Ra + Ayano = RAyano

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Dove 1 & Dove 2

At the end of June, this mourning dove couple started building their nest in the hanging pot at the front porch, and we’ve been watching their two eggs hatch and grow ever since. We named the babies Dove 1 & Dove 2 (like Dr.Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2) and have been really enjoying observing them - seeing them flap their wings for the first time was like seeing a baby’s first step! They eventually flapped down from the pot to our porch chair and hung out there for a few days. When they finally flew out of our Read more »

David & Josiah’s visit - they’re our inspiration for adoption

Ra’s cousin David and his son Josiah spent the weekend with us and we had such a great time! They are the ones who inspired us to go on the adoption journey 4 years ago. When we met Josiah, he was a tiny little baby and seeing how they were as a family really encouraged us to look into the adoption process. It was Read more »

What we’ve been up to

We know we haven’t been updating our diary and you might have been wondering what we’ve been up to. It’s been quite a month - we took a trip to Charleston, SC, to celebrate Ayano’s birthday; made contact with a young lady that turned out to not be the right fit for us (seems she really wasn’t serious), and we made Read more »

Our Email Address Was Expired. It’s Working Now (5/27).

We were shocked to realize this morning that our email address had expired and haven’t been able to receive email messages for the past 14 days. So, if you tried to email us anytime between 5/14 and today, we are very sorry but we didn’t receive it. Email was the only issue. All other channels for reaching us have been Read more »

Hanging out with a good friend and his baby

A good friend of ours who lives nearby visited us with his 4 month-old baby. We sat on the swing in our backyard and hung out. I held the baby while we chatted - she is such a cute chilled baby! It was a gorgeous pleasant day, and we softly swung the swing, feeling the nice warm breeze. The light was dancing everywhere and I Read more »

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I am from Japan and I have relatives growing up in the U.S., so this is a pretty special month for me. I am proud of the cultures that I grew up in; it gives depth to my identity. I have incorporated Japanese-style breakfast into our everyday life since I Read more »

May hike & Geocaching

The past two weeks have been sooo busy with translation, but we finally had a chance to go on hiking in Pochahontas State Park. I LOVE hiking in May - the trees have such beautiful bight greens and I felt so refreshed! When we go to woods, we often check to see if there are any “geocaches”, and this one took a little Read more »


Star Wars is THE most epic fantasy I hold dear. I saw the second movie (episode 5) with my dad in the movie theater. The scene where Yoda used The Force to pull Luke’s X-wing out of the swamp was mega. It’s still probably the most powerful and influential cinema scene I saw as a child. It wasn’t just the scene. It was Read more »

Meet Slomas!

We named him “Slomas (Sloth + Christmas) and he is more like a Christmas thing (he has a Christmas hat) but even after Christmas, I just kept him on the couch in the office. His chillness is so awesome and adds a relaxing atmosphere to the office. He sometimes looks like just chilling on the couch or meditating on some Read more »

Spring bike ride!

I love biking around in Spring! - the bright green and colorful flowers. We’d been itching to go on a bike ride and finally got to enjoy it on the weekend. We saw a few families with kids - one family had a toddler in the installed child seat and it gave me an idea. Biking will definitely be one of our family activities. Read more »

Soul Family - blood-related, ones we choose, and the between

I would say we generally have two types of families: one blood-related and the other that we choose. I value both types of families in my life. It’s nice to see the “roots” and traces that I got from my parents and blood-related families - for example, a round face and the heart to be authentic and free-spirited from my Read more »

“Grogu” tree is growing!

“Grogu” in the meditation room is growing! (Yes, we name our plants and things lol) He is reaching up and new leaves are popping up fast. I love meditating close to him - he is full of life “force” yet has a very calming energy. I am looking forward to sitting in the room with my kid and Grogu, listening to birds Read more »

Ra’s Raw Feeling #1

I mean… Life is crazy… Right? Right… You’ll have to forgive me… Lately, I’m really really frustrated. I mean, I know… I’m the one who’s situation simply requires me to remain patient while you, dear birth parent, are literally going thru “it.” I feel you. I really really do. You’re finding it hard to Read more »

Colorful Easter Weekend

What a gorgeous Easter weekend! We went up to Richmond and visited Maymont Park, which is one of my favorite parks around here.  We admired the tulips in the garden and enjoyed the walk through the Japanese garden and the park itself. We saw a lot of families, and kids were running around everywhere; the view of them Read more »

Kid will listen to music from all around the world

Often, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I’ll throw on some music downstairs while preparing the kitchen for breakfast. Ayano and I listen to a lot of different genres. One weekend it could be Jazz by Japanese artists, another weekend Classical piano or violin, and another weekend where we play arab hip-hop. My point is: Kid Read more »

The dogwood tree is suddenly turning green

Just like that, the dogwood tree that I can see from our office is turning from all white to more like light green. Everything sprouts out, flourishes, and changes its color so fast in Spring! Today, the temperature suddenly dipped down to 34 F and the air went back to winter cold, but the view stays like Spring, and I am Read more »

Cherry Blossom peaking the earliest in over 1,200 years!

