Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Our Thanksgiving got off to an early start - we were all up by 8am, which is very unusual for my family, especially on a weekend or holiday!  Thanksgiving dinner was at my in-laws' at 6:30/7pm, so we had just about the entire day to hang out with Mom.

Taipan showed Grammy the ropes on Halo 3 for a bit - she caught on fairly quickly, and Taipan had a great time playing with her.  After gaming for a bit and eating breakfast, we decided to decorate two Christmas cookie jars that mom brought for the kids.  Here they are decorating:

And here are the finished products:

Around noontime Yuta went outside to start hanging up outdoor Christmas lights, so we decided to bundle up and go out for a while too.  I didn't ask my mom how long it had been since her last snowball fight, but I'm willing to bet it was at least 25 years ago.  She was a good sport with helping the kids make snowballs and being a target.

Yuta spent the majority of the afternoon hanging lights, and putting up our outdoor decorations, while Mom and I stayed warm and cozy inside.  Yuta said he wasn't cold though, so I guess the constant movement kept him warm.

My mom brought two great hidden picutre books for the kids too.  They're kind of like I Spy books, but we all seem to like them better.  I don't remember the names of them, but one is Halloween themed and one is Christmas themed, and there quite a few silly things on each page, and mom, Taipan and Taisim enjoyed pointing out the silly things (e.g. houses with faces, or a man wearing ten hats) as much as they liked looking for the hidden items.  On Thursday afternoon they spent over an hour piled into the recliner and looking at the books:

We left our house around 5:00 to head out to the Christmas tree sale at Michaels, and then to my in-laws' for dinner.  Both kids fell asleep before we got to Michaels, so mom and I went it, bought a tree, some extra lights and a few other things before heading to dinner.

The kids were a bit groggy when we got to dinner, and were not feeling very social.  I went upstairs and played with them while the rest of the family started dinner.  Fortunately my mom felt comfortable enough to sit with the family without me - I trusted that Yuta would help her out of any social awkwardness if it arose :-)  We eventually made our way downstairs, but opted out of sitting at the formal dining table, and instead ate in the kitchen where it was a bit more quiet and less intimidating.  After getting some food, they had a great time playing with auties and uncle.  It was around 10 p.m. by the time we left and headed home.

Once home I was eager to see our new tree, so we put it up.  The tree has pre-lit white lights, which I love, but Taipan prefers multi-colored lights, so since the tree had only white lights I bought multi-colored lights to add to it.  The ones I bought at Michael's didn't work (not enough), and they didn't twinkle, so I bought some at CVS on Friday morning, and those didn't work (none of the green ones lit up, and even though the box showed six colors, the strands only had blue, green and red), so on Saturday we went to Target and I got the lights that we needed!

Grammy's Visit - Wednesday, 11/26/2008

My mom's flight landed around 1:30 on Wednesday, and Taisim and I went to pick her up.  It didn't seem very crowded at all, and her flight went without incident.

When we came home and kicked off her visit with a birthday celebration.  The kids put candles on her cake, and Taipan suggested we sing Happy Birthday (a first for him, as he usually requests that Happy Birthday not be sung, or that we take him out of earshot while people are singing):

My sister-in-law and her husband stopped by that afternoon as well, and we all went to Chuck E Cheese for dinner (without Yuta, as he had to work at 6).  There as a birthday party there, so Chuck E came out for the party, but we missed him.  I think he would have come back out, but Taipan and Taisim didn't bring it up, so I didn't request it.  It was more crowded than I expected it to be, so we didn't stay as long as we normally do.

Also on Wednesday our new Christmas tree came.  We ordered a fiber optic one online, after having no luck finding one locally.  It was a huge disappointment.  It didn't look anything like the picture, and was not at all worth what we paid for it.  So we boxed it up, and it will be shipped back this week.  Luckily we saw that a sale was going on Thanksgiving evening at Michael's - all trees were 50% off, so I've got a lovely new tree now, for half the price of the one I bought online.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting ready for the weekend

Edited on 11/30/08 to add a few pics of the cake and our birthday sign for Grammy.

My mom's coming to spend Thanksgiving with us. She's flying in from Florida in about ten hours, and I hope she's been missing snow, because we've got plenty of it. I think we got about six inches today.

Tomorrow is also her birthday (tomorrow being Wednesday - it's very early Wed a.m. now, but I haven't been to bed yet, so it's still Tuesday for me). Taipan and Taisim are very excited to help her celebrate her birthday. We baked a cake, which they decorated tonight, and we also made a sign, which Yuta and Taipan hung in our entry way. Taipan also suggested decorating with streamers and balloons; if time allows we may add that too. I'll post pics of the cake and and sign over the next few days.

After we welcome Grammy here tomorrow and have cake we'll most likely head to Chuck E. Cheese - Taipan is hoping that Chuck E. will come out if we tell them it's my mom's birthday.

Our plan for the holiday is to have dinner on Thursday evening with Yuta's family - his sisters and brother-in-law are coming into town. My mom and I also want to cook a turkey dinner, kind of in honor of my Nonna who passed away in August, so we've invited another family over and will cook on Friday.

I'm not sure what we'll do on Saturday. I think that my Mom wants to take the kids somewhere, so we might go to the science center or the Rainforest at the zoo. We'll play it by ear. Then she goes home on Sunday - I'm sure the weekend will fly by.

