That College Feeling

In my effort to continue introducing Matthew to different kinds of music, I put on one of my old James Taylor CDs from Milligan today. What a bunch of fun memories it brought back! My first roommate Betsy in her big papasan chair under her loft-style bed, playing guitar, planning her wedding, and eating ramen. The rooms looking like prison cells when we got there but then flowering under our touches. Hanging out with friends and studying till the wee hours. Eating those Moon Pies out of that big box Kealy brought to Hart Hall. "Creeking" friends in that cold water when they got engaged. Averting our eyes as we passed through the lobby of our dorm when people were snogging with their boyfriends. Rooting for my high school friend Amy when she had volleyball games. Climbing around the high ledge of that big round gym (shhhh, don't tell my parents I ever did that). Walking up Sutton Hill to the cafeteria between classes. Getting mad at people who drove to class when it was only a five-minute walk across campus. Laughing about girls who went to college to get their "MRS." degree.

And I remembered what was all the rage then:

  • jeans overalls
  • Birkenstocks (I still have my twice-resoled pair, and they look pretty sad, actually, but found a new pair on sale at Costco last week - yay!)
  • plaid flannel shirts
  • James Taylor.
I know why all these things were such a hit -- comfort, durability, and the sweet tones of a smooth guitar and an even smoother voice.

Simple Pleasures in Life

I've been getting into foodie blogs lately (mainly because of the bento-ing I've been doing) and man, some of these people can write so well about food it makes your mouth water. You can sense their passion, their love of taste-bud temptations.

Stephen and I have been going wild for fruit lately -- 'tis a good season -- and you know what? My two favorite home-brewed desserts in the past couple of weeks have been so simple, but oh, so yummily powerful, the products of my fertile food-loving imagination.

1. Mango sauce poured over vanilla ice cream. The perfect pair in color and taste.
2. Passion fruit seeds dolloped over vanilla ice cream. Seedy-sour crunchiness against that smooth white creamy backdrop. Yum yum. Let me at it.

When Trees Sweat...

It sure smells good!

I got some great lung fulls as I went on my traditional round-the-block stroll at lunch time today. The trees and plants were perspiring in the humidity and the air even tasted green. I love working where I work.

Bento Lunch, Matthew Style

Head on over to Bento Yum to see the first proper bento lunch I ever made. This is fun stuff!

Dinner and Dancing

Man, it's hard to get good pics of little boys on the move! Matthew's friend Rikuto and his parents came for dinner last night, and the boys had fun chasing each other around, dancing to music, and generally having a rootin' tootin' good time. The parents had a grand time just laughing at/with the kiddos! (We got some good video that Stephen can upload later, so watch this space.)

Ziploc My Brain, Please

I have to blog this before Stephen does so that the real truth can shine before any jokey embellishments are published.

The sad reality is bad enough...

Yes, folks, last night Stephen opened up the fridge to look for a snack, only to find a box of Ziploc sandwich baggies on the top shelf.

Let me explain: Matthew is back on his breakfast oatmeal kick, so about once a week I boil up a big pot of the stuff, divvy it up into baggies, and freeze it. Makes it easy every morning -- I just grab a bag to defrost for him.

So last night was my oatmeal-divvying-up night, and the cabinet that I put the baggies box into just happens to be next to the fridge. Yes, Matthew sleeps through the night, and I seem to get enough sleep, but I guess I was kind of out of it.

OK, must've been a lot out of it.

And I was concerned about one of my grandmas because she found some money in her freezer she never remembered putting there. Maybe that's next for me...but finding money sounds kinda fun, actually.


Sweet hubby brought me some sunny sunflowers yesterday to brighten up the rainy season. And today the big sun put on his hat and came out to play!

Curry Connoisseur

We've discovered the secret to getting Matthew to eat proper amounts of food -- whatever you're eating, he wants.

Tonight was chicken curry with nutty yogurt chutney for the parentals and chicken curry with mango for the Matthew (in lieu of mango chutney, which I cannot find over here). What chowhounds (Matthew ate a lot, too)!

