One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Friday, March 31, 2006

... Bye ...

Today our students leave back to their farms. Their American home stay is over, and Yuki and Ryo must return to those farms from whence they came.

Yuki is returning to his rice farming in Colorado for two more months. He'll have no more marathon stays at the library, no more dodging English conversations, no more hotdog fests.

Ryo gets to go back to his apple orchards in Williams for two more months. No more fermented beans, no more having Genna throw objects at his head, no more muggings.

We have had a really fun time with these two. On the whole, it was a very positive experience. We wish we could have gotten to know Yuki more, but he was far too elusive. Ryo was much more involved in our family, and we actually hope to see him some more, as he will only be a 1/2 hour away, and he has made some friends in church.

We love that our girls were exposed to more culture - different languages and appearances and foods. They also had to learn how to share - afterall, Yuki did steal their play room for his bedroom. But we are also very much looking forward to having our privacy back. We are slowly becoming empty nesters - two kids gone, three to go. My how they grow up.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Bad Combination

I spent all yesterday afternoon, evening, and night in a variety of stomach flu-induced positions - fetal, tortured, and my favorite, 'homage to the porcelain throne.' Vomiting - and other flu related expulsions - triggered fits of coughing and sneezing which caused my neck pain to flare up every time. And I couldn't sleep well because of all the pain. It was wonderful.

It was around 10:30 last night when I finally got comfortable enough on my many pillows to try to fall asleep. I had almost drifted into a drug-hazed slumber when I caught the smell of whatever our Japanese students were cooking (yes, at that late hour!). I fought wavesof nausea at the smell while Annie tried to soothe me. Weariness finally overcame me, and after about 10 minutes of warding off the stench of their cooking I fell asleep.

Annie discovered the next morning what they had cooked. They had unearthed another package of natto - fermented (rotten) soy beans - and cooked it up with ... guess ... go ahead and guess ... that's right - HOTDOGS!

I am drafting legislation to outlaw such concoctions. It is unholy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pumped Up for Real!

Now, this is how I am going to look. You're awesome, Ian!

Pumped Up

My neck pain continues to be a real problem for me. Things were getting so bad that, in the middle of last week, both hands and even my feet were tingling or going numb. On Friday my doctor perscribed Prednisone - the most powerful oral steroid available. It is supposed to kill the pain and end the inflammation.

My regimen now consists of Vicodin, ibuprophen, and Prednisone. My neck is improving - no more numbness or tingling - but the pain is still there. What do all of these drugs mean? If my work wanted to do some drug testing on me, I would come up positive for narcotics and steroids. My hope is that on the other side of this I will look like this guy ...

Annie can't wait.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

FHE Gone Wrong

Last night we had a very ... interesting family home evening. Our Monday nights can be a bit tricky - it isn't the easiest to keep two 2-3/4-year-olds and a baby entertained through a gospel lesson, but we do our best.

We opened up with rousing renditions of "Popcorn Popping On The Apricot Tree" and "Once There Was A Snowman" and then had a prayer. Annie taught the lesson, which consisted of holding up a painting of numerous animals, depicting the Creation. The twins had a fun time pointing out the different animals - whales, seals, lions, birds, etc. Annie then asked, "Who made the animals?"
Kate's answer: "Patty!" (their nursery leader).

Annie suppressed her laugh and said, "Yes, Patty draws animals for you. But who created all of the animals."
Annie, pressing on, said, "Jesus made all of the animals, didn't he?"
Kate responded, "Yes! Jesus made all the animals with a magic wand!" She then thrust her hand out, as though waving said wand.

That was it. We all started cracking up, including my siblings who were in attendance. Clearly, the world of Disney had once again been blurred with the Gospel. I can only imagine that Kate had in her mind some image of a fairy godmother/Christ being, complete with blue robes and a wand, creating animals. After all, doesn't the fairy godmother transform mice into horses, dogs into footmen, etc.? We need to get this all straightened out, and soon!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Traditional Japanese Cuisine

On Saturday, some friends from church took our student, Ryo, out to the farmers' market and the Asian market to procure some ingredients for a couple of Japanese dishes they wanted to prepare for us for dinner. Annie was apprehensive - she isn't the most ... adventurous eater.

