Monday, July 31, 2006

misunderstandings and such

Sachie is great, she is very cheerful (her description in her letter which is very accurate). When I talk to her and ask her something, she smiles, nods and says 'okay'...but most of the time I think she is just being agreeable and she doesn't really understand.

For example, when I took her with me to the grocery store, I tried to explain slowly and with gestures to wait on the sidewalk so I could put groceries in my car (before going in the next store). She nodded, I pointed to the sidewalk and I said 'stay here'. Then she followed me to the car.

My girls are really enjoying having a 'sister'. Sachie is really great about playing with them and keeping them occupied. And she is so polite, offering to help in the kitchen, etc. I think the girls (well, all of us) will miss having her here.

She goes to English class every morning, so I drop her off and pick her up in the afternoon. Monday morning after I dropped her off, Claire was sad, she was crying and saying 'I want Sa-chee', 'I want Sa-chee'!

Santa Barbara zoo

Here are a few pictures from about a week ago. Thanks to Heather for the zoo recommendation!

Ok, I lied, there's only one. Well, I was trying to upload a couple more, but I'm having trouble with blogger. I got one pic uploaded, but I can't do anymore, I'm sure some of you have had similar problems?!

I'll post more pics later....if Blogger lets me...

Searching for a Church

So, I've been trying to find the right church for our family. We are most comfortable with a Methodist church, but as you may recall, I didn't care too much for the one I went to here. There are a lot of Bible type churches here as a I call them, which doesn't suit us either. We enjoy going to a traditional type church with ministries for families and kids.

Yesterday, I took Olivia and we tried out the local Lutheran church. I have never been to a Lutheran church. I have to say I enjoyed it, it seemed to have alot more energy, the Pastor was fairly young and energetic. Of course, since it's summer, it really is hard to get a good idea of what a church is like. Usually, the choir is on hiatus and many times, there's a guest Pastor as there was yesterday. This is a bigger church and it seems to offer ministries for children and women which is important to me. I'll have to give it another shot. Anyone out there have experiences with the Lutheran church? The only downside is that it didn't seem very diverse (not that Bako is diverse anyway).

This weekend

So, Saturday, we made Sachie a real American breakfast with pancakes, bacon and sausage. Then we took her shopping with us. We went to our favorite store, Target, then to Linens N things. We then picked up Wendy's fast food since it was getting late. She had a hamburger, fries and coke. Later in the day, I took her to the grocery store with me. At one point she grabbed a plastic produce bag, I couldn't figure out why. Well, when we got home, she said she had a stomach ache, I asked her if wanted water and suggested she lay down.

I checked on her a bit later, she was sleeping, clutching the produce bag. I think all the traveling, jet lag and American food got to her. My husband went to get her some Miso soup(Japanes soup with tofu). She really appreciated it. The next day, Sunday she was all better. After we made pizzas for lunch, I took her and Olivia to see the movie 'Cars' at the cinema. I'm not sure she understood much of it, but it was fun to go...except the whole time Olivia kept saying she wanted to go 'bye bye' and she wanted to go home. I think she got scared during parts of it, there were some scary looking cars in the movie.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Claire was tagged!

by her friend Emma

3 Things that scare me: New people, people's pet dogs although I think they are funny- just don't get them too close to me, going through the checkout in the shopping cart all by myself

3 People that make me laugh: Sissy (Olivia), my daddy when he swings me upside down, and my mommy when she tickles me

3 Things that I love: Gerty, Sophie-my new pink puppy, food

3 Things that I hate: when mommy says 'no', when daddy goes away on trips, when daddy says 'no'

3 Things that I don't understand: I don't understand why we can't eat ALL day, also why can't I always have my way? and why does sissy take things from me...

