Deep Purple - Japanese Style

I bet you've never seen or heard "Smoke on the Water" like this!

Sexy Lady

Matthew says some funny stuff sometimes! I don't think he knows exactly what it sounds like, but this morning Stephen had a funny story to tell me when I got out of the shower.

We have several Alison Krauss CDs, the latest of which (Lonely Runs Both Ways) shows her in a kind of low-cut dress. Matthew loves her music (as do we) and picked up this newest CD to ask Stephen to put it on.

Stephen acquiesced and asked Matthew if he could say "Alison" (while showing him the CD). Matthew looked at it and said "shekshee" (not ever having heard that word, at least to my knowledge), much to Stephen's amusement.

Cooking up a Storm

Well, I did have some really nice pictures from the special Japanese cooking class I attended today. We made some gorgeous food, I took some gorgeous photos, and my tummy enjoyed the gorgeous feast. Thanks, Eriza and Michiko, for teaching me how to make some great food! (I know you'll be looking at the blog and wondering where the pictures are!)

Sadly, my forgetful pregnancy hormones kicked in today after I downloaded the camera. I deleted the bad pics, named the good ones, unplugged the camera from the computer, formatted the card, and all without ever putting any pics into a folder. Big bummer. They're gone for good.

It was fun while it lasted, though, and I got some good ideas for future meals. The only problem was that it took all three of us at our station to chop all the veggies and other goodies and keep everything clean while doing all the prep. I think if I tried to do it by myself it would take about five hours to make all the delish stuff we did today!

UPDATE: My lovely hubby found a photo recovery program (photorec) via his beloved LifeHacker, and even though I'd formatted the card, this genius freeware went on a hunt and pulled it back to Munday Land. Hubby to the rescue, hey.

Michiko and Eriza demonstrating how to make the goopy rice paste to cover our strawberry and red bean paste dessert


Rice paste


Bowls waiting for special miso and sake soup


The finished product: 1. Gyudon (beef) with mushrooms, onions, and ginger strips that had been boiled in a soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar mixture and served over rice with pink plum-pickled ginger strips on top, 2. miso (fermented soybean paste) soup with carrots, salmon, konyaku (rubbery stuff made out of a potatoey root veggie), daikon (long white radish), fish paste filled with gobo root, fried tofu slices, locally brewed sake, and sprinkled with sliced green onions, 3. nanohana (green canola flowers) that had been slightly boiled in salted water, then mixed with dashi (fishy salty liquid), karashi (hot mustard paste), soy sauce, and sugar, and then topped with tofu pieces and katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes), and 4. strawberries wrapped with anko (sweet red bean paste) and rice paste, called ichigo daifuku

Drat

Just reading an online article about "young voters" in America and their expected turnout for the Big Day in November.

To my great sadness, I realized I am no longer counted as one of them. I'm beyond the range of 18 to 29, but I guess life goes on...obladee, obladah...

29 Weeks

Little Beansprout is growing so many neurons that I can't keep up! Here it is 6 am on a Sunday morning (woke up at 5:45 so ravenous I had to get up and have a bowl of cereal and Baby was kicking so much I knew he needed some nourishment) and I'm sitting at the computer blogging about brains.

If you're so inclined, click here to see what Beansprout probably looks like this week. (Notice the head on Mommy's bladder??? Guess I don't have to say anything more about that.)

We're getting closer and closer to a name...stay tuned to Beansprout FM...

Give Him a Hand

Matthew is still in his picky-food stage. Wonderful.

Take today at lunch, for example. He fished out and ate the onions and corn from his bowl of chili, but left the kidney beans and ground beef.

Right after I asked him how we were going to get some protein in him, Matthew lifted his arm towards his face and eagerly bit his hand.

Hmmm. Not exactly what I had in mind.

28 Weeks and Holding

Seems like about this time in my pregnancy with Matthew that things really started to slip into fast forward. I went to the doc today for my monthly checkup, but from now on I'll go every two weeks (until near the end of the third trimester when I'll go every week).

