Monday, July 30, 2007

The weekend

This weekend was fun-filled for everyone! On Friday night Yuta and I went out for drink and a movie while the kids stayed with my in-laws. It was the second time in less than two weeks that we'd be out on a date. Incredible, huh?

We went to see The Simpsons movie, which was disappointing. Yuta liked it, but I was expecting something funnier and more clever. It was pretty much a super-long television episode. But it was nice to go out - we met some friends for drinks beforehand (they ended up seeing Live Hard or Die Free, and I'm not sure I would have enjoyed that any more).

On Saturday we went to a birthday party at The Little Gym. Yuta's best friend from middle school and high school, who was the best man at our wedding, has a daughter that is turning six, and they invited the kids to come to the party. Taisim and Taipan had a blast. So much so that I might look into a birthday party for Taipan there, and trying to find an open gym time they can go to. I've done some calling around, and the places I've talked to start open gym in the fall, which I suppose isn't too far away.

On Sunday the kids and I met up with some friends at the park. We all had a good time, espcially me, who could use more time hanging with other moms. After we got rained out at the park we went to our friends' house for a couple of hours, and when we left Taipan said he was hungry. I told him what we had to eat in the car, and none of it really sounded good to him, so I told him I'd look for restaurants on the way home. We saw a Panera and I thought "Perfect!", but the kids said they didn't want to go there. Right next to the Panera was a Golden Corral buffet, to which Taipan said, "Yes!". Well, I'm not sure what I was thinking because I was in way over my head. The place was packed, and it's not one long buffet like I was expecting, but a bazillion buffets all over the place, which is hard to do with two kids. I couldn't leave them at the table alone while I got food, and it was hard to drag them back and forth to the buffet. So, Taipan had one bit of awful mac & cheese... Taisim and I split a piece of chicken .... then we left.

After stopping to say hi to Yuta at work we came home and the kids had a super long bath. Some of you know that Taipan has had a bath aversion for most of the past year, so we've been doing sponge baths. Last week he wanted to get in the bath to play with the bath crayons (to which I said, "with water?"), and he's wanted to go in there twice since. With cold water. He doesn't like warm or hot water - it's gotta be cold. So Taipan draws race tracks on the side of the tub while Taisim plays with water and cups.

Then we had a nice bed time - Taipan asleep pretty early; Taisim not so much. And I started reading Harry Potter. I didn't get too far, but am hoping for the kids to be in bed early tonight so I can read some more.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Simpsonize Me!

In celebration of the longevity (over 400 episodes and 19 years!) & quality (still one of the best written sitcoms on television) of the Simpsons, The Simpsons Movie has finally arrived! Burger King has opened up the Simpsonizer for all to enjoy. Being the Simpsons fan that I am, I had to Simpsonize our family... and here are the 2D results... mmmmmmm... Simpsons.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Adventure - July 24th

Tuesday was Train-o-rama day! I haven't been there in a while, so it was neat to see the new additions. It's nice since Terry & Maggie know us well enough that they recognize us as we walk in and chat with us about what's been going on. I realized the other day that Maggie's seen Taisim grow up from an infant, and I think she enjoys watching her run around. We'll be back again soon I'm sure.

Monday, July 23, 2007


This morning Taipan was talking about what Taisim was wearing - he thought her outfit was pajamas, when in fact it's a matching shirt/pants set, not pajamas. So I said that those are her clothes today. And he said, "Not pajamas?" And I explained that it's a pair of pants and a shirt with no sleeves. And he told me, "I have a shirt with YES sleeves!"... meaning of course that his shirt has sleeves. So cute that I had to share.

In fact, here's a picture of her in the outfit:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Friday's Adventure

Today we didn't do too much other than have some fun at the house. We did venture out to the Brecksville Library just to get out and about. Taipan does love the train table there (heck, he loves train tables ANYwhere), and sometimes we do find interesting books/CDs/DVDs to bring home.

In the evening, we all had fun with the garden hose out front!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Strongsville Homecoming

Around here almost every town has an annual summer fest, and we missed our town's celebration last weekend, so we went to the one in Strongsville (Y: The Crossroads of the Nation... Go Mustangs!) this afternoon.

