Jan 30, 2011

Eating My Words

I found a photo folder on our computer P-Dougie had labeled:
"Mom puts child in danger for picture"
 Not true.  Gray was in no danger crawling and climbing around on the kitchen counter.  I was ready to drop the camera and catch him at any moment.  (As long as I got the money shot first.)  

Looking at these pictures made me laugh for several reasons.  See, I'm the youngest of five kids.  And I'm the first to admit I used to be something of a know-it-all*.  

And well, occasionally I saw fit to give my elder(ly) siblings some parenting and child-rearing advice.  

Gleaned from my years of...
book reading and babysitting experience, obviously.  They were always super receptive and appreciative.

Anyway, I remember back in those days having some pretty strong opinions about what kind of parent I would be.  For one thing, I would NEVER let MY child run around in only a diaper.

Even worse, a FULL diaper.

And no child of mine would ever be seen with a snotty nose.

I mean...that's just gross.

How hard is it to just get a tissue and clean the poor kid.

Pretty hard evidently.

*Now I actually do know it all!

Jan 29, 2011

Sunday Story

Last night I ran into the Commissary to buy a can of formula.  Yes, I'm still nursing, but we usually give Gray a few ounces of formula before bed to make sure his tummy is nice and full.

I grabbed the formula and then a box of Cascade Dishwasher detergent and ran to the check out.  All the lines were long so the Japanese clerk at Self Check waved me over seeing I only had a few items.  As she helped me, I told her I needed to pay for the Cascade three times.  I started to explain and since she didn't understand me, she waved a manager, also a  Japanese woman, over to help.

I told them that the last time I was in the Commissary, I put two boxes of Cascade on the bottom of the cart.    When I went to check out, I didn't notice them and made it to the car without paying for them--and then didn't have time to run back in.  It had been bugging me for a week and I was happy to finally be taking care of the matter so I could finally take the boxes into the house.

Once both women finally understood they looked at me wide-eyed and praised me for my honesty.  (I felt like saying "I'm a Mormon.  We don't shoplift--unintentionally or otherwise!*" but instead I just smiled.)  Then, before I left, the manager told me a story:

An old man had walked into the store and asked to pay for something he had acquired under similar circumstances to mine.  She had also praised him for his honesty and he replied; (and the story teller touched her head, ears and heart as she said;)
"I don't have my hair, I don't have my hearing, but I have my dignity!"


Reminded me of this story; "Three Towels and a 25-Cent Newspaper" 

...Some 30 years ago, while working in the corporate world, some business associates and I were passing through O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. One of these men had just sold his company for tens of millions of dollars—in other words, he was not poor.
As we were passing a newspaper vending machine, this individual put a quarter in the machine, opened the door to the stack of papers inside the machine, and began dispensing unpaid-for newspapers to each of us. When he handed me a newspaper, I put a quarter in the machine and, trying not to offend but to make a point, jokingly said, “Jim, for 25 cents I can maintain my integrity. A dollar, questionable, but 25 cents—no, not for 25 cents.” You see, I remembered well the experience of three towels and a broken-down 1941 Hudson. A few minutes later we passed the same newspaper vending machine. I noticed that Jim had broken away from our group and was stuffing quarters in the vending machine. I tell you this incident not to portray myself as an unusual example of honesty, but only to emphasize the lessons of three towels and a 25-cent newspaper....   (Read the whole talk HERE.)
Richard C. Edgley, Presiding Bishopric
Any similar stories you have to share?
Happy Sunday!
*I can not speak for all Mormons.  But I can safely say that I'm just not all that special.  Any and all of my friends or family would have done the exact same thing.

Jan 23, 2011

The Chosen

He was to be our unspoiled vessel.

Our protected and pampered perfect fourth son.

The one child never introduced to junk food--the healthiest of us all.

And then we went to San Diego last October and Aunt Bethy fed him "Swirls" chocolate frozen yogurt.  (Not a terrible start to a life long sugar habit in my opinion...it is quite yummy, afterall.)

And then to clinch matters, there was this:

 Sammy left his (M&M tube-given-as-a-prize-at-a-party) candy out.
 Based on family statistics, it's all down hill from here.  Next thing I know he'll be sneaking spoons-full of white sugar from the pantry!
"Why didn't someone tell me about this stuff before???"

Oh well.  

Better luck next kid*.

*There will me no next kid until/unless someone gives me a baby girl**.  


Jan 22, 2011

Sunday Thought

When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies?  The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods?  Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?  When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time.  The women of God know this.  

                                    --Neal A. Maxwell

FYI, Neal A. Maxwell is Max's namesake.  He was extremely intelligent and an eloquent speaker. I always admired his usage of big words...even if I didn't always know what they meant!

Jan 18, 2011

Christmas Day Re-cap

Remember how last year was the best Christmas morning in the history of Christmas mornings?  Because Max and Sam both got exactly what they wanted from Santa and couldn't have been happier???

