festa @ casa di mina

Continuing to practice the art of loving, one shared meal at a time 🙂

Gallery: Photos from November – February. Click on a photo to enlarge and view as a slideshow;  I’ve provided links to online recipes when available.

If you missed these, please check out manja manja, Minathe art of loving: food, and meals, desserts, and snacks for Mina.

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♥ Happy Birthday Bambalina ♥ Big 2 ♥

Before Mina was born and before we knew the gender of the baby at birth, we had a nickname for the baby in my womb: Bambalina, an Italian name that means, “little girl.”  We loved the sound and rhythm of that name. “Bambalino, if it’s a boy,” we joked. Now, our Bambalina Mina is 2! So fast yet so distant, she’s grown and changed so much since we first met her two years ago.

We see each of us in her. Her calm attentiveness is my husband. Her stubborn defiance, me. Her endless curiosity and sweet playfulness, us.

She is our perfect and precious gift. We love you, Mina Marie!

Big 2 and big kiss to Hello Kitty!

♥ happy 23 months ♥

In exactly a month, our baby Mina will be 2 years old!! Hard to grasp that soon it’ll be 2 years since that day of her birth; about 2 years, 9 months, and 1 week since that moment of her existence inside my womb.

The passing of time is intangible but what’s tangible is Mina’s growth: she is changing every day right before our eyes. The passing of time is immaterial but what’s material or essential is our interactions and connections that fill that time: we’re changed by our exchanges, we’re strengthened by our experiences. This makes me realize that the only meaningful way to carry our past with us is in our growth, our lessons; the only meaningful way to exist is to let this moment change us for the better.

I can’t help but feel that time is flying by; Mina is growing up too fast! I want time to slow down, so I can indulge in this moment just a little bit longer. Pretty selfish of me, I know. I just don’t want to miss a thing, and I want to remember every detail. Pretty impossible, I know.

I can’t change the flow of time, but what I can change is my attitude towards time. I can’t take any time for granted and I have to make every moment count. All that’s in my power to do, then, is to pay attention in every moment, because “every interaction counts” and “this very moment is the perfect teacher.” (Tiffany Shlain & Pema Chödrön respectively)

I’m so grateful for our Mina. She inspires me to change for the better.

Mina is our perfect darling daughter, our sweetest sunshine.

♪ ♪ Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say, It’s all right… ♪ ♪

a perfect walk in Bodega Bay

a perfect walk in Bodega BayI love watching Mina and Papa together. Here, they share a perfect walk in Bodega Bay. Picking a flower or two  for Gaga; talking to a worm, birdies, and doggies along the way; all the while, holding hands and commenting on all that’s “pretty,” one of Mina’s favorite words.

I love to watch their playfulness, laughter, chitter-chatter, and even slapstick silliness. I love their closeness as daddy and daughter, which I respect and honor from a distance. Knowing Mina shares a special bond with her Papa makes me happy and proud beyond words. Something I never shared with my Papa (I know it’s never too late…something I hope to share with my Papa, too). Something I always dreamed for my child.

Each of our own relationship with Mina is just as important as our bond as a family. No, it’s not a competition, I know that now. Mina needs and deserves the space, time, support, and love to explore all of her relationships because each is unique with its own gifts and wonders.

I have to say, I’ve learned so much already from watching Mina and Papa together. We can all learn and grow from each other, only if we want to.

summer garden, sweet harvest 2012

We love our garden (thanks to my husband who has a greener thumb than me but I’m learning!). We love most to share this beautiful garden and all its fruits with Mina. She’s our garden girl 🙂

manja manja, Mina

Gallery: Mina meals. I’ve provided links to online recipes when available; just click on the photo for details.

Mina is an amazing eater; she loves food, just like her Mama and Papa! After a delicious bite, she comments, “un, oishii!” (yes, tasty!) with an approving nod and a seriousness that tickles us silly! Cooking is all the more fun and fulfilling with my Mina!

If you missed these, please check out the art of loving: food and meals, desserts, and snacks for Mina.

♪ here comes the sun, little darling ♪

Little darling, I love the way you see the world.

Little darling, I love the way you touch the world.

Monterey Getaway

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Our first weekend getaway since Mina’s birth in Monterey, CA was AMAZING (thanks to Mina’s Gaga & Pa)! Under sunny blue skies (unbelievably without a cloud or fog in sight!), our stroll on the Asilomar Beach was playful and poetic: watching the otters swim on their backs and crack their catch; picking some pretty shells, a silly ritual of ours; talking about our next trip here with Mina, Gaga & Pa; all the while, holding hands, smiling I love you’s, still very much in love…actually, deeper in love today more than ever!

Over 15 years since our first kiss, our journey has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It was a long , winding journey, with unexpected, and at times very painful, detours; but I know for certain that those detours were necessary (yes, necessary meaning we needed to experience and process the pain, anger, resentment, sadness, even depression, and of course, love in solitude) to arrive here, to this us. I’ve written this before and I’ll write this again: Feeling the completeness of a full circle. We are one, we are whole; and now, we have Mina to share our aliveness and celebrate our oneness!

This weekend, I felt like we were living our wedding vows…actually, I know we live our wedding vows every day. How beautiful is that. How lucky am I. I’m just so grateful and proud of us, as husband and wife, and now as Mama and Papa to our Mina! I love that I get to share this us I so love with Mina! We are a gift; we are a wonder to me. Now, sharing our wedding vows; happy reading, happy loving! ♥

My husband:
As I make my solemn vows to Naoko, I want to thank my family and friends for preparing me for this day.

Naoko,
no one else can hold the light as you do,
boldly cupped like nectar in your slender
hands. no one else bears so well the weight of

my dreams. when i perceive the place where true
growth begins, there is only you, Love, at
its core. here, all light wears your silver scent.

“When I think of you,
I feel eternity most intimately.” (from Takamura Kotaro)

I promise to honor the daily rituals that have become our ceremonies,
and to continue to celebrate the beauty we find in these mindful gestures of love.

I promise to always communicate with you from the center of my existence.

I promise to make our love “a moving, growing, working together, whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness.” (from Erich Fromm)

I promise to always and forever be grateful for the gift that you are in my life.

Eien no ai wo koko ni chikaimasu.

Me:
As I make my solemn vows to Tim, I want to thank my family and friends for preparing me for this day.  Though she’s not here today, I’d especially like to thank my Obachan for her constant presence and love; Arigato.

if you were my poem
I would savor you
allmorningeverymorning
like our sweet morning coffee
and dance along to the
rhythmic clickings
of your spoon against my cup

if you were my poem
I would find
a coffee cup
still atatakai from
the warmth of your lips

thank you,
for leaving behind
a kiss
on my morning sip

“When I think of you,
I feel eternity most intimately.” (from Takamura Kotaro)

I promise to honor the daily rituals that have become our ceremonies,
and to continue to celebrate the beauty we find in these mindful gestures of love.

I promise to always communicate with you from the center of my existence.

I promise to make our love “a moving, growing, working together, whether there is  harmony or conflict, joy or sadness.” (from Erich Fromm)

I promise to always and forever be grateful for the gift that you are in my life.

永遠の愛をここに誓います。

happy belated halloween

Last year, Mina was a ladybug; this year, she chose an elephant! Next year, wonder what she’ll want to be 😉 She loved her first neighborhood trick-or-treat stroll, waving “Hi~!” to the skeletons hanging around gravestones (no hint of fear whatsoever!), and devouring her one and only goodie of the night: gold fishies, her favorite! I can’t believe it’s now November, where Thanksgiving and Christmas comes and goes in a whirlwind! As Mina would say, “Buckle up!” (from Cat in the Hat)