Sunday, March 18, 2007

Birthday Song Writer Royalties Go Cha-ching!

You know that story about the Happy Birthday song and how the guy (lady?) who wrote is a mega-quadrillionaire because they rake in royalties every time someone somewhere in the world sings their song? How can that possibly be true?

If it is though, then we are certainly making a sizeable contribution to the Birthday Song Pot.

Yesterday we went to a birthday party at Pump It Up. This is a warehouse-looking building that contains two enormous rooms full of "inflatables". Apparently, that is the new name for those rubbery castles full of air that kids can jump on. And now, they aren't just castles, but also slides, obstacle courses and so forth.

When we were invited to the party, I was a little skeptical, but foolishly so, because it was awesome! I thought I would be sitting there twiddling my thumbs while Koji bounced, but it turns out that moms could participate too. YES! Many of the other moms couldn't believe the sight of me enthusiastically taking advantage of the inflatables, but as for me, all that crazed jumping was downright therapeutic.

Interesting cultural sidenote: this party was for a Japanese friend from Koji's preschool. While we were there, one of the workers asked me where the presents were. It took me a minute to realize that it's not normal in these parts for guests to pay to get in to a birthday party, but that's exactly what we did. Rather than buying a gift for the birthday boys (this party was actually in honor of two children), we all paid to join the party. When I first heard of this system, I thought it was bizarre, but now that I'm used to it, I really like it. The parents of the birthday child don't have to break the bank to put on a really fun party, nor are they saddled with a ton of random toys that they have to write thank you notes for. Let's all think about this system, and possibly even adopt it?! What do you say?

Today we went to another birthday party. The location was a church gymnasium, and I wasn't sure how it would stack up to all those inflatables. But actually, I think Koji had as much fun or more at this second party. The birthday boy's parents planned some fun activities (like sand art!) and put out some really nice food; it's cliche but true to say "a good time was had by all".

Another truth: my social life would be sadly lacking if my son's friends didn't get steadily older and invite us to celebrate accordingly!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

10 Months Later

Here's the only tiger I saw at the zoo today!

Though both Koji and Izumi are still recovering from the mysterious virus that plagued us all weekend, there was no way I was going to have us sit at home through a 73 degree March day! The zoo isn't that close to us, and last time we went it was a family outing, so I felt the strain of packing everyone up and getting us over there by myself. However, just being outside for the first time in months was certainly reward enough. I also enjoyed feeling that we were getting some value out of our membership and "meeting" Arnieta the baby giraffe.

What better way to celebrate Izumi's 10-month-old birthday?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pretty in Poo

Following is a true story: those easily offended by graphic details regarding bodily waste are warned to read no further.

Koji was feverish over the weekend and complained of pain in his throat and mouth. Complained is probably too mild a word, actually. He's been literally screaming from the agony that waking up and swallowing or trying to eat produces. So this morning we were off to the doctor's office to see what walk-in hours were like.

Before we left, I changed Izumi's diaper. Therein were a couple of chunks of poo that I wanted to flush down the toilet. So I put the package of diaper and poo on top of the Diaper Genie and hauled Izumi off to her car seat. I then proceeded to forget about disposing of the diaper properly in my rush to get us off to the doctor.

When we arrived at the doctor, we found chaos and mayhem. Rather than wait to see how long it would take for the doctor to work her way through an entire page of names to get to us, I signed us up for an afternoon appointment and we left (much to Koji's dismay! I'm not sure why he was so bent on seeing the doctor right then? Maybe he still doesn't understand the difference between "later" and "tomorrow").

We got home just in time for Izumi's morning nap. I put her down and then got Koji settled with some Caillou. The moments of peace and quiet that ensued were so rare and precious, I should have known they were too good to be true. Instead, I ignorantly proceeded with cleaning the kitchen, working on the laundry and even making progress on some Bible Study.

At some point, I thought I heard a noise through Izumi's monitor, but I ignored it, hoping she would go back to sleep. Finally, two hours after I put her down, I went upstairs to check on her.

To my complete horror, I found that she had apparently woken up much earlier. She looked around for something to play with and found the formerly mentioned loosely wrapped diaper and poo package sitting easily within her reach. I'll never know exactly what happened next. But I do know that there was poo all over her sheets, the bars of her crib, her clothes, and most horrifyingly, her face. That's right, she ate her poo. Or at least sampled it.

Are you laughing or crying? I was crying, I felt so horrible for leaving her poo within reach. She doesn't know that poo isn't for eating! I shouldn't have given her a chance to sample it. Bad mama! Bad! Or so I said to myself, and the more so when I realized that she was feverish to boot.

I wondered if I would ever tell this story to anyone. I went to great lengths to hide the clean-up process from Koji so he wouldn't be inclined to repeat the incriminating story at a moment I least expected. How would Aogu react when he found out I poisoned our daughter with her own feces?

God is good, even in disgusting moments like these. He had my sister call. Of course I couldn't not tell her what had just happened, though I tried to keep it to myself. She just laughed and said that she's heard plenty of stories of babies learning to get their diapers off and then smearing poo all around and yes, even sampling it.

So that made me feel slightly less like Irresponsible Mama of the Year. Then I took the kids off to the doctor, and when I sheepishly told the doctor what had happened, she hardly let me me finish the story for insisting that possible poo ingestion and fevers were most definitely not related.

Finally, I told Aogu, and he cracked up and said, "You better put that on the blog". I'm almost ready to accept that this is a pretty funny story, but I think I'm still glad that I didn't take a picture. Please don't think less of my sweet little daughter...or me...this has been a true story, LIVE from Skokie...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Aogu at Work

This is to remind us of what Aogu looks like at work. We need a visual aid, since he left today for two weeks in Tokyo. One week away has become somewhat acceptable, but I always thought two would be justification for the family to go along. And we almost did, but since he'll be kicking off a new project (in other words, super busy and out late every night) and since Koji would have to miss two weeks of school, even I had to admit that it just didn't make sense.
Pray for us, please! The next two weeks should be interesting...

Friday, March 09, 2007

America Voted?

Are we sure that just America is voting? Aogu and I have a non-PC theory, but it's the only somewhat plausible explanation for Sanjaya's continued presence on American Idol.... Perhaps Indian IT specialists are hacking in and messing with the votes? Think about it!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fitness in my Future

Though I'm not a prophet, I'd like to boldly claim that I see fitness in my future. If I don't see it, then I really had no business joining Lifetime Fitness today. On the other hand, I'd be lying if I didn't admit the decision wasn't entirely based on my desire to get rid of the last 10 post-baby pounds. Financially speaking, the option to leave the kids in the Child Center while I drink coffee in the cafe, I mean, work out, is much more reasonable than hiring a babysitter. Furthermore, we can make memories at the pool during family swim time. And what I'm most (cautiously) optimistic about is the option to play squash. Ken and Aya taught me to play years ago at Liv, but I had to give it up when I moved here. Until now, I needed a court and someone to play with. Wouldn't it be great if fitness AND a squash partner were in my future?