The first dish they cooked was okonomiaki. It is pancake-shaped food, made of flour, eggs, cabbage, green onions, sliced pork, fish flakes, and okonomi sauce. It was wonderful. It wasn't until after dinner, though, that we found out that okonomiaki flour consist of not only wheat and every other grain, but also ground up remains of multiple fishes and other delectable - not for use in your average bread recipe.

The other entree wasn't a hit - in fact, none of the women folk would try it. Once I heard that the dish, known as natto, was a 'traditional' Japanese food, I knew it was going to be scary. It starts off with some white rice and green onions - not bad at all. But then Ryo added in some raw egg. The final ingredient was fermented/rotten beans that literally smelled like week-old gym socks.

Now, I have always made it a point always to try any food placed in front of me. I took a big spoonful and ate it without complaint. I then spent the next ten minutes trying to convince myself that I hadn't eaten Shaquille O'Neal's socks.

It turned out to be a good dinner, and we were very thankful that they went to all of the effort of making us dinner. But why does every 'traditional' cultural food have to be disgusting?

Friday, March 24, 2006

My Lips!

Here is a story that my mom and sisters can relate to ...

The twins had just finished eating, and Annie had gotten Genna down from her highchair. She had just walked back to the kitchen, when she heard Kate start crying from her highchair, loudly. Annie turned to Kate and asked her what was wrong. Kate said, "My lips! My lips!" She continued to cry and then pointed to Genna, "Sleeping Beauty has my lips!"

Annie looked over to see Genna standing a few feet away, with her hand held up and clenched in a fist as though she were holding something. She had a mischievious look on her face. "Genna, give Kate her lips back," Annie said. Without a word, Genna opened her hand and made a throwing motion towards Kate. She then ran away.

Kate, now reunited with her lips, stopped crying.

I love little kids' imaginations. They are so rich. Sometimes, though, they go way too far. What made Genna pretend to steal Kate's lips, and what made Kate think that Genna had actually stolen her lips? We will never know.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Last night Annie and I were woken up by our Japanese student, Ryo, calling for my name. I emerged from my bedroom to find him standing in the entryway with another guy standing next to him. Ryo looked messed up. Here's what happened:

Ryo left the bus stop at the mall and was making his way home on his bike. At around 11:15 pm he was crossing an intersection - still biking - when a guy appeared from nowhere and punched him in the face, knocking him off his bike. A group of guys - around 4 - 5 of them - then surrounded him, kicking and punching him. They continued until a car pulled over. They then took his backpack and bolted. Per Ryo's recollection, they left in a car. They guy who pulled over helped Ryo get up, put his bike into his car and then drove him home. He was a Target employee who happened to be driving by when it happened.

Get this, though - the guys who attacked and robbed Ryo were around 10 - 12 years old! Thug kids assaulted my student and stole his backpack - including his wallet, electronic translator, and ID! They looked to be Hispanic, according to the Target good Samaritan. Annie called the police, and by 11:30 we had four firefighters, two paramedics, and police officer in our house. Ryo suffered some cuts and scrapes, both from falling off his bike and from the beating. All his vitals were fine, so he declined being taken to the hospital. Poor guy!

What really makes me mad is that this isn't the first time our students have fallen prey to criminal elements in our town. My sister-in-law's students have had a bike stolen, and the other was a victim of a hit and run! These students, all of whom are good guys, are going to go home with tales of how dangerous the U.S. is. This kind of stuff just doesn't happen in Japan.

We filed a police report, but no one seemed very hopeful that these punks are going to be brought to justice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Yesterday my warp neck caused me to use my first ever sick day at my job. I hate calling in sick, so I hardly ever do. But man, when I woke up yesterday, I experienced some of the worst pain I have ever felt. I would describe it as roughly 3 times worse than giving birth to a child. OK, maybe not that bad, but it was bad.

