February 26, 2008

Birthday Day!

Today is our birthday!
This year its a bit more low-key than previous years and we pretty much just chilled at the house all day enjoying time with our son.
And even though we'll never be able to top the gift of a baby... we figured it wouldn't hurt to add some extra sugar...
Sharon's mom bought this OREO No-bake mix, and we made it tonight as a birthday treat.
mmmmmm...

Isaac didn't manage to make it to the 26th (although there were moments during labor when we thought he would!) but another little person is set to make her entrance into the world today. Our friends MattE and Leslee should be delivering their new baby girl today! Since MattE has to report for spring training, Leslee's being induced so he will for sure make the birth...and we can't think of a better day to be born than February 26th! (Sharon's sister is excited because she's getting a new nephew AND niece all in one week:)
In honor of the occasion, Isaac donned his Braves-red diaper cover and baseball socks...Happy Birthday Baby Girl Diaz!

February 25, 2008

Rivers Family

Isaac Joseph finally arrived February 20th. It wasn't our birthday, but Anthony's brother's birthday is on February 20th, so he does share a birthday with another Rivers after all.
My mom had a great 2 weeks here with us and is on her way back to the US. She was such a huge help and we hope we can survive without her! Isaac has been an easy baby so far and SUCH a joy. As far as we can tell his personality and temperament are a lot like his dad's...he's very laid back. Our sleep has of course been interrupted and Sharon's recovery from the c-section has slowed her down a bit more than she'd like, but overall we are LOVING being parents. God has blessed us so much and we have so much to be thankful for. Thanks to everyone who has sent their words of congratulations and encouragement...we have appreciated every word! We have lots of pictures and stories about Isaac on the baby blog, so keep checking there for updates about him.

February 18, 2008

Lion Dance

We finally captured a Chinese New Year Lion Dance on video...one that was like the full deal. We edited it some, but thought you might like to see it. We didn't realize, but at the end people "feed" the lions money, we're guessing/assuming in order to bring good luck. The thing is, before it started the adolescent guys who were in the costumes were playing around and acting like...well...acting like people I would never give money too:) Enjoy!

video

And here's a picture of my mom and I that I think is good. We went to one of our favorite malls to walk...which is where we saw the Lion Dance.

February 13, 2008

Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day!" like...

...a little yard work with your mom!

Well, the day started with us making some pink "Heart-shaped" pancakes... although, the jury is still out as to how much they actually resembled hearts... but they tasted great.Then my mom and I went to work... sorry there are no real "before" shots...the grass was grown up a lot on the road... we had already edged it in this picture. We planted a small palm tree and a some filler/border type plants along the edge. My neighbor already had a small mango tree in front of her house, and didn't mind us putting the border stuff in front of her yard too...
And here's the final result...
Not too bad.
The whole point of my mom and I doing the work was because my mom likes doing this kind of thing and for me to squat a lot and do some physical activity that might bring on contractions. Apparently Isaac is immune to it!

Anthony during this time was figuring out how to install the carseat......he eventually got it and Isaac now has a safe place to ride...whenever he decides to come out that is!

February 12, 2008

Day 2 with Mama Janice...

The fun hasn't stopped!Yesterday we went to the doctor, saw some sites, picked up suitcases at the airport (and got lots of fun baby stuff!) and ate with Kakak and Abang.
Here's a fun video of the end of a Chinese Lion Dance... there are lots of these kinds of performances around Chinese New Year...this one was just for a restaurant, so it wasn't that elaborate...but still fun! (sorry it's a bit shaky... I've never confessed to being a great camerawoman)
video
We're glad my mom didn't get detained by authorities for this...
HAHA! It's not what you think... the Aunt Jemima Pancake mix box just didn't handle the flight very well.
Kakak and Abang are always fun to go out with and they've been anxiously awaiting my mom's arrival...
Last night we went and ate sate (satay) with them and their family. Maybe I should have put some of the chili sauce in with my peanut sauce, because even after going all day yesterday Isaac still hasn't come!

February 11, 2008

Grandmama is here!