2nd Anniversary - 6 Years Later

Stephen and I had two weddings - one in Florida, a honeymoon in Ireland in between, and then our second ceremony in England two weeks after the first one. Somehow this one seems to slip our minds, but when we were out lunching yesterday with Matthew, Stephen suddenly remembered. (Not that the England wedding was any less special, by the way! Maybe we both have too many brain farts - are we old farts now?)

Anyway, Matthew enjoyed our England anniversary by helping me eat my rice and then my cheesecake (in addition to his own meal). I loved my lunch! Gourmet pork cutlets with crunchy breading, served with yummy purple-veined lettuce, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, lemon slice, yuzu (citron) salt, two homemade sauces (a tomatoey one and a tartar one), and unlimited amounts of really delicious rice (good when you've got a Matthew around).

The restaurant is in an old renovated kura, a traditional Japanese storehouse like the one in the picture (though the restaurant here doesn't have nearly the beautiful surroundings of the one in the picture - much more concrete here). We enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of the brick walls, the wooden beams, and the soft funky modern lighting.

We'll definitely take future visitors to Japan there. Just let us know when your flights are!


Drumming on the leaves
Noisy showers of blessing
Watering my soul

The rainy season is here in full more swinging from the trees for a while...might slip off. Wouldn't be pretty.

Eight Random Facts / Habits Meme

Sarah over at mommyinjapan tagged me to do another meme!

Here are the rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog post about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight things? Here goes:

1. I'm twirling my hair again. I used to do this as a kid (my mom does it, too) but a couple of years ago I asked Papa to help me stop, and I didn't do it once in two whole years! I don't know what it was about this past December (maybe because we were all sick for a month and I was home bored) but I started again. I do it when I'm nursing Matthew, at red lights, when I'm reading, and sometimes when on the computer. (It makes me feel for people who are trying to quit smoking, which must be a whole lot more addictive than hair-twirling.)

2. Someday I want to write an e-cookbook about yogurt. Yep, I love that stuff and I experiment with it in cooking all the time. Maybe it's because sour cream is so darned expensive in this country. I remember my Mommee Melt (who turns 90 in July!) putting plain yogurt on top of her black cherry frozen yogurt to cut the sweetness, and I used to think that was really weird. Now I think it would probably be pretty good!

3. I've always loved sour/salty foods, even from when I was a little kid. Give me olives and pickles anyday and I'd give you a big kiss. And you know what? Yesterday Matthew was eyeing my salad at lunch, so I gave him half a black olive from it, and the kid went nuts. He ate all my black olives, and you know I have to love him a heck of a lot to willingly give those up.

4. I read cookbooks like they're novels, and I drool over the pictures (especially in Nigella Lawson books - she's got one good food photographer, or maybe a whole troupe of them). My two favorite cookbooks are Mennonite ones - More with Less and Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook. I was renting Jamie Oliver cooking show DVDs (with Japanese subtitles) but haven't had a lot of time for that since I started bento-ing.

5. I'm a good hugger, and that's one thing that really bothers me about Japan (sorry, Japanese friends!). Stephen and Matthew are the main recipients of these hugs, as they should be anyway, but sometimes, even after almost six years here, I reach to hug somebody who's Japanese and it weirds them out. I guess you can't take America out of the girl completely.

6. I haven't been so good at listening, though I am trying to work on it. I'll ask Stephen about his day at work and then my mind wanders to emails, phone calls I need to make, what's happening with dinner, my to-do list, whatever. It's ridiculous!

7. I could be a Monk addict if they still showed that show over here on BS (yes, the channel is really called that!). I'd even stay up till 10:45 on Tuesdays if I could just have my Monk fix.

8. I'm reading What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard Feynman right now. The guy is absolutely a scream - I'm not scientifically minded but the man cracks me up. This is the follow-up to Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! which is equally amusing. Feynman was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for his jokes and bongo-playing.

OK, that's it for me! I know I'm supposed to tag eight people, but I'll do three: Sheena at SeouLife, Teresa at A Cup of T, and Lisa at Maker of Swords. You're on, guys!

