Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Surprise Stopover

Veda and Adele got an unexpected visit from their new friends Wyatt and Ryder on Sunday night. Veda was having so much fun that I thought we would never get her to sleep. Adele wasn't missing out on the action either. Our family friends Jill and Doug took the family on a cruise out of San Diego and stopped over for the night on the way back to Idaho. Fun was had by all. When we woke up in the morning Veda asked me if the Mommy and Daddy upstairs were awake yet. Funny.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Birthday Season Training

The season for birthday parties is upon us. We had a warm up this weekend with baby Angelina's 1st birthday party. It was also Adele's 1st official invite and she had so much fun she didn't even notice that she was wearing the hat. As soon as the excitement died down she figured it out and the hat came off.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Watching Bball with Dad

Retail Therapy

trying on hats at Baby Gap
is this a learned behavior?
taking a little break at Gymboree
Instead of buying a dog, we've decided we will just go to the Oaks Mall periodically to see the puppies.  Of course, this is further fueling our daughters propensity for shopping...on the positive side, we don't have to take care of a dog?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And They're Off!

And there off....
Slight confusion we have a race going on?
You don't have to outrun your just have to demoralize him....
You might have seen Todd's Facebook post... We have had an absurd amount of rain this past week. As I've mentioned before, when it rains the sidewalks are covered in snail land mines. Todd thought he was so clever when he gathered his little friends for a race. Don't worry - I put them back in the grass where they were safe from the hooves of passersby.

(thanks to Todd for the added commentary above...)

Hiding Place

We've posted before about Veda's space behind the couch. It's now Adele's favorite play area. She just goes back there and sits and will even pick up a book and start flipping the pages. Such a big girl.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Scholastic Book Club

I remember vividly my elementary school's book fairs. I also remember ordering from the Scholastic Book Catalog. Well I can't tell you how excited I was when I found the flyer in Veda's folder at school today. For every order our school gets online, Good Shepherd gets a free book for the preschool. and class activiation code: HNJR3 for any of you Grandparents out there that want to get Veda an early birthday gift;)

This book title makes me laugh... they all do... oh how do I choose?!

Dispatches on the Tohoku Earthquake Part I: Rolling Blackouts

Ryan contributes monthly to the intellectual blog Here is his latest post from Japan.

Dispatches on the Tohoku Earthquake Part I: Rolling Blackouts

by Ryan Sayre
It's been a hectic week. My adopted country has suffered an earthquake, a tsunami, a nuclear disater, and is now knee deep in an energy crisis. This is to say nothing of the fact that my half-finished dissertation, an ethnographic account of none other than earthquake disaster preparedness in Japan, in the space of five minutes last week, become an artifact. In order to be in the midst of things I returned to Tokyo five days after the quake; not necessarily to gain perspective like a journalist might do, but to lose it, to get swept away in the particularities of life in this time of crisis.


After five hours in a line that was slowly inching forward, it started to become clear to Mr. Oe that there had never been any bus. The line, he realized, had been moving forward not as a result of passengers boarding and deboarding, but because, one after the next, those at the front gradually began giving up, peeling off, and walking home. No one, it seems, thought to communicate back down the line what was going on. When I asked Mr. Oe if he himself talked to anybody on his long walk home, he laughed nervously and then conceded, "We all moved through the streets silently like a band of ants."

The area where I’m staying in Kanagawa is designated as Group 2 on the rolling blackout map. This means that we'll be off the grid from 9:20am − 1:20pm today. Blackouts will continue in this manner across eastern and northern Japan, we’re being told, until the end of April. After the television clicked off ten minutes ago, my friend begins to fill the silence by reading aloud the Kanagawa Prefecture news reports on her iPhone. An eighteen year old on a motor scooter, she reads, was killed at an intersection during the blackout last night. The police had apparently not put an officer on duty when the traffic lights went black. As she reads, I am busy scooping hot water out of a electric kettle with a measuring cup. I remember when I was a child and the power would go off. I was continually struck by how few things needed electricity to function: the gas, the water, the telephone. In this apartment building here in Japan, electric pump systems ensure that I can neither get a glass of water from the faucet nor flush the toilet. I can neither use the wireless telephone nor the electric stove. Here in Group 2, even a hot water kettle, equipped as it is with an electric pouring mechanism, is of limited use. Only now, as I am writing this, not even 24 hours after my arrival, does it strike me that I am not thinking about the earthquake victims, or the nuclear threat, but instead am already caught up in the thick everydayness of little things.

