Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 2009

I have not been good about updating this blog, favoring instead to upload pictures to Facebook. It's so much easier - maybe I need to check out Flickr or something to make it easier to get photos on blogspot.

Anyway, we had a great month, and a terrific Christmas. Pictures from the month are here. We got out and about quite a bit. For those of you that have heard stories about Taipan preferring to not go out much, things have somewhat turned around. He's definitely most comfortable at home (and as I typed that it occurred to me that most folks are), but you'll see from the photos that he's adventured with us quite a bit, and we didn't even get pictures of everything.

The next week has my mom visiting, and I'll have most of the week off. We're looking forward to the new year and everything it holds for us.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Simi at Luther's Farm

Yuta put these on Facebook .... these are mostly for my mom to see, so I don't have to repost them here:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Catch up post

Eek, more than a month since I've posted. That's certainly not unprecedented, but I didn't realize it had been so long.

We've had a great month - the visit with my brother was fantastic, and I had a quick trip to Cincinnati a for work a few days after he left. This year all of my work travel has been in the midwest - Indy, Cincy and Columbus. Makes me glad that I'm in Ohio and can easily drive to all of those places. And I'm driving back to Cincy in a couple of weeks.

Over the past few weeks we discovered a new place to see model trains - the Western Reserve Railroad Museum. Yuta took the kids one afternoon while I was working, and Taipan was so excited to show me the trains too that we went back the following Saturday. It was indeed pretty neat, and closer than Train-O-Rama, our other favorite local model train place.

We also decorated for Halloween, and in the process went to a Halloween store, where Taisim was excited to see pink hair spray so she could have pink hair:

Along the Halloween theme, last weekend Taisim and I went to get pumpkins, only to discover that I didn't have enough cash for big ones, so we bought two small ones, and she loved pulling the wagon around:

The next day we saw painted pumpkins at the grocery store, so they decided that they wanted to paint their pumpkins too. They each chose their favorite color, so Taipan painted his blue, and Simi painted hers pink:

We've also been enjoying time with our great friends, and Yuta's had the chance to catch up on some movie-watching, which I think he enjoys... though I know he's got a few more on his list that he'd like to see soon.

Some dear friends from Florida were in town for a visit this week. I've got some photos from their visit that I'll post separately. Pink hair and pumpkins are it for this one :-D

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hiking to Brandywine Falls

My brother, Chris, came to visit us for the long weekend, and we decided to go on a hike. When we first moved here three years ago, I was surprised to learn that Ohio has waterfalls, and I thought it'd be cool to take Chris to see one. For those local to the Cleveland area, we started at the Stanford House, went to the Falls, looped around on the Brandywine Gorge Trail, and then back to the Stanford Trail.

We got off to an adventurous start when I ran over a belt, and the hook got stuck in the tire. I've never learned how to change a tire, so I was glad that Chris was with me. It didn't take too long to get back on the road, and we were able to get the tire patched that afternoon.

The hike was wonderful! The weather was perfect, it was a tad bit challenging with a couple of hills and some stairs, and the falls were pretty. We even saw a couple of deer along the way.

It was about four miles and two hours from beginning to end.

Here's Chris checking out a fallen tree on the way to the falls. About 1.25 miles in, there's a boardwalk & stairs that will take you to the base of the falls:

Posing with the falls behind us:

After leaving the base of the falls, we went up to the lip of the falls, and walked past the Brandywine Inn to the Brandywine Gorge trail, and saw two goats on the way. Both had their heads poking out of the fence. This one was gnawing at some bark:

The trail to the falls was dry - all of the creek beds we saw were dried up. The gorge trail after the falls was along the Brandywine Creek, which was flowing. Chris checking out the creek:

To get back to the Stanford Trail there's a crossing made of quarried stepping stones. The third or fourth one was very slippery and sloping down, and I almost fell off - quite a scare!

It was nice to have some time alone with my brother - it's been a while, and I think we both enjoyed the time! And now I know of another cool place to take visitors. The falls can also be accessed from the top, minus the hiking, which will be a great place to view them with the kids some day.

Cutting shapes

One of Taisim's favorite things to do these days is to cut shapes - almost always using pin paper.

Here are some cut-outs she made of our family. From left to right, me, Yuta, Taisim & Taipan:

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The party platform box is also being used as a store counter. Simi likes to set up the cash register on it, put on her apron, be "a worker", and sell us stuff. She's got very good prices, and this picture shows how she would sit in between customers:

My favorite people

A fun picture from last week - not posed. Taipan climed on Yuta's shoulders, and Simi jumped into his lap, so I grabbed the camera.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Simi's party prep

(I found this unfinished post in the draft file - this is from a week or two ago)

I don't mean preparing for a party for Taisim, but Taisim preparing for a princess party. We first had a party at the bottom of the stairs, and she made art work to decorate the wall by the stairs:

We had a little bit of drama at the bottom of the stairs, so we decided to decorate a box to use for a party platform. I wrapped a box in some pink paper that we used for painting, and then she cut and glued colored shapes to it:

Then Taipan came to join us, and we all played legos - Taipan did a circus train, with a train station, while Taisim and I made a princess house and rode the train:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cozy kids

Last Thursday night Yuta went to see District 9, and the kids and I were at home playing. At one point they went into the bedroom and shut the door - I think Simi was being a princess at a princess party and Taipan was protecting her from enemies. I could hear them giggling and chatting from the living room, and after about ten minutes it got quiet. After a bit longer of almost pure silence I cracked the door to see what was going on.

