Our sweet Camille

April 24, 2006

Here's our "Mei Mei". She will turn six months old on May 7th. She is rolling from her back to her front, drooling and teething like a champ, starting to eat rice cereal, and continuing to charm us with her bright smile and cute giggles. How did we get so lucky?!!!

(The alien baby look is courtesy of renowned stylist, Mr. Noah Monkey Boy)

Tropical Beach Adventure

April 20, 2006

Here are a few photos from a recent trip to Tropical Beach Park with some of our good friends on the island. Noah had fun feeding the fish and turtles until he fell into the fish pond. He emerged covered in green slime and luckily without any turtles attached to him...although he was convinced he had fish in his underwear and felt the need to strip down naked in the middle of the public park!

Noah also enjoyed being a pirate and meeting some new Japanese friends...notice the preschool uniforms, aren't they cute? It was a fun morning ...the kids had a blast, the moms had a chance to chat, and the fish and turtles had lots to eat!

Louisiana Cravings

April 19, 2006

This is the time of year when I really miss Louisiana. As the weather starts to warm up and the azaleas are in full bloom, family and friends gather in back yards for a truly Cajun event... a crawfish boil. Everyone sits around a big table covered with newspaper and heaped with steaming crawfish, boiled corn, seasoned potatoes, and cold beer. My Uncle Dan is the official crawfish "boiler" in our family and he is a true pro! My mouth is watering right now as I think about those crawfish. I have enjoyed eating an amazing variety of food from all over the world, but a Louisiana crawfish boil on a breezy spring day is by far one of my favorite dining experiences ever. It is an all day affair of peeling, eating, chatting, drinking, eating some more, and lots of laughing.

And once I start thinking about crawfish, I start thinking about all of the other Louisiana foods I miss...muffalato sandwiches from Cedar Grocery, oyster po-boys, Heavenly Hash candy, Gateau Nana from the Kitchen Shop in Grand Coteau, Eddie's famous steaks, my mom's roast beef and potato salad, and snowballs on a hot day.

The above photos are of Noah's first crawfish boil in the summer of 2004...he gobbled down those crawfish like a true Cajun boy! Can't wait to let Camille experience her first crawfish boil next spring. Happy Crawfish Seaon to all of you!

Training Days

April 15, 2006

Here are a few recent photos of Camille's introduction to the wonderful world of trains, specifically Thomas trains. Her instructor,Noah, is a masters level Thomas fan and a very eager teacher.

Centipede Invasion

Our home has been invaded by centipedes. It started earlier this week when Noah found one on the carpet in the living room. It was a baby one and luckily he didn't touch it. We had a discussion about how centipedes can sting and they aren't friendly critters. Two days ago, Noah calmly called to me "Excuse me ,Mama. I have something to show you". Nothing in his voice sounded alarming so I made my way slowly towards the living room thinking he wanted to show me one of his matchbox cars. Nope. It wasn't a matchbox car. It was a HUGE centipede about six inches long with lots of big, red legs and pinchers. And it was crawling right next to him on the ottoman!

I quickly swung into action grabbing an umbrella and a pair of garden shears...the official tools of professional centipede hunters. Centipedes are quite the fighters...they are fast, move like snakes, and will attack in any way possible. I knew I had to be swift and decisive in my actions. I pinned him with the umbrella (Noah's special toddler sized Shinkansen umbrella) and then attempted to decapitate him (I am normally not a bug killer or cruel to animals, but I was reacting in protective Mama mode). It took some effort because the centipede was tough(literally tough to cut through his body). Noah was watching the whole "event" and decided to help me out by beefing up my arsenal. He brought me a foam bat and several wooden blocks and then quickly backed away from the battle scene. Once I was finally able to cut the centipede into two pieces I breathed a sigh of relief..but not for long...he was still trying to attack me. I was able to put both squirming parts (head and tail) into a tupperware container.

Now here is the really disturbing part. That centipede continued to move and squirm for two days! Do centipedes regenerate? Was this an especially agressive Okinawan species? And the bigger question...is there a nest of them? how do I protect my home from further invasion? If you have these answers, please let me know! I will be calling the military housing office on Monday for some advice, but until then I am continually checking for signs of further invasion.

