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Showing posts from February, 2009

Time Out

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I'm taking a short time out from Boy Wonder due to a badly sprained wrist and fingers. I'm waiting until the story of how this happened starts to be a little humorous before posting the story! In the meantime, typing with one hand is frustratingly slow. Probably the worst type of injury for a writer! I'll be back soon!

Happy Birthday Grandpa with the motorcycle!

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Today is my Dad's birthday and despite how far away they live, I actually got to see both my parents this morning while they were down in this area for their tax appointment. Nothing like spending your birthday at the accountant's office, huh? Sadly, they had to hit the road to get home before the boys got out of school. However, they did leave Nathan and Benjamin a fun creative toy they've been begging for, so they are happy kids. Happy Birthday Grandpa! We love you! Ben's first trip to my parent's house. He is one month old, Nathan is two and a half.

Nathan and the motorcycle from which Grandpa with the motorcycle gets his name.
Baby Ben on the motorcycle. You can tell Grandpa really loves these boys, no one, and I do mean no one, is allowed to touch his Harley! And here are my sticky, slimy children sitting on it!

Recycle

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We came home from an outing on Saturday to find a basketball hoop in our driveway! Michael lowered the hoop about 18 inches so that Ben could actually make a basket every now and then. We picked up a youth sized basketball (we only have a couple of soccer balls) and now they can't get enough! I keep hearing, "Mom, the ball went across the street again," so I've been teaching them that while one shoots, the other has to "guard" the street. Neither Michael nor I are sports fans or players, so our poor boys won't be getting any pointers from us, but they seem to be doing just fine!
It turns out some nice folks down the street recently sent their youngest off to college and wanted the hoop out. They asked their neighbor for a recommendation of what to do with it, and they mentioned that we have two boys. Together they rolled it down the street. What a nice surprise, sure to bring hours of fun and exercise for the whole family!

Breadmakers

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With all the home cooking going on around here, we've found it necessary to do some rearranging of the kitchen cupboards. We have one that is very deep, and in the furthest reach of the back I saw a large appliance that I didn't recognize. I got down on my hands and knees and pulled it out... a brand new, never before used bread maker! The boys jumped up and down cheering at the revelation that we had an appliance that can create bread with the touch of a button. I laughed at their delight until tears were streaming down my face, and then we went to go get some ingredients to put together the "easy" loaf of white bread that the directions said would be a great place to start.

I followed the directions very carefully, beginning with the first step. Unfortunately, there was a step before the first step that I didn't catch until everything was already in the pan. So we had to do a crazy move to get the ingredients out without the yeast touching the water so we coul…

Ghost of Valentine's Past

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I was going through old photos and it would appear that I didn't always have the Bah-Humbugs toward Valentine greetings. Nathan's first Valentine's Day was celebrated in Japan where we found it to be a little different from the U.S. celebrations. On February 14th, ladies give their sweethearts chocolate treats. Then a month later on White Day, March 14th, the men return the favor and shower the ladies with chocolate. I think we were just buried in being brand new parents and adjusting to a new home in a foreign country and didn't do anything for either day! But starting the year after that, I took photos of the kids and either mailed or emailed them out to our loved ones. So let's take a stroll back all the way to 2003 when Nathan was 15 months old... 2003 - He's so little! Look at that string of pearls that were his baby teeth! That was my favorite shirt on Nathan because it made his eyes look electric blue. Well that and because green is my very favorite colo…

Chase Family Circus

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When I say that my life is a circus, I mean it! Just look at these clowns!

Much Mirth

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We lived on the east side of the San Francisco Bay for a couple of years after moving to the U.S. from Japan. Benjamin was born there and has the distinction of being the only non-native Southern Californian in our little family. Here we are at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont.
Mike was snapping photos of two year old Nathan chasing the Canadian Geese who stop at the lake during migration, and caught me in his lens. He called out, "turn sideways so I can see your pregnant belly," which as you can see, I did. Later that night we were looking through the photos and noticed Nathan in the background, also turned sideways and showing us his belly. It makes me laugh every time I see it!

