Dec 28, 2008

"'Live Forever' Might Be You!"

For those of you who are just using me for my Japan, here's a little photo essay of a recent lunch date Doug and I had off base.  (Obviously this was before we got two feet of snow.)

Introducing Cafe Live Forever:
Like many restaurants near the base, Cafe Live Forever caters to both Japanese and American patrons...but seems to try even harder for the American customer.  Not only do they offer menu's in English, but also some American-ish-style menu items.  Consequently, it was filled about half and half with Americans and Japanese.
The menu also offers an explanation for the restaurant name:
While waiting for my order, I took a closer look at the decor.  The pink flowers below are called "Live Forever".

I ordered the Mushroom and Chicken Pasta on the recommendation of an Airman at the next table.  It was actually very good, though I admit I didn't try the side salad.

Doug had the...I think....Sweet and Sour Pork?  I'm not exactly sure, but he did enjoy it!

After we ate, we ordered some of their famous scones to take home with us.  This time we tried the caramel.  They were good, but the chocolate is still my favorite.  The scones come with a little cup of butter and whipped cream to put on top.

Gabe was just there to look cute.  He's good at that!

So there's a little taste of Japan for you.  I'll try to post about an "off base" activity at least once a week now.  


Alright then.  


Dec 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Pretend this came to you in an envelope!  
If I know you, (and your address) it will actually come in an envelope...hopefully soon!  If it never arrives, have this...!
From the Mixed-up Files of the Douglas D. Warner Family
This year has brought many changes into our lives starting around the beginning of July when we (miraculously) sold our home in Rhode Island and moved far, far, (far) Japan.

First and foremost, Doug’s wardrobe has taken a decided turn for the worse. Lately he’s been showing a startling inclination towards drab olive green and brown. It’s amazing I even let him into (or out of) the house like that! Strangely, though, it seems to be the trend in this neighborhood so no one even gives him a second glance! One of the biggest changes for Doug is that he’s no longer a student or even a resident. He is the Pediatric Dentist for the entire Misawa Air Force Base. (And yet, he still has to take orders!) He loves it and the kids all seem to love him.

As for me, Emily, I have been extremely traumatized by a sudden decrease in my usual retail shopping options. There are no Targets in our new neighborhood. No Costco’s, either. It’s been incredibly difficult going cold-turkey, but I’m making progress and finding some solace in on-line shopping, the “100 Yen Store”, and pottery. (Starting in January, I get to teach two night classes; wheel throwing and hand building!) Mostly though, I just chill at home and try to convince the boys that I really am allowed to use the computer and occasionally make a phone call during daylight hours. (Some things never change no matter where you live.) As for the boys, well...

Max (7) has been heard to exclaim both “I ate seaweed and I LIKED it?” followed shortly (when he regained his senses) by "I do NOT like Sushi”. He has discovered the beauty of martial arts (i.e., sanctioned violence sometimes involving swords and sticks) and is taking piano lessons. (So I’ll let him take drum lessons later!) He is now in first grade and has a marvelous and patient teacher who will probably be sainted by the end of the year. His favorite thing is reading at night with Mommy. (Turns out, Daddy stinks at doing different voices and accents.)

Sam (4.5) says he just wants to go back to New Yoke, (He never did catch on to the fact that we lived in Rhode Island) but is mostly happy because all of his Lightning McQueen cars made it to our new house successfully. He goes to preschool three days a week (sometimes even with SOCKS on) and has only been forced screaming into the carpool car a few times!!! Sam enjoys routine, his nightly lullabies, (including Rock-a-by-Baby cause it’s “so beautifoe”) routine, and things that don’t change. Ever.

Gabe (19 mns) is exhibiting disturbingly familiar signs of being yet another boy who loves wrestling and sword fighting. Despite being exposed to his mother’s collection of dolls and dress-ups (kept on-hand for small female visitors, of course!) Gabe is changing from our sweet and happy angel baby into a sweet little devil toddler. hmphf. Luckily, he’s still adorable so we love him anyway.

And we love you too! We hope you’re all doing well and having a fabulous Christmas season. Don’t ever change! (Please. Sammy is begging you.)

Best wishes from Japan,

The W's

As always, if for some strange reason you want even MORE information about our lives, you are welcome to check our blogs! 

Dec 21, 2008

Blah Blah Blog...

I've sort of lost my will to blog lately.  Lots going on, only some of it good.  The good is, it's almost Christmas, we just got 11 inches of snow, and Doug has the next week off.
The boys are basically going crazy with joy.  
One bad thing is, we're away from all family this year.  This isn't the first time, and it wont be the last.  So for that reason, last night Doug and I were discussing what traditions we want to establish for ourselves.  We made a list of traditions we remember from our families growing up, and now I want to know if YOU, Gentle Reader, have any fun traditions you want to share. 

