Good News on the Grandma Front

Stephen's ninety-five-year-old Grandma Wright has come through her hip surgery, her confusion from the medication, and is back to her old self, up and walking around the hospital with a walker and a physical therapist. I told you she was tough! And very sweet at the same time. We're so happy about the news.

Future Horn Player

Drive-Thru Moo Juice

If some genius decided to open up a drive-thru bread and milk joint, I'd be all for it. Anybody ever heard of a place like that? I haven't, but am thinking about patenting it, and I'll be the first customer there (and I'd make it into the shape of a huge cow - the window where they pass you the stuff and where you pay would be a giant pink udder coming down from the ceiling).

Not that I'm terribly lazy, mind you, it'd just be so much easier with a child in the back seat. No unwrapping from and wrapping back into the car seat...and Matthew would get a kick out of the cow anyway.

One Tough Lady

We got a call yesterday from our Mum in the UK saying that Stephen's Grandma Wright (95 years old) had fallen and broken her hip and was going to have surgery yesterday afternoon. We were praying that God would comfort her and provide her with amazing peace, no matter the outcome, and Grandma has come through and is recovering on the hospital ward now (despite pre-existing heart and breathing problems). She's my hero!

Summertime is BBQ Time

Church BBQ yesterday evening..

Minato kun (4 months), newest addition to the church family, but sadly moving near Tokyo next April when his dad starts his new job.

You know this little bean!

Ah, how sweet, Daddy and toddler-bean (Matthew looking at the BBQ hungrily)!

Rice onigiri mixed with seasonings, perfect for grabbing and munching while the BBQ food grills up to perfection.

Pastor's wife and daughters tending the grill -- it was yummy fare, so thanks, Yoshino family!

Video Vacation Updates

Before we get too far removed from our vacation, I wanted to post some videos of our time in Awaji. And, lo and behold, just as I was thinking about having to log into Google, upload the videos and then embed them in Blogger, I noticed that they have finally integrated video uploads into the Blogger interface, so I can upload them as easily as uploading pictures. Or that is what I assume! I haven't used it yet, so here goes:

First of all, here are some videos from the Keinomatsubara beach.


Matthew was a bit unsure about the sea at first and clung to me, but soon he was up for some splashing:


Matthew really developed in his walking while we were away. I think it was the combination of seeing Chikara and Sarah's kids running around and the large open spaces of the living room in the log house that inspired him. This video is pretty cute and funny when he falls on his bum at the end. Enjoy.


OK. Blogger is throwing errors now when I try to upload more with this post, so I guess I'm done for the night. Hope you enjoyed the videos!

Awaji Cabin (More Detail)

Our friend Sarah wrote in more detail than I did about the cabin we stayed in on Awaji, and about the fun road to get there.

Date Morning

I guess when you have a child you grab a date with your hubby whenever you can. So instead of the traditional "date night," Stephen and I had a movie morning!

My friend Nobue and her husband Masayuki kindly agreed to take care of Matthew this morning, I made a bento for his lunch, and we had him over there by 9:30 am. Not an easy feat for a Saturday morning, but Matthew waking up at 5:30 paved the way for us to have plenty of time to get ready. Stephen and I both had work we had to do (customers to email and so forth) so we got that done as well.

Stephen and I got to our 10:30 am movie (I've never seen a movie that early before!) on Rokko Island with enough time to spare for us to wait while they made me a fresh decaf coffee at Starbucks on the first floor (long time no see Starbucks), and we even grabbed some special movie blankets they had available for movie-goers (bigger, thicker, and softer than airline blankies) on our way in to see Ocean's 13. I've never heard of movie blankies before, but it was nice as I was wearing a skirt and movie theaters are always cold.

The movie was awesome, almost as good as the first one. I love heist films, and this was very well done.

