Matthew's Big Announcement

Not for the Faint of Heart

A friend of ours sent us a link to this Japanese potty-training video. If you get grossed out easily, don't watch it, but if you want a good laugh, go for it! I think it's pretty funny...

Mysterious Message

Yesterday I was taking a nap when Matthew did, in the afternoon after lunch, and I heard a couple of phone calls that were very strange. I ignored them, though they woke me because they were pretty loud, and when I got up later I listened to the machine to see what it was all about.

Evidently a child of a friend had gotten hold of Mommy's cell phone and pushed my number! It was baby talk and pretty hilarious to boot. The second call, right after the first, was cut short. Maybe whoever Mommy was grabbed the phone away when she realized what was happening.

We played the message for Matthew tonight and he thought it was pretty funny. Maybe he understood what was being said. Maybe I don't want to know.

Monkey on His Back

Very Voltaire.

Posting Gone Wrong

The other day at the park Matthew was enjoying putting his little packet of furikake (seasoning for rice) through the slats of the benches, and thought it would be a good idea to put it through the drain slats as well. It was long gone but Matthew didn't want to give up the furikake ghost. He also enjoyed watching the barber shop pole spin round and round and round and round and round and round...

Asked-For Kelly Pics

Kelly was here, and now she's! It was so great to see my college friend, even if for only a few days. I was so glad she was in this part of the world and had some time to swing our Japan way.

Social Bean

Stephen and I were both pretty introverted as we were growing up and only as adults have come out of our shells, but boy, this Matthew of ours is a social little person! We're thinking that the mathematical equation really is true for introverted personalities as well -- two negatives end up making a positive!

When he was still in utero, our friends near Okazaki (where we used to live) gave us a wooden plaque for Matthew that had the kanji for "bright/shining child" (hikari no ko) and I think it was prophetic.

Wherever we go, Matthew brings his special smile and twinkly eyes, and it's enough to make even the most depressed salaryman brighten up.

Take yesterday in the park, for instance. It was a gorgeous day and for a weekday the place was hopping, mostly with retired folks and young mothers with children. Matthew made friends with every last person we encountered, and was even asked to have his picture taken with a young pregnant lady who was there with her hubby. They didn't want Kelly and me -- just the bean. He went right to the lady and let her hold him, no problem.

And as we were having lunch at a picnic table, Matthew was much more concerned with meeting the neighbors at the other tables than with eating, going up to everyone to say hello.

If I was insecure as a mother I could probably feel really threatened by all this (Matthew's more interested in meeting new folks than staying close to home), but you know what? It just makes me proud of that little boy and warms the cockles of my wee little heart.

Matthew Munday really is a special bean.

Kelly's Here!

A good friend of mine from college, Kelly, is here visiting from the U.S. via Uganda, Sudan, the Philippines, and China. It's so good to catch up (we haven't seen each other since my wedding in 2001). She's going back to her home base in Atlanta tomorrow and then moving up to Alaska in a few days to do some nursing on an Aleutian island for a while. I've so enjoyed hearing about all her adventures and look forward to more!

Matthew's soaking up all the extra attention and love; Kelly's got a mama's heart and Matthew really responds to that. We don't want her to leave!

Missing the Parentals

Stephen's parents left this morning to go back to the UK, and boy, all three of us are missing them. Matthew's been going to the sofa where they sat most often and leaning on it while sucking his thumb, looking around like "Where are Grandma and Grandpa?"

Stephen was at work all day so didn't have a lot of time to think too much about their departure, but tonight over dinner told me how much he missed them, and I had to agree with him.

I miss seeing their sandals in our genkan (entrance hallway), I miss seeing Matthew's face light up when they make him smile, I miss their dances with Matthew, I miss our walks to the cake shop, I miss having cups of tea with them in the evening and chatting.

It poured rain today, as if the skies were sad, too.

Rokko Island - Wednesday

A Walk on a Bridge

"Super Funky Little Dude" Gardener

Matthew the Artist

Here's artist Grandma helping Matthew with his first masterpiece. The final creation is below.


Green Fingers

Today I took a day off work to go with everyone to Yumeibutai, a place in the North of Awaji Island that we visited during our vacation there back in August. Mum and Dad have green fingers, and love visiting gardens and horticultural attractions like the Eden Project, so we knew it would be a big hit with them.

Birds and Flowers

Today we took Grandma and Grandpa to Kachoen. Matthew has developed a lot since we went there last and was definitely more interactive with the birds (aka "gucks").

The Day of "Dah-dee"

Matthew has been saying "daddy" a lot today. And not just randomly, but very appropriately in using it to get my attention. Particularly when he was having his dinner and I was sitting near him organizing photos on the computer, and every few minutes between mouthfuls (or, perhaps, to avoid another mouthful from grandpa) he would turn in my direction and say "daddy" with expectant eyes watching for my reaction.

It melted my lil' pea-picking papa heart.

Grandpa Hits It Off With A Bird


Backseat Drivers


It's a Zoo in There!

We've been to Oji Zoo in Kobe before, on a national holiday when it was also an anniversary celebration for the zoo and therefore free admission (and a zoo inside for sure with everybody and his uncle), but yesterday it was a new kind of adventure. A million kids were there for their "ensoku" (school trips). I think Matthew enjoyed looking at the other kids more than the animals!

(Check out the girl in the photo above, fifth from left. You can see how obvious she was in her dislike for the flamingo smells!)

Matthew was one tired pup on the train on the way home, but we managed to sit in the front train car on the last leg of the journey so he had a good view of the track ahead. I don't know who was more taken with the train ride, Matthew or Grandpa.

