The Butterfly Circus

Even though I'm not feeling well and am pretty tired and want to go to bed right this instant, I had to pass along The Butterfly Circus to you before I hit the hay. Don't let the beginning throw you off--you'll be asking for a box of tissues by the end.

Beauty for ashes. The oil of joy for mourning.

Sun and Fun

A rare sunny day a couple of weeks ago had to be taken advantage of, so Mimi celebrated by bringing home a sled for the beans. (I was photographer-in-chief so I graciously stepped aside and let her pull them.)

Fushigi Yogurt

We are constantly bombarded on a daily basis with fushigi American customs! Did you know yogurt now comes in a tube? Whodathunkit?


Kanpai! (cheers!) is the only Japanese word Joel knows, but he uses it all the time - well, both boys do, actually, and they especially enjoy kanpai-ing each other. Sometimes Joel will pick up two cups just to clank them together and kanpai himself!

Souper Sentence

When I told Joel tonight that we were having cottage pie for dinner, he looked up at me and said very clearly, "I want soup." (He always wants soup, but what's amazing was that this was his first full sentence, complete with a personal pronoun, verb, and subject.)

And then he proceeded to eat three bowls of cottage pie, drink a glass of orange juice, and have a green smoothie for dessert.

Guess the soup wasn't necessary after all.

This Just In

While getting the little beans ready for bed tonight, Matthew commented, "It's not bedtime. It's chocolate time!"

My sentiments exactly.

Which is why now that they're in bed, I'm headed for our secret stash - my fave lately is dark chocolate with pomegranate.

Quotable Bean Quotes

After seeing Stephen make goofy faces at the boys, I said, "Isn't Daddy funny?" Matthew replied, "Yeah, I like funny!"


Joel, on watching me slice some cheddar in the kitchen this morning, said, "Mama, cut cheese!"


Watching Stephen and me hugging this morning, Matthew shouted, "Awwwww, Daddy, good hugging!"


Some of Joel's favorite vehicles (that he can pronounce well enough for us to understand): firetrucks, dump trucks, taxis, cars, BIG trucks (what Americans call semi-trucks), scooters, boats, police cars, buses, trains, airplanes, and helicopters. Oh, and GTRs.


Matthew, on touching the CD player speaker as Mozart was playing, said, "There's a song inside it!"


The other day at the farmers' market, Matthew tried a sample piece of locally smoked salmon, loved it, and when Stephen asked him what he thought it tasted like, Matthew said, "Tastes like yellow."

24 Commemorative Fushigi Random Tidbits

Netbook in lap, 24 Season 8 series opener on the tube (woo-hoo!), and thought I'd get a few things off my chest:

1. Pretty sure I broke my left baby toe last week when it collided unexpectedly with the coffee table. Just as Matthew always asked to see Stephen's "purple toe" last year when he hurt it, now Joel asks repeatedly every day to see my taped-up "purple toe": "Mama, see purple toe!" Glad I can be so entertaining.

2. Wondering how many characters from seasons past will pop up in this one. Nina Meyers? (Ha ha.) Michelle? (Another ha.) Tony Almeida?

3. Oh, just saw Chloe O'Brien! Knew she'd make it back! Yea!

4. Love the new CTU office. Very swish.

5. Matthew and Joel are digging the new Jesus Storybook Bible we got them for Christmas. M calls it the "Jesus Book" and Joel calls it "the Bible." I love the Lord's Prayer from it: "Hello Daddy! We want to know you. And be close to you. Please show us how. Make everything in the world right again. And in our hearts, too. Do what is best--just like you do in heaven, and please do it down here, too. Please give us everything we need today. Forgive us for doing wrong, for hurting you. Forgive us just as we forgive other people when they hurt us. Rescue us! We need you. We don't want to keep running away and hiding from you. Keep us safe from our enemies. You're strong, God. You can do whatever you want. You are in charge. Now and forever and for always! We think you're great! Amen! Yes we do!" (The illustrations in the book are awesome, too, and by the artist Jago. I highly recommend it!)

