Thursday, February 23, 2006

10 Months Pregnant!

Here's a little known fact that you may or may not care about. The Japanese count ten months of pregnancy as opposed to the Western nine. 40 weeks gestation divided by 4 weeks to a month equals. . . Come on, you math whizzes -- exactly 10 months of pregnancy! I like this system, because all I have to do when someone asks me how many months pregnant I am is to take the week I'm at and divide by four. So, yes, I suppose now I have to admit that learning all those multiplication tables in elementary school is finally serving a useful purpose!

Anyway, as of two weeks ago, I officially entered my tenth month of pregnancy. At last week's doctor's appointment, the doctor confirmed that the baby's head was descending. And as of this week, Baby Campbell is considered full-term. The home stretch.

It is hard to describe my feelings at this point in the pregnancy. Excited, yet terrified. Ready to meet this little one face to face, yet completely unprepared for the responsibility of caring for a newborn. Wanting the pregnancy to end, yet apprehensive and a little fearful of the labor and birth process. It all seems so surreal. . . yet somehow normal. Babies are born every day, all around the world, yet each birth is its own miraculous event.

Our God is an awesome God!

Monday, February 20, 2006


Rusty bought himself this HUGE chocolate bar for Valentine's Day. I don't know, maybe he thought I would forget to give him a present or something? Anyway, this is what he wrote on the outside of the wrapping paper:

To: Rusty
From: Rusty

Dear Rusty,
I love you so much that I wanted to do something sweet and nice for you, so I bought you this CAMPBELL-size chocolate bar. Enjoy! Love, Rusty

" In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it..." (Ephesians 5:28-29a)

"Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself." (Ephesians 5:33)

P.S. Rusty, I am so in love with you. May it last for eternity!
P.S.S. Your wife is totally cool!
P.S.S.S. Good luck with the whole baby thing. May he be a CAMPBELL-size stud like his father.

I swear, I am not making this up!

Ah, L'Amour

So, this year, for Valentine's Day, I wanted to do something special for Rusty. I wanted to let him know how much I love him and how much I appreciate all he does for me and our soon-to-be family. If you know us, even a little, you know that Rusty is probably even more of a hopeless romantic than I am (if that is possible)! He is so good at making me feel like a princess on those special days like Valentine's Day, my birthday, and our anniversary. And this time, I wanted to try to out-do him!

I started the day off with a home-made Valentine's Day card. After he went to work, I spent most of the day working on a special treat for dessert that night -- a cranberry cheesecake. When he got home from work, I was dressed and ready to take him out to dinner -- to a classy Italian restaurant near our house that we have both been wanting to try for awhile now. After dinner, it was back home for coffee and cranberry cheesecake -- absolutely divine, if I do say so myself! Rusty agreed. In fact, he said it was definitely good enough to request again, say on his birthday this year... I consider that the ultimate compliment.

Who do you love? Did you find a creative way to tell them so this Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 13, 2006

No Wonder They Think We're Crazy!

I'm sure if a Japanese person had walked into the house in the middle of this game, they would have gone away shaking their heads and with their suspicions that all gaijin (foreigners) suffer from insanity confirmed. We are playing the "Mike McLain Version" of a card game called "The Great Dalmuti." The addition of the goofy-looking hats, as well as a few other random rules, makes for a pretty hilarious game. And it seems like it gets more hilarious the longer you play and the later you stay up. Why is that, I wonder?

Christmas in February

On Friday, February 10th, Santa (aka Rusty's family, Mary, Ronda, Robbie and Johnny) made a special delivery to our door -- two packages, stuffed full of Christmas presents and other goodies. Who said Christmas only happens once a year?

Is it time to open presents yet?

Socks, socks, and more socks. Funny, I get these for Christmas every year, and they are never on my wish list.

Scrapbooking supplies for the family historian.

Candy canes and Toby Keith -- a winning combination.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Now That's Service!

One of the really great things about Japan is the high level of customer service you can expect pretty much anywhere you go. Whether you're eating at the local McDonald's or a five-star restaurant, walk in and you'll receive the same friendly greetings, the same polite bows, and the same "we're-so-happy-to-serve-you-today" smiles. All of this WITHOUT the annoyance of tipping! No wondering at the end of the meal how big a tip to leave, no feeling the pressure to leave at least 10% even for poor service...

Now, before all of you who have ever waited tables jump down my throat about this, I understand why we tip, at least in America -- the restaurants only pay their wait staff a measly $2 an hour and expect them to make the rest of their money by kissing up to the customers. And anyone who knows Rusty knows that he is a VERY generous tipper. But in Japan, waiters and waitresses earn a decent hourly salary and are expected, as a matter of course, to deliver excellent customer service. At all times. To every customer. In fact, if you try to leave a tip in Japan, they will chase you down and return your money. Now that's service!

So, a couple of weeks ago, Rusty and I went out with friends for lunch after church on Sunday. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, a local Italian place called Woody's. Since we were a large group, they seated us upstairs in their private room. Several waiters and waitresses helped to carry all the food up when it was ready. One young man, as he passed behind and leaned over Rusty to set down another person's plate, managed to spill a good deal of curry sauce all down the inside of Rusty's coat. Luckily, Rusty was not wearing the coat at the time; it was draped over the back of his chair. It was an honest mistake and could have happened to anyone. Nobody acted angry or upset.

Well, the wait staff felt terrible about what had happened. They immediately went to work with napkins and a wet cloth on Rusty's coat and the back of the chair, mopping up most of the mess. When they finished and left, after much bowing and apologizing, we thought that was the end of it. But a few minutes later, the manager came upstairs. There was more bowing and apologizing. He told us that Rusty's meal would be on the house today. He looked at Rusty's coat. He decided it wasn't clean enough, so he asked us if the restaurant could pay to have it dry-cleaned. We explained that the coat was machine-washable, so we would just take care of it at home. Honestly, it was probably in need of a washing anyway! He asked us if he could at least take the coat down to the kitchen and give it a more thorough spot-clean. We said sure, if it would make him feel better.

As we were finishing our meal, a waitress came upstairs with a piece of cheesecake for Rusty. We had not ordered cheesecake, so we first thought there had been a mistake. But no, there was no mistake. This was a "service," she explained (with more bowing and apologizing). Rusty ate his "service" cheesecake with great relish -- he even shared a bite with me. Then we gathered our things and went downstairs to pay. The entire wait staff came out to bow and apologize one more time for all the inconvenience. The manager stood behind the young waiter who had spilled the curry, pushing his head down lower into a deeper, more apologetic bow. He returned Rusty's coat, along with an entire box of laundry detergent (see picture above). I think if we had stayed any longer, they might have offered to send somebody home with us to start the washer and hang the coat out to dry!

If this same thing had happened in America, we most likely would have gotten a simple apology from the waiter. If we had pitched a fit, we might have gotten a free meal, or a coupon to use on our next visit. But we didn't even get mean and nasty, and the ENTIRE STAFF rallied to apologize and make sure we were happy and satisfied customers who would come to their restaurant again. Now that's service!