Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Twilight Zone

Here I am, logged in to "Blogger Beta" and ready to get to work breaking my recent silence. I'd love to update you on Izumi turning six months old, our recent trip to Tokyo, etc. BUT Blogger refuses to upload my photos. GRRR!

What a waste! I have all this "free" time courtesy of that guy who followed us back from Tokyo, Jet Lag. He really should be some kind of action figure, because his action has us thoroughly messed up. A typical day's schedule for the last several has us sleeping from 5 p.m. to 11 or midnight, getting up for several hours of fun and feasting (the other night I made some massaman curry and we enjoyed it for "dinner" at 1 a.m.) and then back to bed for varying degrees of success at a second round of sleep.

Aogu's in his first few days of "vacation," though, so I think we're actually enjoying our time in the twilight zone. There's no pressure to conform to any schedule, just sleeping and waking up when we feel like it. Well, let me amend that: there is some pressure for Aogu to get his next job. When you think of us, please pray and/or connect us to opportunities you may know about!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Make Use of That Passport

Now that Izumi is six months old and it's been a year since we were last in Tokyo, the time seemed right for a trip to introduce her to the family there and make use of her (American) passport. So here we are on our usual flight, AA153.

What you see here is the way both of the kids looked for the most of the flight, as in, NOT ASLEEP. I didn't expect much different since our flight left at 11 a.m. but I was naive enough to think that Izumi would sleep for longer than two hours total (out of 13). Silly me!

Good thing Aogu got in this practice holding Koji up. Koji did actually go to sleep...once we landed at Narita. I'm serious! The wheels touched the ground and at the same moment, he nodded off. Speaking of wheels, if only we could have attached some to his shoes, we would have been in a good place!

Exciting start to our trip. If you need advice on how to travel with kids, I don't know that I actually have any. I'd probably only leave you with practical gems like, "it's OK to allow your three-year-old to watch The Ant Bully three times in a row; you're just doing what you have to in order to maintain peace."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Six Months Old!

Can you believe it's already been six months since Izumi was born? I don't want to sound like some granny when talking about my own child, but the speed of life since she was born has accelerated! She's accelerated as well. Take a look at what she can do:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Uncontested Title

Don't even try to challenge Izumi for the title of "Strongest Forehead". She will whup you every time.

Photo taken at today Kohl Children's Museum with Mariella on a much-praised quilt (when I say "much-praised," I mean that everyone who saw it had complimentary words!) made by my talented sister Laurie.

Friday, November 10, 2006

364 More Days of 50s and I Don't Mean the Weather

A Very Happy Birthday to Dad (right) and Gary (left)!!

Sending prayers for a special year and all our love,
Jamie, Aogu, Koji and Izumi (also known as JAKI)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Not So Special

Just the other day I was thinking that I must be the only person in the world with my name. But I guess I was wrong....looks like I'm one of two?
LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

This is courtesy of Emily.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Revvin' Is Chicago's Revenue

Some time ago, I read somewhere (how's that for vague) that the City of Chicago was putting up a large number of traffic cameras. Seems that was controversial for invasion of privacy or the amount of tax dollars the project consumed or both?

At any rate, though I still don't remember it clearly, according to an astonishly clear photo/ticket we received today, I ran a red light on October 3rd at 6:15 p.m. Yikes! And there aren't any warnings. The Camera has no mercy; it's just, we caught you red-handed (red-lighted?) and now you owe us NINETY BUCKS.

They've probably already paid the cameras off by now.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Consanant Confusion

Koji's English has improved rapidly in the last few months, so much so that I can hardly believe he's the same little guy we brought back from Tokyo a year ago. That small one (he's still small though he looks huge to us compared to Izumi) now daily comes out with full sentences like, "We can play this game now, OK Mama?," which are perfect English with the exception of the placement of "can" and "we".