We got there around noon, bought tickets and starting riding the rides. Taipan wanted to do the Dizzy Dragons first, so he and I rode that... based on our experience at the Brecksville Home Days last month we didn't think Taisim would enjoy it, so she and Yuta sat it out.

After the Dragons both of the kids rode the Super Trucks and another Jeep/motorcycle ride.

And then Taipan said he wanted to ride The Hurricane! At first it looks like no big deal, but while I was watching Yuta and Taipan ride it I realized how fast and high it goes (Y: It really does sneak up on ya). Taipan was up against Yuta the entire time (Y: The centripetal force helped with that too), but afterwards I asked him what he thought and he said, "It was good". So there you have it.

Then we went to eat and discovered Cheese-on-a-Stick - mozzarella cheese fried in the same batter that is used for corn dogs. Yummy. (We had other food too, but the cheese on a stick was really the best thing.)

We couldn't leave without playing games, so the kids fished and got horns to bring home, and we played a "shoot the water in the mouth of a clown" game...

and Yuta won a funky stuffed baby dragon for each of the kids. (Y: We also won some plastic toy horns!) And we ran into friends, so hung out for another hour or so visiting with them.

Home Days are a good thing. Taipan asked us to capture video of all of the rides so he can watch them at home, so now he can relive it all in the comfort of our loft.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tuesday's Adventure

Since using the word adventure for our daily activities while in Chicago, Taipan's been very keen on discussing what adventures we'll be doing each day. Tuesday's adventure was going to Legacy Village. It consisted of the following:

- Joseph-Beth Booksellers (is there a Harry Potter book coming out soon?) where we spent a couple of hours in the kids section playing with the train table.

- The Apple Store (I think seeing a 3-year-old playing with an iPhone gave the employees heart attacks) where Taipan used the iPhone to talk with Mama and tell her "Mama, I like the iPhone."

- The Tropical Smoothie Cafe where the kids got Raspberry - Banana smoothies.

All in all, an adventurous-fun-filled day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pictures added below

Hiya.... Yuta added some pictures from Chicago and the 4th of July, so scroll down to see some pics.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Taipan's new favorite game

At the suggestion of a friend, we recently bought Max, a cooperative board game. We opened it up on Sunday and Taipan loves it. He's asked to play it the past two mornings before I go to my office to work.

We don't play all of the rules exactly as they're written, but we abide by the general spirit of the game. I highly recommend it.

I need some ideas though of how to include the baby, but not let her destroy the game. It's hard if only one parent is around and Taipan wants to do a board game because Taisim wants to be up there too of course, and she has a very different idea of how to play than Taipan does.

The Police

Last week while I was sitting in an all-day meeting in Chicago an email came through my work account from a guy that works in the Cleveland office saying that he had tickets to see The Police in Cleveland on July 16 and that he couldn't go and he'd sell them at face value. First come, first served.

So I immediately emailed him and said I was interested. And then during the first break we had at the meeting I left him a voice message. He called me back and said to say that the tix were mine and to let him know if we wanted two or four.

We made some calls to some friends, and took four tickets. The show last night was amazing. They opened with Message in a Bottle. It was just the three guys (Y: Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland, and of course, Sting), no huge sets or bands or back-up singers, and it was great. They played for about two hours and almost every song kicked ass.

(Y: To be able to rock so well as just a bass/guitar/drums trio is amazing... to be 55, 64, and 55 years-old is astounding. Hearing my favorite Police songs performed live was almost spiritual for me. I couldn't see the Synchronicity tour back in 1983/84, and The Police broke-up after that, so I thought my chance had gone... huzzah for second chances! To be able to share this with Karen made it all the more special... Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.)

We have a sitter that helps us out on Thursdays, but one or both of us is usually home too in case anything goes wrong. This was the first time she was with the kids alone for an extended period of time. I knew everything would be okay, but was a bit worried because I knew we'd be out late and that the kids would not go to sleep until we were home, and I didn't want Taisim to get too tired and cranky.

Well, we got home just after 11:30pm and everyone was tired, but in great moods. Yuta drove our sitter home, and the kids were asleep by midnight.

It's such a joy to know that we've found someone that can do the late nights for us - any time we'd one out in the past we felt like we had to rush home. I'm scanning upcoming shows/events in our area so that we can do more nighttime things!

