12.27.2009

My totally awesome Christmas break

1. Crepes Suzette, from the Food Network. Slice's contribution to

2. The annual family adult dinner. On the menu this year: king crab legs, shrimp, pork loin, sparkling cider, the Eddington classic grape ice. (And crepes suzette for dessert.)
Great food, greater company. Good times all around.

3. Family nativity + Christmas Eve pajamas, which I was totally not expecting. OK, so they aren't pajamas, but they sure are comfy.

4. No Christmas presents exchanged between Slice and myself. Our Christmas was Japan. Not a bad one, that. (Our new advice for newlyweds: HONEYMOONS ARE OVERRATED. Skip the honeymoon. Go on a real trip a year later.) (Just don't get pregnant right beforehand.)

5. Testing out the revolver that Santa brought "the family." Everyone knows it really was for Mom. We tried it out at the land and

6. I still can't hear out of my left ear, 3 days later. Hoping my hearing is not permanently damaged. How long should I wait before freaking out for real?
(Seriously. The left side of my head feels like it is sealed off. And there is chirping going on in there.)

7. The Family Flu went around, catching me last night. Spent 6 hours ridding my stomach of all contents. After the fourth trip to the bathroom, I brought my pillows with me so I could sleep on the floor. Does it serve me right for never having morning sickness?
(P.S. How do those women DO it? I would not get pregnant again if I had to do that every day.)

8. Slice is a saint. He stayed up all night with me, rubbing my back and feet and making me a bed on the bathroom floor, bringing me water, mouthwash, Sprite and Coke.
None of which really helped.

12.26.2009

For the Love of the Fam

One thing that really surprised me about Japan was the question "What generation are you?"
Meaning, "How many generations of your family have been members of the church?" It came up all the time!

If someone starts talking about pioneer ancestors here, everyone else's eyes glaze over ... because no one cares. But the Japanese do! They are proud -and RARE- if they are 4th-generation Mormons. I love that.

The question also surprised me because I had to really think about it before I could answer. On one hand there are the Halls, the Eddingtons, President Woodruff (obviously) and his wives' families who joined right at the beginning. On the other hand, my mother's mother is a pioneer.

So I've been thinking about the generational links that are sorely missing in our society today, in my opinion, and wondering how I can teach love of family to my children. I am realizing more and more as I get older, family is everything.

Earlier this week we had a family sealing session in the Vernal temple. Grandpa was the sealer, and we sealed 20 couples and 80 children together. (I didn't even almost faint this time...) My mother's been working for a long time to get these names ready.

What better Christmas gift could you give?

The experience was indescribable.


12.25.2009

Merry Christmas

From me and my Slice, whom I love and who makes everything (bad or good) so much better.
Also from our mostly-likely-male fetus.

Hope your holidays are fabulous!

12.22.2009

How Many Men


do you know that ask for recipe boxes for Christmas?

Just wondering.

Did you hear about the Morgans?

Yeah, me neither.

Slice and I celebrated our 18-month anniversary on Sunday. (And by "celebrated" I mean I remembered when we had gone to bed for the day. Slice claims he remembered in the morning, just forgot to mention it to me.) Eighteen months? Where did the time go?
Just kidding! It seems like we've been married FOREVER.

This morning our backyard looks like this:
And Slice has been practicing making crepes:
for our fancy adult Christmas dinner tonight.
(I'll post pictures of the finished product later.)

Also, I am trying to eat more, because I'm four months pregnant and have gained approximately 3 pounds.
Not complaining, just saying.

Still 7 pounds less than I weighed eighteen months ago.

12.16.2009

Book stuffs

*a sort of follow-up to this post from May

About a year ago I tried to read the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. You've probably heard of it. I say "tried" because I stopped after a few chapters, I felt like I was getting dumber by the minute. The series is incredibly popular here, but the premise bothers me even more than the writing does. Aren't teenage girls already obsessed enough with beauty and fame and money? (Don't I have to pick up Seventeen magazine from the couches every day?)
(And didn't I just watch another commercial for plastic surgery last night? "You owe it to yourself." Gag me.)
Anyway.
Is my opinion unfair? Is the series worth reading? Does anyone know, or even care?

At the beginning of this school year I read Jane Eyre for Tay, and Little Women for Linnea. They were my late-summer sunshine-soaking books and I loved them both. I read the last few chapters of Jane Eyre in bed, wiping my tears on Slice's sleeve while he slept. That was before the pregnancy hormones took over. The end was beautiful, just beautiful.
Little Women made me wish I had married an old German professor. Sort of.