You probably can't tell from the ultrasound just how cute this child is! I think he looks like me.

Yes, you read that correctly! It's a BOY!!!

Anyway, Doc #1, at week 17, evidently did NOT get a good view of this baby. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that this beansprout is a man-child. No doubt whatsoever.

We haven't decided conclusively on a name yet, but if you have any suggestions that would sound perfect with Munday, drop us a line. If we choose the name you offer, you'll get a special prize. We have a good idea for a first name (but haven't decided so don't ask yet), but are having trouble with middle names.

Little Munday Beansprout was covering his face today with his hands (can you see his cute little elbows sticking up?). He's not breech (yea!!!) and his head is already down (in launch position, as Stephen says). He moves a lot more than Matthew did because he's got more room. Poor little Matthew Bean was so squashed, what with his feet being in his face and all.

This beansprout now weighs 1.3 kg (2.86 pounds). The doc today said he's a bit bigger than average, but she did admit that the scale they use is for Japanese beansprouts, so Munday Beansprout is probably just about right.

I found out for sure that my clinic will not do VBACs, even though this little boy is not breech. They said they could recommend a big hospital that does do them, but there are no places in our area that would. I don't want to be trekking to the other side of Osaka and possibly pop the sprog in the car en route (and Stephen doesn't want to deliver any beansprouts, seeing as he has zero experience in that arena), so I'm going to go ahead and have another C-section.

The big day is going to be around April 30, so stay tuned...not long now...

Cousin Ethan Turns Two!

Happy birthday, Ethan!

Feeling Dizzy?

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23 Months - Oh My Word!



  • Can now stand on his foot stool in the bathroom and turn the washing machine on or off all by himself. Great.
  • Likes to stand at the end of the sofa and push his feet back so they slide on the wooden floor, and then he runs forward like a hamster on a wheel and starts all over again.
  • When guests come to visit, Matthew always pulls a pair of slippers off the shoe tree in the entranceway for them and is supremely disappointed if they don't stay and wear them (like when our friend Nobue drops Rei chan off about once a week to play).
  • Lately, as Matthew's been playing his keyboard that sits on the sofa while he stands on the floor in front of it, he's been propping his left leg up on the sofa as he plunks along. Very cute.
  • Matthew's vocabulary thus far:

    • bye-bye and hello = addoh
    • duck = guck
    • shoes = shooooooozzzzzzz
    • CD = dee dee or shee dee
    • Daddy = Dah dee (no Mama, Mommy, or Mummy yet)
    • cereal = deeDAH
    • any animal = deep guttural growling sound
    • light = baby sign for light (hand opening and closing)
    • owl = owl
    • uh-oh = uh-oh (when he drops or even deliberately throws something on the floor)
    • apple = apple
  • If we go through Matthew's list of words that he knows, he says all of them very well, but if we ask him to say "Mommy" he just laughs and says "sheedah" or "sahdah" (which we think basically means no, I'm not going to say it) and slaps (with both hands) his high-chair tray or whatever is in front of him. Must be toddler humor--he thinks he's hilarious. And Daddy, who has been training him from birth to say, "Daddy" thinks it is pretty funny, too. (See video.)

  • Matthew LOVES organization (except for his own toys). Everything (of ours) has to have its place and do what it's supposed to, and on time. If our closet door is open, he wants it closed; if a CD is sticking out of the line-up, he pushes it back in so it's flush with the rest; he knows 7 pm is his nightly DVD time and he sometimes pushes his wheeled high chair over five minutes before or bang on time; when we put him to bed every night at 8 pm, he smiles and waves us out his bedroom door, and then he's quiet right away. He loves his bedtime (just like his mommy likes hers).

  • I was at the computer one day and turned around when I heard Matthew behind me. He had gone into the cupboard where I keep kitchen towels and dishrags, had grabbed a dishrag, and was wiping the dining room table with it like he sees me doing! (His was dry, though.)

  • Lately Matthew has started spinning around until he falls over and then laughs hysterically!