I have calmly accepted and at times even enjoyed all of the Okinawan critters that live in our yard...the large fruit bats (remember the flying monkeys from Oz? that's what they look like at night swooping around our banyan trees), the noisy geckos that dart around, the jumping spiders, the monkey lizards (large green lizards living in our palm trees), and I have even become a little less paranoid about the deadly habu pit vipers that slither in the bushes....but this centipede invasion has really gotten to me.

When it rains it pours and poops

April 12, 2006

It has been one of those days (actually a couple of them in a row!) and I just have to laugh because I am too tired to do anything else! It started over the weekend with both Noah and Camille showing signs of illness....fever, coughs, runny noses. Which led to Camille's first emergency room visit because her ear was bleeding...both ears have infections. It is isn't fun to see our sweet, mellow baby girl crying in pain. Luckily she finally seems to be feeling better today and is eating again. Noah is not feeling any better, in fact he sounds worse and he started complaining today of a "red pain in my chest". So after some time on the phone I was able to get an appointment for him. As is my life lately, it seemed to take me all morning to get the kids ready and headed out the door.

We sloshed through our front yard which was covered in mud from several days of very heavy rain. I buckled Noah and Camille into their seats and ignored the funny smell in the car because I was in a hurry to get to our appointment. Well, just our luck the car was dead. And I soon discovered the source of the smell...mildew from all the water that had accumulated in my car...one of the doors had been left opened during the several days of heavy raining. Yuck. Luckily, a neighbor let me borrow her Japanese van called the Delica. As a sidenote Delicas are not small delicate Japanese style cars...these are big, high riding mongo van/utility vehicles...I felt very powerful on our drive to the clinic! Noah got checked out and it sounded like one of his lungs might have gunk in it so he had to get an x-ray. I was very proud of how well he did and he was excited to see photograph of his insides. The good news his lungs are clear, the bad news is he is still coughing like crazy.

We had a quick lunch with Adam in the hospital cafeteria and then headed home. I was really looking forward to us all taking nice long naps, but that wasn't meant to be. Just when I thought the day couldn't get worse, it did. As I was putting Camille down for her nap, Noah called for help. Turns out he had diarrhea and tried to take care of the situation on his own..which meant a mess in the living room and all over his body since he tried to take his messy clothes off by himself...poop up the back,on his shoulders, in his hair. Instead of using Camille's naptime to catch up on some much needed rest, I spent that precious time cleaning up lots of nasty stuff.

I really hope tomorrow is a better day! It can only get better, right?

100 Wishes Quilt Update

April 11, 2006

A big thank you to everyone who has sent us wishes and fabric for Camille's special quilt. It has been so much fun to receive these beautiful little packages from all over the world filled with kind words and good wishes for Camille. We have close to 50 pieces for her quilt and would love to make it all the way to 100. Initially we had hoped to have all of the pieces by the end of February before Camille came home, but we are much happier to have Camille home earlier than expected. So if you would like to send in a piece of fabric and a wish for her, please do so! You can read more about the quilt in the January entry (scroll through the archives on the side of the screen).

The Art of Family

April 9, 2006

One of the hard parts of being so far from home is missing out on big family events and this past week has been a very eventful one for the Morgan family. This week three generations of the Morgan family were recognized for their artistic endeavors. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art hosted a large retrospective exhibit of my grandfather's (Elemore Morgan, Sr) and my father's work(Elemore Morgan, Jr). My sister, Emee, also had an exhibit open this week as part of her senior project at the Episcopal School of Acadiana. She seems to have inherited the Morgan/Gutekunst gift for creating art and we are very proud of her.

Growing up in such a creative and artistic family was truly an adventure...lots of visits to galleries, museums, lots of time and space for creating whatever appealed to us....turning a chicken coop into a hideout, painting, drawing, running free in the Louisiana fields, dancing under tattooed walls at Festival International de Louisiane. My parents taught us how to appreciate the world around us, make the most of every moment, and to value family and friends. I hope that I can provide Noah and Camille with similar moments of magic, creativity, and adventure as my parents did for us. And who knows perhaps they will become the fourth generation of Morgan artists!

To learn more about the current Morgan exhibit click on the link for the Ogden Museum of Sothern Art or the Arthur Roger Gallery link in the links section.

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