that Mika and N. had emptied out the whole tube of toothpaste and smeared it on the back of her desk.

I should have learned my lesson, but I didn't, as yesterday she had a playdate with her friend K. - apparently the toothpaste event had been fun enough that she decided to repeat it, this time by emptying my contact lense solution, the kids shampoo and the soap all on her desk. I'm seriously considering removing that desk from her room. Meanwhile we're putting all the cosmetics in the high-high shelf.

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November 16, 2005

Finding her own voice






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November 3, 2005

Mika's Halloween

Can I eat some candy now?


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October 3, 2005

Baseball and Halloween Costume

Look! I got a postcard!

Hey! Why are you taking so long? [Mika heckles the opposing team.]

Let's go (to) Oakland!

baseball6.jpg cream

I'm dreaming about Where the Wild Things Are

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September 17, 2005

At a friend's house and in the city

Mika had a great time at a fundraiser at a friend's house. How could you not with great friends and a bouncer? The next day it was off to see opera at Golden Gate Park and then to the playground.

Is is ok to bounce now?

Coming through...

I'm one of the few three year-olds that enjoys opera.

I'm higher than you.


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September 15, 2005

On the Go

This is how I keep warm waiting for the monorail.

You can get me out of here anytime now.

Can I have my peanuts now? When will I get my peanuts?

That flight attendant is really tall.

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September 7, 2005

At the Seattle Zoo




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September 5, 2005

Mika and Camila go to Washington

What do you mean we're leaving Seattle?

I love it when it's a little windy.

Wake me up inside....

We liked the Olympic Game Farm, but some animals got too close.

Look how high I can climb!

Give me the camera!

I wonder why Dad gets so tired.

Where are all the starfish and the anemones?

I don't want to get my pants wet.

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August 29, 2005

Mika Tikka

Mika continues to amaze us with her logic and use of language. Her command of the English subjunctive is quite remarkable. And yet, she is not always very aware of the meaning of language. Yesterday when I got off the shower she called me a stupid girl, I asked her why she thought I was stupid, and she said because I didn't have any clothing on. I asked her what it meant to be stupid and she said it meant to not have clothing on - and yet, I asked her if she was stupid as she was also on her underwear, but she said she wasn't, and quicklychanged the subject.

She's adjusted very well to her new "school", though she still has transition issues.



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August 21, 2005

Brunch and Zucchini Festival


This slide is a bit steeper than I thought.

This may just be the slowest swing ever.

I can do this better than most bigger kids.

Let's spin really fast!

Check out my ride.

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August 20, 2005

The Quotable Mika - Aug. 20, 2005

"I want to take my cereal box to the Zucchini Festival."

Later: "I forgot my cereal box."

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August 14, 2005

At the park, the baseball game, and museum

I love hanging around at the playground.

For me, baseball means cracker jacks and peanuts!

I want to run around over there.

The fireworks were pretty, but they were too loud for me.

Twinkle, twinkle little star....

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August 13, 2005

The quotable Mika

Here are some choice quotes from our drive home today:

Dad: Why are you kicking the back of my seat?
Mika: I'm exercising.

Mom: Ouch.
Mika: What's wrong?
Mom: I turned to look at you and got a pain in my neck.
Mika: Then don't look at me.

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August 7, 2005

Indian Dancing, Backyard Fun and Thomas the Train

I love to watch Indian dancing at the library.

Is that a monster down there?

I love getting my hand or face painted.

I can jump very high!

Why do all these people need to be here?

I'm the conductor of Thomas!

It was I climbed it.

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July 27, 2005

New Childrens Zoo at Oakland Zoo

Although it's not quite complete, the Oakland Zoo opened its Valley Childrens Zoo recently and of course, we had to visit on a really hot day in July. A good time was had by all, at least until Mika and Camila both needed naps.

I'm a turtle!

Definitely the biggest frog I've seen.

Where are all the lemurs?

Nothing is better than ice cream on a really hot day.

I will get up this slippery slide.

You can't catch me!

My doll wants to ride too.

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July 20, 2005

Mika in the park

Mika has been having a pretty fun summer - going to the library, the park, and fun activities during the weekends. She's no stranger to mischief, specially when there is a lipstick around:




What can a summer be without ice cream?



There is a new park in Castro Valley with really cool play structures and a lot of water play:





Sometimes she looks mischievous


And sometimes she is


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July 17, 2005

At the MotoGP

Mika wasn't thrilled at first and kept asking to go home, but when we got to the motorcycle displays, it was hard to get her to leave. A week later, she was asking to go to the motorcycle races again.

This Honda CRF50F is just my size - and it matches my clothing.

This is comfortable too- and it still matches.

The Suzuki JR50 feels pretty good.

It's hard to drink and look at balloons at the same time.

This Yamaha PW50 seems to fit me the best.

I can see cars far away. It's going to be a while before we get out of here.

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A Friend's Birthday Party

I see you!

Water fountains are great for great for drinking - and making mud.

This is so cool. Check out my hair!

I can't be bothered right now - I'm concentrating on frosting.

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July 15, 2005

Mika at her computer

Michaela has her own computer and she mostly uses it to watch The Simpsons (her dad's doing). What attracts her so much to that show is beyond me. She doesn't usually like it when I take pictures of her, specially when I interrupt her, but she did "pose" for me for these shots:





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June 26, 2005

Lipstick and Muir Beach

Look what I can do if you leave me alone for a few minutes with some lipstick.


Let's go in the water!

Ooohhhh....That's cold!

See how I can throw rocks into the ocean?

I'm taking my baby on a walk to the library!

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June 23, 2005

Just Mika

Playing in her room

Today she insisted she sit down on the stroller next to her little friend

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