I'm going to have to tell my chiropractor that I can't afford to go see him anymore. $45 is a good deal for one session, but the deal doesn't matter if you can't afford it. If my pain doesn't start getting better soon, then I might have to go in for an MRI, which might in turn lead to a steroid injection. I asked the doctor if I could also take some human growth hormone. My hope is that I will soon look like Barry Bonds.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kill the Pain

I just got back from my first doctor's visit regarding my messed up neck. Like always, there was an upside and a down side.

On the upside ...

When the nurses called in to see the doctor, they were so impressed by my incredible physique that they asked if they could take my stats out in the lobby. That way, the sickly, lesser patients could see how a healthy, virile man should be. That made me feel good. I took it as sign that the rest of my visit would go well.

On the downside ...

I was wrong. After the doctor finished interviewing me about my warpneck (my official diagnosis), he took a look at my x-rays. He held them up to the light and immediately doubled-over and wretched. As his vomit splattered on the floor, I got the feeling that my condition might be more serious than I had thought. He said that for people suffering from painful warpneck, he would typically perform what is known as a neck-ectomy - the removal of the neck. But since they don't have a prosthetic neck strong enough to support my 'enormous head' (as he put it), the only other recourse was a CHA - a Complete Head Amputation. This would result in a complete cessation of pain, but would leave me headless for the remainder of my adult life. I have a couple of days to think about it, thankfully.

CHA is an outpatient procedure - in and out in only a couple of hours. I asked if I could at least keep my head. He said that if I could find a mason jar large enough (or a 5-gallon bucket), he would give me a good pickling recipe to preserve it for posterity's sake.

Actually, wonder of wonders, he said, "Yep, it's a pinched nerve." He prescribed ibuprofen (a 12 week regimen to reduce the swelling), Vicodin (to kill the pain and sell to junkies once I no longer need it), and cylcobenzaprine (a muscle-relaxing, sleep-inducing drug). (I included the drug names to see what will be advertised in my sidebar). Also, he said that I should eat a lot of ice cream - mainly of the Baskin Robins variety.

The drugs, some more chirpractic visits, my new cervical pillow (thanks Tillman!), ice cream, and time will be all it takes to put some nice curve back into my neck. You can all breath easily once again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Featured Service Feature

I am actually something of a junky when it comes to trying out new free services online, be it the latest and greatest email, file hosting, interfaces, what have you. Most of it turns out to be junk, but I have come across a number of gems.

In the spirit of paying-it-forward, I have carved out some space in my sidebar (immediately above the Google Search section), where I will be featuring my new most favoritest free services that I have actually tried and liked. Its my way of sharing my internet bounty. Afterall, this whole blog is brought to you free by the good people at Google and through my bleeding fingertips.

My first featured service is They offer free online storage of nearly any type of file - 1 GB for free. The site is new and has a great user interface. I admit that I have an ulterior motive in sharing this one - if I can get five of you to click on the image in my sidebar, and then sign up for a free account, I get a free one-year upgrade. But what will this do for you? I will then have access to a number of more services which I will use to super-charge my blog. See, it is all for your benefit! Go on, you know you want to. And trust me, it really is a great service.

Happy signing up.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Clever Mommy

Annie has gotten so clever with her baby food preparation. Check out this bowl. It is full of cubes of fresh carrots, spinach, peas, and beans that she blended and then froze in ice trays. She has now developed similar versions of the pear, peach, and banana variety. When mixed with oatmeal or rice cereal, a tasty, Julia-friendly gruel results.

This is not only saving us quite a bit of money, but also demonstrates what a good mommy Annie is. If only Julia would demonstrate her appreciation by pooping less.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Birds of a Feather

Yesterday I received my second chiropractic adjustment. More cracking of the neck, more biofreeze, more ultrasound, more electrodes. More money.

On the way home I realized that this whole crooked neck thing has really affected my self image. Annie taunting me with the moniker of Lil' Warp Neck was echoing in my ears. Then I thought, Hey, my reaction to this is my choice. It's up to me how I choose to respond! So, I got to thinking about others who are known for having crooked necks. In fact, their beautiful necks are one of their most endearing characteristics. I came up with these:

See? This isn't such bad company to be in. I may not be a heron or have pretty plummage, but I have ... um ... an oversized ... head, that, well, has nearly broken my neck ...