And in case you're wondering why I'm up at 3 a.m. .... Taisim fell asleep around 8:45 tonight, only to wake up around 11:30 fully rested and ready to play, so she and I have been hanging out. I'm supposed to work tomorrow, so I'm going to try to get a little bit of work done before we head to bed. She just yawned, so hopefully we'll be asleep soon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snow Day!

Over the weekend we had a small amount of snow, and not much stuck to the ground.  We woke up Monday morning to a bit more snow, and then again yesterday we had more snow.  The kids were so excited to go out and play.  Our friends gave Taipan a snowball maker for his birthday and ever since Thursday they had been waiting for enough accumulation to use it.

Yesterday Yuta and the kids went out to throw snowballs, and make snow angels, footprints and snow ducks (those of you who watch Peep might be familiar with snow ducks ... Quack makes them in one of the episodes).  When they were in the front yard I could see them from my office window and also hear Taipan saying, "This is going to be the biggest snow duck ever ever ever ever!

Pro Football Hall of Fame - Sat, Nov 15, 2008

On Saturday Yuta, Brett and Ben went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, and the kids and I hung out around the house.

Here are some pictures from their visit - again, I'll let Yuta add captions and explanations.  

Visit with the Roths - Nov 14, 2008

Late last Thursday night Yuta's friend Brett flew in from Florida with his son, Ben.  They spent a couple of days in Cleveland, then Yuta, Brett and Ben drove to NY so they could go to see the Bills & Browns play Monday Night Football.

I was working on Friday, and the rest of the gang went to explore and show Brett & Ben some of the sites around Cleveland.  They started out by going to lunch and playing at the local McDonald's Playland for an hour or two.  Then they went downtown to show Brett & Ben the Rock Hall, Browns Stadium, the lake and our beautiful skyline.  At some point Yuta also showed them his childhood home.

Here are some pictures they brought home - I'm going to let Yuta had further explanation where it's needed:

On Friday evening we went to a birthday party at Bounce City - a new bounce house place in Strongsville that is co-owned by a couple of Browns players.  Everyone had a great time, and Taipan and Taisim can't wait to go back again.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taipan is 5!

Taipan's fifth birthday was last Thursday (Nov 13).  I took the  day off for celebrating, and we had a great day.  Rather than a set party, we had more of an open house, and asked some of our friends to stop by for cake and ice cream during the afternoon.  It was nice because while there was overlap between guests, there wasn't pressure to keep to a specific flow of a party, and since visitors were spread throughout the day there wasn't ever a point where we felt too crowded.

We actually started celebrating the evening before Taipan's birthday.  My mom mistakenly sent a package to our old address, so we spent a day or two tracking it down, and we were all happy to finally have it, and Taipan was anxious to open it, so we did.

He had specifically asked for a soccer ball, and Grammy did not disappoint.  He couldn't wait to bounce and kick it.  We rolled it in the house for a bit, and then went outside to do some driveway soccer.  While we were outside another package came, so we opened it when we went inside.  My sister sent two Pokeballs, which are perfect for his relatively new interest in Pokeman.  Taipan was happy to let Taisim help open the packages, and we've all been throwing an increased amount of Pokeman around the house:

This is the first year that Taipan was very specific about what he wanted for his birthday.  He asked for decorations that were red, yellow, pink, orange, white, blue, green and purple.  And he wanted the balloons to not have helium.  My plan was to decorate the house after he went to sleep so we'd wake up to a decorated house.  We were all up together, and I could tell that we would all be going to sleep together (late), so I decided to go ahead and decorate while Taipan and Taisim were awake.  

I don't have great pictures of what we did, but there were streamers and balloons over our kitchen table, on our living room mirror, and in an entrance way near our front door.  We also hung some balloons from the top of our stairs so you could see them in the foyer.

Here's Taipan playing with some super balls and tops we bought at the party store:
And fun with balloons:

The kids and I woke up kinda late on the 13th - Yuta got up a bit earlier to go pick up the cake and some other things from the grocery store, and he was gone when we woke up.  While he was out he found an impromptu gift  - a Pokedex that was on sale at a Circuit City that's going out of business:

Taipan was anxiously waiting for Yuta to get back from the store so he could open our gift for him.  

Is it a surfboard?

It's a guitar with an amp!

Here's Taipan showing us the Pete Townsend guitar move he's going to be able to do with his guitar:

Soon after, Yuta's parents came over for lunch and to wish Taipan a happy birthday.  They were our first birthday guests.  

Here are the kids playing a new game (Tier auf Tier) that Yuta's sister sent over with their parents:

Not long after lunch another package arrived - this one from my dad and stepmom in Florida. Taipan was very gracious and welcomed Taisim's help in opening a lot of his presents:

It's a skateboard and helmet!

After Yuta's parents left we had about an hour or two to ourselves where we played with some new things, and then three familes that we're very close with stopped by through the course of the afternoon and early evening.

At the point where we had the majority of kids at our house we brought out the cake - Taipan had been saying he wanted either a rainbow cake or a watermelon cake (decorated like a watermelon that is), and chose the rainbow cake, noting that when he turns six he wants a watermelon cake:

All in all it was a fantastic celebration for Taipan!  I feel fortunate to have such a great group of friends and family!  Thanks to everyone that helped make it a special day for him.