The crisis in this local neighborhood south of Tokyo is not a nuclear crisis, but an energy crisis. With eastern Japan operating at a 20% energy deficit owing to the loss of power from the Fukushima plant, these blackouts seem oddly enough to be experienced less an object lesson in the dangers of nuclear power and more as a ghost-of-christmas-future image of life as it would be without nuclear power in Japan.

Two days have now passed since my arrival here and it is slowly dawning on me that what I thought was a heightened awareness to sounds due to my exhaustion - a lone cough splits the silence in the train car - was more a matter of my having forgotten the workings of noiselessness in Japan. The silence is not ceremoniously kept for Japan’s suffering, yet there's something that also feels somewhat willful in this silence over these last few days.

The sea of "sold out” signs in front of gas stations and supermarkets across eastern Japan do not reflect shortages, but what is being called, 'irregular demand'. Disaster experts, convenient store employees, and friends contend that these buying practises are driven not by irrational fears of an uncertain future, but by the a-rational mechanisms of fashion. The problem is, they say, that people are buying in excess for no other reason than that they see their neighbors doing so. Buying of this nature is then understood not as panic, but as policy, a cultural response grounded in greed's opposite - the calibration of one's own actions to the actions of those around one. It's hard to take these cultural explanations at face value, but one has to admit that if this panic fueled by fashion rather than fear is indeed to be called panic, then it's one of its more polite and quiet manifestations. I had expected to see no pandemonium in Tokyo, but as regards the troubles in Fukushima, I've been witnessing what feels like Japan's own version of mayhem--a collective quiet. Not a calm per se, but a quiet; a quiet I don't know how to make sense of yet; a quiet perhaps quietly at work in the story of another on of my disaster preparedness volunteer colleagues. Hours after the ground had stopped shaking, as he walked home on the train tracks, he told me, he came across a number of cars stopped at railroad crossing gates with drivers and passangers inside, patiently waiting for the gates to open up

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day

You can't tell but Veda was really amped about the green eggs I made her for breakfast. I remember my Dad making these for us on St. Patty's day when we were little. I also packed her lunch box with everything green. Apparently she didn't "get" the green ranch dressing I packed with her carrots. It's usually her favorite snack but the food coloring must have scared her off because she didn't touch it. 

Toyko Bound

Yale paid for my brother to fly to Japan yesterday. To do just what, I'm not completely sure at this point. I will post our communications with him so you can follow his adventure:

I'm in a bus with internet right now, heading for Kanagawa to the Nakamura's place. I'll be 300 miles away from the nuclear mess. I have a meeting in Kanagawa tomorrow with my old disaster preparedness group. My boss sent me an email saying he met with the head of seismology at the japan meteorological agency (i.e., the equivalent of the head of seismologyO at USGS and he said he mentioned me and also suggested that I could go to any international meetings if there are any.) 

OK, more later, but just wanted to let you know that I'll be eating tempura in kanagawa with mama-san and papa-san, far from the nuclear mess, tonight, so rest assured knowing that.
More later!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Dell

Our sweet baby is 1 today (March 16th). We had a party for her last Thursday while Nanny and Bull were in town. My Cousin BJ, his wife Melissa, and kids Connor and Savannah joined us for the festivities. The birthday bear on Dell's cupcake has been passed down from my first birthday, to my brother's, to Veda's and now to Dell's.

