Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Unattended iPad

Adam punishes children:

Elissa sometimes brings home a work iPad for dealing with work related emails at home. The children have been caught several times playing with the iPad when they've been told not to touch it. Part of this playing has involved the taking selfies or photos of each other with the camera feature.

As punishment for touching the iPad when they're not allowed to, I present for your viewing pleasure, a selection of the photos from the iPad.

Unsure of seth was meant to be T-rexing or meerkatting in these photos.

I say he was meerkatting.

Elissa reckons he was T-Rexing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Music Videos Du Jour - Ok Go, John Williams and The Piano Guys

Adam plays:

Certain songs get put on high rotation in our household. Here are three that are popular in our house at the moment:

OK Go - I Won't Let You Down

We discovered this music video not long before  Minori left and thought it was very clever, and the song very catchy. The fact that it features several thousand Japanese girls in it helped with the appeal too. Apart from being filmed at double time, there is no CGI or tricks in this video - it is one long shot, filmed by a drone carrying a camera. It took nearly 60 takes to get the entire music video done correctly.

Corey Vidal - John Williams Is the Man

A Youtube acapella version of various movie themes all written by John Williams which has Star Wars related lyrics added to it - what's not to like :)

The Piano Guys - Angels We Have Heard on High

A great collaboration of LDS artists and the world's largest ever live nativity help create a great piece of Christmas music. Bonus points for spotting Jeremy from Studio C in the video :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Adam's Birthday - Wasabi Teppenyaki

Adam gets older:

My birthday was a work day this year, but I still managed to get a cooked breakfast - eggs, bacon and potato gems. :) We actually did presents (in bed) first.

From Jewel I got a "Vader's Little Princess" Calendar for next year.

From Seth I got a bunch of the latest Lego Minifigures (Series 12).

From Jayde I got a CD of the Japanese Blues musicians we saw at the Nara Festival earlier in the year.

The final present was from Elissa. It was a DVD of the Japanese 2007 remake of Monkey (aka Monkey Magic, aka Journey to the West.

I was encouraged to open up the DVD ... and there inside were tickets for the kids and I to go see a live theatrical version of Monkey - Journey to the West at the theater next year. (News clip about the show is on the Youtube video below)

I also had cards and money from both Elissa's and my parents. Not sure what I'll get with that money yet. I also got a nice card from Minori as well.

For dinner in the evening we had planned to go to an all you can eat Japanese restaurant in Dickson, but for some reason, it wasn't open, despite advertising that it was usually open that night.

We took a tour of the surrounding restaurants and decided to go and check out the Wasabi Teppenyaki restaurant instead. That way, we were still having Japanese, and it would be something new and different for the kids. (Elissa and I had been to the restaurant many years ago, bu the kids have never been to a teppenyaki style restaurant.)

The chef put on a good show for us. First up, getting the grill ready with some flames.

Next, he made an omelette. To crack the eggs open he threw them into bowls that we were holding. Then once the omelette was made, he cut it into small strips, before throwing some of them into our open mouths.

There was also a variety of yummy flavoured meats that were cooked up.

He threw us all some bowls we had to catch .... after which he then threw each of us a second bowl that we had to catch in the first bowl.

The second bowl also just happened to be full of fried rice that he'd been making on the hot plate. We all successfully managed to catch our fried rice without it going on the floor.

We all enjoyed the dinner. After the theatrics and food, the chef finished the night by writing a message on the hot plate for us (done upside down from his point of view), which was then surrounded by flames on the counter around the hot plate.

It was then time to move home and have some of the black forest cake that Elissa had made for me - chocolate, cream and cherries all in together, yum. It was a fun day - presents, family and food.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sister Boiteux ... Rhymes With Kangaroo

Adam cooks roo:

After Sister Ilalio was transferred out of the ward, Sister Boiteux (pronounced bwa-too) was transferred in as Sister Sunday's new companion. She's from Utah, and this is her last transfer in the mission before going home.

When she was first introduced to us I went searching for an online French-English dictionary. My high school French classes had me vaguely remembering that her name meant something in French - and it does. It means "lame" or "crippled". She says that her family tells a story of an ancestor helping to pass through enemy troops during a medieval era battle by pretending to be crippled, and that that's where the name supposedly comes from.

Her last weekend in the mission is this Sunday, but if things happen in the usual routine, she'll head up to Sydney on Sunday evening, so she'll miss out on the weekly Sunday night dinner at our home. So, last Sunday we made sure to give the Sisters a delicious kangaroo burger dinner followed by cherry pie and ice cream desert for her "farewell" dinner from our house.

As usual, they shared a short spiritual thought with us. This particular time it was a short Christmas related video recently released by the Church.