This isn't working.

At least I have someone who cares out there. Take a look at the comments from yesterday's post. Andrew saw my x-ray and let me know his thoughts. He noted that it was the C4 - C6 region of my cervical spine that is causing the pinched nerve. Thanks Andrew.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pain in the Neck

About three weeks ago I began to experience neck pain. At first I dismissed it as your typical kink from sleeping wrong. It continued to get worse, though, and soon spread down my right shoulder. Annie, being a massage therapist, worked on my ache a few times, but she said that it was a nerve problem and that I should see a chiropractor.

I was reluctant, and being the typical male, waited it out way too long. She finally coerced me in to going, and so I had my first ever chiropractic visit yesterday. After talking to the doctor (yes, he is a chiropractic doctor, entitled to the 'Dr.' before his name), and doing some testing, it became clear that I was suffering from a spinal problem. He took some x-rays, and here were the results:

Your typical spine is supposed to look nice and curved back (click here for a photo of one). As you can see from my x-ray, my neck not only doesn't curve back, it is a bit kinked forward. This is causing a pinched nerve - which is resulting in my shoulder pain.

The chiropractor was surprised at the crooked state of my cervical spine. The good news is that there is no hint of arthritis and he believes he can fix me. He thinks that my condition was most likely caused from some sort of trauma. Possible candidates for the cause could be:

1) My natural, knuckle-dragging, ape-like posture.
2) My years competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
3) That one time I rescued 20 children from a sinking bus, and I bonked my head on the door on the way out.
4) That other time when I was breaking the land speed record and hit a tree, causing whiplash.

Honestly - I have no idea what could have caused it. All I know is that it is lame and that it hurts. I have always had good posture, and people often comment on how admirably my neck holds up my oversized head. Maybe that is it - the weight of mi cabesa is finally breaking down my poor spine.

Speaking of spines - yesterday also involved me getting my first chiropractic adjustment. After my shoulders were loosened up with electrodes that caused my considerable muscle mass to flex and unflex (much to the delight of the nurses), he came in and twisted my head from side to side, causing my neck to crackle like a bag of chips. I actually felt better afterwards. Today I go in for my next appointment.

Are there any doctors, chiropractors, or neck-ologists who can take a look at this x-ray and give me some advice? I need help.

To make matters worse, Annie, in her sympathy, has created a new nickname for me: Lil' Warp Neck. I don't like it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sacramento Temple

My buddy Ian just reminded me. We got word this past weekend that the Sacramento Temple finally has a completion date (see my link in my side bar --->)! It will be open to the public from July 29 - August 26. I will be happy to take multiple field trips out to Folsom to show the place off.

Temple Bride

On Saturday the whole Lindsay clan (one sister excluded) caravaned down to the Oakland Temple to meet up with my grandpa and aunt. It was very busy due to a youth conference and several weddings. Amidst the bands of roving groom's men and bride's maids were two or three brides, decked out in their white dresses.

As we walked past one such bride, Kate and Genna both slowed to a stop. "She's beautiful," Kate said. "She's a princess!" Then Genna piped in, "Oh! A princess!"

As they continued to stare and exclaim, the bride overheard them. She posed for them, much to their delight. I could tell that my girls' adoration had made her day (oh ya, and also getting married). I finally had to pick them up to get them to the car, causing Kate to cry.

For the next couple of days, these "temple princesses" were the talk of the house. Yesterday Annie tried to clarify that they weren't actual princesses. Rather, that they were brides getting married at the temple.

To illustrate the point, she got out our wedding photo album to show them pictures of her dressed in her bridal gown at the temple. They freaked out and compelled Annie to show them every picture several times over. Annie loved it.

Marriage is a lost principle on their two-year-old minds. Instead, mommy is now a temple princess. Annie is just fine with that title.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Too Quiet

Yesterday Annie and I were busy working on dinner: Julia was demanding more food, the oven was going, and three burners were going. In the midst of the chaos it came to me that the twins were being awfully quiet. Too quiet. I asked Annie where they were, "In our bedroom," she said. Uh oh.