Something you did growing up, or something you do now.  It can be silly or sentimental or spiritual or whatever.  Help me out.  I need cheering up!
I'd turn this in to a contest if I had any will to mail, but I don't.  I have no will to mail.  So just do it as a favor to me.  If you want to enter a contest, go to Doug's blog.  Maybe I'll contribute a little something to HIS prize package.   And if I don't post again for another week, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Dec 14, 2008

I've had some complaints

that I'm not talking about Japan enough. Well, it's true. I'm not. (buncha whiners.)
And I'll do better. Later.


Alright, so I'm not actually deathly ill. And I did go to church off-base today...begrudgingly.

But after finishing two different simultaneous courses of antibiotics along with an oral steroid, my tonsils are still as big as grapefruit, and my sore throat has returned along with a snotty nose. Which always leads to tonsillitis. Which always leads to an ear infection. Which always leads to me being Miss Cranky Pants!

So lets just say I'm a little testy at the moment. BUT, being the stoic martyr that I am, I still managed to do this:

(Don't say I never gave you anything.)

Turn the volume up. It's a darn good song.

And stay tuned for more Japan adventures and cultural commentary.

(geez, it's like people don't even come here for my wit and/or cute kids...!)


Dec 12, 2008

Remember How I Made My Bed...

the other day?

Well...last night when all the clean clothes had been dumped on the floor and "Psyche" had been turned on, I did something extremely out of character.  I IRONED!

Part way through my fourth shirt Doug said, "Can you stop ironing and help me fold now?"

I said "This is the third time in eight years I've ironed.  Are you SURE you want to discourage me?"

"NO!  I'm sorry!  You're right!  Keep ironing!!!  Sorry!  SORRY!"

Yeah.   I thought so.

Dec 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Maxwell!

A few days ago Max had his birthday and turned 7.  He got to ditch school, have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, go ice skating, eat at 100 Yen Sushi for lunch, miniature golf with Daddy and Sam, and have Mac and Cheese for dinner.  It was pretty much an awesome day except for one thing:  I haven't had the heart to blog about it because the birthday cake I made him was such a dismal failure.  

Yes, I know his birthday shouldn't be all about me, but it just didn't feel right to do a birthday post in his honor which featured a cake that looked like a pile of bird poo.  It pretty much broke my spirit.  I haven't quite recovered yet.  But he still deserves to be honored so I'm going to tell you what a great kid he is.  Birthday cake not withstanding.  But first, an update:
This week Max was officially diagnosed with ADHD.  Now, for those of you who know him, right now you're thinking "Well DUH!  I could have told you THAT!"  But for some reason, I've always held out a little hope that he wouldn't take after his ADD mother and could just breeze through school like his Daddy.  No such luck.

See, Maxwell has always been an extremely busy boy.  As a baby, he was incapable of cuddling.  He was too busy looking around and smiling his big toothless, slobbery, open-mouthed grin to be bothered with relaxing his head on my shoulder.  At 10 months, he was walking--which immediately led to running and climbing.  Around 16 months, he started climbing out of his crib.  So we got a crib tent.  He learned to open it.  So we would safety-pin it.  And he'd open the safety pin and continue his midnight forays to freedom.  He was the same with all child-proofing measures.  He'd just figure out how to open them and continue on his way.  (Who knew bedroom door locks could be popped open just by twisting the knob really hard?!)

His intelligence and independence have been a bonus in many ways.  For example, when I got pregnant with Sam and was sick in bed every morning, Max--at 2 1/2--would get up and get himself breakfast.  

*First, climb over the baby gate into the kitchen.  *Next, climb up on the counter to get a bowl from cupboard.  *Open child-locked top drawer and get spoon.  *Get out box of cereal and quart of soy milk and pour.  *Eat cereal, dump bowl in sink, turn on cartoons.  *Later: sneak chocolate chips & de-fluff couch cushion.

All while I lay in bed groggily calling "Good job, Max!  I'll be up in a few....zzzzz..."  

As the years have gone by, Max has always had endless energy, and I've always been endlessly exhausted.  But also highly entertained.  And never, EVER bored.

Here are 7 things I love about Maxwell:

*He is diligently learning to play the piano because I told him he has to do that before he can take drum lessons.  (How cool is he for wanting to play the drums!?!)

*He can make Gabey laugh harder than anyone else.  Like, really really belly laugh.

