GodzillaI’m not sure if it’s because we’ve been in Japan for a few days, or the fact that she is jetlagged and didn’t take a nap, but something deep inside Chloe was awakened last night.

It started at 5:30pm just before dinner when I felt the Earth shake. I thought it might have been an earthquake, but then I looked at Chloe’s face and saw that her tired puffy eyes started glowing red.

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IMG_2406_editAfter our trip to the doctor, I was hopeful that things would improve. But I kind of figured it was going to get worse before it got better. It seems that things always happen that way.

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IMG_2313_editWell, it turns out all of Ellie’s whining during the plane ride was for a very good reason. When we put Ellie to bed that first night, she had a mild fever. And by morning it had blossomed into a full-fledged cold complete with runny nose, sore throat, and a cough. I guess all that excitement finally caught up with her.

To complicate matters, Chloe also had a fever and a cold started by morning. Oh boy, our 2014 Japan Christmas Extravaganza was off to a rough start!

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Shyabu Shyabu

2014_12_15aI love shyabu shyabu! It’s like Japanese fondue. This was one of my first meals that Aya’s mom cooked when I visited and met her parents for the first time 12 years ago. Other than sushi two or three times and some miso soup, I had never really had much Japanese food before I visited them, and I loved everything!

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IMG_8426We are very grateful and excited to be spending the holidays with Aya’s family in Japan this year. However, a long (did I say long? Because I mean long) international flight can bring about a certain level of anxiety. And based on our experience during our last visit just over three years ago, complete with strangers asking to pray for us, we had every reason to be nervous making this journey again, especially since we would be traveling with not one child, but two this time.

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IMG_2089Our Thanksgiving last year did not go as planned at all. Our family Thanksgiving dinner is always on Saturday, leaving the actual day of Thanksgiving open for us.  It was supposed to be my first time to host some friends, but because of the plague running through our house we had to pull the plug. But this year, plans for us to host Thanksgiving was back on the table. We were going to have Thanksgiving dinner with some of Aya’s Japanese co-workers, some of which had never experienced Thanksgiving before. And this time it would be completely legit with a roasted turkey, not a chicken, and a kids table. I always saw cooking Thanksgiving dinner to be a crowning achievement in the culinary world. With eight adults and five kids, I had my work cut out for me.

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Posted in Family, Food, Friends, Holidays, Thanksgiving | 5 Comments


IMG_9970_editWell, it’s that time again for a house project. It seems I always have a project of some sort going, but our last major one was our bedroom renovation three years ago. And since it was three years ago, it’s just enough time to forget how disruptive a house project can be to your daily routine. That project was major though. We had gutted it down to the studs and did an overhaul on it complete with custom shoe shelves for Aya. This project was going to be a simple repainting of the living room and dining room. Well, at least that’s how it started out.

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IMG_2033_editThere is nothing like an afternoon nap. And by afternoon nap, I mean lying face down on the carpet while two wound up crazies jump around me. If I can manage to shut my eyes for a ten whole minutes, I consider that a win.

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IMG_2024_editAh, Halloween, that time of year when I try to reconstruct my own magical childhood memories and force them on my kids. I’m aware there is a big difference between carrying on traditions and trying to recreate and relive a memory. And I think I’ve been blurring the line between these two ideas. I know, this sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s right; I did this last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Oh, and at Christmas, and birthday parties, and just about any other special event. You think I would learn.

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Posted in Fall, Family, Halloween, Holidays | 6 Comments


DS_2014_06_10a_editOur day started out perfect. It was an absolute ideal day. Both girls actually ate their breakfast, got dressed, and brushed their teeth without incident. We did our morning school lesson and played. I even got to clean up the kitchen quietly before walking over to the park to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous weather we had. After a delicious lunch and a good nap from Chloe, we even went to the store, again without incident. No one fell asleep in the car and woke up grumpy. No one begged to listen to the same song over and over and over again. Just an all-around perfect day. But when the unexpected happens, it’s amazing how fast that perfect day can erode into a complete catastrophe.

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Posted in Adventures, At Home, Summer, The Domestic Specialist | 6 Comments


DS_2014_05_22a_editMy little Chloe is so mellow, easy going, and always has a smile. Even when I have to wake her up out of a dead sleep she smiles and then gets right up. “GOOD MORNING!” Ellie? No way. She’d make a terrible sleeping beauty. Prince Charming would be in for a big surprise if he tried to wake her up. Not Chloe though. She’s easy peasy as they say. Why just the other day I saw her gazing out the window smiling and quietly singing to herself, “laaaa, laaa, laaa, laaa (giggle giggle).”

But don’t let that gentle smile and adorable face fool you, because when she’s hungry, watch out!

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Posted in Adventures, At Home, Cooking, Feeding, Food | 2 Comments


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Ellie, Year Four: The Birthday

IMG_1083In a way I’ve been waiting for this day, for Ellie to be four. My own earliest memories as a kid are from when I was four. And when I first found out I was going to be a father and I started picturing my life with a child, I always pictured Ellie as a four year old toddler. I pictured playing in the leaves in the fall, building snowmen in the winter, her helping me in the garden, and sitting on the couch watching rock concerts and listening to music. Her becoming four always seemed so far away, and yet after what at times feels like a flash, that moment is here.

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