Afterwards, we had to make sure we had some photos with her to continue our history of the sister missionaries in the ward :)

Sister Boiteux, how far away is that plane??

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Young Cherry Festival 2014 - Washout

Adam picks cherries:

We enjoyed the Young Cherry Festival last year, even if it was hot, so we had penciled in the date again this year for a road trip up to the cherry capital of Australia. Unfortunately though, the heat of last year was replaced with rain this year.

We drove up to young on Saturday morning ... arriving in the town we realised that we'd taken the wrong route to Young. We'd wanted to go via the town of Wombat so that we could go cherry picking at Wombat Heights again. Once we'd realised our mistake we headed back out of town again out to Wombat Heights.

The numbers of other tourists were down compared to last year. The fact there had been some showers and that there were ominous rainclouds in the distance a likely cause. We set out picking cherries with 3 buckets between us, and ended up getting nearly 4 kgs of cherries. We could have stayed longer, but it started to thunder and lightning, so we figured it was best to avoid getting wet.

We did manage to stay dry during the picking. The price of the cherries had gone up this year to $8/kg - still a good price though.

We then did a quick trip down to the wombat statue at Wombat for the obligatory Seth photo again, and a quick stop at another farm to grab some cherry jam.

The it was back into Young. By now the heavens had opened up and it was constantly raining. We decided that the first stop was the Reject Shop in town to try and get some rain ponchos .... unfortunately they had sold out, so we grabbed some $5 umbrellas for ourselves. We headed back to the main park where the markets, ride and food stalls were, passing by buskers and historical machinery along the way.

We grabbed lunch from various stalls. Seth was adventurous, trying lamb and goat sausages. After some initial trepidation he discovered that he loved them.

By now, the rain had saturated everything. We ate standing up, taking turns to hold umbrellas over others so they could eat. There were plenty of chairs about if we'd wanted them - if we didn't mind getting thoroughly wet.

In the end, the rain was just too much. We did do a walk through of the markets, but the constant down pour meant that most people were more interested in trying to protect their stock than sell to the non-existent passers by. The rides were too wet to go on. It was still another hour and a half until the pie eating contests, and three hours until the street parade. The kids shoes were all soaked, and they'd had enough, so less than two hours after having gotten to Young we were heading back home again.

It was a wet drive home, with sometimes sudden bursts of heavy rain, and occasionally hitting water on the road that pulled on the car's steering. A sodden end to the day.

Fortunately, at least we'd had the chance to go cherry picking again. We did enjoy ourselves, even though we didn't do as much as last year. I'm sure we'll head back again in 2015.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Teary Farewell to Minori

Adam is stoic:

Well, after nearly ten months, last Sunday was Minori's last day in Australia. We went to Church in the morning whilst Minori stayed at home doing her final packing, before we joined up back at home for a large lunch - lasagna, at Minori's request - as her farewell meal.

We then had a farewell game of Seven Wonders - the game that we played most often together as a family whilst Minori was here.

Then it was time to pack the car and drive Minori to the airport. The tears started on the way there. Jewel was sobbing, with tears from the other girls too. I played some Australian songs in the car on the way to the airport ... Sounds of Then, Down Under, Great Southern Land ... I also happened to slip in INXS' Never Tear Us Apart ...

Once we got into the airport, it was a long wait. We were meant to be there an hour early (as she was connecting to an international flight).  However the plane she was leaving on didn't even arrive until after she had been due to board.

The girls started out happy, but then Jayde and Jewel produced farewell letters that they had written for Minori. They read these out to her. (Minori had written letters to us which we had back in the car.) It was at this point the tears started to flow.

The rest of the time was a blur, but it involved a lot of crying and hugging from all the girls. As time wore on, it also included us signing Minori's shirt, and the girls writing on each other's arms as well.

Then it was time for Minori to board the plane. There were many tears again, and hugs all round. She was the last one to board the plane. We waved at her as she walked down the final walkway onto the plane. She didn't want to leave. A stewardess came down the walkway and ushered her onto the plane.

We then watched the plane taxi off before finally flying away, taking Minori away from us after 10 months.

We were sad to see Minori go. She definitely became a part of the family. We don't know specifically why we chose to have her come and stay with us, but both Elissa and I felt prompted to take an exchange student at this time, and that Minori was the one. We don't believe it was just coincidence, but that for some reason we were meant to have her during this time. We hope we've had a positive effect on her, not just with her language skills, but more importantly spiritually and emotionally, and that she felt loved as a member of the family. We hope that we maintain contact in the years to come - the world's a lot smaller place than it used to be.

Sayonara from the kawaii kaiju to our little Japanese girl :)