Monday, April 23, 2007

Let's Tokyo

Tokyo 2007
Ah, the nostalgia. Tokyo is beautiful this time of year because it is when the Cherry Blossom Festival happens and it's nice to see that families actually do sit under the trees and have picnics while the sakuras are in bloom! It didn't last long, though. Just like the ones in DC, the rain, wind, and cold blew it all away. Rivers, cars, sidewalks were covered in little blossoms. Anyway, did quite a bit of walking around Tokyo. A little too much, that I got lazy toward the end and just ate at local American food on base rather than walk 10-15 minutes off base. Yes, trains are very convenient in Japan, but they can be a ways away sometimes. Hopefully we'll be back there soon. There's just so much to see, so much to do! Will write more later. It's almost 1am. (not that that ever mattered, but people at work are starting to notice when I get in late :) )

back on homebase

bevan in seattle

Well, that was a fun 12 days in Seattle. And I love going home to Seattle cause it's like a mini-vacation. Free babysitting, good meals, and family and friends. It was just too bad we only had one day of really good NW weather. Yeah, it gets rainny and cold in Seatown, but when there's good weather it's GREAT weather. I think Evan had a good time cause he still ask about his grandparents every so often, and then he'll say "no Ah Kung" (no grandpa). Tonight as I was putting him to bed he asked about daddy and then he said "daddy sleeping, Ah Kung sleeping" I guess he remembers my dad sleeping. When I showed him pictures of our trip he actually remember's Amy, Mark's cousin's daughter. Amy is about 6 months older, maybe more... but he'll point her out of the picture everytime. I guess that amazes me cause I'm so used to him not remembering anyone, and not even calling me mummy. And now he'll ask about people and even me when I'm not around.

About our flight back to DC... I really don't like flights going East, cause you lose SO much time in a day. I just happened to talk to Jason on the phone the morning I was leaving and he mentioned about a huge NE windstorm in our area. Great. I always seem to find the best days to travel too! :( So, I packed extra motion sickness pills for myself, and extra snacks and things to distract Evan if we end up circling DC for an hour in rough winds... which has happened before.
I have to give high praise to Northwest Airlines for this trip. I don't usually take NW Air, but after this trip, maybe I will more often. Evan isn't 2 yet so he is a lap passanger, which is nice that we don't have to pay for him yet. But, he is getting a bit big and too active to handle sitting hours in my lap in those cramped seats. The first leg of the flight was great. They upgraded our plane to a larger newer one. So Evan had his own seat and all the space he'd ever want, and all the new finagled buttons he could press. The next leg I knew was on a smaller plane and that it was full so the odds weren't in my favor for an empty seat next to me.
Evan was wired and was off the walls at the airport. I don't blame him. We just got off a 4 hour flight and still had another 2 hours to go, I had to let him burn off steam. They called people with disabilities or those traveling with children to board first, but Evan was jumping out of his stroller was I was pushing it. He's become a real daredevil with his stroller lately. There was such a huge crowd of people all waiting to board, I got tired of trying to push my way to the front of the line. I don't understand why people don't just get out of the way! It really is like everyone thinks if they get on first, that they'll some how get to their destination faster. And don't even get me started on people deboarding the plane!
So, anyway, I grabbed Evan and dropped him back in the stroller and dragged our stuff off to the side to wait to be last to board. If you can't be first, be last to board. Besides, you feel like some VIP when everyone is seated and watches you walk on and take your seat. I think Evan liked it too cause he was waving to EVERYONE we walked passed to get to 22D.
So here's what puzzles me. Maybe the NW Air staff saw my frustration and are really intuned. or maybe someone in the crowd? Or divine intervention? But when I finally went up to the gate, they knew who I was and they handed me a new ticket. "Ms. Chang, we've assigned you a new seat so you'd have an empty seat next to yours, just to make travel with a little one easier." WOW!! Did she read my mind?! No where on MY reservation did it say I was traveling with a lap passanger. None of the staff asked me to put him on my ticket. How did they know? Well, however they knew, they gave me the last empty seat left on the plane. There were plenty of little kids on that flight, too. And that whole flight, Evan was an angel. He sat in his seat happily looking at books, playing with toys, eatting his snacks, and watching Nemo. The flight attendents all came by and told him what a well behaved boy he was, and that for a 21 month old he was like a little man. I was in my own "shock & awe" moment too! For his final trick, he climbed into my lap and fell asleep right before the half hour of turbulance till landing. The winds had not died down in DC and the plane was swinging left and right and making sudden drops that made you feel like your stomach was at your neck. The guy next to me grabed his air sickness bag just incase, and I was SO glad to have taken my motion sickness pill before the flight. People applauded when the plane finally touched down. I'm so glad Evan slept through that. But I think he was still effected by the turbulance, cause while he was running circles around me at baggage claim, he threw up all over himself. That's my boy!