3 Things on my floor: lots of books, really that's it, just lots of books

3 Things I am doing right now: watching House of Mouse on t.v. with sissy and my new friend, Sachie.

3 Things I can do: I talk alot, I can brush my teeth, I can put on clothes although they are sometimes on kind of funny

3 Things I can't do: put on my shoes, tie a bow, climb out of my crib...although I'm working on that one....

3 Ways to describe my personality: happy, shy, mischeivous (but don't tell my mommy)

3 Things I think you should listen to: Cinderella music, Baby Beluga, Baa Baa Black of my favorites.

3 Things that I think you should never listen to: The word 'no', I don't know what else...

3 Absolute favorite foods: pizza, cereal, rice

3 Things I liked to learn: New words, I like to try what my sissy is doing, new foods especially cookies

3 Beverages I drink regularly: milk, water, and sometimes juice but not very much

3 Shows I watch: whatever sissy is watching or Dora, Sesame Street, Dragon Tales

3 kids I tag:Noah, Neil,Jessica

Sachie arrived last night

She is the Japanese exchange student that will be staying with us for 2 weeks. She is very cute, she seemed in awe of our refrigerator that dispenses ice and water. We showed her where she would be staying, the bathroom, how to use the shower, the kitchen, where to get a glass for water, etc. She has been learning English for 3 years, but we don't speak any Japanese...well, except for a few this will be harder this time (as opposed to when we had a French student).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gerty, Blankie and Cow

These are the girls' lovies.

They have slept with their lovies almost since they were born, they are really attached. I have always been so good about making sure we have 2 of each...just in case the unthinkable happens. Gerty is the mangy yellow giraffe looking blanket lovey which belongs to Claire. The blankie and "well-loved" cow (named Hortense) belong to Olivia.

Of course, this weekend, the unthinkable happened, but there was nothing we could do. About a week before, we planned for a short trip to the coast to Santa Barbara to go to the zoo, the beach and do some shopping. We planned to stay 1 night in a hotel. The next morning I had an appointment with a Lasik surgeon for a consultation.

So, Sunday morning, I'm running around throwing things into our bag...clothes, diapers, bathing suits, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc. I felt so rushed. So then we hit the road about 8:30 in the morning. About a 30 minutes from home, I said "Sh*t, we left their lovies"...and my heart dropped. How were we going to get them to go to bed??? Well, we just hoped everything would be okay and maybe we can buy them a special buddy at the zoo or something.

They had a grand time at the zoo and they even got special gifts. They had this place at the Santa Barbara Zoo where you could pick out an animal and have it stuffed, they are Animaland stuffed animals. Olivia picked out a tan and white kitty and Claire picked out the girliest, pinkest, poodle puppy. They really took to their newfound 'friends'. After the zoo, we headed to the beach while trying to keep Claire awake. I figured if we wore them out, they will crash and not mind they don't have their lovies. They had a fabulous time at the zoo building sand castles and playing near the water.

After a while there, we headed to the hotel, then dinner. After dinner, my hubby took Olivia for a swim while I tried to get Claire to go to sleep. I read to her, then sang to her as normal, then I gave her her new puppy and put her to bed. I went into the bedroom (there were 2 rooms in the hotel) and rested while I waited for her to go to sleep. Although I did hear "where's Gerty?" and "I want Gerty" a few times, silence came quicker than I thought. About 30 minutes later, Olivia came back with her dad and we found that Claire had thrown her new puppy out of the crib!

Next, it was Olivia's turn to go to bed. So after I got her ready for bed and tucked her in, she asked "Where's blankie? Where's cow?" So I gave her kitty and told her "I'm sorry, blankie and cow are still at home, but kitty will keep you company, is that okay?" She just looked at me with her big brown eyes. She didn't look that convinced. So I said "We got you kitty so she could help you sleep". I guess it was okay because she went to sleep and we didn't hear a peep until morning.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This town does not agree with me

This is the 3rd time I have been sick since we moved here 2 months ago...ugh. Anyway, I have lots to blog about, just haven't had the energy.

Yes, Walt, we did agree to host an exchange student from Japan...we are officially crazy!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Are we crazy, or what??!

Okay, so as some of you know we hosted an exchange student for 2 weeks in the was a fantastic experience. When we moved here, I saw an ad in the local 'family' magazine looking for host families for students from Japan.

I thought it would be neat, but thought it would not be possible with our move. As fate would have it, I happened to get in contact with one of the coordinators through Freecycle. They still need at least 2 families. I would feel so bad if these students don't get to come. They would be here from July 28th through August 11th...are we crazy to think about doing this?? Or maybe it would force us to get everything put away.

The students will be busy during the weekday, and home with us in the evenings and on the weekends. What do you think? Should we do it?