However, he still can't always hear or reproduce the difference between certain English vowels. That's how it is that when Izumi spits up some part of her last meal, he reports,

"Mama! Izumi spilled!"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Report

I still don't know what to think about Halloween because I'm not a fan of the evil, scary side of it. However, ever since I realized it's pretty much the only day that a person can ring neighbors' doorbells (and then be rewarded for doing so with candy)...and not to mention that I think costumes are really fun... I can't just dismiss/ban it altogether. So here's how things came out for us. These photos are from my cell phone. I took scads more at Koji's school but we all know by now how it goes when I'm faced with transferring photos from the camera to this blog. Yeah. I don't want to be responsible for your death, so please don't hold your breath!
She HAD to be a pumpkin, it's a good look for her, I think. The fact that I picked this costume up for a dollar at a garage sale had nothing to do with my choice...
This photo doesn't quite do justice to the staggering amount of candy we collected today! We might be staggering if we eat any significant portion of it any time soon. Koji probably won't be since I hid it from him. I might be in trouble though.
Are they both going after the "severed ear" chocolate, which was by far the most interesting/disgusting item we collected while trick or treating?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Long Distance Dedication

Maybe it's an embarrassing reference to my age, or maybe it's just the reason I'm so darn good at "The 80s Game" (the one where Rich puts on 80s songs while we're playing Settlers and we try to name that singer) but I used to like the American Top 40. Particularly the part where Casey Kasem read some cheesy letter explaining why one someone, typically pining for another someone, wanted them to hear such and such song with love, which was also know as a Long Distance Dedication. However, I didn't like it when the dedicatees were pets.

The point is, I'd like to send a Long Distance Dedication to my mom on the occasion of her @#$% th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! Here's the cake we made for you. It's a plum-raspberry upside down cake (without the raspberries this time) from a recipe I found in the September 2001 issue of Martha Stewart Living. I've made this cake several times, but I know for sure this one would have been more delicious if we could have actually given it to you.

May this coming year be as sweet and delicious as this cake, Mom!

Her children arise and call her blessed...Proverbs 31:28

Friday, October 13, 2006

Didn't Mean to be Trendy

In case I was having any qualms about my daughter's name--which I wasn't--along comes this article to reassure me.

As you know well by now, her name is Izumi (ee-zoo-mee). Let's all say it together!

Monday, October 02, 2006

See Ya, Mitsuwa

Most everyone in the "Chicagoland area" (who makes these names up? when I lived in Southern California I thought that calling the Riverside-San Bernardino area "the Inland Empire" was bizarre...) who likes Japanese food and has ever needed ingredients to make it has heard of Mitsuwa. It's great, if you live in Arlington Heights and don't mind paying twice as much as your items would cost you in Tokyo. I exaggerate slightly.
Anyway, I may never go to Mitsuwa again now that Super H Mart has opened in Niles. Sure, it's technically a Korean store, but some significant number of their products are Japanese. Plus, they have a great produce section and a food court, which serves a delicious (spicy!!) tofu soup from the "KOREAN" section. Bring your own beverage though; they only have canned drinks for sale and they're not cheap.

Annyonghi gaseyo, Mitsuwa.

P.S. Scroll down for more new posts...keep scrolling...exercise that finger!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Party for Aogu

Who knows why we haven't been taking many photos lately? In any case, it's a shame we don't have photographic evidence of the sushi/curry/salad/sake dinner we enjoyed for Aogu's party. Just believe me when I say that it was a success! It must have been; I can hardly think of another time we've made a big pot of curry and cleaned the pot out the same day!
Kristen thoughtfully provided this birthday cheesecake bar. Cheesecake is Aogu's favorite, but it was so good that I liked it too, especially the raspberry sauce!

Here's proof that Aogu actually likes Settlers, which is a board game, people!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Big Girl Now

Everything's approximate around here these days. As much as I like to be exact, particularly when it comes to marking occasions, these past few weeks my new goal has become survival. There are many worthy activities going on around here, but they're all happening at once. Maybe someday you'll hear about them, but for now I'll just announce that Izumi is four months old!

As of her check-up today, she weighs 14 pounds 12 ounces (6.69 kilos) which puts her in the 75th percentile for weight and means she's doubled her birth weight and then some. She's 25.5 inches long (saying a baby is tall sounds weird when they can't stand up, right?) which is 64.8 centimeters and the 90th percentile. Huh? Another reason not to use the word "tall," because that description certainly doesn't apply to anyone else in this family!