 We had high hopes that this year would be just as awesome.
 Foolish mortals!

Sure, he looks happy now...
Not so much.  I believe the quote we got from Sam was:  "I didn't get ANYTHING I wanted this year!"  (Said as he played with the Buzz Lightyear Lego ship he specifically requested in his letter to Santa.) But hey, you win some, you lose some.  (And by "you" I mean YOU SANTA!  Ya loser!)

Sam=what it looks like to be underwhelmed. At least Gabe is excited by his "Ting fwum da BX wif da two Piewats!"

"Eh, it doesn't suck!"

Max likes his yukata

Gray-Bear eating his "G"

Of course, Santa is not totally to blame, see--Sam decided to change his wish list three days before Christmas after a kid in his class told him about all the different video game systems he'd be getting for Christmas.  Leaving Sam with delusions of electronic gadget grandeur dancing in his head.  (Thanks a lot spoiled tech-saavy first grader!)

A few other problems included: me being completely exhausted and having a really really really hard time staying awake.  Seriously.  Christmas morning.  Normal for me most mornings, but never on CHRISTMAS morning!  Also, some gifts (many books) ordered from Amazon didn't arrive.  Also, I didn't make the breakfast dishes I usually make.  (Sticky buns!  Breakfast casserole!) And did I mention I was just really tired?  I don't really actually remember most of the unwrapping though I've been told my eyes were open and I was in fact in the room.

BUT after a mid morning nap for me, things started to look up.  We had our great friends The F's over for the (also traditional) Ham-Feast-with-the-F's-on-Christmas-Day dinner.  And it was yum-my.  Erin makes the best crescent rolls in the entire world.  The.BEST!

Are you starting to be suspicious that I pick friends based on their cooking skills?  Well, I do.  All my friends are excellent cooks.

I bring my incredible good looks and hot chocolate making skills to the table.
That's how we roll around here.  (Also, my knowledge of hip hop high-school-speak.)

So yep.  We had some great food holidays around here.  Good food, great friends, good times.

Oh, last thing:

My FAVORITE gift received this year?  Glass!  Some "reclaimed" glass floats from Doug and colorful Romanian friendship balls from my sister Jenny!  Beautiful!!!  {Picture forthcoming}
(:  Also, the yummy treat an anonymous friend left on our front porch Christmas Eve!  :)

The end.

Jan 17, 2011

A Few Little Things

*THANK YOU to all those who offered to help me acquire the World Market ornaments!  My friend Diane got me two sets and she says they're on the way.  (Yay!)  :)  Dear Diane,  Just so you know, I've been searching this country high and low for a Japanese-y snow globe for your daughter.  I haven't found one yet, but I'm still looking.  I have high hopes for Doug finding one in Sapporo next month.  Cross your fingers for me. (Keychain=no problem.)

(*) (Speaking of Diane, we met and became friends when our husbands were co-residents in Lil' Rhody.  We also had babies about the same time. This is one of my favorite blog posts ever and it happens to feature said babies.  And yes.  That is Jaren's real hair.  And Gabe's real lack of hair.)

*Interested in an irrelevant kid movie review?  I'm talking about "Up" and "Despicable Me" over here.  (Spoiler alert:  Despicable Me wins!)

* Baby Gray is nine months old and cuter than ever.  He knows how to wave, is very good at making kissing noises, (he doesn't cuddle without being forced) and he arches his whole body and throws his head back to signify extreme hunger.  (In other words, he gets himself into nursing position.)

Now that he's mastered crawling (finally) he follows me around the house from room to room wanting to be picked up.  He's hard to resist when he pats my legs and looks up at me with his pretty gray eyes.
(Yep. Still gray!)
(And yep.  Another drooler.  Nerf ammo notwithstanding.)
*Gabe is still obsessed with the word "Peacock".
Enough said.

*Guess what Doug and Max got to go see?
 *Sam says it's not appropriate because they're not modest.  Sam sure is cute when he's not being a punk!

and speaking of Sam and who(m?) he wishes he could live with instead of us...

*Dear Roxanna,
Can we still be friends even though I always blame my family illnesses on you and tell people to call you Roxie?  Please?  I promise to start hurling accusations elsewhere!  Pinky promise!

Goodnight All!

Jan 13, 2011

Christmas Eve

Following tradition, we had to have Mexican food for Christmas Eve.  To go with the theme, we invited our Mexican friends, The P's, for the third year in a row.  Actually, only Roxanna is Mexican and a fake Mexican at that.  (This has been declared--by me--based on the fact that I know more about Mexican Christmas traditions than she does.  Plus, she thinks there's no such thing as Mexican Oatmeal Cake although clearly there is--we make it every time we go camping.  I mean, it has cinnamon in it for crying-out-fuerte!  Oh, and I suppose the kids are "half" if you want to split Mexicans hairs, but whatever.)