*He still gets up and gets himself, and Sam, breakfast so I can sleep in.  (until 7:30ish.  He usually wakes up at 6:30ish.)  And he gets himself totally ready for school.  (If it weren't for the other two boys, I could sleep in until 10!  ...and I would.)

*He loves to be read to, and is trying hard to learn to read himself.   (His teacher says he has extremely high language and comprehension.) 

*He's good at sports and really good at card games.  (Thanks to Grandma W. giving us Rat-a-Tat-Cat a year or two ago.)

*He's a great photographer.  (Though is interest has waned ever since we actually gave him his own camera.  Evidently it's more appealing when you're using your parents camera without permission.)

*He's very good and finding diapers and wipes and delivering them to me immediately upon hearing me yell "MAYDAY!"

*bonus* He's very handsome and his beautiful blue eyes look a lot like his daddy's.  AND, he loved his birthday cake even though it was ugly.

I sure love my boy and I'm glad we have him in our family.  I can't imagine life without him.

I love you, Maxer!

Dec 3, 2008

I (Doug) Need To Clear Up A Few Things Before I Begin:

(Get caught up here!)  

* First off, I'm more like Andre Agassi than the earlier Billy Jean King era of tennis. I never wore short shorts, except on the 8th grade basketball team. And tennis is awesome--as is country music. However, I think the country music animosity is the only reason my brother approved/s of Em. (The ONLY reason? That's the ONLY reason he let me into the family? Thanks a LOT Dave!!!)

* I wanted to defend Em's honor at the film shoot because just the night before in General Conference President Hinckley had lectured the world on respecting womanhood. And I didn't equate Playboy models as being an honorable tribute to women. I'm over it though. You're forgiven Matt.

For me this story is all about Tuesday's. It was a Tuesday when I felt strongly that I needed to break up with my then girlfriend. (Yes it was sudden.  Yes I may have been a jerk, but I felt compelled to do it and do it RIGHT THEN!) 

It was the following Tuesday when I decided to take a break after my O-Chem test and go climb at The Rock Garden.
(Did you get that people? We met a WEEK after he broke up with his girlfriend. Of course, he didn't tell me that so I was still feeling guilty I'd broken off an engagement so recently. HA!)
I can only recall one other time when I had even tried to get a girl's number, whom I didn't know. It was definitely not my style to hit-on girls in public. Yet I found myself sitting next to her on a bench watching others climb and talking to her, asking her where she was from, if she had been climbing long, etc. 

As I was leaving the Rock Garden I decided to go ask her for her number. I went over to where she was getting her shoes on and struck up another conversation so I could tell her I was going climbing on Friday with some friends and ask would she like to come. 

And I think the next Tuesday was a temple dedication that we attended together at the Marriott Center or something of the like.   (I'm pretty sure we did this separately but talked about it on the phone later.) (Yes, you may be right on that one, so that Tuesday must have been the one that there was a letter on my door from my ex-girlfriend...but that's another story.=))

After coming home from the Rock Garden the night I met Emily, I immediately went to find one of my climbing buddies. First, I found Jason who said he was otherwise engaged.  (Probably doing something lame with his girlfriend/fiancee.)   (You know he's totally kidding, right Christina?  Don't worry.  I tell him all the time that he's NOT FUNNY.)   So I got a hold of Mike, who I believe had sworn off all women after a BAD experience which involved buying a ring and losing possession of it and seeing it on the For Sale board in the WILK. (Now I would love to see that blog post Mike/Lindsey!) 

He agreed to go climbing with me on Friday. (But probably not before making some sort of snide comment.) The next day I looked at my phone list and called Emily. Unfortunately, I called the wrong Emily. After recovering and chatting with the other Emily for a while I hung up and called my new Emily. Emily's account seems to follow pretty accurately.

The next big event begins the following week when I called her up on Tuesday to ask her to do something. When she answered she said, "I was calling to see if you wanted to go camping this weekend?"
I need to interject here and tell my side of this story so I don't sound like a total hussy. That week, Anna and Travis were planning an over-night climbing trip. Anna told me to come along and invite Bryant. I said, flippantly, "Neh...If I invited anyone it would be Doug..." The thing was, I had no intention of doing any such thing. I was raised in a household full of very strict rules concerning girl/boy relations. Most of the rules were categorically ignored by me. 
Except the one that said "Girls don't call boys!" 
I tended to follow that rule very strictly with boys I liked. (Male friends and actual boyfriends, no big whoop. Suitors, no.) Not only did I not CALL them, but I definitely didn't call them up and invite them on over-nighters after only knowing them for A WEEK!