I’ve heard that the cherry blossoms in Japan are peaking now, which is the earliest in more than 1,200 years! The cherry blossom at our front yard is also blooming now. The tree always reminds me of Japan and I wanted to have it at home, so we planted one after we bought the house. Seeing the delicate pinkish-white flowers Read more »

The dogwood tree is brightening our office

Every year, I look forward to seeing the neighbor’s dogwood tree to be bloomed. This year, it is a couple of weeks later than last year and it was just all in buds a couple of days ago, but suddenly, all in full bloom! It brightens our office room and I love seeing it as I sit at my desk. I look forward to admiring it with Read more »

A spiral circle made with shells and feathers

As we strolled on the beach, enjoying the beginning of warm spring weather, we found someone made a spiral circle with shells and feathers - so pretty! I feel amazed and joyful when I find something like this, so imagine how children would feel when they discover it! It would be fun to create something like this with the kid Read more »

Yesterday, I saw a little girl walking with momma

While in a checkout line, yesterday, I saw a family enter the store. Older kid was walking with dad and a little girl was holding mom’s hand while walking. The little girl had a binky in her mouth and was young enough to still be high stepping and bouncing - still adjusting to walking it seems. She was staring at me, Read more »

Random messages on the beach

One day, Ra and I were walking on the usual beach, and we found a random message on the sand written: “R + A Forever.” We looked at each other and smiled, “that’s us!.” A few days later, I was strolling on the beach feeling blissful, and saw a message on the sand written: “My Happy Place.” It made me smile Read more »

Food is a big part of our life & joy

Ra’s favorite Japanese food is BBQ eel (I love it too!) and, even though it will never be as good as the ones we ate in Japan, I’m grateful that we can still get it in a pack at an Asian market 30 minutes from our house. Eel is known to give you stamina and energy. I’ve been feeling a bit frazzled because of my allergy Read more »

Enjoying both - sunny or foggy

A sunny beach is nice and pleasant, but I also like a foggy misty beach. I didn’t see anyone around - it’s all me and nature; I smelled the moisture in the air with a hint of fresh pine tree and grass as I walked the path to the beach. I felt my body and mind start to unwind and relived. Feeling wrapped around the fog Read more »

Our bookshelf looks like we already have a child at home

I love picture books - I love their beautiful illustrations, the world that feels so safe and full of love, the stories that are simple yet deep at the core. I have a collection of picture books both in English and Japanese, and our bookshelf looks like we already have a child at home. I can’t wait to read these books to Read more »

Food truck led us to a spontaneous beach picnic

Our friend texted us to let us know that there is a food truck in our neighborhood. We live in a residential area and it’s rare to see a food truck, but apparently the truck is parked in someone’s yard. The restaurant is called “SATE’‘; it’s “Southern Asian influence” food and the pictures on the Read more »

Strolling Along Yorktown Beach

Last weekend, Ayano and I walked around the Yorktown Beach area. It wasn’t the first time and it definitely won’t be the last. We have a number of fond memories in that area. It’s very family friendly and we see parents and kids there all the time. It’s fun to see kids running/rolling down the hill near the center Read more »

Hopefully trips to Outer Banks will become our family tradition

We love driving down to Outer Banks, NC, and we do this whenever the wind is good and we have an opportunity to go. The Outer Banks is a kiteboarding mecca - a big shallow sound on one side and the ocean on the other side. Of course, we like it because it’s a beautiful spot to kiteboard, but we also like the road trip Read more »

Patience and Untangling skill came in handy

Look at these long vines! I swear, it took AT LEAST an hour to unwrap these vines from the driftwood that are hanging from the kitchen ceiling. It all started when I saw brown spots on the leaves, and I’ve learned from a recent experience that it is a sign that the pot has become too small for the plant. So I decided to Read more »

Spring Gives Us Hope for Things (and hopefully a child) to Come

We had a “warm” couple of days last week. So, Ayano and I took a walk around the backyard to discuss what landscaping changes we want to make this year. While inspecting “the grounds” (as I like to call it), I noticed that the lilies we planted last year (in 2020) are already starting to peek above the ground. It’s Read more »

What these beautiful orchids taught us

This winter felt the longest and hardest. But the orchids at our house are now blooming gorgeously; they bloomed around the same time last year, and I see them as the sign that the spring is on the way! These orchids didn’t bloom at all for 2 years, but we didn’t give up on them and kept watering. Now they have been Read more »

5 years anniversary and our wish for the 6th year

February 26 was our 5 years wedding anniversary. 5 years ago on a cold, but beautiful winter afternoon, we had a small gathering by the James River and got married. As it engraved in our wedding ring: Deep Connection, Adventure, and Family, ever since then, we have been deepening our connection, sharing many adventures, and Read more »

Escaping the cold to Key West

We escaped the cold and drove South, to Key West! The water was clear, the weather was gorgeous, the town was charming; we really enjoyed the time there. We met a couple on a sunset cruise and they told us they had a 18 month old baby at home and they already missed him. It was comforting to hear that they enjoyed the baby so Read more »

Cheers to 7 Years!

This weekend we celebrated the 7th anniversary of our first date! Having been cooped up in the house for some days, this was the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy a nice day and some dinner. This time, we drove across the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to Norfolk and walked around for a bit and then found a nice Read more »

Japanese style breakfast

Recently, I was researching healthy meal options, and I learned that Japanese-style meals are a great way to have a well-balanced meal. So I started to make breakfast with 一汁三菜(Ichizyu-san-sai), which includes one grain, one soup, one main (protein), with two sides. Since you can get all different nutrients, we have Read more »

Autumn hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains

We finally put the basic information and pictures on the adoptimist.com to start reaching out to birth parents, and we felt pretty good and excited about it! As for our reward to complete one step forward, we took a little break and went to the Blue Ridge Mountains. We love Autumn in Virginia and the mountains were so Read more »

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Glimpses into our adventures and everyday life

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Ra + Ayano = RAyano

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Ra + Ayano = RAyano