100th Day of School

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For reasons I don't quite understand, elementary schools make a HUGE deal out of the 100th Day of School. This year the entire school dressed up in their finest Western gear. Both boys are wearing actual cowboy boots and fine felt cowboy hats, thanks to my Mom and Dad who are genuine "cow folk."
They both had to bring in 100 of something to share. Ben brought in 100 multicolored bow tie pasta pieces, which he counted out himself.
Nathan created a sculpture of Lego using 100 bricks, creatively forming the number 100. Maybe the 100th Day of School is how the teachers secretly celebrate being over halfway to summer?

Quantity Time

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Nathan had his second guitar recital, and earned another "belt". He continues to amaze and impress us. I believe a major reason for his success is the hour of practice each night that Daddy and Nathan put into it. Nathan's favorite part is when Daddy gets out his guitar and they jam together. It is a huge commitment of time in an already packed schedule, but it reminds me that if you give child a choice between "quality" and "quantity" time, most likely they will pick quantity. Ask your average five or eight year old if they would prefer a single scoop of Häagen-Dazs Premium or all-they-can-eat from the Thrifty's ice cream counter, and I'm sure the all-you-can-eat option will be the one they pick. Daddy may not be made out of ice cream, but to our little boys he is just about the only thing better than ice cream. What incredibly lucky little boys we have! Thank you Michael, for all you do! The songs they played at the recital are on the board. …

Detour

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All good things must come to an end, and our three day weekend ended in a flurry... of snow! The Grapevine was closed due to snow and ice, so we took the much longer, but far more scenic, coastal route home to Los Angeles. In any other part of the Nation a bit of snow on the highway wouldn't close it down, but California drivers can barely handle the tiniest sprinkle of rain. Snow is out of the question! It was fun to drive down the state along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. And I use the term "fun" very loosely! I haven't driven that route since college when my little red pick-up was on it's last legs (wheels?) and I couldn't make it safely up the steep incline of the Grapevine. So it did bring back memories of listening to tapes (tapes!) and singing at the top of my lungs to stay awake on the drive home. This time we had a different kind of soundtrack: Nathan and Ben! And they only had one volume setting: High!

They fell asleep about 30 minutes before we got…

Postcards from Benjamin

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What could be better than a weekend at the Grandparents? Where I don't have to cook (not even allowed in the kitchen!), do laundry (no sooner do we have our clothes off our bodies before my Mom snatches them up, wash, dries, folds, and returns them to our room), or get up early with the kids (we just shoo them out of the room, roll over and sleep at least until double digits on the clock... every parent's dream!). And it isn't just Michael and I who benefit. The grandparents get to spend hours listening to Nathan's ideas or being led around the property by Benjamin. And the boys get to explore acres of dirt (or mud as it was this weekend), climb on farm equipment, chase chickens, and get chased by the overgrown puppy, Mack. It's a win-win situation for all of us. On Sunday Benjamin brought me my shoes and asked me to come with him and "picture him" around the property. So I did, and this is what we ended up with.
Here's Ben with the Massey Ferguson tra…

Happy Fish n' Chips Day!

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We simply don't "do" Valentine's Day. It just seems so over-the-top embarrassingly commercialized. Why just have one day of the year where we tell our loved ones that we love them? And I don't really care for pink, or hearts, or flying naked babies with bows and arrows. And neither do my boys. Although they would probably go for the bows and arrows.
The first Valentine's Day I spent with Michael wasn't really spent with him at all. He had proposed to me a week before and then left on a touring production. Our second Valentine's Day was a few months before our wedding, and we decided together to have a low key evening. We jokingly brainstormed over what would be the least romantic place to go for dinner. Together we came up with going out for fish and chips. We laughed that no one would choose to take their sweeties there, with the fishy-fryer smell and the resulting malt vinegar breath... what a spectacularly bad place for a date! So we went! …

Sweet Hearts

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One Hundred

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Please allow me to brag for a moment about my five year old son Benjamin, who wrote the numbers one to one hundred, all by himself. The only person more proud than I would be Ben himself. He requested that I photograph it and place it here for the world to see. So here you are world! Benjamin, my boy wonder!