Matthew had fun, we had fun, and everybody was happy. Nobue told me this evening that after we picked Matthew up from their place, her daughter Rei chan kept saying "Matchoo Matchoo" because she missed her little buddy, and "no no" in English because Nobue had had to say that to Matthew a few times. (Only a few?)

Matthew No

We're thinking of changing our last name from Munday to No. We say "Matthew No" often enough that he probably thinks that's his full name.

And on that topic, I'm thinking that that's probably why "no" is many toddlers' first word, repeated over and over and over...

Vacation - Day 6 (August 20)

We decided to take the extra-fun route home, and I had seen an organic cafe back at the flower place near the north of the island when we were there on the eighteenth, so we went back there for lunch.

And it was yummy. Stephen and I both got different kinds of curries, equally delicious and more-ish. Matthew even had some and loved it, in spite of the spicy heat! Stephen and I are not even into loads of spiciness, but there's something about this boy of ours - he tans well, he loves spicy food...hmmm...where did he come from?

On the road again, the Tako (Octopus) Ferry called our name and we drove our trusty car Bob onto the boat, along with several semi-trucks and a load of family cars and vans. We hightailed it upstairs for the view, which was spectacular, and then went inside for a little fun with some new friends Matthew made on board. There was a kids' play area, and I'll have to get Stephen to upload the video tonight. There was one boy who entertained Matthew with his frog impressions and had our little Maffaboo in stitches.

And then it was home again, home again, but you know what? Vacation was a blast, but it's nice to be back in your own bed sometimes, to lounge on your own couch, and to know where your carpet's been. Know what I mean? (I will miss the clothes dryer at the cabin, though. Luxury.)

Vacation - Day 5 (August 19)

So, day five. Our holiday was winding down but at the same time, still full steam ahead. We did the opposite of the day before and drove to the southernmost tip of Awaji Island for an hour-long cruise around the bay. Our boat was deceptively old-fashioned on the outside, but a typical modern-day tourist-mover underneath.

We were headed toward the bridge at the southern tip of the island where some famous whirlpools appear at certain times to coincide with the tide. The bridge connects Awaji with Shikoku, an even bigger island, and somehow the shape of the land and tides do a dance to form these sensational whirlpools, or so we've heard. We didn't actually see any big ones (saw one maybe a meter across), but nevertheless, a good time was had by all.

And near the dock are several whirlpool foot baths to soak in while you're waiting (and I just happened to have a whirlpool t-shirt on in honor of the day). Matthew had a hoot going back and forth between the six or so baths and sticking his fingers in all of them. He created quite a show as we were the only foreigners around for miles. Everybody loved the little blond gaijin baby who was having such a great time.

Vacation - Day 4 (August 18)

On Saturday we drove to the north of Awaji Island to check out a famous greenhouse. I didn't have high hopes, to be frank, and I thought it would be dinky, but oh my word, the whole place met and exceeded my wildest verdant dreams. Chock full of indigenous and foreign exotic plants and flowers, it was done with wonderful flair and even the artiest of our artsy-fartsy friends and relatives would've been pleased. It was actually a whole compound including a gihugic Westin hotel, an outdoor "100 Steps" flower exhibit up the side of the mountain (with presumably 100 steps, but not very accessible with a stroller), a huge modern greenhouse with many levels, another outdoor exhibit with plants carved in the shape of animals (we didn't get to that because it was just way too hot), waterfalls, a large area with natural shells making up the floor and water flowing through, and modern (but tasteful) art galore. It's just really difficult to describe, but a total bargain at 600 yen per adult ($5.24), and Matthew got in free. If it hadn't been so hot and muggy, we could've stayed all day and really gotten even extra value for money. They did have huge fans (and I mean huge) scattered around, which really helped. And it's hard to see from this picture, but there were mountains on one side and the sea on the other, which just added to the beautiful atmosphere.

One of our favorite exhibits (above picture) made from an old bed box springs and full of bromeliads and other beautiful plants.

The cacti area was wonderful, and over on the right you can see a massive aloe tree.