Random thoughts today

I got my first whiff of it today, the dreaded cattle smell. There's a storm blowing in from the desert I think and it brought lots of wind....and with that, the fragrant agricultural smell of the cattle from nearby ranches.

I was shopping at Costco, today, I just love it! I love going there (especially without kids) and browsing the aisles. I just have to say that it shows the ultimate in laziness...I mean, American convenience...when I see the 'Uncrustables' in the freezer section. They are frozen PB&J sandwiches without the crust, they look like little pies with crimped edges. I mean, how long does it take to slap on some peanut butter and jelly onto 2 slices of doesn't even take long to cut the crusts off if you want.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Finished project

Well, almost...I just have to seal it. This will go in the 'playroom' to store crap...I mean toys. I have one more to do.

What's for dinner....

So you remember we have those wonderful next door neighbors who brought us fresh from a garden tomatoes (and brownies of course)? Well, I got some ideas from my fellow BIO (born in october) moms and this is what I had for dinner. A yummy BLT. I also made some chunky salsa with tomatoes, avocados, black beans, corn, cilantro, lime juice and seasoning.


(If you are wondering what everyone else had for dinner---beef stroganoff...I don't eat beef)

Who am I kidding??

Free hand painting? Pfffttt... What was I thinking, of course, I can't free hand paint, I have almost no artistic ability...

Painting project

This is the first of many painting projects. We needed storage in the 'playroom' so I'm painting my husband's bachelor pad bedside tables. Not sure it will be enough storage, but I thought it would be cheaper and more fun this way. Hopefully they turn out okay, I saw a picture of a colorful table which was painted with roses (on table) and polka dots (on drawers). If my free hand painting doesn't work out, I'll probably just stencil some flowers on.

Kilz primer:

Painted (without decorative flowers/polka dots):

Look Ma', No fighting!

They were dancing this morning before I had to take Olivia to preschool.
(oh, yeah, excuse the mess, please, you know we just moved in!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

104 to 112

That's what the temperature is supposed to be this weekend...Oh My God... Guess everyone was right when they said it would be HOT here in Bako (affectionate name for Bakersfield). I don't think we will be going to the park. Actually, we are planning to go to the coast Sunday, hopefully, it will be nicer there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Welcome Wagon

This is a first for us. Our new neighbors are so great! One of our next door neighbors invited the girls to a birthday party for their son who just turned 5. We weren't able to make it unfortunately, but they got goody bags for the girls anyway. So we brought him a little something. Kind of hard when you don't know the child, but nonetheless, we brought a gift of a boy themed sticker/activity book, crayons and bubbles. His mom gave me a tour of the house, I'm so jealous because it's so put together! They moved in 3 months ago. I like her taste, too, she seems to have travelled alot. They were just very welcoming to us.

Tonight, our doorbell rang and it was our other next door neighbor bringing us brownies and fresh from-a-garden tomatoes!! I met them before, the wife is a kindergarten teacher in our school district, they are empty-nesters. We have moved 4 times in the last 7 years and this is the first time anyone has brought us homemade goodies with a note welcoming us to the neighborhood. I'm flabbergasted! Well, in all fairness, in one move, we were the first on a street in a brand new neighborhood so I was the one bringing cookies to our neighbors.

Benefits of a smaller town, I guess!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Olivia's 4th birthday

We got to celebrate her birthday at Disneyland this year, we went on July 1st which happened to be her actual birthday (we actually already had a party for her). She got to wear a Happy Birthday sticker so all day, people kept telling her 'happy birthday'. I took her to City Hall where she got on the phone with Goofy who sang 'Happy Birthday' to her.

We also signed up for a special cake decorating event which was hosted by this goofy chef guy, then Mickey and Minnie showed up at the end in their finest clothes to help celebrate with everyone. It was just me and Olivia and other people that were celebrating birthdays. It was $10 a person so that's why it was just me and Olivia. I think she liked it, but she wondered why all the other people were there celebrating her birthday. I later found out she had an ear infection, too, so her ear hurt, but she was trying to have fun.

Me and baby who is growing up so fast:

The goofy host:

With Mickey and Minnie:

Arrgh...aye aye Captain

Captain Hook...Claire was too scared of him!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's HOT

So we went up to the Bay area for the weekend where it was a cool 95 degrees in the East Bay. Hey, it was better than 106!