The first thing I noticed was that the bed had been stripped of blankets and pillows, and the kids were not in sight, but I could hear them in the bathroom. I peeked around the corner to find them cozied up on the blankets and pillows on the bathroom floor, with Taipan reading to Taisim. I snuck back in with the camera, and then left so as not to disturb their fun.

I came to find out later that they were pretending that the bathroom was the bedroom, and they made themselves a bed on the floor, and Taipan was reading stories for bedtime. It was one of the sweetest things I've seen them doing together:

Our sunflower has bloomed

Chi Chi gave us a sunflower plant in early June. It bloomed a week and half ago. It's been so fun watching it grow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Simi on her path

The other night Simi was setting up wooden trees in a line on the train table, and she pointed to part of the track and said that she was going to go on that path. I thought she meant that her train or one of her dolls was going to go on that path. Nope. I was wrong. I left the room, and when I came back, this what I found - her walking on her path:

After snapping the pics I let her know that the table might not support her weight for very long, and she climbed down.

Plants vs. Zombies - LIVE

We've recently fallen in love with a new game - Plants vs. Zombies. It's so much fun, and each of us enjoys playing it. It's like a tower defense game, only with plants and zombies.

Taipan also enjoys *being* the zombies, and he is amazingly good at doing the zombie movements and sound effects. I'm not so good at being a zombie - awkward movements, not so good at dying - so usually Taipan and Yuta are the zombies, and Simi and I do the planting and attacking.

Yuta as the buckethead zombie, and Taipan as the football zombie:

Simi watches from the sidelines and tells me what to plant to fend of the incoming zombies - she uses her map (the DVD case in her hands) for reference:

Taipan as a newspaper zombie, having recently lost his newspaper during an attack from a plant:

Taisim attacking Yuta's zombie ... the horn was a specific weapon, though I can't remember which:

About half the time we successfully defended ourselves, and the other half we got our brains eaten. Here's what our dead zombies look like:

Like I said - we love this game. I highly recommend it - it's a PC/Mac based game, and well worth the $$. At the very least it might tide us over and give us our zombie fix until Left for Dead 2 comes out in November.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Painting ... all weekend

Late Friday night Simi said she wanted to paint ... and I mean very late ... too late for either me or Yuta to want to bring paints out, so we told her we'd do it the next morning. First thing Saturday morning, before anything else, she said she was ready to paint, so she got to it, joined by Taipan. We have large rolls of paper that we can put on our kitchen table, and we had paper and paints going sitting out nearly continuously. Not until we had company over on Monday were they ready to put them away. And even then Taisim wanted to paint, but on smaller paper so she could give her pictures away.

Here are just a few pictures of the painting - they used many brushes, fingers and hands. This was the first time that they dipped brushes straight into bottles of paint, and it is now the preferred method around here (for me too - much easier clean up).

Taipan's on xbox Live!

Taipan has for a while liked playing xbox online, and had used Yuta's xbox live account to do so. A few weeks ago Yuta changed his password, and was at work, and we couldn't get online, so I decided to go ahead and sign Taipan up for his own account - this way Yuta and Taipan could play online together .... and I think Yuta feels better not having Taipan using his ID.

Taipan has a local friend who he plays with now, and also a cousin in Utah. It's pretty cool to watch them play and listen to Taipan's end of the conversation. Here he is concentrating on some Castle Crashers:

Seven Hills Homedays (7/24/09)

We went to the Seven Hills Home Days again this year - the highlight of the evening was definitely watching fireworks with some friends.

When I got home I realized that one of the pictures I had from this year is similar to one I took last year (Taipan is even wearing the same shirt - what a coincidence!).

Below is this year's pic, and the one from last year is here.

Pile (from 7/22/09)

One evening a few weeks ago, there was a lot of energy and bouncing around the bedroom. We decided to pull all of the blankets and pillows into a jumping pile at the foot of the bed. Yuta got some cool pics (and video, at Taipan's request).

Either Taipan or Taisim will request a "pile" every day or two now ... seems to be a good way to burn off end of the evening energy.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

fourth of july pics

smoke balls, snakes, sparklers

Yuli, Keith, Ling, Chadwick & Akon were here for the sparklers, but you wouldn't know it because we didn't get any pictures of 'em.

Pics are at Yuta's facebook (you do not need to be a member of facebook to see these):

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Later that night ...

As I was taking the pictures of Taipan's play-doh shapes, Taipan and Simi quickly decided that they wanted to do silly pictures, so they made lots of silly faces and poses and goofing around and asked me to take pictures of it all.

For your enjoyment (the last two pictures are a few hours after the rest, taken when Yuta walked in the door and the kids almost immediately wanted him to be their horse):

My day off

I've got some extra days off this summer thru a cool program my employer is offering. Beginning last week I'll have 1-2 days off each week, and mostly be working three-day work weeks thru the end of August.

Last week I had Wednesday off, and some friends of ours came to visit - they played with moonsand, play-doh, the x-box and dollhouse ..... and some battling in the basement kicked the visit off:

Later that evening Taipan & Taisim did some more play-doh - Taipan did shapes, while Taisim made a snowgirl and snow (she also did a lot of haircuts with the barbershop play-doh set, but no pictures of that):