I walked down the hall and into the room. The scene initially looked innocent enough. The girls had climbed onto our bed and were sitting nice and quiet. Too quiet. They had Annie's purse on the comforter in front of them. I looked at Kate to see that she had Annie's eye shadow brush in her hand. Uh oh. I looked over at Genna to see that she had opened Annie's compact and was licking Annie's eye makeup! LICKING IT! I snatched the purse and makeup from the girls and got them off the bed.

More destruction was revealed. Not only had Genna been eating the makeup, but the rest of the makeup in the compact had been crumbled and sprinkled on the comforter by the girls! Not knowing any better, I tried brushing off the crumbles. The result: our comforter cover is now streaked with purplish pigment. Not the effect I had anticipated. We have since instituted a very overdue household rule: no playing in mommy and daddy's room.

How can I get in touch with the makeup manufacturers to let them know they can stop testing on animals? I now know for sure that this particular makeup is not toxic when ingested by toddlers.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Escaping the Madness

This Sunday, the family (my in-laws) got together for our typical Sunday afternoon/evening. We haven't gotten together for about 3 weeks because some people - mom and dad in-law! - have been vacationing and placing higher priority on their own enjoyment rather than spending time with their loved ones (how dare they!). Getting together again reminded me of how chaotic it can be.

It is a lot of fun (otherwise we wouldn't all get together), but the day consists of a lot of child-tending. There are 9 grandchildren, 6 of which are two-years-old or younger. Us adults, who barely outnumber the youngins, spend a large chunk of our day chasing them, feeding them, cleaning up after them, holding them, resolving their disputes, and trying to keep them contained. It takes patience and stamina.

Last night, as we got the last of them to bed, I got to thinking. Man, what a lot of work! The kicker is, of the 9 grandkids, only 2 are old enough to have any memory of any of this! We spend so much of our time working for them, and they won't even remember it! It is true that we are laying a foundation for our kids and helping them grow up into functioning adults. But I would feel much better about it if our kids could really appreciate all of what we did for them - in the moment. It might make the dreaded teenage years more bearable. I'm afraid that they won't get it until they have kids of there own, by which time it will be too little too late, and Annie and I will be taking vacations of our own to escape the madness.

I think I finally understand why my in-laws keep disappearing.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Do Not Top Off

The other night Annie had expertly fed Julia a very full bowl of rice cereal / squash gruel. It was time consuming, but Julia ate the whole bowl. We were happy that it all went down so well. Julia, however, had other plans.

Julia had a cold and a snotty nose. This snot triggered her gag reflex, which then triggered an epic vomit. Annie and I stood and watched, incapable of moving, as the entire meal poured from her mouth and into her bib.

See where the bib says 'Overflow?' That is literally how high the dis-eaten gruel ended up (I emptied the bib before taking the picture - you're welcome). It was surreal. It was like watching time go in reverse. I could feel 10 minutes of feeding time being undone. It hurt. The whole event took at least 10 seconds. Once she was done, I took care of the vomit while Annie rolled up her sleeves and set about the task of feeding Julia another bowl. It was either that or get up in the middle of the night with a hungry baby.

Annie took the 'Do Not Top Off' warning on the front of the bib to heart. After every new spoonful, she would check for any sign of impending vomit.

That is why Annie is a better parent than me. I was prepared to curl up in the corner and rock myself into a numb 'happy place' state. But she got the job done, and we both got to sleep.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Fright

I went over to the other office building today to drop off some contracts. I walked by my brother-in-law's desk (Bryce and I work for the same company) to say hello, but all of his stuff was gone. His cubicle was empty! I walked over to the receptionist and asked what was going on.