  • Really enjoys dancing to Sixpence None the Richer.

  • Had a cow the other day when I went a different route home after dropping Stephen off at work; I was thinking I wanted to try a new road, but Matthew knows the way and was not happy about the detour.

  • Everything (his polar puppy, a water bottle, any toy) becomes a phone. But Matthew doesn't actually talk on the phone, just listens.

Goodbye Namdaemun

Namdaemun Gate, in the middle of Seoul, was one of the highlights of my trip to Korea in 2005 when my Japanese teacher, Kazuko, and I visited our friends, John and Sheena. The historical landmark has gone up in smoke, to Koreans' dismay. So sad.

Little Talker

Matthew shows off his language skills... and demonstrates his mischievous side by not saying "Mommy".

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#2 is 27 Weeks Young!

Getting big! (No wonder I feel huge.)

Apparently the baby can suck its fingers (we saw that many weeks ago on an ultrasound), sleeps and wakes at regular intervals, and does sudoku to pass the time till birth. (Must take after Mimi in Wisconsin.)

Baby moves most when I'm sitting at the computer proofreading/copyediting, hanging out on the sofa (though those times are rare, folks), and when I lie down at night to sleep. I can usually hear Stephen breathing the breath of Lala Land and I'm still lying there feeling Baby do gymnastics, but I wouldn't trade this for anything.

Maybe I've said this before, but this pregnancy feels so much faster than when Matthew was in utero. I must be getting older (but definitely improving with age).

Snow!



Yesterday we got about two inches of fluffy white stuff from the skies (the most we've had this winter and last), and Matthew really enjoyed tromping through it. He didn't actually want to touch it (brrrr....), but watching it sure was a hoot.

Fetch!

Matthew's buddy, Rei (who is a regular feature on this blog) came round last Thursday. Poor Rei. Matthew soon figured out her little girl agenda of, "Let's sit on the sofa and play together", and had great fun pressing her button by making her play fetch. His comic timing is great, but you have to wonder at Rei chan's patience and that it didn't end in tears for one or both of them.

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Peace Rains Down

I don't know about you, but I tend to do my praying when I'm on the go: driving in the car, hugging Matthew, in the kitchen.

This late afternoon/early evening as I was cooking dinner, I asked Papa to give us peace in our household, especially when the new baby comes and schedules will undoubtedly change. I so want that for us, all of us, and I knew we'd have that gift.

Little did I realize how quickly it would hit! I hadn't told anyone what I asked for, but when Stephen got home this evening, he got a funny look on his face and told me how deeply peaceful and relaxing our home felt to him. I laughed and laughed! What fun this journey is.

The weather forecast called for sun and a few clouds today, but it's been sprinkling a bit tonight, reminding me how gifts rain down on those who ask.

26 Weeks

Wow, moving right along. You can click here to see a pic of a 26-week-old in utero, if you like. Absolutely amazing. Apparently the baby is now about a pound and two-thirds and over 14 inches long. I've got a few ultrasound pics I want to scan and upload, so stay tuned for those. At our last visit (Jan. 19), the baby's face was towards my back, so we didn't get a frontal shot, but there are some scans from before that are waiting to appear on Fushigi News.

This little punkin is full of energy and loves when I hold Matthew--starts dancing, too! I think Baby likes the sound of Matthew's laughter--responds with kicks.

I'm not quite to the third trimester, but I sure am feeling like I'm there already. I feel bigger this time than I was with Matthew, and the waddling that comes with a big tummy is in full swing. I get short of breath (lungs squished), I eat Tums pretty much every day (gotta love heartburn), I'm having quite a bit of hip/lower back pain sometimes (I wish I could tell my body that it doesn't need to prepare for a normal delivery since I'll be having another C-section!), and it feels like it's getting harder to keep up with Matthew. I do wish I could take my long walks every day like I used to do when I was pregnant with Matthew; I think I'd be in much better shape than I am. It just hasn't been possible lately with our schedules (after Stephen gets home and we have dinner, it's already dark and pretty cold), and I haven't been able to push Matthew in his stroller up our hill for several weeks now. I do chase the Bean in parks, but it's always in short bursts (as soon as he finds an interesting rock or piece of trash we have to stop and examine it), and not the same as my former long treks.