We went back to the cabin in late afternoon for Matthew to have a nap and to have some supper, and then headed to a beach close by called "Sun Beach," but Mr. Sun had already gone to bed and put away his hat by the time we arrived. We got some good piccies anyway, and had fun skipping rocks (the beach was all pebbles).

A relaxing end to a super day!

Vacation - Day 3 (August 17)

On our way to England Hills (will explain in a bit), we stopped at MickeyD's for some food and fun, and actually the pictures I snapped there at the play area were the only ones I took all day. It was just too darn hot!

So, England Hills. An aptly named koala park. :) The koalas were cute, the biwa ice cream was excellent, and then we booked it out of that sizzling place before we completely melted.

The Imashioyas left that night after dinner to get back for a church retreat. They're a fun family and it was a shame they had to leave, but the holiday continued for the Mundays...

Vacation - Day 2 (August 16)

Left to right: Natsuki (just turned one), Sarah (?), Misaki (5), Stephen (just turned 35), Matthew (17 months), Emi (6), Chikara (?), and Sakura (3). Off screen, Abigail (almost ?). (By the way, Japanese TV shows always show people's names and ages at the bottom of the screen, so I'm just following suit.)

It turns out that out of all the places to stay in Japan, some other friends of ours stayed at the exact same cabin several weeks ago, so they recommended this beautiful beach, Keinomatsubara, which wasn't too far away. I've been to so many beaches in Florida, but they were totally unlike this one. After you parked, you walked through a grove of beautiful old pine trees, and then emerged onto the beach to find loads of green tent/awning things that you could rent. In Florida everybody wants to bake their skin, but we rented one of these tent things and chilled on the reed mats underneath, while the kids (OK, me too) splashed in the water. It was just the right temp, but jellyfish found it nice, too, and apparently they'd been having a bit of fun and reproducing themselves all over the place, so it was a bit hazardous for us humans. Jellyfish - beautiful but untouchable.

We think Matthew must have some Gypsy blood in him, because that boy gets brown! Even with SPF 50 on, he got a little farmer's tan on the trip.

Vacation - Day 1 (August 15)

Well, we forgot to take a picture of the place we actually stayed, but it was a big log cabin out in the middle of nowhere on Awaji Island. (Apparently the England football team stayed on this island during the 2002 World Cup, and my friend Nobue says she recently saw her nephews - middle schoolers - play soccer at the really amazing stadium they built there for the England team to practice in.)

Awaji is a bridge island between Honshu, the big island we live on, and the smaller island of Shikoku. The bridge in the picture is one we've taken a picture of before, but every time I see it I love it. It's apparently the longest suspension bridge in the world, a marvel, and even though I'm not an engineer it gets me excited.

So check-in was 4 pm, and I guess we got there about 3:30, eager to begin our holiday. It was a bit hard to find, on a steep dirt road, not even on the map, so we had to stop and ask directions. We had the top floor, and the ground floor was the office of the landscaping company who also builds these log homes. It was the Japanese obon holiday, though, so there wasn't a lot of traffic downstairs (other than the roaches, but they were creating a lot of traffic upstairs, too -- I guess in America people would be up in arms about that, but Japan is so hot that roaches love it here, and they seem to have taken over the countryside).

Our friends Chikara and Sarah and their four girls arrived soon after, and the merrymaking began!

In the evening after the kids were in bed, Chikara and Sarah taught us a really fun board game, Settlers of Catan, and with their excellent coaching, I won (not to be repeated the next night, unfortunately).

Home Again

We're back, we're healthy, we're safe, we're a bit darker than when we left, and we're rested and chilled out! Vacation pics and stories to follow soon, so watch this space.

What's Happenin'

We're pretty genki, though I got Matthew's sore throat from last week. I was just folding some clothes and realized I haven't posted in a while, and tomorrow we're packing and leaving for our vacation, so posting tomorrow? I seriously doubt it. Check-in's at 4:00 pm and it will take us about 2 hours to get there, so probably leaving early afternoon.