But Anna decided that that was indeed what I should do. After approximately two hours of arguing, I conceded defeat to her superior debating skills and intellect, and sheepishly and nervously went to my room to call Doug for the first time. To not only ASK HIM OUT, but ASK HIM TO JOIN ME ON A CAMPING TRIP.  I was thrilled when I got the answering machine. I left a quick message and hung-up hoping I hadn't just branded a scarlet A onto my forehead.

I was thinking, "I thought I was the one who called. Hmmm."

Then I said yes. I was excited to have such a huge invitation so quickly. I asked my brother if he thought I should go and he gave his blessing.  I, however, distinctly remember not asking my mom for advice on the unchaperoned camping trip with a girl I had just met and she had not met. =) Later that day I checked the answering machine for messages and found one from her. I thought "Ohhhh, now she doesn't sound so crazy." That next weekend we went down to Maple Canyon (located South West of Fountain Green Utah) with her roommate Anna and Anna's boyfriend Travis and I think Anna's cousin or something. (Yes. Cousin Reggie.) It was a very NICE date.
You can't beat new love, outdoors, campfire, darkness, a fire, and s'mores! We camped there overnight and went climbing the next morning. (Don't worry children reading this in the future: I didn't sleep in the tent with her. Reggie and I slept under the stars.) (Oh, and Tevas melt when they get too close to a fire, FYI!)
I remember she wore a white tank top and thinking she was so beautiful (Still is). She made a good tuna fish sandwich, which I had never before liked. She only dropped me about 8 feet while I was climbing. I remember thinking she was so awesome and fun to be with. We were always in good conversation together. Despite her Country shortfall, we had similar tastes in music. Right from the beginning it felt like we were great friends not awkward new dates. When we took that picture of us on the rocks on that trip I remember thinking it would have been a good spot to take an engagement picture. So even early on it must have already crossed my mind.

The last detail of this trip that I can find in my memory is when we were on the way to pick up the afore mentioned Reggie. She had some sort of note sticking out of her back pocket.  I found out she did not want me to see it. Naturally it became my only desire to see the note. It was a vicious struggle that unfortunately I lost after about an hour of driving and two or three venues. It turns out it was an e-mail she had printed out that day where she told her guy-friend Jayson that I was "the one".

So there is my account. I'll contract out one more post. It will be about the most controversial memory: the first time we held hands. Yes it is an innocent gesture, yet it symbolizes oh so much. Anyone can hug and most people can even kiss, but the first time you hold hands it tells the other person that you have much affection for them. And it is probably the only point upon which Emily is completely wrong (regarding our courtship that is. She has been completely wrong a couple/many times).

*Also, if anyone is faulting us for getting engaged/married so quickly you need to realize that if took all of our dates, hang out times, activities together, road trips, etc. and put them to once a week, then we dated about 1 year at least. That's how well we got to know each other. Yes, I too made fun of people like us who married quickly, yet we've been married over 8 years and still have never had a fight. Well, maybe I do lie just a little.

Well everyone, I hope you're happy.  You now have at least part of Doug's version.  And he's agreed to do at least one more installment.  In other news, I just found some old e-mail's, written to my family, about Doug, when we were dating.  So my job is getting easier by the minute.  

Until next time...

Dec 2, 2008

Just So You Know...

Since it's a rare occurrence, and no one will see it or appreciate it, I just want you all to know that...

I made my bed today.

Throw pillows and all.

Sometimes I just need to toot my own horn.


Dec 1, 2008

And the WINNERS are...



#4. Number 12 and Number 9 tied for first place in the Reader's Choice  catagory.  

Number 4 was picked from my hand by Sammy boy who at first refused to cooperate, but was then bribed into compliance since he and Gabe are the only other two people in the house and I obviously couldn't be trusted to draw one from my own hand!

WHEW!  This has been quite the contest!  

Congratulations to the winners!  Ladies, please send me your first name and e-mail address to my e-mail address (emilydeon(at)gmail(dot)com) and I'll get the info to the proper place!  (I'm sending your info at the same time, Marni.)
Then go praise me on your blog and tell all your friends they should be reading my blog because I'm awesome.

If you didn't win, JUST BUY THE DANG BOOK!!!  It's only $30 with the coupon code GRATUIT and it's worth it!  Just look at those cute covers!!!!  (And let me reiterate, the INSIDE of the book is awesome too.  You'll love it.)   Plus, you're helping the economy.  It's pretty much a win/win, people!

And then you should go to your blog and praise me too, because I really did want you to win, also.  I really did!

Thanks for playing everyone!  It's been fun!
I have one more give-away coming up before Christmas, (courtesy of my Dad: Dale-Bud) so stay tuned!