Nov 29, 2009

Pinch Pot Turkeys

Made these as examples for Homeschool Pottery in November.
The body is a pinch pot placed either upside down or right side up. I learned not to make the feathers too thin or they broke off...repeatedly.
The kids did a great job and amazed me with their cute and creative turkeys!

Nov 26, 2009

I Am Thankful for Pot-Lucks!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving this year.

Yes, Thanksgiving Dinner in the High School cafeteria may seem unconventional to some, but my philosophy has always been "The More, The Merrier." (Doesn't seem like very good grammar now that I type it out.)
(FYI--The 12,000+ kids in attendance-not pictured-spent most of their time either in the "Movie Theater" (a large utility closet) or the gym (which was filled with toys)--leaving the adults free to chat, relax, and play card games after dinner.)
It probably stems from my upbringing. Every other year we got together with my mom's family for a huge meal at a local church cultural hall. The "off" years, we were home with anyone and everyone who didn't have another place to go. Cousins attending BYU or Ricks college, random roommates of said cousins and siblings, visiting relatives, Honduran refugees...
One year we even hosted two inmates from the local prison. I still remember them smoking out on our porch swing. Good times.

(At least for me. My only responsibilities were eating, playing, and occasionally arranging the gourds in the cornucopia. My mom got to do all the cooking and all the cleaning up. Poor woman! I appreciate you a lot more now Mom!!! And I'm thankful for Doug who can cook. And clean!!!)
Anyway, that's why a quiet Thanksgiving at home doesn't appeal to me. I like to be surrounded by lots of people. And lots of pies. Fortunately, there are a lot of cool people around here to be surrounded by. And they brought lots of pies!

A good time (and a full belly) was had by all!!!
(Doesn't seem like very good grammar...again.)

And on an unrelated note, here are a few reasons I'm okay with having a(nother) baby boy:

And a few reasons I still plan to adopt a girl:
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Nov 19, 2009

Worth Your Time

I'm thankful for Mormon's who make cool videos!!!

Nov 17, 2009

A Peek at My Week

*Saturday morning, around 7 a.m. we received a delivery: Three extra kids. 'Member when we went to Hawaii and our neighbors took OUR three kids? Well, this week we're returning the favor. Our friends are basking in warmth in Hawaii, and we are now the proud parents of a 9yo, 7yo, 6yo, 5yo, 2yo, and an angelic (but very mischievous) looking 1 yo baby girl with golden curls. It's been a busy week.

When they arrived and Doug handed me baby Ashley, I said; "See, this is what adoption is like. Someone hands you a cute little baby and there's no additional wear and tear on your body!" (I have 5 adopted nieces and nephews. I do realize it's not quite THAT simple.)

*Sam has been officially diagnosed with ADHD. The "inattentive" type. (Max is the "hyperactive" type.) Awesome.

In the throes of motherly guilt (since I was diagnosed with ADD in first grade) I asked Doug, "What about you? Do you think you could have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as a kid? You were pretty hyper, weren't you...?"

Doug: "Well, there was that time I chased my sister with a knife...and since my parents weren't home, someone had to call the neighbors to come over to help..."

Uh huh.

Thus we see this is all DOUGS fault. No more guilt for me!

*It's been cold and wet and overcast all week. A few minutes ago I walked by the window and huge snowflakes were filling the sky. Five minutes later it had stopped again.

*We like to save up our maintenance issues until we have more than one. Then call all of them in at the same the same time. Doug called yesterday and promptly at 10 this morning, seven Japanese men showed up at my door. Two came in to fix the dishwasher (it was making noises), two came to fix the stuck closet door, and three went upstairs to fix the water pressure in the showers. (Kramer would love it. But it makes me feel like I'm being sand-blasted every day.)

Of course, all of them took their shoes off by the door. (This is standard procedure and we do it too.) I noticed at least two wearing the socks with the individual toes.

They all went to their separate parts of the house and did their jobs. Within 25 minutes, all of them had asked me to check their work and had left. All problems fixed to perfection.

Contrast that to calling a repair man or plumber in America. It's never quick. It's never easy, and they track mud through the house. (In my experience.) Plus, I usually wondered if the slovenly men I was letting into my home had criminal records.

Sometimes living here makes me despise American customer service. Okay, a lot of times.

We could learn a lot about courtesy and efficiency from the Japanese.

Plus, why don't we wear cooler socks?

*At the beginning of the week, we let all the kids pick their favorite meal and made a dinner menu. Max choose "Wizard Wonton Soup"--a Sneaky Chef recipe from her second cookbook.

Unfortunately, the commissary was out of Wonton wrappers. So we bought Lumpia wrappers and I cut them into quarters and used those. Who knew the Lumpia would dissolve when placed in the simmering broth?

When I served the soup, the ground turkey/veggie filling was floating unwrapped in the extra thick broth. Like square meat balls. Fortunately--for everyone's sake--the kids ate it anyway.

And that's all I have energy to write.
It's 6:42 p.m. I'm going to bed.

Nov 11, 2009

What the S-e-x?!

*Warning! This post contains graphic information regarding the s-e-x of our baby!!!"

When Doug came home from his TDY in San Francisco, he brought more than just Sour Dough Bread for my souvenir.

He also brought this:Since this was a few weeks ago, it was too early for an ultra-sound and we were, understandably, anxious to know the s-e-x of this baby. (#4)

So, the morning after he got home, Doug dragged me out of bed at 6:30 a.m. so I could do the test. (You have to use morning pee.) Here's how it works. You pee in a cup. You use a syringe to pull out an exact amount of pee and put it in another cup already containing a mystery substance. A crystally/powdery mixture. Then you wait ten minutes.