I think there might be some kind of cable to allow Internet access at the place we're going, but we don't own a laptop anymore, so all you impatient folks out there will just have to wait for more Matthew pics till we get back on the 21st. (Camera. Have to remember the camera.)

Stephen and I were hit today with the realization that tomorrow will be our 6th anniversary of arriving in Japan together! Wow. Time totally flies.

We were also thinking that this will be the first vacation where we haven't had to deal with jet lag...we'll miss our families but it will be nice to just chill and sleep normally. And we've got loads of fun visitors coming this fall, and just heard about another set of friends who might be coming for a weekend in November. Our UK friend, Andy, who is also Matthew's godfather and spends time in Tokyo and the UK for Alpha, is bringing his parents to see us! Yea! We love the Games and are excited about that.

So, first our little family unit vacation this week for five nights on Awaji Island in a cabin (and two nights there with friends Chikara and Sarah and their girls), then Helen in September, UK Mum and Dad in the beginning of October, Kelly at the end of October, and the Games in November. Oh, we also heard that while Helen's here in September, Alison's (our sister-in-law, married to Stephen's brother Paul) parents will be on a whirlwind tour of Japan, so we'll meet up with them one afternoon in Osaka. Alison's parents are lots of fun and we're looking forward to seeing them again (it's been almost three years since Alison and Paul got married!).

OK, back to the clean clothes and the prep for tomorrow. Blessings to everyone and we'll "see" you in a week or so. We'll miss you!

Summer Koshien

Matthew wasn't feeling great (I suppose he must have been tired, or something) and so we turned on the TV to distract him for a bit. Japanese TV can get pretty hyper with lots of noise, bright colors and graphics, so when we found the summer Koshien national high school baseball tournament was on, we stopped at that station. After all, baseball is 98% inactivity and therefore not at all overwhelming for a little human brain.

That is when I noticed that one of the team's uniforms looked slightly familiar. In fact, very familiar: It was the Seriyo High School team. (Seiryo is the school I taught English at from 1996 to 1999.) It was a pretty amazing coincidence as, for one thing, we almost never turn on the TV in the daytime, and we just happened to turn on the game that they were playing in. Since I was there, the baseball team has not been as strong, and it has been the soccer players that have been taking all the glory. I had a look at the teachers who coach the team, and they did not look familiar, so I wonder if they have brought in new staff who have turned things around.

Although they were knocked out in the game we saw, the fact that they were here at the Koshien Stadium just down the road here in Nishinomiya for the summer tournament means that they have an automatic place in the spring competition next year. Perhaps this time I will be able to get a ticket and hang out with my former colleagues in the crowd.

Seventeen Months!