19 Months!

  • Matthew loves to suck his left thumb and touch his upper lip with his right middle finger (top picture). It's pretty cute! Because he sucks his thumb, he has an almost continual little flap of skin that hangs down from his upper lip, and apparently this is fun to play with.
  • Recently he's started wearing his bug "necklace," a strand of plastic buggies from his cousins in Wisconsin that he got for his first birthday. He likes when I plug them into a circle (they can pop out individually or pop together) and he immediately puts it over his head and struts around.
  • When we hold him and dance around the living room, Matthew sticks his top teeth on our shoulders (maybe for added holding-on power).
  • I was putting his shoes on the other day (Sept. 21) and out of the blue, Matthew said "shoes" for the first time!
  • In church (Sept. 23), Matthew walked over to the pastor's wife's guitar, and with no prompting whatsoever, pointed to it and said "guitar" (well, actually, it was more like "geetah," which is actually closer to the Japanese pronunciation). We hadn't said that word to him in ages, so he must have a good memory like his England grandma.
  • On October 1, Matthew spontaneously picked up a toy and put it in his toy box when it was time for his nightly DVD. We've been trying to teach him to do that for ages and he never seemed interested, but he's getting to be a big boy now so I guess he decided he wants to help out.
  • Matthew loves watching Rich Mullins playing his hammered dulcimer on a DVD we have.
  • Loves hanging out with his UK Grandma and Grandpa: dancing with Grandpa (see following post), walking between Grandma and Grandpa and holding onto their hands, hopping down the steps of our building with Grandpa, taking long walks with G and G and going to see the ducks in the pond down the road, having Grandma put on his pajamas before bed, waving to G and G as he walks to bed, having G and G feed him, tapping G and G's knees when they're sitting on the sofa, and having Grandpa mimic him when he makes funny noises.
  • Got his first real hair cut.

Ceidlh Dancing

Some readers of this blog may remember (and may indeed have participated in) the ceidlh (cay-lee) at our England wedding. If this is you, then listen carefully and you will be able to hear the Hookey Band playing on this CD as grandpa takes Matthew for a spin around the living room.


As you can hear, the experience left Matthew chuckling and grandpa panting. Somehow, both Matthew and grandpa managed to survive a trip to the zoo and an evening excursion to a restaurant later, despite the exertions you can see here.

Fishy Family

Remember Matthew's birthday trip to the Osaka Aquarium? We went back again (with Grandma and Grandpa this time) yesterday, and Matthew-walker-bean had a blast (again). This time it was a national holiday so there were LOADS of people, but we still managed to see a few swimming creatures in between the shoulders of those ahead of us. And G and G bought Matthew an awesome DVD of the aquarium with soothing music and fishy things doing what fishy things do, and Matthew absolutely loves it.

Hold Your Nose and Say D'oh!


Sheep Dogging

Matthew loved the sheep when we went to visit them back in May, but he was limited in how much he could interact with them from the confines of his stroller. Of course, now he can walk, and so no furry beastie is safe, as you can see.

Matthew was also very pleased that there were feathered friends to hang out with there too. Look at this picture of him, and you can almost hear him saying "guck!"

Of course, grandma and grandpa were roped in to guide the Matthew walking activities. They tell us their goal this visit is to get Matthew used to holding hands so that mommy's life is easier when they go back home. Well, they really did give Matthew a good hand-holding workout yesterday. He was completely zonked later!

Mommy and Daddy Love Each Other

When we put Matthew to bed last night, we both offered him a hand to hold while we prayed. This was the first time we had done this as, up to now, praying has always been prior to putting him in his bed.

Anyway, Matthew took each of our hands and put them together and then gave a little round of applause. It was very cute. I guess he has noticed that we love each other!


First (Proper) Haircut

We've given Matthew a couple of minor trims at home over the first 1.5 years of his life, but I decided that with grandparents coming, it would be a great time to just dive in for a whole-hog haircut. I figured with three adults we could handle anything that came our way...but I prayed last night for peace for Matthew during this time, and he was great! I even think he enjoyed sitting in the sports car (though he ended up in the red one in the middle because the horn worked) and watching Anpanman on TV.

He's a big boy now! I keep looking at him today, post haircut, and wondering where our baby went...

Hanging Out with Grandma and Grandpa


Stephen's gone to pick up his mum and dad from the airport, so I'll see them in an hour or so! Can't wait!

Yes, Another Meme

Tiffany over at Nature Moms inspired me...

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Gertrude Corolla

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Rum Raisin Lemonist

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Red Manatee

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, hospital where you were born)
Ruth Florida South

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Black Mudslide

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Charlie James

9.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names)
Patricia Ralph

10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Putney Pasadena

11. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Autumn Poppy

12. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Kiwi Shirtsy

13. HIPPIE NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Oatmeal Ginkgo

14. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Aurora Tour

Birthday Girl

Anastasia, our little Russian friend, turned one yesterday (can you believe it?), and to celebrate we headed with Anastasia and her parents, Eugene and Inna, down to the Nishinomiya harbor park for a special birthday picnic on Saturday.

It turned out to be pretty breezy and chilly, but we had to run around chasing the kids anyway, so we stayed warm enough.

Happy first birthday, sweet Anastasia!

Foot (?) Bath

A couple of Saturdays ago (I know, I'm way behind on the old posting front), we headed for Arima, a nearby onsen (hot springs) town. They have a place you can dip your feet into some very browny-orangey natural water, and Matthew went just a bit too far. You can see the progression in the following pictures, as he starts diving in, getting deeper, I peeled his clothes off, he got deeper, and just sat in it...

And afterwards, he looked like a very tan gaijin baby!


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