I'm so glad...

...that Papa never gets tired of changing our poopy diapers.

Confined in a Small Space

I had to get a pic of the two boys in the playard, and seeing Stephen's legs taking up most of the space in there got me thinking. I wonder if this is how Jesus felt when He came to earth to be a man? He had fun sometimes hanging out with his friends, but maybe he felt a bit claustrophobic, knowing what the real world was like outside that confined space.

Boxed In

This is why I haven't been posting much on our blog lately - bento boxes of madness have taken over! I've had over 45 orders in the last three weeks, and it's been a juggling act keeping up. I go to about six different stores to get all the sets and accessories, sometimes they have what I need, sometimes I buy everything of several items, and maybe the next day they won't have anything I need. And with Japanese traffic the way it is, it can be a challenge getting back in time for Matthew's nap. Madness, I tell you! But fun. I've had so many positive responses from customers about how they love their sets, and it's been interesting getting to know some of them a bit via email. Most of my orders come from the States, but I've had a few from the UK and even one from India. We're going global!

Jinbei Boy

Stephen had a happy Father's Day with his new jinbei (pajama-type outfit for summer) and his 2D beer card. Ah, that's the life.

You know what? Stephen's a great Daddy for Matthew - I couldn't ask for better. He makes Matthew giggle up a storm (especially during Human Swing time), he's firm and loving with discipline, and the most telling of all - Matthew cannot wait for Stephen to get home from work every evening, and he cries when he goes out in the morning.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there: our dad in America, our dad in England, friend dads and family dads, and our Big Papa Daddy.

Funny, all these years and I never told Him Happy Father's Day until today.

Bacon Butties - WWJD?

Mum and Dad informed me that they are having bacon butties at church this morning. I'm sure that would get a lot of English people out of bed on a Sunday morning, but I am wondering - what would Jesus (as a Jew) do?

Matthew and Friends

Our friends Kenji and Masano (the friend I met during my homestay in England in 1998)
came over last night for dinner and Matthew had a blast hanging out with them. He also hasn't stopped looking at the cute Japanese picture book Masano brought for him.

(By the way, Kenji is a dentist and said Matthew has nice teeth - no thanks to the little bean who puts up a huge fight every time we brush those pearly whites.)

Strides Forward

Today Matthew took four proper steps from the outside wall of his playard to me as I was sitting on the sofa (I was on the phone, so he was very motivated to get to it, not necessarily to get to me!). What a big boy - he was very proud of himself!

And I noticed he's got two new teeth, one at the upper back right and one at the bottom back left. Up to a whopping total of ten!

A Tale of a Tick

Stephen suggested I should give this post the title "Ticked Off" and I guess you'll see why!

Poor Matthew woke up this morning with a slightly reddened wrist, but no big deal, we thought. Then he slept for three hours between 8:30 and 11:30 (very unusual for a morning nap!), and as he was eating lunch his wrist jumped into my line of vision and scared the bejeebers out of me.

I don't know if you can tell from that picture, but his wrist is really swollen. I called Stephen because I didn't know what was going on (Matthew had his polio vaccine yesterday so we didn't know if it was some weird reaction), and because today is Thursday and Thursday is not a good day for your child to have a health problem (our pediatrician is closed and another pediatrician close by is closed between 12:00 and 4:30), Stephen suggested I come pick him up from work and we go to a general hospital. So we went. And guess what? They don't receive outpatients after 11:00. So, if your child has a problem, it shouldn't be on a Thursday OR after after 11:00 am.

Stephen went back to work, Matthew and I came home and took short naps, and then booked it in the pouring rain to the pediatrician who opens after 4:30 (and God bless my good friend Nobue for coming with us to help out - I know it's silly in retrospect but I was worried the doc might call the police on the gaijin for abusing her child!).