6. I just love how I can multi-task. Go, mama, go. Watch 24. Write 24. Nice symmetry, ne.

7. Bought a pumpkin pie for kicks today on a grocery expedition but am not even craving any after my lovely green smoothie I made up tonight consisting of clementines, applesauce, bananas, spinach, celery, cukes, carrots, broccoli, purple cabbage, key lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, honey, flaxseed meal, and wheat germ. YUM. (Making up green smoothie combos is my new calling in life.)

8. Matthew was feeling a bit better this morning (no fever and no puking) and really wanted to get out of the house, so I took him grocery shopping with me. He was such a good little guy, helping me get things on my list and reading me letters from the different packages. He loves to sing as well and woke up with some songs this morning, so we knew he was feeling a lot better--he's so good at making up songs from life around him.

9. Joel's favorite songs are "Oak" (O Come, All Ye Faithful) and "Happy Birthday". He's a good little singer as well!

10. The assassin ALWAYS has someone on the inside; come on, Jack, we know it's President Hassan's beautiful, aloof wife.

11. How much product placement can you put in one show?

12. Still got the Christmas tree up--you need a little leftover holiday cheer to get ya thru these wintry gray days.

13. Wonder how many things I've got on my to-do list and here I sit blogging randomness.

14. I miss long walks--too much snow and ice outside and one too many broken toes.

15. My mom is a genius--she said that 25 years ago when she was taking a computer class, she thought of making a program where you could type in ingredients you have in your kitchen and then recipes would pop up using those ingredients. I wish she'd have told someone--she'd be really rich now! I know there's a website in Japanese (Cookpad) that does the same thing and probably some in English as well.

16. Getting tired; not sure this will make 24.

17. M and J love our 3-year-old neighbor named Maggie and they always ask to go to her house to play.

18. Matthew still asks every day if we can get on a plane and go to Japan.

19. Part 2 of 24 comes on tomorrow at 7 pm Central Time--the beans normally go to bed at 8:00. We can't put them to bed a whole hour early, can we? :)

20. Looking at my husband and feeling so blessed to have such a lovely, handsome dude hitched to moi.

21. Watching all these fast-food commercials and trying to decide what my actual favorite food is--realizing it's nothing that I've seen on the tube so far tonight. Bleck.

22. Only have 9 minutes left in the show to write 2 more tidbits. Can I do it? Can I do it?

23. Oh, man, couldn't think of anything good left to write so now we're into local news.

24. Maybe I do need a piece of that pumpkin pie after all, green smoothie or not. Bloggin' makes me HONGRY.

3 Months, Birthdays, and Crappy Croup

As of today we've been in the US of A for three months! Can you believe it? We can't, and are still experiencing waves of reverse culture shock - guess it'll take some time. So glad we can hang out with my parents during this time as we adjust to a "new" country.

Happy birthday today to our UK Mum and and to the beans' cousin, Elise! Many blessings to you two.

Making some lovely new friends in my parent's neighborhood, attending a very international playgroup every Wednesday and hanging out with some of the mommies and kiddos outside of it as well, had a fun day on Thursday as little Kazu from my parents' church came to play here while his parents packed to move to Minnesota, and we're enjoying watching M and J interact more and more with each other and their friends. (I love it when Matthew "reads" to his little bro!)

Had an unexpected trip to the ER yesterday for Joel as his breathing was labored and he had stridor when my dad listened to him. He had a nasty cough that was helped when they gave him a steroid to reduce inflammation and he's doing a wee bit better today (a diagnosis of croup), though now Matthew has a fever and did a massive puke tonight, poor bean. Stephen and I are a little pooped ourselves!

Actually, a little too pooped to do any more blogging, so signing off here. And going to Febreze the rug...