She had her one year Dr's appointment last week and measured at 35% weight (19.15 lbs) 40% height (28.5 inches) and 70% head. She is such a spaz. In fact, her nicknames are Monster, Baby Dell, Spaz, Pig Pen (Uncle Kiss), and Little Buddy. She is all over the place and loves to climb on EVERYTHING! She can say duck, mama, dada, bye and hi. She loves avocado, tofu, lasagna, cheese, and graham crackers. Her big sister loves to pretend play with her even though she has no idea what she's saying. Anything that Veda is into Adele likes too. It doesn't take long for Veda to tire of Adele's efforts to join the fun but the Monster doesn't give up;)

We love you Adele!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Miss you already!!

Nanny and Bull head back to Iowa tomorrow morning. Veda will be devastated. Even Adele will know something just isn't quite right. Thank You for ALL your help with the girls and housekeeping. Knowing that you were there with my babies made it easy to leave for Ohio;)

Oh Nanny That's So Funny

Baby Dell and Nanny having a moment...

Puzzles with Nanny and Bull

Veda kept Nanny and Bull busy during their visit. Once she realized she had new playmates who were up for just about anything... she kept the fun coming.

Princess Day at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Along with hundreds of other little girls dressed in their princess dresses... we braved the zoo. We didn't know what we were in for but the kids sure had fun.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Todd came to bed late Thursday night and woke me to tell me what had just happened in Japan. I laid awake a long time thinking about all those families that had just lost loved ones or had been separated. It was the afternoon in Japan so I wonder how many parents were at work while their kids were at school? I wonder how many were never reunited. I wonder about this picture. This looks like the child's grandmother -where is her mother?

We don't live far from the coast. In fact, we live close enough that had we lived in Japan where the tsunami hit it would have reached us. I have my mental plan of where I will go with the kids if we should ever have a strong earthquake. We will make a run for the nearby santa monica mountains. I have to tell you that it makes me just sick to think about being out of town for work if there should be a disaster like this.

Some of you might know that my brother Ryan studies disaster preparedness in Japan - specifically earthquakes. He is getting his PhD at Yale. During his most recent residency in Japan he worked for the earthquake institute. He was able to get in touch with his former colleagues yesterday and get a status update. He has been contacted by a relief organization that is trying to get supplies to Japan. They are trying to understand the chain of command in the country and have sought Ryan's expertise. He really should be one of the guest speakers on the major networks because he has some really interesting information about what the Japanese do to prepare for this. He may be headed for Japan in the next week.... stay tuned.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Toy

Thanks Savannah - your cousins love their new toy!!!

The Rents are in Town

Mom and Dad arrived Tuesday for a week long visit and to help with the girls. Todd and I have overlapping work travel so Nanny and Bull are covering the gap. Veda and Nanny got to make cookies with Veda's new piggy spatula. The girls are having too much fun. Curiously enough Veda has not had one tantrum since they arrived????

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"How I Do For You Baby Dell?"

This is what I overheard Veda say to Adele while they were playing Gorcery Store. Veda unloaded the cabinets on the bench and was telling Adele that she was expected to pay her money for the goods.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Top Chef

While Todd was preparing dinner tonight Veda decided that she wanted to make dinner herself. She asked me for her pan with the piggy handle and then asked me where she could find the knuckles. Huh? The What? She looks at me blank faced and says I need knuckles for my knuckle sandwich. I look over at Todd who is sporting a guilty grin.

Seasoning Steaks

Veda was "helping" me cook steaks tonight for dinner.  She insisted on helping me "shake more stuff" on the steaks.  I walked away to get something out of the fridge and Veda says "mmm, I tasted the yummy salt"....from the raw steaks...Kathy was not impressed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun at the Soffins

Today we went to see our good friends Jonathan & Christina to see their new bundle of joy, Graciela (who's just 4 weeks old).  Veda got to play with the twins, Jacob & Alex.  Veda's still got a few inches on them, but they're gaining quickly.