So the street to that particular pediatrician's office is closed off to cars with a big rusty metal barrier between 3 pm and 5 pm for the kids coming home from the elementary school. I drove around the block trying to decide what to do, went back, parked the car in the middle of the road perpendicular to this road, got out in the rain, and dragged that stupid barrier away. I was pretty hacked off by this point. Your kid can't get sick on a Thursday and can't get to the doctor's office between 3 and 5, right when the doc's office is open. Hmmm.

So anyway, apparently Matthew's been bitten by a dani, a "dog tick" as the dictionary translates it. I've never seen any tick except the big fat kind that dig themselves into your scalp when you're in the shower in a campground in North Carolina. But anyway, this Japanese cousin is invisible but vicious.

We've got some steroid cream from the doc so we'll see if that takes the swelling down. And next week maybe we'll be able to enter Matthew into a baby sumo tournament.

Wet and Wainy

Another aspect of being a gaijin in Japan - maybe you never quite get used to the rainy season! This is one time when I long for a clothes dryer, I get tired of my clothes smelling a bit musty for a month every year, and I wish my shoes wouldn't get moldy in the cabinet in our entrance hall.

But I do love the sound of the rain pitter-pattering on the leaves of the two trees outside our living room window, and the birds seem happy to have a shower.

Good Neighbors

We were invited to tea, Japanese style, yesterday afternoon after Matthew's polio vaccine. Our neighbors down the road love Matthew, and it was our first time to visit this mother-and-daughter pair, but Matthew loved being pampered. He had everything he's not allowed to have at home - custard pudding and cookies! Also enjoyed a cup of milk and some banana while Mommy had some traditional green tea and a yuzu (citron) sweet. It's hydrangea season here, so the cup of tea was served on a hydrangea leaf from their gorgeous garden.

It seems to be the official beginning of the hot, muggy rainy season (tsuyu), and it was very refreshing to sit in their lovely home overlooking the healing garden.

Good News on the Vaccine Front

Remember how I prayed for my friend to have a quick polio vaccine experience for her and her daughter? And how the nurses were amazed at how short the lines were?

Well, it's happened again, and this time for Matthew and me. I was dreading long lines yesterday for his second polio vaccine (last time we were there for about 3 hours), BUT we were in and out in less than forty minutes! Thanks, Papa, for answering prayers, even seemingly insignificant ones!

The Garden

I've never heard anyone preach a sermon on this, but I'm just pondering why so many significant history-changing events through the years have taken place in gardens.

Adam and Eve turned their backs on God, their Friend, the One who walked with them every day, in the first garden. It had been a perfect place, unmarred by sin or nastiness of any sort. You know the rest of that story. We see it every day in every place - hurting people, poverty, abuse, disasters.

Judas chose to betray his Sensei in a garden, where Jesus had gone numerous times with his disciples to hang out. Judas knew that place well - he had been one of the close companions who was told the real meaning of the parables, probably in that same verdant place.

After Jesus was murdered and his friends went to his tomb, Mary saw Jesus but thought he was the gardener at first. (Obviously there must've been, yes indeed, a garden near the tomb.) What a powerful moment when she realized who he really was! He asked her not to cling to him, so it sounds like she was doing exactly what I would've done!

And later...oh, later! How beautiful that Garden will be! Revelation 22 revealed this to me: "Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit for each month. [Is the number twelve significant here? Twelve disciples - even though one betrayed Sensei, twelve are restored and producing good fruit, just like we are restored to God through Jesus - just an Abigail thought.] The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center."

God must have a green thumb.

Bento Yum Is Famous!

Check out the article about Bento Yum on The Search Engine Guide.

Fifteen Months Old!