Be Mine

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Valentine season is upon us. This year the teachers requested that students hand address all their own valentines for the big exchange on Friday. There was much grumbling about this (from the boys and from me) because it's so much easier to do a quick mail merge of the class list and simply print labels, which they could then just stick on... Is there an equivalent to "Bah Humbug" that goes with Valentine's Day? We have our own unique way of celebrating each year on February 14th, but you'll have to wait until the 14th to hear about it!

Pity Party of Four

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Mondays are never easy for us. Today may have been Tuesday, but with Monday a school holiday, today bore the brunt of the normal Monday hassles. And then some! Everyone was a little off. Ben started crying when I picked him up from school, great gobs of tears for no specific reason. Nathan missed two words on his spelling test that we worked on for hours last week until he could write them backwards, forwards, and with his eyes closed without error (technology & machine), and therefore forfeited the monetary reward I'd offered for a 100% score. Michael was delayed and didn't make it home in time for Nathan's guitar lesson, causing chaos in me trying to get to school to exchange Nat's backpack for his guitar case. I ended my three days of laying in bed sick to go for a simple trip to the book store, which left me feeling like I'd competed in an Ironman-qualifying triathlon, completely wiped out. Trying to get the boys to do homework and address 40 Valentines for…

Hail

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Today the boys got about a year's worth of their normal television diet, all in one sitting. Mike went to work but the boys had the day off school, and I'm nowhere near 100%. Disney Channel to the rescue!
We had rain most of the day with plenty of wind. At one point it started hailing, a phenomenon the kids have never seen. They were jumping around and yelling with great joy about the rocks falling from the sky, all from the comfort of our warm living room.
It brought me back to 1994 when my friend Michael Richards and I drove to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda and waited in line for seven or eight hours for the public viewing of the late President Nixon's casket. Normally it would have been a memorable way to spend the day with an awesome friend, but it was pouring icy cold rain and giant chunks of hail the entire time we waited. Outside. Without an umbrella. In a wool coat (me) and a flannel shirt (him). I tried to explain the experience to the boys about how cold and mis…

Sick Day

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Benjamin shared his germs with Daddy.
Daddy shared his germs with me.
Both Ben and Daddy feel just dandy.
But for me, misery abounds.

Michael took the boys to the park, and Benjamin experienced flight when he slipped off the swings at the highest point and came crashing down to earth with a great deal of "sand rash". When they returned, he put Ben in the bathtub, to calm both Ben and Ben's angry red skin. Nathan, our water-child, couldn't bear to see Ben covered in bubbles all by himself, so together they ended up playing in the tub for over an hour while Mike read a book in the bathroom. So even though they didn't get wet from the rain, they spent plenty of time in the water!

Rainy Day Schedule

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The last two days have brought plenty of rain. More rain is forecast for the three day weekend. I'm leery of the rain here, because it always seems that when the tiniest precipitation hits the ground, all L.A. drivers completely loose both their minds and their ability to drive. It would be funny if it wasn't so frightening!
Yesterday the morning dawned bright and warm, and the boys dressed appropriately in shorts and tees. I heard rain was on the way, but judging by the blue skies dismissed it as a meteorologist fantasy. By 11:00 a.m. the sky was dark with threatening clouds. By noon the skies had opened. Knowing that Ben got out at 2:00, I drove over to the school at 1:00 and got the prime parking spot right in front of his class. I spent the hour catching up on writing while I enjoyed the rain's sweet serenade. Come 2:00, Ben stood out among his far warmer classmates with their long pants, sweaters and jackets. We ran into the van and Ben climbed around the seats, snapp…