Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We've Been Busy Growing Teeth

Poignant Penance

Confession is usually a very private affair: just you and the priest (in persona Christi). I am very thankful for the secrecy of the sacrament, so I normally wouldn't share my experience in such a public way. But I really think the penance that I was asked to perform was beautiful.

A little background first...I am a control freak. My freakishness extends into many areas of my life and other people's lives, and this is often the cause of much anxiety, angst and relational strain. It's one of those pet sins that I seem to always be confessing.

In response to my most recent confession, the priest asked me to spend time looking at and reflecting on the stained glass window of Jesus hanging on the cross at the front of the church. He explained that the need to feel in control is often a response to insecurity. In our effort to give up control, there is no better example to follow than Christ on the cross. At that moment, Jesus was the most insecure he had ever been in his life by the world's standard; he was beaten, bloodied, nailed to a cross, and nearly abandoned. However, with his last words, he showed us how to trust God with what is most precious: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." May Christ be merciful and give us the grace to do the same, now and at the hour of our death.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Service, but Without the Smile

At dinner, Kevin and I were discussing a recent trip to the post office in his office building. I needed to ship a book, and I thought the best mode would be media mail.

Postal Service Desk Clerk: (Comes to the desk. Silence.)

Me: Hi. I'd like to send this media mail.

PSDC: (No eye contact. Weighing package.) No you don't.

Me: I don't?


Me: Why not?

PSDC: It's more expensive. Just send it first class. That'll be $1.51.

Me: Um, ok. (Push money across the counter.) Thanks.

It was a weird little interchange. It's not often that a postal clerk tells you that you don't want to send something in a particular way, but I figured she was just having a bad day. At least she helped me save money. According to Kevin and his coworkers, this particular clerk is one tough cookie. She just doesn't like it when you ask her to do anything, which is pretty much unavoidable since she's a postal service worker. The way to get on her good side is to ask about her kids. Kevin had been waiting for his chance. Just a few days prior to the above conversation, Kevin finally talked kids with her when he sent a package with a noise making toy that went off when the box hit the counter. He was in! Friendliness from there on out...until I showed up and demanded media mail. Silly me!

Now, he figures he's back at square one.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Has anyone ever noticed that babies go through noise phases? I think they like to hear the sounds, but most of all, I think they like the attention they get from making the sounds. For Monica, it all started with the fake coughing. She would wake up in the morning and instead of crying or cooing for attention, she'd start coughing, a dry hack to be precise. Then, for a while, blowing raspberries was all the rage. Next, it was squinching up the face, pursing the lips and blowing spittily. Now, it's squealing, and it comes in three levels: squealing, high-powered squealing, and only-dogs-can-hear-that-pitch squealing. It's kind of cute, unless the noise is an inch from your ear.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The New Evangelization!

I just had to share these videos. Two teenage boys put five videos together depicting Christ's passion, death, and resurrection using legos! Sounds kind of nuts, but really, it is well done. According to an inside source, the boys spent all of this time and energy on the videos because they really want to share the gospel with their younger siblings and as many others as they can reach. Check them out!

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Monday, March 23, 2009

And Miles to Go Before I Sleep...

Today, the UPS man walked up to the door with my brand new running shoes. As many runners will admit, there is nothing like that new pair of shoes...the springy, cushiony goodness of that first run. Ahhhh...I think that was my feet sighing out of relief. My old shoes have had it. The entire length of my legs was starting to ache because ye olde shoes have taken a beating over too many miles.

There are just some things that are so refreshing when they are just opened:
1. Running Shoes
2. Burt's Bees chapstick
3. Tube of facewash
4. Anything make-up oriented
5. Cold beer
6. Fresh salsa
7. Tube of toothpaste
8. Toothbrush

The last two things remind me...I went to the dentist this morning for the first time in a year (yes, I've been a dental hygiene deliquent) and I got a clean bill of dental health (sigh of relief). Since this is the first time I've seen this dentist in Michigan, he took x-rays and did a very thorough exam of my teeth...which led him to ask where I got the chip in my front tooth. So, I got to relive an embarrassing and painful moment of 9th grade. In gym class, we were playing floor hockey, and the tiniest bit of a girl wallopped me in the mouth with her stick causing my front tooth to chip and then go all the way through my bottom lip. Arg! I had stitches on my lip and below it. The worst part was not the pain, but the aftermath. I had nasty stitches on my lip for at least a week, and it was so difficult to eat that I hid in the corner of the library, slipping little bits of food into the non-injured side of my mouth while chewing with it half open so as to not cause myself too much pain. The trials of adolescence...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Little Wolverine

Aunt Beth came for a visit on Friday, and Monica had some fun with her. We had to sport some Michigan gear after the team's first NCAA win in over ten years. Even though they're out of the tourney as of last night, Go Blue!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lenten Pondering

"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”
--John Paul II


Kevin's mom came to stay with Monica, Buck and me for a few days. She hadn't seen Monica since Christmas time, so it was very fun for us all to play and get reacquainted. These pictures are just too cute not to share!

More From the Land of the Rising Sun

Here's another short update from Japan and two pictures. It's about midnight on Saturday in Japan right now, so Kevin will be flying back to the US from Tokyo in about 12 hours. He leaves on Saturday afternoon in Japan and arrives on Saturday afternoon here in the States. He actually gains a day...strange!