Read The Great Gatsby for the first time, isn't that hard to believe? Slice said he had to read it in school. The writing was truly incredible but I had a hard time following the dialogue; I don't speak the vernacular of the easy '20s. Or the upper class, for that matter.
I also didn't get some of the "symbolism" that was mentioned in the Preface (which I read afterward, I hate spoilers). Apparently such complexity is over my head.

I stopped reading for a while because nothing sounded good. I kept checking out books and taking them back a few days later, unopened. But when we got to the airport I panicked. So Slice and I stopped at the ridiculously-priced bookstore and bought The Lost Symbol for him and Wuthering Heights for me.
I've never seen Slice so engaged in a book. Heck, I've never seen him sit and read a book, period. (Thank you Dan Brown! Where can I get more??) I had to force him out of bed some mornings just so we could leave the hostel. And one time I woke up at 2:00 a.m. to find him reading in the dim light of the Kyoto Guesthouse.
Good times.

I didn't like Wuthering Heights as much as Jane Eyre - we must compare them, right? - because it was darker and much more heartbreaking. To me. Also, I didn't identify with the characters as well; they were all so disturbing. Stills I liked the book.

And ... The Hunger Games sat in my purse/suitcase throughout the entire Japan trip. I turned it back in without reading so much as the first page.

Now I need something else. Any suggestions? What have you been reading lately?

12.14.2009

The Real Story

The first time I wondered if I might be pregnant was the day we helped our llama give birth to a dead baby. I was so depressed and traumatized by the experience, I could hardly think of anything else for days. Slice didn't even know it until I broke down one night, crying over the violence and blood, the disregard for human life portrayed in our mass media.
(DaVinci Code.)

The next weekend I joked with my friend Laurel about how horrible it would be to get pregnant before our trip to Japan. Ha ha!

By the time we took our trip to Arizona, we knew; I was starting to get sick and tired. The long drive there and back was miserable. Slice was unconditionally banned from jerky.
I was so tempted to throw the announcement into this post - it would have been just too perfect - but we knew it would be a while before we'd be telling anyone.
This time, I was afraid of being let down.

"Three months," I told Slice. "Then when we can get excited."
I never even took a pregnancy test.

As you may recall, I was worried about Japan. What I didn't say -but some of you picked up on nonetheless - was that I was worried about the toll that the constant travel, strange food and beds, time difference, etc. would take on my first-trimester body. I didn't want to get sick, spend three weeks in a hotel, and ruin the trip of a lifetime for me and Slice. More than anything, I didn't want to miscarry. I wanted no regrets.

It turned out, my fears were valid and then some. I didn't even know to worry about freezing bedrooms, kerosene heaters and electric blankets, midnight bathrooms trips down CLIFF STAIRCASES, soap-less public bathrooms, caterpillars in my food. Super-hot public baths. Fainting when a sweet sister spent an hour tying me up (tightly!) into a kimono.

But I never got really sick. I am grateful for that! We took an extra suitcase full of cold cereal and instant oatmeal, as a precaution, and because I must eat breakfast food for breakfast, pregnant or not. The suitcase turned out to be brilliant - when the food was gone, we filled it with souvenirs to bring home.
Also, our trip was long enough that we didn't have to rush through anything. We could take our time and take it easy. I tried really hard to be a good sport.

One day I talked to my parents on Skype and I just couldn't wait any longer. I told them. The next day I spent over an hour on a conference call with all my older siblings. I was about twelve weeks along by then.

Traveling home was the worst part of the trip, by far. I couldn't sleep on the plane and by the time we got to LA, I was convinced that my body was falling apart. I had a splitting headache coming from the back of my neck (that had never happened before), stomachache as usual, random leg pains, and an overwhelming desire to die. Instead I took some Tylenol and slept a blissful hour on the floor of the airport before we had to catch our next flight.

Since then, things have been pretty smoothing sailing. I love my bed and my shower and my car OH SO MUCH more now.

And I am so glad we went! It was an awesome experience, like we all knew it would be. Probably my favorite part was being with Slice for a whole month, just us, before we jump into this crazy thing called parenthood.

My first doctor's appointment was last Thursday, and I was a little nervous. Oh what a day if it turned out I wasn't even pregnant! But I was. Am.

When I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I cried. It finally seemed real.

Then he did an ultrasound and -I wasn't expecting this for at least another month- told us he is pretty sure it's a boy.


WE ARE SO EXCITED.