  • Favorite food is homemade fruit jello, made with 100% fruit juice (all flavors, and he especially likes the fruit/veggie mixed juices).
  • The 12th tooth has come in.
  • Favorite toys at the moment are a white bunny from Inna that prays if you push his tummy ("Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, the angels watch me through the night, until I wake in the morning light, amen"), an electronic book from Wayne and Donna that plays nursery rhymes, and Jesus Loves Me, a book from godmother Holly that has pull-out bits with pictures behind them (that's the first thing he heads toward every morning as soon as breakfast is finished).
  • Loves to boogie to Old Blind Dogs.
  • If I walk past Matthew's room when he's in bed I can hear him sucking his thumb in his sleep (slurping his thumb is more like it).
  • "Reads" his books aloud now, but every page is the same: "Guhg guhg," or "Wah wah" etc.
  • Likes to put toys down in the gaps behind bookshelves and in between the TV and the shelves. Also likes to look in those gaps to see what he can see, and to push himself in as far as he can go.
  • July 19 -- Stephen was holding Matthew and Matthew said "Daddy!" for the first time! (Stephen's been coaching him and all that hard work finally paid off.)
  • Took about 10 steps a couple of times (July 21). This was the most he's done so far, and the walking was totally motivated by trying to get the phone from Stephen.
  • Likes to drop onto his belly and push himself backwards on the smooth wood floor, or sit on his little tushy and do the same thing.
  • Loves to sleep on top of the fluffy soft blanket godmother Holly made for him.
  • Reads his books forwards once and then backwards a few times.
  • Unfortunately has a penchant for ice cream (wonder how he got his hands on that stuff?).
  • Scrunches his face up into a huge smile so that his eyes are almost closed when he's really happy, and then if we do it back, he does it again.
  • Officially weaned on July 31, 2007. (OK, and then had some more milk on Aug. 2, too.)
  • Takes deep drinks of water or milk from his sippy cup, and then does a big refreshing sighing noise with his mouth like they do on beer commercials, very loud and dramatic. And just today, Matthew did the same sound for me when I took a drink!)
  • Is walking more and more and longer distances every day!
  • We saw Matthew playing peekaboo with himself in his mirror in his playard, having a grand time and laughing at the toddler in the mirror.
  • As you can see from the picture above, he's started his own Stunt Adventure Show. Must've been some kind of shock from those bright yellow Mr. Men shorts. (We were in the kitchen and things got quiet in the living room, which is always a sign something's going on. We came out to the sight in the picture above!)
  • If Stephen's home and I'm changing a poopy diaper, Stephen will sit at Matthew's head and spell things out on Matthew's forehead with his finger to keep him distracted from trying to escape the diaper torture. Matthew gets totally mesmerized. (The usual spelling is for "Matthew.")
  • Really has the whole clapping thing down now and does it all the time when he's happy (which is a lot)!
  • New nickname is "Bean Sprout" because he's our little bean and he's sprouting up so quickly!
  • Down to one nap a day now, but really struggling to stay awake till after lunch. Up until last week he had two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but he was waking up so early in the morning, and he wasn't falling asleep for the first hour of his afternoon nap, so I thought maybe it was too much sleep (and thanks for the suggestion, Sarah). So anyway, I'm doing all in my power to keep him awake long enough to have lunch and then watch a little DVD to let his food digest, and then put him down about 12:30 or 1:00. He's sleeping much better in the afternoon, sometimes 3 or 4 hours, and he does seem to be waking up a bit later in the mornings, too. But boy, it's hard keeping him awake till after lunch!
  • "Cheese" is "jeejee."
  • Had more mommy's milk on Aug. 6 and 7, but hasn't had any since then. Weaned?
  • Matthew's teething again, oh joy, which means he doesn't want to eat very much, he's not very happy at mealtimes, and he's drooling a lot. Bonjela is our friend!
  • Lately Matthew likes to hold his nose closed so he can hear himself talk in a nasally voice. He makes us laugh all the time!

Take Me Out to the Movies

Yes, movie night happened! Wednesday is ladies' night at the Movix Rokko Island theater, which means it's "only" 1,000 yen (US$8.43) instead of the usual 1,800 yen (US$15.17), so my upstairs neighbor, Kaori, and I hit the road. And we hit a wall of traffic and a wee bit of exit-ramp confusion on my part, so 25 minutes late, we entered the dark cinema.

I must be getting old because the cement truck of sound that assaulted my ears gave me a monster headache. I kept wanting to reach for the remote to turn down the volume, but alas, no RC was to be had and so I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the show.

And I have to say, Ratatouille was brilliant. Well written, witty, wry, and the animated food looked so good I wanted to jump into the screen and try some.

Wonder if I could make some ratatouille (if I could ever find zucchini) with a tad bit of Marmite thrown in? (The Marmite monster is still with us, I'm afraid...) Would French foodies slug me with a filet mignon?

(By the way, this was the first night since Matthew was born that I wasn't home at his bed time, so wow, it felt really strange!)