  • Loves to play chase with me around the sofa, and has learned to look under the sofa to find out where I am!
  • I got him a big green polka dot beach ball (with some clear bits), and he likes to look through the clear bits to see out the other side.
  • Has learned to open our doors! Great developmental milestone, but not so wonderful for parents.
  • Is able to reach higher and higher for things he's after, and stands on tippy toes now.
  • Thinks "Come here, Pickle" means crawl faster in the direction away from Mommy.
  • Sucks his thumb after I cut his fingernails (and I have to cut his fingernails while he's distracted by a baby DVD).
  • Loves lights! Reaches for them even if there's no hope of touching, and just this past month started doing the sign language for light, his first-ever sign.
  • Touches a finger to his lip when he's concentrating on something.
  • Still likes to shake his head from side to side and just lately he's using it to mean no.
  • I can't get good pictures of Matthew with his little friends anymore because they're all too fast and wiggly.
  • Loves chasing the light spots on the floor and paper doors in late afternoon.
  • Likes to feed Mommy sometimes, just for a change of pace. He tears his food in half and puts half in my mouth and then half in his own. So sweet!
  • New foods he's tried this past month and likes: grapefruit, guacamole, saffron rice and black beans, baked beans, and bean and pumpkin curry. Didn't go for watermelon at first, but likes it now.
  • Perks up when he hears Japanese on his Baby Einstein languages DVD and laughs in delight when he sees a little Asian girl on his Baby Praise DVD. Does he already think he's Japanese?
  • We play a game where Stephen and I pretend we don't see Matthew. We look around, humming or singing, and then when we spot Matthew we act surprised. He LOVES that!
  • Hyperextends his knees and elbows like Stephen.
  • Tried to put his onesie on by himself last night. He's getting to be a little boy!
  • He's almost given up having a morning nap, but is sleeping a bit longer at night and in the afternoon.
  • Says "eh-uu" every time he drops something.
  • Takes 1 or 2 steps, looks down, realizes he's walking, and lunges for the nearest thing, which is usually the floor.
  • Has just started saying "ahkka" for "cracker" and is so pleased with himself! (Now he's using that word for everything.)
  • Is so intelligent! He has a Dr. Seuss ABC book that he loves, and the camel on the "C" page is walking on the ceiling, so Matthew turns the book upside down so he can see the animal properly!
  • Sometimes when Matthew is dancing and he really gets into it, he holds onto a piece of furniture, bops up and down, and sticks his little bum out.
  • He can flick the lock under the door handle back and forth.
  • Matthew's hair has just started getting wavy in the back.
  • Loves when I play near and far (just like on Sesame Street). I run up and touch noses with Matthew and say "near," then run away and say "far!" He laughs so hard! (I get pretty tired after a while, though.)

Carrot Top

No, not the comedian. I learned from my friend Kikue in Kanazawa that you can grow little feathery leaves from a cut carrot top if you leave it in water for a little while. And it works! Here it is hanging out with Bob the Cactus on my kitchen window, facing the outside stairs.

Six Wonderful Years!

We've had quite a lot happen in six years! Stephen and I got hitched in June 2001, came to Japan in August of that same year, and the rest is history! That first year was very difficult for us - not only did we get married, which is a major adjustment in itself, but we moved to a third country, I had to deal with culture shock, and Stephen did too to some degree (though he'd lived in Japan before), 9/11 happened soon after we came, and then a week later my cousin went to heaven. We've had an eventful marriage so far, but we feel so blessed in all our adventures here in Japan. Stephen's had three jobs and we've lived in three different places in Japan since then. We've also got a sweet energetic bundle of fun named Matthew now (fifteen months old tomorrow), and last night celebrated our anniversary at a Spanish-style restaurant here in Nishinomiya. The food was gorgeous! We had three tapas plates: a creamy warm potato dish with herbs and garlic, an onion and bacon tart, and an absolutely yummy kabocha (pumpkin) dish that was boiled, then sauteed in olive oil, and served cold in a mysterious marinade of something like vinegar, lemon juice, and honey or sugar. Oh my word, it was SO delicious. Our main course was a big beautiful paella with shellfish, octopus, shrimp, chicken, pork, and lots of good veggies, served with lemon wedges. (We took a picture but it turned out blurry, and no, not because we had any sangria, though we both longed for some. Stephen was driving and I had to feed Matthew later so it was off limits for both of us. Maybe next time.)

When we picked up Matthew from Nobue's house about 8 pm, he was having so much fun that his little heart was racing! He and Rei chan were chasing each other around the place and I don't think he missed us at all. Nobue said he even ate all of his dinner, which he hasn't been doing lately. I guess he was celebrating, too.