She looked at me with a guarded expression, and said, "Oh, he doesn't work for us anymore."
I laughed, "No, seriously. Where is all of his stuff?"
She said, "Really, he doesn't work here."
I laughed again, "But I just saw him in a company truck."
"But when? Was it after noon?" she asked.
I began to feel uneasy. If she was just kidding me, she was doing a great job of keeping a straight face. "No, it was at noon."
She gave me a sympathetic nod and a sad look. I felt sick to my stomach. Images of my poor nieces and nephews began racing through my mind. The boys, wearing tattered knickers, stealing from fruit stands. The girls, dressed in rags and panhandling. My sister-in-law, Jen, having to take up running professionally to pay the bills. Poor Bryce!

Then the secretary began laughing and patted me on the shoulder. I felt very relieved. We laughed over the funny joke. Later, as I walked through the parking lot, I slashed her tires.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I have been enjoying teaching my Seminary students. I teach the Freshmen and Sophomore highschool students who have a zero period - which means that class is held Monday through Friday at 6 am. This early time makes for some punchy kids. Since I was asked to teach with only a week's notice, my initial training consisted only of a 1/2-hour orientation, and obvserving the class for one morning. I knew then that I would be in trouble. Not because they are bad kids - quite the opposite. No, it was because they are so funny! I've been teaching now since January, but today was the worst day in terms of trying to contain my own laughter at their antics. One of my students, who will remain nameless, is the worst 'offender.' He is a real class clown, but is still a good kid. He is too smart for his own good. For instance:

1) I asked him at one point to read a few verses of scripture, and in response he said, "I will go and do the things my Seminary teacher has commanded." He then read the verses. Punk!
2) He and one of the other students were sparking in class (good-naturedly), and I went quiet to get their attention. It worked, but as this particular student turned back to me, his parting words with his classmate were, "Don't make me testify!" Punk!

and the worst (funniest):

3) He was once again turned around and talking to one of the students behind him. I called out his name. He turned around and said, "Don't be gettin' all up in my Kool-Aid!" At that point I lost it and began laughing. We all did. I struggled for the next few minutes to get the class back in order so I could do some real teaching. My efforts were thwarted by my own laughter. Punk!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Praise for Yuki

I've been hard on Yuki lately. His cuisine still leaves quite a bit to be desired (his dishes are becoming increasingly unrecognizable) and he is still an absentee roommate / exchange student (I think he may just have a ton of homework), but his housekeeping has been great.

He and Ryo take turns cleaning the common bathroom. We can always tell when Yuki does it, because he folds the toilet paper roll like so:

It makes us feel like we live in a fancy hotel! The rest of the bathroom looks great, too.

Not only that, but he is meticulous when it comes to cleaning the kitchen after he cooks. The other day we came home to find our white porcelain sink the cleanest and sparkliest it has been since I first installed it. We asked him what his trick was., and he motioned to some Comet. He must also have some magical Japanese powers, because I have tried the same cleaner and the sink didn't look that much better.

Now if I could only get him to agree to wear the tracking device and webcam I have procured for him ...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Snow Trip

On Saturday we took the girls for their first snow trip ever. The twins know all about snow - it can be used to flirt with the Beast, it makes for funny antics when Bambi encounters it for the first time, and the Abominable Snowman can make ice cones out of it. Beyond that, I don't know what they expected.

We decided to drive up highway 50 until we found some decent snow - there was no point in going all the way to Tahoe. We pulled over on Sly Park drive, and found a real estate office parking lot that was full of fresh powder, and easily accessible. Just look at how cute the girls were:

Here's Kate. She had the best time and didn't want to leave.

Genna had a real fun time with the snowmen, but she grew weary of the cold within 15 minutes.

See the cup that Genna is holding? Annie brought cups, spoons, straws, and 7-Up to make slushies out of the snow (it was fresh from the night before). Very tasty - especially for Genna who has a real sweet tooth.

Julia was adorable all bundled up. So was I.

It took one and a half ours to get out the door. It took an hour to get to the snow. It took 15 minutes to get the girls changed out of their wet clothes. It took over an hour to get back. All of that work for 45 minutes in the snow - during most of which Genna was less than happy. But it was worth it. The trip ended with a lot of laughing and a new experience for the girls to add to their pretend games. It was also worth it because Annie and I got La Bou chocolate-filled croissants.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Yesterday marked a milestone in Julia's development. She did her first learned behavior. I'm not talking about being able to sleep through the night, or sit up, or open her mouth when the spoon approaches. No, those are all natural extensions of what she was already able to do. This is a totally new behavior.