In the meantime -

When I came home today Slice had these waiting for me:
Evidence of a salsa crime scene.
"This is what I've learned from CSI,"
he says.

12.10.2009

I am...


growing a human

that the Dr. is "95% sure"

is a BOY.

Did you know?

Could you tell?

It has been 15 weeks now....

(Michemily, that's 3.5 months)

.... and I haven't quite been myself.

And good heavens,

can I tell the REAL STORY of Japan now?

12.06.2009

December

Last week I was hating winter.

Hate is a strong word, I know; I try to use it sparingly. But I was seriously hating winter last week.

Everything here was bitter cold, ugly brown deadness - and my body hasn't adjusted to the cold yet.
My to-do list was five miles long (still is...) and somehow the days were both too short and WAY too long.
We're still putting our house together, moving furniture and reorganizing everything. We ate mostly chips and salsa for a week.
Outside happenings were taking over inside.
I dropped an Xacto knife, point down, on my foot.
Blech.

Then Saturday night, as I slept, I was whisked into a Winter Wonderland.

In this Wonderland everything was beautiful.
I found the Mormon Tabernacle Choir station on Pandora.
My husband made delicious cheesy potato soup (from scratch of course) and surprised me with a candlelight dinner.
We sat in the glow of our Christmas tree and listened to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. And the choir sang Handel!
I could see pictures on blogs, even at school.
I wore two pairs of pants to work.

That two-pairs-of-pants thing was the best idea I ever had. You should try it sometime.

12.03.2009

Christmas card outtakes

Sometimes it's really hard to smile for family pictures ...

Like when it's cold outside and your mom won't let you keep your jacket on.



12.01.2009

Stirring

The weekend was great. I cleaned at home and Slice went to work, while we both battled jet lag. We're almost back to normal, I think.

Friday I took pictures for some friends (I have no idea how they found out I could...) and they kept me laughing the entire time.

Saturday we watched THE football game on delay: homemade pizza + DVR + starting the game 2 hrs. late = the only way to go. You can skip all the commercials and boring stuff. Slice rooted for the U while I rooted for the Y, which I thought was awesome.
And Max Hall, blah blah blah, I don't really want to talk about it.
That pot has been stirred enough.

Sunday we had a super-packed sacrament meeting with one missionary leaving and another coming home. The one coming home asked me to sing "When All is Said and Done," a song I performed a few times right after I graduated from high school. Emotionally charged doesn't even begin to describe the experience ...
It wasn't my best performance ever.

Now some things are happening here in the Roos that have a direct influence on my life, my Slice, our not-so-distant future. I could easily say it will determine our future.

We just keep stirring....

11.28.2009

grandparents and neighbors

This is how my Grandma does Thanksgiving (and every other holiday/special occasion):

She owns hundreds of goblets.

Also, my neighbor does the most incredible quilting I have ever seen. I didn't even know it! because she is the quietest person I know. You should check out her blog. Seriously.

11.25.2009

The Thanksgiving dilemma

One "benefit" of being married to the golf course is that Slice works whenever people want to play golf. Including Thanksgiving Day.

Curse those people!

We've been praying for a big snowstorm so we could join at least one of our families for a Thanksgiving meal; they will all be on the Wasatch Front.

Whoever is praying for good weather must be more righteous than we are...
The snow is not coming.

11.24.2009

Confessions

1. I have never thought of Japan as a pretty place.
Interesting, cultured, historically rich - sure.
But in my mind I always pictured a place with unimpressive scenery, fast-walking people who all look alike, streets so packed you couldn't move.

2. I was wrong on all counts. (And pleasantly surprised!)
The country is more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Lush forests, quaint old villages,
tall mountains, vast ocean; it is breathtaking even in November.
Japanese people look as similar to each other as Euro-Americans do. Really. They just have less
choices for hair color so style matters more.
And the streets are not nearly as packed as the train stations. I don't recommend hauling huge
suitcases all over the place. Unless you like bruises.


3. Visiting Japan actually made me miss Europe more. Isn't that strange? All those delicious pastries, art museums, fluffy pillows, Federdeckes, operas, languages I actually understand.... also toilets.

4. I stopped caring about having soap in public bathrooms. Forget about paper towels or hand driers, warm water (or water at all), real toilet paper. It's not going to happen.

5. The bullet train really is as cool as Slice said.

6. I ate tongue, shellfish, and Japanese kimchi all in one meal!

7. Japanese people are much warmer than I expected.
8. I might actually miss those toilet seat warmers.

11.22.2009

Did I Mention

that I am excited to come home? Very, VERY excited?