Other than that, our last few days home have been laid back. Both Mark and Evan are adjusting back to DC time. Mark pretty much slept all day Saturday to get back to normal. And I'm glad to report that after a few 2am bedtimes with Evan, he's finally back to 9-10 bedtimes. I guess I'm the last one standing. It's 2am and I'm blogging... *sigh*.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday Nite Update

Evan's watching an old black and white of Elvis in the movie "Love Me Tender" with my mom, so I've got some time to make a quick post. We're getting Evan an early start on the classics.

A quick update from Mark. He's done with work and meetings and has two days to play. He met up with Hideaki last night to go out to dinner for okonomiaki; I'm so jealous of all the good food he's enjoying out there. The only thing Hideaki wanted was a burger from Burger King from on base. I guess that's the only place to get one in Japan. They're meeting again this Sat to go to a baseball game. Mark's told me how exciting the games are, especially the crowds, so I'm guessing they're gonna have a great time.
Mark was worried that his Japanese was rusty before he left for his business trip. But he found that it came right back to him as soon as he found him self lost on the streets walking from the train station to the military base where his hotel was, dragging his luggage with him. That's probably the only bad thing during his trip. He's been site seeing and shopping in Yokohama and Tokyo. He even went to the Tokyo temple to work on some family names we have.
Wami and Jerin told me about how picky Japanese are about their rice, and that it was a lot better than what we have here. So I asked Mark to get me some! :) He said it was a bit pricey, about $10 US for 2 kilos (apx. 4 lbs). So I hope its good. Is there a special way to prepare it? or is my regular rice cooker fine?
One of Evan's current little obsessions, besides Nemo, is a little white bunny named Miffy. We got him the Chinese DVD and he loved watching it. Acutally, we found out that he really just loved watching the intro song over and over and over and over... So, Mark's gonna feed his obsession by buying him Miffy ABC books and toys. hehehe

As for us in Seattle, Evan seems to be learning more and more words faster. He's starting to copy what we're saying, probably not knowing what it means. I'm not sure where he learned it but now he likes to say "nope" all the time. So I've had to teach him to say "yup". It's so funny when we're directing a question to someone and he'll think we're talking to him and he'll say, "nope!" He's also started referring to anything that's round or close to round as a "basketball". And all fruit as "apple" even if he knows its call something else. He has become a bit OCD about fish too. If he sees one in any form, photo or drawing, he must point it out and say "fish!" over and over and over. And it doesn't matter if you acknowledge his discovery or not, he'll keep pointing and saying "fish!"
The other day my mom took him into the Disney Store. She thought she'd buy him something from there and wanted to see what he really liked. The funny thing is that I don't really buy him things he sees in stores. I let him play with toys while we're shopping but I tell him to put them back. So, Evan got SO excited to see a huge pile of stuffed Nemos and Lighting McQueens. He arranged them all into a nice neat line in the middle of the store. So my mom thought he liked the cars. Well, then he put them all back and ran to the other side of the store and got excited about something else. He was so funny. He wouldn't take anything, he'd put everything back. For a while he held on to a toy car and a mickey mouse plate. Then he saw a huge beach towel with a HUGE Nemo on it. He dropped the car and plate with such noise and ran up to the huge Nemo blown away at how HUGE Nemo was! It really was bigger than him. I wish I got a picture of the look in his eyes when he saw how big Nemo was.

I'm coming along in my knitting and crocheting lessons. I'm finding out that you just need to learn the basic stitches, the lingo and how to read the patterns, and master how to hold the needle and yarn right, and for the most part, you can do anything! Ok so it's not as easy as it sounds, but at least I understand how things are made, even if I probably wouldn't be able to do it myself. I'm working on learning how to make a baby hat so I can make a bunch and donate it to the church's Humanitarian Aid program. And I'm making a shawl for myself to use while at the temple. I don't know why I'm always cold when I'm doing work there. I hope this helps.
I'm getting faster and faster at crocheting it, and making less mistakes along the way. It's so annoying when I make mistakes cause the only way to fix it is pull out everything you done since you made that mistake. So that could mean an entire section that took me a half hour to do gets pulled apart. So frustrating.
Anyway, you guys probably don't really want to read this much about crocheting... it's really grandma's thing. :) hahaha. I think it is too, it's just that I think I feel like I need to know this for some reason.