Matthew Monkee

Am I the only one who's weird enough to know all The Monkees's real names? I remember dancing with my sister to their album when we were little. Anyway, here's my little ditty I was singing to Matthew during his afternoon snack today, to the tune of The Monkees's theme song:

Hey, hey you're a Matthew
And people say you monkey around
But you're too busy eating
To put anybody down

Just trying to eat peaches
Come on won't you use your spoon
You're the young generation
And you've got something to prove.

Last Wednesday

Read Sarah's blog post to find out how fun last Wednesday was! Sarah and their four girls came over for the afternoon, and although I didn't take any pictures of the day, Sarah did a good job writing about it.

Maffa's Mojo Is Back

Matthew's genki (full of vigor) again! He slept 4.5 hours this afternoon and woke up refreshed and raring to go. The fever's gone and Matthew's on the go. On our way back from the pediatrician's this morning I prayed he'd sleep well during his nap and that the infection and fever would go, and even though the info about the viral infection said it would probably take at least three days, it's been a bit over 24 hours and the Matthew we know and love is back!

Fun Fall

Upcoming plans I'm looking forward to:

  • August 15-20 -- Family vacation at a cabin on Awaji Island. Our friends Chikara and Sarah and their four girls, Emi, Misaki, Sakura, and Natsuki are coming for the nights of the 15th and 16th.
  • September 9-16 -- UK friend Helen coming to visit from Bangladesh.
  • October 3-19 -- UK Mum and Dad coming to visit, and part of that time will entail heading back to the Awaji cabin for a few days as well.
  • October 23-27 -- US college friend Kelly will be coming to stay for a few days on her way back from a midwife clinic in the Philippines.
Can't wait!

Matthew Update

We spent a chunk of the morning at the pediatrician's office after Matthew didn't sleep too well last night because of the fever. This morning it was still 38.9 C (102 F), so I took him to see the doc. We had to pin him down on a table because he started screaming as soon as he saw her stethoscope (though he's not usually like that) and Yoshida Sensei showed me a bunch of red sore-looking bumpy things at the back of his mouth, up at the top of his throat. Gosh. No wonder he hasn't wanted to eat or drink anything. It must be terrible to swallow when your throat is like that. Apparently this "herpangina" is a viral thing (completely unrelated to herpes, by the way) going around lately, and Matthew somehow picked it up somewhere. I was so relieved the doc said keep on giving him Calpol and she didn't force any antibiotics (obviously antibiotics won't touch a virus but some docs seem bent on prescribing them anyway). We stopped by Co-op to pick up some things that would be really easy for him to eat, and I've been forcing applesauce and homemade fruit/veggie juice jello. Matthew has even decided he doesn't like Calpol anymore, so I've given him an American Wal-Mart brand equivalent in some applesauce, and he did take that. He's now sleeping soundly and I'm headed to bed myself. I've got bento work to do, but I'm not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

I've also decided I'm not going to write any more about weaning Matthew until we're actually there for good because it's turning into a right saga! Watch this space, but don't hold your breath.

Wean Is a Four-Letter Word

Poor Matthew. Right when he's being weaned (hadn't had any mommy's milk since Aug. 2 and today's the 6th), he gets a yucky fever. It was 39.3 C earlier this afternoon, interrupted his nap, and he woke up very unhappy. He had hardly drunk anything all day, so I broke down and gave him some mommy's milk, which he was acting like he desperately wanted anyway. Matthew did eat a bit of dinner and a whole kiwi, so that's a good sign, but his fever's still 39.2 C (102.6 F). While we ate dinner he actually fell asleep on the floor, which is really unusual for our little bean. Poor boy. We're skipping his shower tonight and he's watching a Baby Einstein double feature, and then going straight to bed. I hope he sleeps well because he sure needs it. He's a mama's milk / Calpol junkie today.

I was planning on finally seeing a movie in a real theater this Wednesday night with a friend (can't remember the last film I saw actually in a theater) but that may have to wait.