Good Flicks

  • Gran Torino - A Vietnam War vet has lost his wife and is feeling at odds with the world, and especially with his Hmong immigrant next-door neighbors who bug the heck out of him. A series of events pull them together - and the ending, whoa, the ending. Amazing stuff. Amazing grace. (If you're concerned about bad language and violence, this film is probably not for you. I can hardly ever handle watching any violence but this movie was worth it. I have to admit the language doesn't bother me - bad me.)
  • The Visitor - A beautiful surprise that I picked up at Blockbuster when I had a free DVD to rent - I hadn't read any reviews but the two Blockbuster dudes said they had heard nothing but good about it, and they heard right. Wow. A professor in Connecticut has sunk into depression, heads to a required conference in NY City to present a paper that he doesn't care a hoot about, goes to his city apartment that he hasn't visited for years, and to his astonishment, finds an immigrant couple living there. It's just such a lovely story of how the prof comes to life again through friendship, music, and a new cause. Won't say any more because I don't want to give too much away.
  • Once - If you like music, any kind of music, you gotta see it. Funky Irish-Czech love story told with songs and a twist. (Spielberg has said this film is what got him through 2006 - it's that good.)
  • Invictus - Saw this on a rare date with my honey; went to the superb Sundance cinema in Madison, which is a great place to relax and watch a movie as beautiful and inspiring as Invictus. I don't know much about rugby and have never been a fan, but this is a cool story of how the sport unites a prejudice- and hurt-torn country. (I just love Nelson Mandela!)

Yet Another M Quote

Matthew: Mama, Dorothy the Dinosaur is Japanese.
Abigail: How do you know she's Japanese?
Matthew: Because she's 1 1/2 like Joel.

M Quote

Matthew: Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy...
Daddy: Just say "Daddy" once and then tell me what you want to say.
Matthew: Matthew say, "Daddy, daddy, daddy!"

M-Bean the Budding Photographer

One of Matthew's favorite Christmas presies was a vtech Kidizoom camera, and out of the 200+ photos I just downloaded from it, these are a few of my faves.

J-Bean - 20 Months!

What an eventful month!

Joel played in the snow (just a wee bit of snow)...

Learned how to drive...

[At the Madison Children's Museum] When Stephen mentioned where milk comes from, Joel felt he needed a cup from the play kitchen in the next room over, went and got it, brought it back, and stuck it where he thought a creamy drink might spurt out for him [Scouts' honor - he came up with this completely on his own - smart kid!]...

Some recent memorable J-Bean quotes:

  • [Looking out the front window] "Squirrel run up the tree!"
  • [When Stephen sneezes] "Bless you, Daddy!"
  • [Riding in the car tonight as we went to look at the last remaining Christmas lights] "Moon, are you? There it is!"

M-Bean Quotes

  • While at the Mickey D's playplace the other day, running around with a boy his own age named Ethan (not cousin, just a random friend he made while there) - they were both looking at a "WARNING" sign about not climbing on the outside of the playplace frame. As they examined the "A" in "WARNING", the boy named Ethan said it was a "4" and Matthew corrected him, saying, "It's not the number 4! It's "A" for "Mama"! [Matthew knows "Abigail" starts with "A", so "Mama" always starts with "A" as well.]
  • Matthew: "This is America!" [He still looks around wherever we go and says this, as if America is still a very fushigi (mysterious and strange) place.] Stephen: "Do you like America?" Matthew: "I like Japan, too!"
  • Matthew's prayer last night before bed: "Thank you Jesus for Mama, Daddy, Joel, Matthew. Thank you for sun coming up. Thank you Jesus for Pop at work, Mimi at home, Mimi at restaurant." [We went to The Roman Candle for lunchies yesterday, ringing in the new year with pizza, parents, and our friends Ben and Kimberly and their kiddos.]
  • Matthew's prayer before bed tonight: "Thank you Jesus for Mama, Daddy, Joel, Matthew, Pop asleep, sleeping upstairs, and all kinds of stuffs." ["All kinds of stuffs" is Matthew's phrase for "et cetera".]
  • "The grass is hiding!" [Referring to all the snow.]
  • "How far is Japan?"

Keva Gym Open Play Day

Wish we had discovered Keva sooner (only about a mile from my parents' house)! The beans loved running around all morning and for $13 for the two of them (parents free), I didn't think it was such a bad deal for 3 hours of intense play. They're taking really good naps right now so you know it's worth it. :)

Sliding into a new year and new decade...


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