Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - What I didn't know

Alright, some quick background here so you can understand this post better.

My father's parents divorced when he was a little boy. My Grandfather - Wesley (my dad is named after him, and of course, I named my son after him) remarried Eiko (who he was still married to at the time of his passing when I was a freshmen in high school).

My Grandpa Wes and my Grandma Eiko were both musicians (Eiko went Julliard). They both played in a band together (I believe this is how they met) in Las Vegas (where I was born and raised).

They played with the greats! I want to say they played with Sinatra, Bennet, etc, but I may have those names mixed with others (I will check these facts and update this area when I find out).

Well, my Grandpa Wes was the band manager for the band at a hotel Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five used to preform at when they were young - so, of course this means they played WITH The Jackson Five.

My Grandma Eiko is still living and emailed me this tonight -


"With Michael Jackson's sudden death, I thought of a couple of anecdotes to relate to you. At the time Michael started appearing in Vegas, he was a teen-ager and came to the old MGM (now Bally's) about every 6 weeks, performing 2 show a night for two weeks at a time. This was during the period when his group was known as the Jackson Five.

There were 4 brothers, and little sister Janet, then 8 or 9 years old. They were such a big crowd that they took up 2 dressing rooms.

Right after each show, we all needed to use the bathrooms; well, Janet was kicked out of both dressing rooms, so she used the one we girl musicians used down the hallway from their dressing room, and she and I always talked about the show just finished.

Certain times, she wore costumes she was particularly fond of, and used to primp in front of the mirror admiring the style or colors, and practiced certain smiles or facial expressions. Every time, just before leaving, she would tell me about their schedule, where they were going next 2 or 3 stops, and when she was coming back, sometimes, crossing her fingers and telling me she hoped to be back on a certain date.

During the daytime, the kids were not allowed to play with other children, and to amuse themselves, would sneak backstage.

Some members of the band used to leave their instruments onstage, and although they weakly denied it, the kids went around touching everything. They had a ball fooling around with the harp, and the harpist complained many times that it had been tampered with.

Your grandpa Wes sat closest to the backstage curtain, and before each show, with the stage curtain still down, the boys would watch the musicians warm up. Wes said that Michael always came and talked to him, asking about the various horns onstage, the saxes, flutes, trumpets
and trombones.

Wes demonstrated the sounds of the 4 or 5 horns he was playing, the sax, clarinet, and flute, but what intrigued Michael was the bass sax, a 4-foot black horn not often seen in bands. He said Michael's questions were those of a very intelligent, inquiring mind.

The tune BEN was a big hit, and I think a year or so after that, they got so busy, they appeared 3 or 4 more times. Michael was still not the star of the show, they were always a group.

Watching some of the clips on the news today of Michael when he was in his 20's and 30's and the star, all that talent was already there waiting to develop to what he finally achieved. So we were only a part of his growing period.

I don't even know if you're interested in Michael Jackson, but since he was one of the biggest performers in pop music, I thought this might interest you.

Love, Grandma Eiko
June 26, 2009"


I loved my Grandpa Wes (I called him "Poppy Wes") dearly, and miss him every day. I am so grateful to have had such a talented Grandfather who did such amazing things with his life. I wish he were here to tell me these stories himself. I am VERY grateful for his wife, Eiko, who has always treated me with love and goes out of her way to ensure I get to know my Poppy Wes through her stories.

Thank you Grandma Eiko, your letter meant the world to me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What a BUSY month JUNE has been! I'll spare ALL the details, and get to the good stuff... pictures!

Look who's on a sippy and holding it all by herself!

I was working out one night and Wesley wanted to join in, so I let him "lift" some tomato soup. He enjoyed the intense body building session :-)

Always happy

I LOVE those teeth, big BLUE eye, cute ears, and little piggy tails!

I love this shot

Moving is anything but neat and tidy... and we have lost some things during packing...

Oh! Wait! I found it! Our little monkey!

He was having a blast popping out of the boxes and scaring us.

SO - we did a birthday party just with Michael's family a week before Sophia's actual birthday. Of course I made her a cake! I had a ton of fun making and decorating it!

Isn't it pretty? Nice and girly just like my princess!

Here she is at Michael's parents the day of the little "family" party. I got her this cute dress that says, "Birthday Girl".

Time to sing Happy Birthday....

...And blow out the candles (with the help of big brother of course)

She wasn't too sure what she was supposed to do

Then she had an idea...

... and she went with it

Her stroller from Michael's mom. Sophia LOVES this thing.

Just walkin' around having fun!

A few days later she was being too cute after her lunch and I had to take some pictures

This time she's pushing her new baby! (It's a water baby - I had one when I was little so I had to get her one too)

Pretending to talk on the phone

At the Louisville Slugger Museum

Family picture (we don't have many of all of us together)

Look who we ran into at the Slugger Museum, Ken Griffey Jr., oh wait, sorry, that's a wax statue.

My FAVORITE part of the museum...

... holding David Ortiz's bat!

Michael and Wesley had to get in on it too of course! (They made us put gloves on)

My handsome hubby

Walking around downtown

And... now... HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIA!!! These pictures are from her birthday June 22nd!

This picture cracks me up - click on it to see it better... look at the bib... "Little Miss Sunshine", then look at her face! Haha!

The second birthday cake I made for her

The "birthday table".

My best friend Janet made the birthday banner above the table. It says
"Sophia 1"

Wessy enjoying a pear on his sissy's bday.

Enjoying her birthday dinner (the same that Wesley had on his first birthday) toquitos!

Our friend Brooke and James' son Will (Sophia's boyfriend!)

Our good friend Brooke (Sophia's NICU doctor - small world!)

Mommy and the birthday girl

Family picture

I'm so bummed that I didn't take better pictures of her outfit - my best friend Janet (check the side of my blog to check out her site) made her this shirt that has a cupcake, a "1" and her name on it. Too cute! (Thanks J!)

Time for presents

This was her big gift from us - her first Fisher Price Doll House! (Sorry, forget to get pics. of it after she opened it)

Now, on her actual birthday (these pictures) she did NOT want to get messy with her cake. She screamed because she was getting so mad... so we gave her a fork (for the first time)......

And she was happy! What a little lady!!!!

Saying goodbye to our friends since we're moving so soon..
James, Will, Brooke, and little Fi Fi (yes, we have yet another nickname for Sophia!)

Sandra and Aaron (Check out Sophias first big girl night gown we got her for her birthday... cute!)

Aunt Natalie

The baseball junkies

We will miss everyone so much!

And last but not least, Happy Birthday Sophia, we love you!