Anyway, the job of the P's was to make the homemade Tamales.  Yuuummmm...homemade tamales.  Mind you that is not the only reason we invited them.  I repeat, we are NOT using the P's for their tamale making skills!  (Though they are really, really good.)  No no, the tamales are just an added bonus.  And I suppose that means Roxie (she loves to be called Roxie) may have a little Mexican in her after all because she can make one mean tamale.  (And by "mean" I mean "nice".)

Our other guests were our Thai friend Jeena and her beautiful toddler Jane, (no relation to the theme, but we like them none-the-less) and Shannon-a friend from the dental clinic-and her adorable baby Anthony.  It was a fabulous group and I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures before the little ones headed home!!!  (I'm going to have to try to get some photo's from them and add them later.)

Anyway, lets get to the important stuff:  The Menu!
I made two 9x13's of enchiladas, one vegetarian and one chicken, veggies, no salad, (forgot) Mexican Rice (thank you Goya) and Tres Leches for dessert.  Nothing too exciting, but edible at least.

Jeena brought some homemade spring rolls that were absolutely divine, and Roxanna brought the Tamales. Unfortunately, she misread the recipe.  She thought they needed to steam for one hour, but really they needed to steam for three hours.  Sooo--they were more like "Second Dinner".  Or maybe, Post-Dessert.  Or something.  Either way, they were absolutely DE-LI-CIOUS when we ate them around 9p.m.!  So yeah, dinner pretty much rocked.

After dinner and dessert (but before second dinner/post dessert,) we did our traditional Nativity program.  

Mark read the Christmas story from the scriptures while the kids (with direction from Doug) acted it out.

Gray was the very confused (and inappropriately dressed in baseball sweats) Baby Jesus. 

 (Still cute and sweet though...!)

 Little Q was the adorable angel:  "Glory to God!"
After the Nativity re-enactment,  Jeena and Shannon had to take their little ones home, and then it was time for jammies.  And tamales.  Ummmm.....tamales....yummmmmmmmy.

Gray would rather have paper any day though...so he did.

 Janelle and Baby Gray both got footie jammies and loved them.

We've decided that next year we're going to coordinate and get ALL the kids matching jammies.  Different continents and countries not withstanding.
Aren't they all adorable?

We love our friends and we love Christmas!

(and we love tamales.)

Jan 6, 2011

World Market Shopping Help Please!

Do any of you live near a Cost Plus World Market?  If so, can you PLEEEEEEEEEEASE go buy me these ornaments?

The website says they're only available in the store!

But they're HALF OFF!  (Only $5 for all three!)

And I collect glass ornaments!

And they're JAPANESE!!!

So please...can anyone help?  I'll reimburse you all the costs if you ship them to me!!!  (Two packs would be even better than one since my boys might break one!)

They're on sale half off right now, so you have to hurry!

I'll be your new best friend and send you some Japanese Sea Glass for your trouble!!!

With Sugar On Top,

P.S.  I was on the World Market site buying mugs to go with my Hot Cocoa maker and I love them!!!  (Mine are actually plain with no polka dots, but that set is sold out.  Love these ones too, though.)

P.P.S  Snow has come (too late for Christmas) to Japan!  Hence, I'm Internet shopping while drinking hot chocolate from my new mugs.

Jan 4, 2011

Welcome 2011

We had a great Christmas and New Years with friends again this year.  As soon as I have gathered all the necessary photos, I'll blog about 'em.

The boys are FINALLY back at school (well, the oldest two) and all I want to do is crawl back in bed and hide from the laundry.
BUT, it's a new year and this year, I'm resolved to conquer my laundry dilemma--not let it conquer me.  (If I throw away half of all the boys clothes, it would be physically impossible for them to dirty so many, right? RIGHT???)

In other news, my poor little Baby Gray is sick.  He has a low fever and cough and is, therefore, not currently the most smiley baby in the world.  It makes me realize how spoiled I am that normally he lets me set him down occasionally and plays happily.  This week he only wants me to hold him in-between his 5 minute cat naps.

Gabe is also sick with a seriously stuffy nose (the kid refuses to blow his nose!) making him talk with nasal voice (think Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)  "Mother?  Not Mother?  I wanna peanut buttah fandich, Mother!"

My coping mechanism to get me through the long cold winter is the same as it's always been.  No, I don't hide in the kitchen with a bottle of liquor (I'd say "Jack" but that would imply I know what I'm talking about and I don't.)  No, no, when the kids are sick and the laundry is piled up, I hide in the kitchen and drink...

Hot Chocolate.

And this year, I bought myself this handy little gadget to facilitate my addiction.
The Cocoa-Latte Hot Drink Maker from Back to Basics.  I walked into the BX one day and they randomly had two of them.  I took one and ran and didn't look back.

My (Japanese cow) milk consumption has increased ten fold as I'm sure my weight will if I stop nursing right now.

Well, my baby wont stop whimpering so I guess that's my cue to call Urgent Care.
...and then I'll make some hot chocolate.