If the pee stays yellow or orange, you've got a GIRL.
If it turns green, BOY.

My pee turned green. Immediately.

"Told ya!" I said. And went back to bed for an hour.

The next day, I picked up the packaging and started reading more carefully. We'd followed the directions correctly. But then there was a Q&A section which said "Preliminary studies have found un-protected s-e-x within the last 48 hours can lead to a false "male" result." (Or something to that effect.)

Huh! I thought. Maybe there's still a slim chance we're having a girl!
('Cause, you know...we'd...a..........nevermind.)

When I told my friend Julie about the results, she said,
"You need to check the Chinese Calendar. The Chinese Calendar is NEVER WRONG. I trust it over your test."

So I checked the Chinese Calendar.
It said...


Well, around these parts you can't get an ultra-sound until 22 weeks and then they may or may not tell you the gender.

But you CAN go to an O.B. clinic in Hachinohe, pay 2,000 yen, and get an ultrasound with video!

So at 17 weeks and 6 days, we did.

The Doctor came in. A distinguished older Japanese man. He smiled politely as he pointed out the beating heart, skull, spine, arms, and then...bum and legs. Legs with something in between them. "Boy?" we asked. There was definitely something there. He just smiled serenely and pointed to a sign on the wall.

"S-e-x cannot be determined until 24 weeks. Results are not guaranteed."

He just kept smiling and shaking his head.
We just kept saying "Boy! Yep! It's a boy!" We've seen boy ultrasounds in the past, ya know.

We brought home the pictures and the video tape.

A few days later I showed my friend Tami. She's a pediatric nurse. She looked at the picture. "I dunno. That's awfully big for only 18 weeks!" (Doug grunts like Tim the Tool Man in the background saying "Yeah! Dub Boy!" in a deep voice.)
Tami: "Maybe that's a hand!"
(If so, my little girl was giving me the finger.)
Then she watched the video.

"Okay, that's a boy!"

Uh huh! Thought so!

A few days later some other friends, the B's, had us over for dinner.
Dr. B also happens to be my O.B.

Doug brought the video.

"Well, I don't usually look at such early ultrasounds. Usually I don't see them until the third trimester. But it DOES look like a boy to me. Of course, it could be a girl with c_____ g______..." (Trust me when I tell you it's something freaky you DON'T want your baby girl to have.)

WHAT THE...?!?!?

We'll take a boy, thankyouverymuch!!!

No more verification needed!

Yep! We're having a BOY!

And I'm fine with that.
We're happy!
We love boys!

And I'm planning to adopt a girl.
No more rolling the dice for me!

No, I'm not joking.

Yes, I'm totally serious.

I will get my girl. I WILL!!!

(Let me know if you know of any birth mom's who want their baby to have four big brothers!!! THANKS!)

Ta-Ta For Now!

Nov 9, 2009

Homeschool Pottery

Every Friday, I load Gabe and his booster into the car and head to Arts and Crafts where I teach a Pottery Class for Homeschoolers. (We have a lot of kids on base who Homeschool!!!)

I've been doing it for quite a few months now and the same old projects were getting a little boring for the repeat students. (And especially for me.)

So last month I decided to shake things up. On the regularly scheduled "pinch pot" day, instead of making plain little bowls, we combined two pinch pots and made Halloween Jack 'o Lanterns.
(As seen on "Art Projects for Kids"--one of my favorite blogs ever.)

I loved the results so much I brought my camera in to take some pics. Yes, I'm the only one excited about these pictures. Sorry. Pregnancy is making me a boring blogger. Anyway, here they are:

This month, we made Pinch Pot TURKEYS!!! I know! You're dying to see them! I'll be sure to post pictures when they're finished!!!

Nov 3, 2009

Kyoto Trip - Take 2

We did half-day tours on two different days.

Wednesday afternoon our tour took us to the nearby town of Nara where we visited the Todaiji Temple, Nara Park, and the Kasuga Shrine.

Highlight: Biggest indoor Buddah in Biggest Wooden building. (Pretty darn cool.  Even Max and Sam were impressed!)  Totally worth the side trip out to Nara.  Also, the boys LOVED seeing the wild deer!Lowlight: Wild deer.  Nara Park is home to 1200-2000 wild deer.  That's a lot, fyi.

They're cute.
At first.

And then they ATTACK!!!!

Okay, maybe "attack" is too strong a word. But I like to approach wildlife. I don't like wildlife to approach me.

And I DON'T like it biting at my pants or trying to plow over my small children.

(Though, admittedly, it was incredibly amusing to watch Doug get stampeded after buying a packet of "deer cookies".)

Sure, he looks all cute an innocent as Max shows him a ninja star...but when his friends come over, all bets are off!

to be continued...

Nov 1, 2009

Halloween Recap

We celebrated another fun Halloween here in Misawa. Pumpkins were carved for Family Night the Monday before the big day. The boys picked their design, Mom and Dad did the dirty work.

(One of the pumpkins has morning sickness. Which inevitably leads to stringy hair.)

For costumes, Max was Darth Vadar and Sam was Obi Wan Kanobi. (Thanks!) Unfortunately, I have only one picture!!!

Sam at the Halloween party at church.
No pictures of the other two. (Gabey was an Orange Monster, btw. Hand-me-down. Poor third child!!!)

Once again we had friends over for Soup and Homemade Donuts. (Alton Brown's donut recipe. Made by Chef Extrodinaire, Erin. They are Donut perfection. They are the best EVER! Erin is the best ever for making a million of them over the course of two hours!)

Once again we had about a million Trick or Treaters. But this time, we were prepared. I bought about 10 big bags of candy and the friends who came brought just as much. I'm not so good with the numbers but I'd say we gave away over 1,000 pieces.

Once again, a good time was had by all.