I have a lot to be thankful for. Stephen is a great hubby and everything that I used to dream about. Only God could have orchestrated our meeting! Who would've thought a little Florida girl would meet a British bloke because of their mutual love of Japan?

The Scream

I wonder what the neighbors think of the gaijin on the second floor?

Stephen came home the other day to a wifey in the kitchen cooking dinner (aw, what a sweet scene!), a baby in a playard in the living room listening to music and attacking his toys (also very sweet), and all the windows open while a nice breeze wafted through the apartment.

What Stephen didn't realize is that the fan over the stove, even on the low setting, is louder than a semi-truck coming through your head, and that even though he was singing along to the music, his wife couldn't hear this.

So when wifey let out a blood-curdling scream as hubby popped into the kitchen, I'm sure the neighbors were concerned.

But the police never showed up and the Mundays were all relieved about this. Wifey's heart was still pounding for a long time, though.

The Shack

So many book jackets promise a life-changing read (especially "Christian" books) and the contents never get anywhere near that, so when a book in humility doesn't make any such statement but then delivers a powerful and indeed life-changing experience, I want to tell everybody I know about it.

The Shack did that for me. I just finished it yesterday morning and have been itching to blog about it since then. I've read some dry theology books in my day (and believe me, they were dry) but oh my word, this is nothing like that. The Shack is a goosebumpy spine-tinglingly powerful story of God's nature and Love.

This is a non-theology theological supernatural intelligent dialogue in novel form (with some Matrix and Sophie's World thrown in), and that's all I can say without giving away too much.

I first heard about this book via The God Journey podcast via Chuck and Julie in Kyushu (thanks, guys!). The Shack's author is a Canadian by birth who grew up in Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua) and he brings a wealth of experience and pain to this book.

But it's not about troubles per se. It's about questions and grace and an ongoing relationship...

You can't buy it in stores yet, but check out to find out more. You just have to read it for yourself, and if you do, let me know and let's talk about it. I can't wait to find out what you think.

Food, Glorious Food

My friend who ended up not being able to visit during Golden Week sent me these gorgeous sweet Japanese cookies, and I had to have some with some bitter green tea during my afternoon break on the couch today. What a stunning pair, in looks and taste! I couldn't resist taking a snapshot of these beauties.

The Bibless Wonder

The Little Bean knows how to take off his bib now and does so without any provocation.

You can see his three mosquito bites on his arm, too, which did NOT morph into chickenpox as the doc expected. We were in that hot airless quarantine room for no reason!

The Little Pumpkin Is Happy Again

Good news about Matthew: He slept over 12 hours last night, and he's eating fruits and veggies again! Yea! He's still got snot and a cough and he's not allowed to get his 2nd polio vaccine tomorrow, but he's on the up and up. He was never screaming or acting like he was in major pain from the ear infection, but his energy levels certainly seem to have returned.

Bento Food

I've been posting bento sets for sale over at Bento Yum, but just posted my first bento food pic that I thought you might want to see. It's Stephen's lunch for tomorrow, but just so you don't worry, his food doesn't always look this pretty.

Mango Madness

I was browsing my Co-op catalog to order some of my groceries for next week and came across this special "Father's Day" mango for 2480 yen. Yep, folks, that's about US$20. For one mango.

My Backpack and Me

Well, folks, it's so hard to say goodbye. After 13 years and college, teaching in Florida, teaching in Japan, riding my bike around the city, and a little over a year as a diaper bag, my Jansport is retiring with a broken zipper. (I know, it has a lifetime guarantee, but as far as I know there's no repair center in this country.) It's a sad day here in Jansport Land, but I went out, bought a new one (not a JS), and funny thing, the zipper on that new one broke within a day. I'm on my second one in two days. You gotta love that JS quality. My newest one is red and black (two of my favorite colors), though, so it almost makes up for it.