After about 30 hours of traveling, my (Sharon) Mama made it here safe and sound! She only had about 1 to 2 hours at each layover and pretty much had to run from plane to plane. Unfortunately, baggage handlers were not quite as quick and BOTH of her checked bags (with her clothes, baby goodies, and just general "USA" goodies) haven't made it yet. More than likely they'll get here tomorrow, so no worries. She said she had one goal for this trip and that was to get here before Isaac did. She accomplished that so all is well! She gets to go to the doctor with us tomorrow...unless Isaac comes tonight...which he's allowed to do now that his Grandmama is here!

February 10, 2008

Green Wedding Fun...

Today we went to a wedding. We realize y'all have seen lots of pictures of weddings here. But we wanted to explain one "food" thing about weddings.
This.
This is a "Bunga Telur" or "Flower Egg."
Everyone receives one at every wedding. They're like a party favor.
It's a hard-boiled egg attached to a fake flower on a stick.

We've asked all our friends here where the tradition comes from or what it means and no one has been able to explain it. WE think it probably has roots in some sort of blessing of fertility...eggs...flowers...and since this area hundreds of years ago was Hindu, it's likely left over from that as well. Like when King David in the Bible hands out "raisin cakes" to all Israel...basically encouraging them to "be fruitful and multiply."

Since it was Kakak's cousin who was the groom,
and therefore a bunch of her family was there,
and her family knows that my mom is arriving tomorrow,
it meant we received 3 bunga telurs today,
and we're to give my mom hers when she arrives.

Here are a few more pics of the wedding. It was very green!The Bride and Groom.
The Groom's parents.Kakak's youngest brother (in the blue shirt) singing karaoke.

February 01, 2008

mmmmm...food...

You all requested a food post, so here it is!

We have "Eastern" and "Western" food here.
And we also have food that is neither Eastern nor Western, but is eaten in an Eastern or Western fashion.

Take shrimp for instance.

In the US, the heads are removed, the shells peeled and they are fried, butterflied, sauteed, or served cold as in a shrimp cocktail, or peel-n-eat shrimp (the only time the 'consumer' has to mess with the shell...but still, the head is removed).

Here shrimp is the same.
Well, it's the same animal.
But this is how we usually eat it...
video
Another common food eaten in an Eastern manner is fish.
And here you eat the whole thing, head included.
This is a grilled salmon head.
Anthony's right thumb is messy because he was digging the meat out of the head just before we took the picture. Yes, there is meat in fish heads...and it tastes just like the rest of the fish.
Now here is an example of very "Eastern" food.
The ingredients, the sauces, the plate, and the way it's eaten are all from the "East."
What you see here is "Banana Leaf."Clearly you can see the plates are made of banana leaves.
Nice for the clean-up crew huh?
The nice Indian men will dump a huge thing of white rice on the middle of the leaf.
Then, they scoop out several kinds of lentils, vegetables, curries, and dahl.
Then you mix all of the above together and eat it with your right hand.
When you're done, you fold the banana leaf toward you (as a sign that it was delicious).
If you eat it at a funeral, fold it away from you as a sign that "nothing" tastes good at the moment because of your sorrow.
Banana leaf is messy, but oh-so-good.
Afterwards, you will walk away with yellow fingernails on your right hand because cumin is used in many curries and dahls.

Prepared food is one thing, but there are some foods that God just simply chose to grow in the East and not the West.
Like this here Dragon Fruit.
That's right DRAGON Fruit.
The outside of the fruit is on the left and the inside is on the right.
This one is cut in half. Isn't it such a neat fruit?
(you can see a bowl of it in the fish-head picture)
I mean, of COURSE it's named Dragon fruit. It looks like some kind of fake looking fruit that they would have invented for a scene in Star Trek to try and look alien-ish.
There are two kinds that we've seen here. One has white flesh on the inside and the other has pink. But they're all pink on the outside, and we have no clue how to tell the difference. It basically has the consistency of a kiwi fruit and tastes almost like one, but a little less tangy.

And then there's Western Food.
Prepared a Western way.
Eaten in a Western manner.
Here's a gargantuan burger from Carl's Jr.
(aka "Hardee's" for all our East Coast friends. Recognize the star? See! You may have even learned something about your own food you didn't know. Hardee's and Carl's Jr are the same!)
There are other foods here that are worth mentioning, so we'll keep our eyes peeled for future food posts.