Her very latest accomplishment is rolling from her back to her front. She then gets stuck; that is, she forgets that she knows how to roll the other way too. So then she cries and is miserable. Of course I have mercy on her and roll her onto her back, where she promptly rolls onto her front again. Funny girl!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Every Sunday Afternoon Should Be Like This

Sam and Erika came over for a Sunday afternoon game of Settlers, which set the stage for a Sunday evening game of Settlers, which we never would have had the energy for without a spontaneous mac-cheese-hot dogs-peas dinner. Note Izumi "sitting" on the couch...
I shouldn't say this, in case Aogu ever goes to a Settlers tournament, but he likes to buy development cards. Lots of them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the Kitchen & Visit to Naperville

Izumi can't crawl yet but that doesn't stop her from escaping the confines of her (Kate's--thanks Josh & Jen!) baby gym. That's where she started out, honest.
Don't you want to have dinner with your children at Noodles & Co. now? I should be paid for this advertisement.
We already know that Noah is a good big brother but here we see evidence that he's ready for a little sister. I'm not saying this to pressure anyone; I'm just reiterating sentiments that Noah himself has expressed lately.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bumbo & Cubs

Izumi looks good in the Bumbo Baby Seat that cousin Eli is so kindly sharing with us.
You'll have to take my word for it since I completely forgot to take any pictures of the actual game, but here we are at my first visit ever to Wrigley Field.
This spontaneous trip to watch a Cubs game was courtesy of Jason's company. Nobody else wanted to go because it was raining a little.
Pshaw! A little rain can't stop an Oregonian!
What's in that cup?! Only 20 1/2 more years 'til I can have some!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thirty-Five Years Ago Today...

...Aogu was born!

Happy Birthday, baby.

What better place to celebrate than the Brookfield Zoo, and what better gift than the gift of membership? Ha! Not so much that zoo membership was actually a great gift for Aogu: more that the zoo will nickel, dime and ten-spot the hapless visitor into a money pit nearly as deep as the price of membership. If we go just once more in the next year, we'll break even, and if we go twice more, well, great savings!

Enough zoo advertising. The point is, Aogu is thirty-five and starting a new year. I hope it's the best yet, and I'm thankful that I'll be part of it!

Here we are back at home, celebrating with some cheesecake. The cheesecake was so-so, but the strawberry sauce I made to top it was feisty good. (Note to those who say I'm photogenic: now you see that's not always the case!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back to School and Other Training

Koji was ready for his first day back to school. It's always hard to get a report out of him later; in fact, when I ask him how school was, he usually says, "I don't know"...
but the first day obviously didn't use up all of his energy. He had plenty to spare for "getting bad guys" with Rich this evening. They were serious! I'm glad I'm not a bad guy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Priority Shift

There's not much time left for blogging now that being with Izumi is more fun every day!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sayonara to Summer? Say It Isn't So!

We didn't know it but this was our last trip to the Skokie Water Playground for this summer. Even Izumi was dressed for action! Now it seems that summer is over before it began, at least for us. But we did get our money's worth out of our season pass! Only eight more months till we can get in there on that green slide again...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Unsettled in Catan

As far as I can tell, up until this past weekend I was one of the few remaining in the blissfully ignorant camp of those who still hadn't learned to play Settlers of Catan.

No more, baby.

On our annual vacation with Rich & Jenny*, we finally had time, sans kids, to get through the rules and give the game a try. Aogu even played (collective gasp!). Furthermore, he won! Let's see if his amazing victory spurs him to play again in the next six months. If so, this truly is an addictive game!

Or at least, I know it is for me. How can it not be when I won TWO of the next TWO games we played? If you are looking for people to play with, GET OVER HERE. And if you haven't played yet, COME ON!

*Look for more about our trip in this space, below this entry, sometime later...yep, not only do I back-date, I plan ahead for my back-dating. Move that index finger! Scroll down!...but not yet...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Last Year Was Odd, This Year I'm Even

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday dear self
Happy Birthday to me (the day before yesterday)

I'm 34 now.
Maybe some other time, when my daughter isn't crying, I can produce deep thoughts about what that means to me.

For now, I'll just show you the cakes I got at Rolf's Patisserie to eat with my son, Ashleigh and Kristen today. It took until today to satisfy my birthday cake craving, but the reason is fodder for another post, which I'll put up before this one since I'm all about chronology. Next time you visit this space, scroll down to make sure you've seen it all!