Last night we finished work a little early and did some sightseeing. We went to the Tokyo Tower (which I told you about before). It is lit up at night and very cool (see attached picture).

We went up to the observation deck and you could see all of the lights of Tokyo...We also went and saw one act of a Kibuki Theater. It was interesting although the act we saw was mostly dialogue, so it was impossible to tell what was going on.

This morning I was able to get up and go to Mass again, so that was good. I took a picture of the church (see attached picture) for you. There is very little I can pick out by listening. Although for the readings today, I could catch words like "Joseph", "Reuben", and "Egypt". At dinner last night I had some Japanese beer called Asahi. They make a light beer and a dark beer. At the restaurants you can order a "half and half" which is pretty interesting. Kind of like your Arnold Palmer except alcoholic.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Own Little Jaunt

Monica and I went to spend a couple days with my mom, since Kevin is overseas. I wasn't sure how it would go, since we haven't gone anywhere overnight since Christmas time, when she was still newborn-ish. I was pleasantly surprised, because she did so incredibly well. She napped; she slept well at night, and there was so little crying.

Monica is also a happy eater now, which I really thought would never happen. My mom saw Monica about three weeks ago, at the height of her misery. When she saw Monica take a bottle, she could hardly believe the transformation. I think it really confirms our decision, and I am so relieved and overjoyed to have a happy, well-fed, and well-rested baby.

We went out to lunch at one of my favorite home town hangouts and Grandma bought Monica these cute little socks. Love them! We also took Monica by Lake Michigan a few times during our walks. All in all, it was a fabulous visit.

Jet Setter

Kevin is in Japan on a business trip. He's staying right outside Tokyo, and despite the jet lag, he is really enjoying his time there. Here are some excerpts from emails he has sent me over the past couple days:

The hotel he and his co workers are staying is very nice. King sized bed, great service. However...

The bathroom is the craziest part of all, especially the toilet. See the attached picture. I tried out some of the settings and couldn't really tell the difference between the one that sprayed your butt and the other one. Although the water was really warm...The seat also has a warmer too. I suppose its nice, but it all struck me as extremely unnecessary. [My coworker] said that the Western style toilets are all like that. If they aren't, then they are Japanese style, which is basically a hole in the ground. I guess I will stick with the bells and whistles in that case.

We walked over to the office through the subway station. It was rush hour and it was crazy. There were thousands of people, but everyone looked the same and no one talked. Every was walking and focused on where they were going. The only sound in the station was footsteps. The Tokyo area is not very diverse. The few white people you see stick out from a mile away. Everything is pretty built up. Most of the 10 min walk to the office was outside, but under covered walkways. I guess that is good because it was sort of raining this morning...I had a traditional Japanese lunch with sushi, rice, meso soup, and tea. It was ok, but I don't really enjoy sushi. I don't find it gross, but don't really like it either. It was tuna I think. I did ok with chopsticks. The afternoon was ok, but I started hitting the wall around 4pm, then we worked until almost 7pm. We ate dinner at a restaurant that was in an underground shopping area underneath the building. They always give us a hard time about the large size of American dinners, but my dinner was huge. I'm not really sure what it was, but I think it was a kind of like pork tempura with rice, meso soup, cabbage, and some kind of sprouts. I didn't eat all of it and they were giving me a hard time. Plus they ordered me a second beer which I didn't need. So by the time we got back to the hotel, I wanted to crawl into bed.

But instead I went across to the street to check something out because I thought a saw on a map that the building across from us was a church. It is pretty crazy because less than 1% of the country is Catholic but it just happens to be a Catholic church directly across the street from my hotel. Not only that, but they have mass at 7am. So I am going to try to go to Mass there tomorrow. If not tomorrow, at least one day. I would like to get to mass as it is, but it would be especially cool to go in Japan. I have been to Spanish masses and at least understood some things, but this will be totally foreign. At least I have the Magnificat for the readings. So I should get to bed soon, if I want to get up for that.

Here is a picture I took today from the hotel. You can see Tokyo Tower. It is a similar design and size to the Eiffel Tower, except more modern.

Monica and I miss you, Kev!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Someday She'll Give the Camera A Smile

...but until then, we'll just go with stuck out tongues and what I like to call the the OMG! face.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Were You Doing at 1am??

I'll tell you what Kevin was doing: unloading the dishwasher. Yes. Unloading the dishwasher.

Monica woke up to eat around that time and after Kevin made the bottle, he decided to unload the dishes since he was up. Who does that?!

Only fabulous, yet very type A husbands, that's who.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I've Turned a Corner

Today the doorbell rang during Monica's nap. Praying that the noise didn't wake her, I rushed to open the door and found a young man standing on the porch. Here's the ensuing conversation.

Me: Hi

Young Man: Hi. I have something really important that I'm doing that I'd like to tell you about. Are your mom or dad at home?

Me: Actually, I am the mom. My baby is sleeping right now, so I should probably go.

Young Man: (Embarassed) Oh! Maybe I could come back some other time?

Me: Sure. Have a good day. (Close door.)

I used to get annoyed when people carded me or assumed I was still in high school. Today is the first time it felt good. I guess I'm feeling closer and closer to 30 as each day rolls by.