Well, that's about it for now. I still need to figure out the fastest way to upload pics off my camera to my parent's computer. The USB cord doesn't seem to be working right. Actually I think the memory card in the camera is messed up. I swear I'm gonna win this fight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Seattle and Japan

Evan and I are enjoying springtime in Seattle while Mark is in Japan on business. He's emailed me about how beautiful the cherry blossoms are in Japan, and I'm so jealous. We did go to the tulip festival here in Seattle. If you're ever in the NW in the beginning of April, I highly recommend the 40 min drive north to see the endless fields of tulips. So far, I've spent my time visiting old HS friends, and hanging out with family. Pretty relaxing. Evan's getting spoiled left and right.

Easter morning, my dad hid plastic easter eggs in the front yard for Evan to find. I took some of the eggs and drew on them with permanant marker. I turned one into a basketball, another into a baseball, and one into a fish. Evan loved those eggs, since those are his favorite things right now. My mom got Evan M&Ms for easter candy. I wasn't too sure about giving Evan chocolate, since I'm so afraid he'll be a chocoholic. I relented and put 3 M&Ms in each egg. Evan LOVED them! He was drooling orange and green all over himself! He never drools when he eats! hahaha. I started to see the candy monster come out in him, and took the rest of the candy away and gave him just the eggs. He had such a good time looking for eggs, he kept asking "more?" when there wasn't any more to find. So after church I hid the eggs again in the living room, since the usual Seattle rain started outside. And that kept him busy walking around the living room for 20mins. nice.

I'm glad to be home for a while. Having mom's home cooking is the best. Whenever I'm home, my mom and I always work on some project together. Like sewing or quilting or painting or cardmaking or putting together a family history book. This time, I'm learning to knit and crochet from my mom. My mom is an amazing bundle of self taught talents. She taught herself how to sew her own clothes when she was a teenager. No patterns, just by measuring herself and getting ideas from fashion mags she had a wardrobe of custom made clothes. She learned to knit and crochet her own sweaters too. I think there are a few that us kids had growing up that she knited for us too. They're so well done you'd think they were from the store. In fact the other day we were in Banana Republic and she saw a sweater vest that looked just like one she made in her twenties. She showed it to me and sure enough, same color, same style knit, just like the one in the store!
So, I have to try to learn as much as I can from her while I'm home. So far, my knowlege of knitting has increased. I learned what I've been doing wrong for so long, and how they do all those different patterns if knit. I'm learning to crochet. I've never done that before. It seems simple enough, but I'm not seeing the patterns in the fabric I've done so far, that its a bit frustrating. In knitting you see patterns really easy, but crochet, it's more complex looking to me. Well, I hope to at least get a piece well along the way to take home and finish by the time I leave.

Not much else to report from Seattle. I'll have to post about Mark's adventures in Japan later.

another 30 mins of your life lost
Simple flash game that will hook you. You have one click anywhere on the screen to set off a chain of bubbles that expand to set off other bubbles until you have set off whatever required you're supposed to 'pop' for that round. Like 5 out of 20. Sure it starts off easy enough... just wait till you get to level 12. You have a 4% chance of getting 55 out of 60 bubbles. I've only come close with 52 bubbles. GOOD LUCK! See you in a half hour!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sweet Potato Souffle & Evil Swedish Pancakes

Here are the recipies for two of the dishes that were big hits while our guests were here. I am renameing the pancakes to "Evil Swedish Pancakes" cause I made everyone break their fast when I made them Sunday morning. opps. The worst part was that I reminded everyone that it was Fast Sunday the night before, and then forgot it myself. Well, at least it tasted good.

Sweet Potato Souffle
3 large sweet potatoes
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter
4 eggs
1 12oz can of evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

1 c brown sugar
1/3 c flour
1/3 c melted butter
1/3 c coconut flakes
1 c chopped pecans

Bake potatoes 60-90 mins @ 350 degrees, peel skins and mash in large bowl. Or peel and cut and steam sweet potatoes and then mash in large bowl. Add sugar, butter, eggs, salt, vanilla, and evaporated milk and whip until fluffy. Pour into 9x13 baking dish. Mix together the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle evenly on top of sweet potato mixture. Bake @ 350 for 25-35 mins, until center isn't soupy.