And I should mention that Ama and Akon are *fabulous* sitters too, it's just not as easy for them to do the late nights.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Second update from Chicago

Hi everyone. Today is my last day of meetings in Chicago and things have gone very well. I was a bit worried about getting out the door with the kids here, but the kids and Yuta have been wonderful.

We got here around 5:30CT on Monday, and decided to have my absolute favorite pizza delivered for dinner (stuffed spinach, ideally from Carmen's, but ours this week was from Giordano's). On Tuesday everyone woke up around 6:30 (the sun rises earlier here than at home), and ate breakfast together and then I left. The kids protested, but it was pretty ok. Wednesday morning was not so easy. Taipan was very upset, and Taisim woke up right as I was walking out the door, so she was peeved too. As I was leaving I said, "Taipan, I love you!" and he said, "No. Mama doesn't love me." It made me sad.

(Y: Taipan really didn't mean that in the literal sense, he tends to contradict what he thinks he doesn't want to do... "No. Mama doesn't love me." was followed with "Mama wants to stay here." Wednesday ended up being a pretty good adventure, even with the sad start. We did end up going to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL, and I think we all had a great time! They had at least 10 barns full of cable cars, streetcars, and trains dating back to 1900! Some we could climb in and explore, though most were in some state of restoration. I never realized how HUGE train locomotives can be... some of the steam engines had drive wheels at least 10 ft in diameter!)

First railroad crossing to get to the main grounds

"Look Papa, it's a Chicago Trolley just like ours!"

And of course, he's right.

Just like James Coffey's song says, you gotta Stop, Look, and Listen!

"Papa, it's a Union Pacific!"

"Look Papa! A Santa Fe just like ours!"

In the Engineer's seat of the Santa Fe

The huge diesel engine of the Santa Fe

"It's a handcar Papa!"

"Papa, I think that's a GG-1"... and of course, it is.

"Papa, is that a streamliner?"... impressed I say "No, but it's a close cousin called the Electroliner"

I always wanted to drive a big train!
FYI, Taipan took this picture.

Just to give you an idea of the size of some of these steam locomotives... and this is a medium-sized one.

We got back and had a wonderful time telling Mama all about our adventure. The evening was pretty uneventful, with us playing some games and exlporing the Hyatt's fitness room. FYI, fitness equipment such as treadmills and eliptical machines can make exciting toys... assuming no one else is actually trying to exercise :)

Last night I had a team dinner and got back to the hotel around 10:15, and everyone was awake, so it was a late night for everyone. When I was leaving for dinner the kids waved goodbye to me from our hotel room window, which overlooks the parking lot (quite a view!), and they were excited about that, so this morning when I left Taipan seemed to be ok with it because he got to wave good-bye out the window. I just wish we had thought to do that on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Tonight we're switching hotels. My mom should have arrived this morning and should be at my Nonna's place. We're hoping to see them tonight. Tomorrow I think we're going to see The Great Train Story at the Museum of Science and Industry.

All in all, a good week so far!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update from Chicago

Here's an email Yuta sent to his family yesterday... I'm too lazy to write something too at this point, other than that Yuta and the kids did go to the Railway Museum and had a great time.

Just a quick note letting you know that we're in Chicago until Saturday, and we're having a great time so far! We're staying at the Hyatt Place in Hoffman Estates (right by Schaumburg, IL), and it's quite lovely. Each room has a 42" plasma flat-panel HDTV (and we're enjoying it very much... at least I am). While Karen was working today the kids & I went to Wal-Mart (exciting!)...

and the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, where we got to play with the iPhone!!!! Taipan & Taisim were very impressed with the multi-touch interface, and I was just drooling. It's the 2nd largest mall in America we found out, and there are a LOT more Asians than in Ohio :) They also had a LEGO store, which the kids found fun.

Tomorrow we're planning on going to the Illinois Railway Museum where they have 300 acres of historic trains of various types (electric, steam, diesel) and states of operation (most still run, and they have a depot with train yard and 5 mile loop of track). It's either that or the Navy Pier where the Chicago Children's Museum is. We'll see what choice we make in the morning.