Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Exhibit at Kohl's

The new exhibit at Kohl Children's Museum is great! I thought we were just swinging in to wring one last bit of value out of our annual pass (expiring tomorrow) and it would be business as usual but instead:

You have until May 14th to see it for yourself!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Now You'll Never Believe Me

Once in awhile, in discussions of "hobbies" and/or "winter sports," I volunteer the information that I like snowboarding. The majority who hear this are incredulous; I assume because there is no topography around that lends itself to the pursuit, and/or because they have never imagined me as the sporty type.

The problem is, three of the sports that I enjoy (in addition to snowboarding: hiking and mountain biking) require serious or at least mild elevation, and that's something we are lacking here in Chicago-land. Another problem: I've been pregnant and/or recovering from miscarriages every single winter since 2002. Snowboarding and pregnancy are not compatible.

Imagine my delight and anticipation last month when we were in Oregon! Not only were we in Oregon, we actually stayed at Eagle Crest, which is within easy driving distance of both Hoodoo and Mt. Bachelor, for a whole week. Forgive me for my optimism, but I think I was justified in the months I spent looking forward to snowboarding.

Well. Once we settled in to those cosy and comfortable condos at Eagle Crest, getting out and on to the mountain wasn't the easy proposition I had anticipated. Having arrived on a Saturday, we finally made all arrangements and dragged ourselves out there on Wednesday, which was one day too late for agreeable weather. Instead, we were greeted with the conditions you see pictured above. Seeing as our equipment wasn't exactly top of the line, we chickened out and had lunch at Soba instead. It was OK, but not a satisfying substitute.

So now you'll never believe that I not only know how to snowboard, but I really like it and want to do it often. At least we got in an excursion to the Autobahn which kind of, sort of makes up for what I missed. This is the only case in which you'll hear me say that I am looking forward to next winter!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Employee Discount?

In an attempt to deal with the nasty weather (you think people who live in Chicago always complain about winter, but this is legit! it's been the coldest first half of February in SEVENTY YEARS) I took the kids for a mall-walk today. As if I can walk through the mall without going into a store; I admit it, I can't.

So we're in Old Navy, where I was lured by the Kids + Baby Sale. As always with being in any store, it's one eye on the goods and the other out swiveling for signs of Koji-induced ruckus and havoc. Fortunately, he was right next to me when he took interest in a wheeled stair contraption, which sported a big sign that said "Employees Only" next to a graphic of a person falling overset with a giant red NO circle. Here's how the conversation went:

Koji: I want to climb on this, Mama!
me: no, Koji
Koji: Why?!
me: Because that sign says it's only for people who work at this store.
Koji (while picking up stray socks and hanging them on a display): But I do work here, Mama!

Anyone need access to an employee discount?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Brain-Sharpening All Around

So I guess I need to work on my math skills (no surprise!) since today is actually Izumi's 3/4 year birthday, not last month, as I had erroneously claimed. Eight months out of twelve made her 2/3 year old, right?! The really sad thing is, it's taken me nearly the whole month to work this out, even though I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong.

OK. Now that she's nine months old, what should she receive for her birthday but a giant head bump? I was going to diagnose her with some kind of hematoma because it sounded fun to say, but when I went to read about them I was completely freaked out by the words "serious brain injury" and I gave up. As I was getting on to saying, she fell on her head today. Now that she's been pulling to stand for a whole month, I was overly confident in her balancing skills and left to her own devices at the edge of the train table. The formerly mentioned giant head bump was the sad result.

And I know I'm reading into way too much, but it feels a little bit like a pride goes before a fall thing, literally, in that I've felt so happy with her nice round head! True confession, now I am letting out the vanity that I've projected onto my children.

Possible action steps:
1. Get helmet for Izumi
2. Confess to Jesus re: this sin of vanity
3. Figure out sudoku, since I obviously need a mental tune-up

P.S. This is meant to be about Izumi, so I'd better note that she's finally started sprouting teeth! The bottom two have finally made their appearance, which I've taken as a sign that she can eat anything we eat as long as it is cut into eensy weensy bits...? Also, she likes to say "mama," though it's hard to know whether she just likes the sound of it or is actually trying to get my attention. It goes without saying that my money is on the latter!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2 Minutes and 45 Seconds

is the amount of time necessary to pop corn in my fancy new microwave popcorn bowl. Here's a picture for those who can't be bothered to click on the link.