Bis Sp├Ąter.

Perfecting the art of the Self-Portrait

In 24 hours we will be boarding a plane for Los Angeles, California, and will arrive at our destination seven hours before we left.
That is WEIRD.
I have so many more stories and pictures I could share, and I would, but I'd hate for you all to get bored and stop reading/commenting ...
(PS- Thanks to those who did finally comment! You get prizes.)
(Just kidding.)
(But Fig, we really are sending you a prize when we get home. Sorry it has taken soooooo long.)
Anyway, do you have thoughts on that?
Slice said I had to post these pictures; he was angry that I wouldn't be serious.

We spent the first half of this week in Yamagata, a rural northwestern place that was mostly cold and rainy. Still we visited the Prefecture Museum - where we ran into a Japanese model photoshoot - the Kaminoyama Castle, also a museum, and an old Samurai house. The rest of the time was spent in the Niwas' house, where we ate good food and talked all night.
Once I had a long Skype conference call with my four older siblings and their spouses; that was really fun.
Kaminoyama from the top of the Castle

Me arguing with Slice over how to hold chopsticks.
The Niwas were wonderful to us, and we had to leave too soon. We spent two nights in the Tokyo temple patron housing (NO LUXURY there. Coughing, moaning roommates who turned on lights and left, in the middle of the night + almost no padding on wooden bunkbeds + pillows made of strange beans = the worst night EVER. But it was cheap.), went to the temple again, and visited the Tokyo Tower which, they tell you over and over, is taller (and lighter!) than the Eiffel Tower. You can see all of Tokyo from the top ... if there even is an "all of Tokyo."
Seriously, at the top of the tower I stared and stared and stared. Tokyo is ten times bigger than the biggest city you have ever imagined. Almost 13 million people! Its vastness is incomprehensible to a Utah girl like me.
Yesterday we met up with Takakusagi Choro, Slice's trainer, and he took us to Chinatown for a bit. We walked up and down the streets, ate some butaman, and came back to his house to stay.

The couple has a darling baby daughter, almost a month old, and Slice can't stay away from her. He's threatened to kidnap her several times.
That's a good sign, right?

11.16.2009

Blogging in Vain

It's been four posts now with nary a comment. Sure, I'll keep blogging for myself ... because I love sitting here and uploading pictures, typing posts, when I could be doing OTHER things ...

like wandering the streets of Kyoto, stumbling upon art exhibits with live performances,

visiting the A-bomb dome in Hiroshima and the magnificent island of Miyajima (supposedly one of the top-three prettiest places in Japan; I can see why).
The mother of one of Slice's companions volunteered to drive from Osaka to Kyoto, pick us (and our luggage) up, and drive us around the city before taking us back to Osaka with her! This is the Kinkakuji or 'Golden Helmet' temple.
We met up with another former companion and hiked through a bit of the Thousand Gates...
Never missing a photo-op, of course.
Saturday we rode up to Nagoya for a mission reunion of sorts ... seven elders and three sisters, plus me. We went to a sweet aquarium that was like Sea World but on a smaller scale. There was even a dolphin show. We loved it.
We all went out for ice cream afterward, pitching in to get two HUGE parfaits. The boys ate that one (which cost about $50) and the girls ate a chocolate one. Mmmm.
Then we missed our train back to Tokyo - the one that would get us to Tokyo in time to take another train to Yamagata, our home for the next few days. So we scrambled and found a hostel in Tokyo instead, riding to Yamagata Sunday morning. When we got to church this sister about knocked Slice over, she was so excited to see him:
She invited us over for dinner after church, and we had a jolly time! (I had a permanent blush on my face, can you tell? Yoshida Shimai was praising everything from my skin to my voice to my family for two straight hours, I couldn't handle it.)
We are now in Yamagata/Yonizawa which is northwest of Kyoto. Much colder. We are staying with a couple who have an awesome old house, mad kimono-dressing skills, and wireless internet!
Remind me later to tell you about
  • the creepy guy who sat by me on the bus, forcing us to get off at the next stop
  • how we spent an evening hopping from bus to bus, just to see where we would end up
  • the homeless guy who took our food (but refused the bananas) at the Nagoya Eki
  • how I ATE SQUID, unknowingly, thanks to Slice
  • drunk guys in the hostel at 12:30 a.m.
  • my near-fainting spell this morning
  • the Public Baths ... I have now been to two.
  • how I got proficient with the Japanese-style toilet (I call it, affectionately, the water trough)

This was our guesthouse in Gion, Kyoto.