The girls were invited to a birthday party so we got to see some old friends. We went to our old church where we saw more friends and we picked up some things we left at their uncle's place. It was refreshing to see old friends.

Next weekend we are planning to go to the coast to Santa Barbara and to Camarillo where I hear there is excellend outlet shopping. And I also made an appointment for a consultation with a Lasik surgeon...we shall see what happens!

Gingey is running away

Gingey decided to go check out more of California, he is going to visit a friend in Redlands, CA. We hope he'll be able to tell you more about Redlands because we don't know much about it! He said he misses you and will see you soon!
Your friends,
Olivia and Claire

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Continued adventures of Gingey

So when we went back to Bakersfield, we went to an Oil museum nearby and here is a picture of me in front of a pump jack, it pumps oil from the ground. Did you know that oil helps run things, like cars, ovens, gas fireplaces?! Apparently, Kern county, where Bakersfield is, is one of the largest oil producing counties in the country.

The next weekend, we drove to Los Angeles. Jacob…. that is the BIGGEST city I ever saw! There were so many freeways and we had to sit in traffic for what seemed like HOURS! But it was worth it, because the next day, on July 1st, we went to Disneyland. It was awesome! I saw Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, I got to ride on lots of neat rides, my favorite was the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride and I saw a couple of parades. I only have a couple of pictures, we were so busy. The next day, we got to go to California Adventure. It was fun, too, and it wasn’t as crowded.

Oh, I forgot, when we got to Los Angeles, we went to Little Tokyo. It’s a part of the city that has lots of Japanese people, shops, and businesses. We were going to go to the Japanese-American museum, but it was just closing as we got there. We did get to look in some neat shops. There’s a picture of me in Little Tokyo with my friends, Olivia and Claire.

We only spent a couple of days in L.A., then we went back to Bakersfield, my friends have lots of boxes in their house to unpack. On the 4th of July, we were surprised to see fireworks from their front yard….that was fun to watch.

Your friend,

Adventures of Gingey

Dear Jacob,
I miss you, but I’m having a great time in California. Whew, it sure is hot here though, much warmer than Michigan. My new friends, Olivia, Claire, and their mom and dad have been really great to me. They have been showing me lots of new things.

We spent some time in hotels trying to stay out of the heat, it got up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit at one point, I thought my icing was going to melt! One weekend, we drove up to Sacramento. Did you know that Sacramento is the capitol of California? We went by the capitol building. I was hoping to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger; he is the governor of California. The people at the capitol building told us he really doesn’t work much in the capitol building, he usually works from his office in Los Angeles. Oh well! Here are a couple of pictures of me at the capitol building.

While in Sacramento, I had a great time with my new friends, we ate a lot! We also went to a Buddhist church for some kind of memorial service for my friends’ great-grandparents. It was sure different, Jacob! The people took turns going up to the altar and lighting incense while the Buddhist priest chanted. It was different, but calming at the same time. I really enjoyed seeing another religion and Olivia and Claire’s family is really nice…they have lots of family! Olivia and Claire aren’t Buddhist, but their great-grandparents were Buddhist, I think it was because they were Japanese. A lot of Japanese people are Buddhist.

After that, we drove back down to Bakersfield where Olivia and Claire just moved. It is so hot there! It looks like the desert.

More to follow...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sharing a secret

Doesn't it look like Eeyore is whispering to Claire?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Movin' out

Here are some pictures of our old house all packed up. Check out the moustache on our driver...he is in one of the pictures in the back of the truck near a bicycle (click on the picture to enlarge it).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Internet withdrawal

Whew, I'm finally back online. We are still living amid boxes, but I got our computer setup now so I am back online. Now I'm looking for the cord to go with my camera so I can upload all my pictures for the last month.

I don't know how I could live without the internet now, I use it all the time to look up phone numbers, information, recipes, keeping up with friends.

Right now, I'm getting information on Lasik. I really, really want to get this done in August when my in-laws come back through town. Any of you have this done? What was your experience? How did you find a good surgeon?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July to all fellow Americans!

We got to see some wonderful fireworks from our front yard tonight. It was so unexpected. Maybe our neighborhood puts on fireworks every year? It was really nice to sit on the lawn and watch them and it was FREE!