Apologies to those who have already heard the story of why I "need" this's what happened. A little while back I was on a popcorn quest. See, I usually have the munchies in the evening. So I have a theory that popcorn would be a less caloric choice than say, half a dozen chocolate chip cookies.
Therefore, I checked my options at Costco. That's where I saw that I could buy 36 bags of microwave popcorn for something like $9.79. I was reaching out to grab the box and put it in my cart when I noticed some humble, but large, 12 pound bags of purely unpopped corn languishing nearby. For a mere $2.79, I could be the owner of a lifetime supply of popcorn!
What I wasn't thinking about was how on earth to pop all that corn. Yeah. I tried putting it in a pan and shaking it over one of my (despised) electic burners. That worked, but I had to use oil, which somewhat defeated my low-cal requirement. And, it was hard to get all the corn popped without burning some of it.
Next, I tried making my own microwave popcorn by putting popcorn and oil in a brown paper bag. That also worked, but it was messy because the oil soaked right into the bag.
At last, I turned to online sources for inspiration, namely Cook's Illustrated, home of all the fine folks who test many products that I'm curious about. Thanks for the excellent advice!
So for now, pretty much every night, you'll find me crunching on popcorn from my red bowl. I feel obligated to use it well and often, since I paid an outrageous shipping fee to get it here! Does $7.00 shipping for a $9.49 product sound right to you?! I didn't think so!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Jesus' Current Location

Koji and Jesus must have made up after the lunch incident, because he's now decided that Jesus lives somewhere outside his south-facing bedroom window. So if he turns towards that window and talks, Jesus will listen. Sounds like prayer to me? Actually, typical prayers may not contain questions like, "Jesus, do you want to come to my house tomorrow?"...

but maybe they should.

P.S. Scroll down/click here, I've posted a new entry but put it in its chronologically proper place.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Do The Right Thing, Academy

We just watched an excellent movie, Little Miss Sunshine. Don't be thrown off by the frequency with which the F word is used, and don't let the family dynamics dismay you. The point is, and I think I can say this without giving anything away, the family sticks together. And it's HILARIOUS!

Furthermore, it's even nominated for an Academy Award. It's been a long time since I was interested in the Oscars; after all, the nominated movies are usually not anything I've actually watched, or wanted to, for that matter. But maybe this time is different, since Little Miss Sunshine is in the running. Makes me want to cover all the bases, as far as best picture nominees go.

Let's see, I already saw some of The Queen as we were flying to Oregon last month. Close enough. Don't want to see Babel, now that more than one friend gave it a bad review. That leaves The Departed, which looks interesting and suspenseful. But it's not a comedy (I need funny, I want to laugh more and Little Miss Sunshine was just the ticket) and it's coming out on DVD on the 13th, so no need to rush out to the theatre.

Ha! I say that as if I rush out to the theatre all the time, when in fact I can count on one hand the number of movies I saw on The Big Screen last year...and one of them was Cars. Sidenote, Cars should definitely win the Best Animated Feature Film category.

Letters from Iwo Jima, however, looks worth the colossal effort it takes for us to get out to an actual movie theatre. It's in Japanese, after all! Guess this will have to be a to be continued entry, to which I'll add the second installment when (not if, when. Positive thinking!) we've seen the movie and can give an informed opinion. I suspect even if it's a heart-wrenching extremely well made drama of a show, I'll still want Little Miss Sunshine to eclipse it!

Friday, February 02, 2007

New Month For You Maybe

But as for me, per usual, I have tonnes (do you like British spelling? I do!) of catching up to do around here. Guess I'll just get further and further behind if I don't start somewhere. So here are a couple of photos from Koji's Christmas program:He was a member of the chorus. For him, that meant swaying and looking around more than singing. At least the bells around his neck were a somewhat musical contribution?

Target should be renamed "Black Hole"; theoretically still round in concept, but more accurately summing up the way money flies out of my wallet, never to be seen again, when I dare to enter. I've done worse than this Christmas outfit for Izumi, though. Even though her lower lip is nowhere to be seen, I think she looks very pretty!