Marmite Meals Continue

Still reading through my Marmite cookbook and trying new recipes. Tonight was Marmite dinner #3: pasta mixed with Marmite and olive oil, some bacon, basil, and pepper, and an egg fried in olive oil with parmesan and more basil on top. The recipe called for parsley, not basil, but I just bought myself a basil plant the other day at the home center, so I went a bit nuts and put some on my tomato salad, too (along with feta cheese and Greek dressing). My poor little plant is now looking a bit bald, but with some TLC I'm sure it'll grow some more happy leaves soon.

Stephen was a bit skeptical (OK, a lot skeptical) about pasta with Marmite before he tried it, but the blokey went on to eat two plates of the stuff and is really excited there was enough left for his lunch bento tomorrow.

Locked Out

Oh my word. Right after hearing my friend Sarah the other day tell me she was worried that one of her kids might lock her out on her balcony when she takes the laundry out, I did what she said not to do. I closed the glass sliding door all the way to keep the mosquitoes out when I took a dirty diaper to put into the trash box (with snap lid) on our balcony yesterday, and little monkey Matthew locked the door on me! Fortunately Stephen was home, and I also had the door to the guest room open with just the screen across, so I could've slithered around the air conditioner compressor and under the laundry poles to get back in, but it could've been bad. When I'm home alone with Matthew, I keep the two locks locked on the front door, the bottom flip lock and the top (out of Matthew's reach) slide lock. There's no way to unlock the front door if that top one is latched, so even if I'd had to go down the emergency ladder into the downstairs neighbor's little garden area, we still couldn't have gotten in, other than beating the door in.

Gosh. I've learned my lesson. Never shut the door all the way, always watch Matthew when I'm on the balcony, and I probably shouldn't keep that top lock latched on the front door. Yikes.

Matthew has obviously figured out how to lock the glass sliding door, but he's not developed enough yet to unlock it if I told him to. I tried, but he just stood there looking at me, like I was a fish at that big aquarium we went to in Osaka for his birthday. (Or maybe it was revenge for weaning him.)

New Perspectives on the World

Did You Know

Dogs turn around before they lie down to sleep in different directions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres?

Local Matsuri

This time last week we went down the road to our local festival, where this time last year Matthew made friends with local kids Yuta and Chiaki. Looking back at last year's blog post, it is hard to remember him being that small, and yet boy was he getting chunky on milk!

We saw the taiko drum performance last year, but this year we missed it on the Saturday as it was going to be happening too late in the program, so we went back on the Sunday at the time we were told it would be on, only to find that they had changed the program order due to potential weather problems and we had missed it. I was disappointed as I know Matthew likes music and has rhythm, so I had been looking forward to seeing how he would react to some major percussion.

Anyway, have a look at last year's post, and then watch these videos to see how, although the Matthew's may change, the songs stay the same.


OK, so the little milk junkie went 48 hours without his fix, and then last night refused to sleep without any. He'd had a long, fun day with some friends who visited, and wouldn't take an afternoon nap, so he was extra cranky and tired last night. So the "easy" weaning I thought had happened two nights ago hasn't been so stress-free, but we're getting there.


Well, it's official: My parents are now both up in Wisconsin and have started the process of moving into the rented place they'll be in for a while. The movers arrive tomorrow with all their Florida gear.

It's sad for me because the house I grew up in in Orlando sold in four days after they put it on the market; my parents will no longer be in the home I've known for so long (since I was six months old -- obviously I don't remember the garage apartment they were in before that). It will be strange for me to go "home" to Wisconsin, a place I've visited to see my sister and clan but a state that is pretty much foreign to me. It's beautiful but I wouldn't want to live there in the winter! (But I do love that Mouse House cheese. Yum.)

I'm happy for them, though, that they can be close to two of their grandbabies and my sister and brother-in-law.

We told them they could move to Japan and teach English but they didn't take us up on that offer for some reason.


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