Evil Swedish Pancakes
3 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs melted butter
1 Tbs sugar
3/4 c flour

Beat eggs and add 1 cup milk. Add salt, butter and sugar. Sift flour and stir in until smooth. Add remaining milk and cook on hot griddle. Pancakes will be thin. Serve with sliced fresh/thawed frozen strawberries, canned peaches, or preserves with whipped cream and sugar.
*I figured out that if you ladle the batter into a pan already the size of the pancakes you want, and flip them into another larger pan on the stove to cook the other side, you'll be able to have perfectly round, intact, and thin pancakes. Plus, you'll cook them twice as fast.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

BYU Reunion

I have to backtrack a week or two here. I've been a bit lazy about posting lately...

We were so excited to have our old friends and exroommates from BYU come stay and visit us with their little ones. I was a bit worried that it would get a bit crowded in our house with 8 adults and 4 little ones, three of which are under 1 yr old. But it was for only 2 nights that everyone would be here, so I figured it would be fun for a few days. And it was!

I feel so bad that I didn't take more pictures. I think I was too busy thinking about being a good host that I didn't think of grabbing the camera. oh well, I'm glad everyone else had their cameras. I've posted below the few good pics that I was able to capture.

The weekend before, Mark drove up to NY with Jerin and Wami and Taisei. Sounds like they had a good time besides the snow and cold. They stayed at a really nice modern hotel close to Central Park. Jerin has more to say about that trip on his blog. Plus, they actually took pictures of their trip, unlike me.

Jerin's work paid for their hotel stay for the time Jerin was at meetings. And that means access to a pool! So, we took one evening to meet them at their hotel to go swimming with the kids. I can't believe how much fun Evan had. I think he didn't like the pools we took him to in the past because it wasn't warm enough. Evan was having so much fun he was all smiles and kicking and splashing his heart out. I got him to learn how to blow bubbles in the water and hold his breath for a second. We're on our way to teaching him how to swim!

When the Kaneyukis and Tangs joined us, I took them all to get Vietnamese sandwiches for a picnic lunch on Capital Hill, to visit the Library of Congress, Botanical Gardens, the Air and Space Museum, and White House. Mark went into work that morning, so I had to lead our convoy of cars myself in and out of DC and find parking for everyone. It turned out ok in the end. I thought for sure we'd all have to park all over town or someone would get lost or I would get us all lost, but it worked out fine the whole day! Way to go me! I love our new GPS, too!

It was so great to see everyone at one time, with the kiddies too! Who would have thought back when we were roommates/friends at BYU that we'd all be married and each have a little boy. Must have been something in the water at Kensington. We threw a BBQ Sat night and invited a few more BYU alums in the area. That was so great to see! There was Josephine & Ben, Abby & Da & boys we knew from BYU Asian 3rd Ward, and Matt (& his poor wife Jannean (sp?) sick at home) I just met this past week through Jerin. So, that brings our total to 13 adults and 6 kids at our house! That's the most I think we've ever had over. Everything worked out great I think, and the little 1 yr old birthday party for Taisei, Jerin and Wami's son, went well too!

One lesson I learned though, Buy disposable dinnerware and flatware! Luckily, I had enough plates and flatware to go around for dinner and dessert. Whew! And beause there were SO many people there, dinner and dishes was cleaned up or in the dishwasher before I knew it! Thanks guys! I think I enjoyed having everyone over because I hardly did the dishes the entire weekend! Whoo hoo!

It was sad to see everyone leave. It was much too short of a weekend. I had a feeling that once everyone was gone, that I'd feel like house was too quiet and empty. I was right. When it was just Evan and me at home again, I felt like I needed to call people up just to talk to someone! I know some stay-at-home moms really feel that they need some adult conversation, but I never experienced it till then. Maybe it was the convenience of just turning to an old friend, already in my home, to talk about something, that was what I missed. I do see other moms during the week, but it feels like more of an effort and we don't have that same history.

Anyway, I think Evan even missed having so many people and kids around. I think he even missed having Taisei to push around, too. ;) Actually, Evan was getting better about being nice by the time Taisei left. Evan was giving away his favorite wooden puzzle pieces to little Andersen, as the the Tangs were leaving! That was so cute! Wish I got a picture of that. I think he must have learned that from seeing me give Taisei some of Evan's old favorite toys to play with during their 4 hour drive to NY. Way to go, Evan!

Here's a link to some of the picturs I did take while everyone was here!

byu reunion

Google TiSP: Better than Verizon FIOS!

We've had Verizon FIOS for almost a year now, but Google, of course, has come out with something much, much better: The Google TiSP lets you have wireless connectivity as high as 32Mbps download! It's Fiber Optic with a bit more fiber! I'd go for the Royal Flush, especially since it's FREE from Google. They never cease to amaze me. Can't wait to install this through our Brondell Swash 600 Power Toilet. I will never leave the bathroom ever again. Unless I can finally get my hands on a Wii.