Poor Pumpkin

It's official: Matthew has his first ever (and hopefully last) ear infection. He's had a cold since last Wednesday and I kept putting off going to the doc, every day thinking he'd get better. We went to the pediatrician on Monday, but she was across the street at her OB/GYN brother's office helping with an emergency, so we went back yesterday. She was there, thankfully.

There's no real appointment system at a lot of doctor's offices here, so you just wait...and wait...and wait. And after Yoshida Sensei saw Matthew and saw the mosquito bites on his arm, we had to wait some more in a tiny quarantine room away from all the other kiddos (she thought he had chickenpox). When we came out, we got a lot of looks, let me tell you.

The pediatrician didn't look at his ears, she just prescribed medicine for his snot and cough, and then sent us, with a letter, to an ENT guy down the road from us. Guess what? You got it! We had to wait some more. The nurses at the ENT's laughed when they saw his mosquito bites and wondered why the pediatrician had sent a letter warning them about chickenpox. They didn't make us wait in the Outer Sanctum.

The ENT doesn't wash his hands between patients (gross), and the kid two patients ahead of us had full-blown chickenpox. But this doc has a good reputation, and he's close to us, so we went. We've been there before, last December when we were all sick about a month, and the doc is pretty nice.

Poor Matthew screamed his head off when the doc checked his ears, and 3 nurses and I held him down, and then he yelled some more when they gave him a breathing treatment and held some round red lights up to his ears (anybody know what that's about?).

So we didn't get lunch till 1:30, and by then Matthew and I were totally exhausted. Matthew refused to eat, only wanted breastmilk, and then promptly fell asleep. I shoveled my food in and took a nap, too.

So later, Stephen came home and was holding Matthew. I noticed some gauze sticking out of Matthew's ear, we called the ENT, and they said the gauze would just naturally come out on its own. I'd never heard of that so pulled it out myself. Probably a big no-no but I didn't want to have to take him back for them to fish it out later.

Poor Matthew's still snotty and not eating much except breastmilk. (He is downing yogurt and cheese, but doesn't even want his beloved fruit. You should've seen the array of foods I had on the table for him today at lunch: garlic mashed potatoes and BBQ chicken, homemade pumpkin soup, kiwi and strawberries, fruit-juice-sweetened jello, etc., and he only went for the cheese and yogurt and one cracker. It's a good thing he's still eating his yogurt, though, because that's what I put his medicine in - it's in powder form.) Matthew's quieter and less energetic than usual, but hopefully the antibiotics will kick in soon. I can tell he's not his usual self because he wants to be held more. He's usually Mr. Independent Roamer.

Matthew's not sleeping as well as usual, either, and we're a bit pooped. I've been cancelling appointments with friends, and I haven't done much on the bento front except keeping up with emails and a bit of shopping last night. And housework? Ha! Anybody wanna come do some dishes?

Laughing at the Sheep

... or was it a poodle?

Four Times the Fun

Matthew had some friends visit on Wednesday and they all liked the looks of each other's lunches better than their own, of course.

Riku kun and Jidai kun were both born within a few days of Matthew kun at the same clinic, and we three mommies became friends in the clinic dining room. I heard Jidai kun's mom in labor while I was down in the breastfeeding room (adjacent to one of the delivery rooms) with Matthew in the middle of the night getting some help from one of the midwives, so I feel a special fondness for little Jidai. Misuzu chan's mom became friends with the rest of us via Jidai kun's mom.

Anyway, I hadn't seen them for a while and it was fun to catch up. Jidai kun is going to be a big brother in August, and it might be some time before we all get together there again. There will be a fifth wee one to snuggle then. These four were too busy for that kind of thing! It's amazing I had even one photo turn out.

Potty Training

Great posture. Bullseye aim. A perfect 10.0 from the American judge. Even the East German gives him a 9.5.

Now we just have to get him to go in the right place....

B-Day Boy

(Here he is with his birthday breakfast grapefruit.)

Today's Stephen's birthday, in case some of you didn't know, and I asked him how it felt to be 35.

His reply? "Kinda like 24."


Did someone say..... 24?

Or was it 37? (Mum said she was reminiscing about what a tiny little baby I was 37 years ago.)]


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