Yesterday, Annie taught Julia how to clap her hands together when Annie sings 'Patty-cake.' It is adorable. Julia will sit and smile and smash her hands together in an imitation of clapping if you sing "Patty-cake, Patty-cake, Baker's man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can ..." She may be the smartest child ever (a pardon to those who also have young ones. I'm biased. Sue me).

As I watched her for the first time, I could see her future span to the horizon. Simple clapping evolved into other athletic accomplishments, then into Olympic gold. Now I just need to find a sport for her to excel in that won't drain my wallet, or require me to relocate the whole family.

Friday, March 03, 2006

New Dish

We are always intrigued by how our Japanese students can take everyday ingredients and make a completely new dish. Last night, Yuki demonstrated his culinary skills as follows:

He mixed over a cup of meat spaghetti sauce (Classico) with several scoops of white rice, and then placed these ingredients into a large tupperware container. Next, he scrambled up some eggs and laid them on top of the rice/sauce combo. Last but not least, for the final layer he added quite a bit of iceberg lettuce.

It made for an attractive display, from a color-scheme perspective, but not terribly edible to my American sensibilities. Does this even remotely resemble any Japanese dish? I would be very interested to know. If not, then maybe I will work on publishing a Japanese Foreign Exchange Student cook book. I would need Sara Lee's permission to refer to their Ballpark Franks as often as I will need to.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


This joke was sent to us in our company newsletter (I work for an engineering firm).

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.

Engineer: What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!
Doctor: I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude.
Priest: Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a world with him.
Priest: Hi, George. Say, George, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow today, aren't they?
George: Oh yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight while saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play here anytime free of charge.


Priest: That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.
Doctor: Good idea. I'm going to contact my opthalmologist buddy and see if there is anything we can do for them.
Engineer: Why can't these guys play at night?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I Not Genna!

Our girls are less and less likely to respond to their own names. If I ask for Genna to come to her high chair, she responds by saying, "I not Genna. I Sleeping Beauty." Sure enough, I'll look at her, and she is wearing pink - the color of Sleeping Beauty's dress. Kate usually opts for being Snow White, but she plays that particular make-believe game a lot less.

In fact, we were in the car the other day, and I sat between them in the back seat. Genna stated that she was Sleeping Beauty, and I asked her who I was - hoping that she would say that I was a prince (oh please, oh please!). Kate responded by saying, "You're just daddy. Just Kate, Genna, and daddy." She didn't want to play the game. The game Kate does like to play is 'how can I get under my twin sister's skin?' Here is what happened last night.

Annie and I had put the girls to bed just fine. About 10 minutes later, though, Genna began doing her groan/scream that we absolutely love. It went on for a good minute before we decided to stop her, because we didn't want her to wake up the baby. I cracked the door and slipped in. I asked Genna what was wrong. She answered by saying, "I not Genna. I Sleeping Beauty."
"OK," I said. "Sleeping Beauty, what's wrong?"
"Kate scared me!" she said. I could tell from her voice that she was actually scared and on the verge of tears. I tucked her back in and turned to Kate. Ms. Kate was lying in her crib playing the innocent game. She does it so well. I asked her what she did, and she confirmed that she was scaring her sister. I told her to stop and made my exit.

About 15 minutes later, Genna was screaming again. I went in (my mood being a bit less sunny than earlier), and asked Sleeping Beauty what was wrong. Genna said, "Kate! I not Genna! I Sleeping Beauty!" She was shouting at her sister. It turns out that Kate was once again antagonizing he sister, by denying Genna's claim of being Sleeping Beauty, and insisting on calling her by her birth name. Kate played at innocence and sweetness as I offered her vague threats; but it worked. The girls stopped their fighting.

I love the girl's imagination, but these new games will have to come to an end soon. But from what I have heard, the games will only become increasingly 'fun' - even through their teenage years.