Overall I'm feeling well, though, and so grateful that this pregnancy has seen smooth sailing. I think we've got a happy baby about to emerge at the end of April/beginning of May. We're looking forward to newborn cuddles and have already stopped calling Matthew "baby." I remind him now of what a big boy he is, and how good a big brother he'll be. I have no doubts about that.

Around the Bend

Looking for a quirky, deep, emotionally charged, funny movie to watch without your kids this weekend? Stephen and I rented Around the Bend and were surprisingly touched (without goopy over-sentimentalism). Well done.

There's Something About the Phone

What is it about the phone? Whenever I get on it to chat with a friend, Matthew, who's been behaving like a dream and doing his own thing (reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic--that sort of thing), decides that suddenly it's time to do everything he knows he's not supposed to do.

Chicken with Olives

I was raving about a recipe that we love when I was talking to my mom the other day, and she asked me to send it to her, but instead of an e-mail, I decided to plop it here on the blog for Mom and anybody else who wants a simple Mediterranean chicken dish that's bursting at the crock-pot seams with yumminess. Great for when you have company coming and don't want to be in the kitchen all day. I usually cut up the veggies the night before and stow them away in a ziploc bag in the fridge for much easier prep the next morning. Originally I got the recipe from a women's magazine years ago, but don't bother asking me which one because I have no recollection. All I know is that it's one of my favorite dishes, and it's even better if you have saffron/yellow rice mix to make to serve it over (or just plain rice will do if you live in Japan and don't have access to Spanish rice mixes).

Chicken with Olives

Ingredients

3 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut bite size
1 large green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry white white (cooking sake works too)
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed olives
1 1/2 tablespoons each minced garlic and olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 bay leaf, broken in half
6 each chicken drumsticks and thighs (about 3 lb.), skin and excess fat removed (or I use three or four chicken breasts, cut bite size)

Method

1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in 4.5 qt. or larger slow-cooker. Add chicken; stir until well mixed.

2. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours until chicken is cooked through and tender and potatoes can be easily pierced. Discard bay leaf pieces.

Serves 6 or so.


Pickle Lovers of the World, Unite!

My mom probably thought I was one weird kid--every time I went to the grocery store with her, I'd beg for jars of pickles and olives. Not your normal, everyday average little bean, hey.

And now that I'm a mommy, I wonder what my kids will ask for, food-wise. So far Matthew's been pigging out on tangerines (mikan) every chance he gets, but that's just not wacky enough yet. Try harder, little pickle!

Anyway, to get to my point. One Japanese TV channel shows a snippet of NBC Nightline news every day at 4:15 for fifteen minutes, and today they interviewed a super-chef named David Chang. Apparently he's got a famous restaurant in NYC, but since I don't frequent that corner of the globe I'll just have to take their word for its yumminess.

I looked him up later and found a recipe for some extra-awesome pickles he makes. I threw together a batch of them for dinner tonight to complement our homemade pizza, and it worked (somehow). (I just made the cucumber ones, not all the other varieties.)

I've made homemade daikon radish pickles before, but they were a total PITA ("pain in the...", pronounced like the bread), as Stephen says. You had to slice 'em up, add salt and other stuff, cut up dried tougarashi (red chili peppers), mix it all up in a big bowl, put a cloth over the top, then slap a big heavy object on top to smush it all down (I used a rock), and leave for days in the fridge (and we just don't have that much space in our non-American-sized fridge).

Anyway, these were LOTS easier and pretty darned tasty to boot. Try 'em; you'll like 'em.

Resolutions

The other day, via mommyinjapan, I found a really fun blog called Rehearsal Times Over (written by an American based in Japan with her Japanese husband and kids). I've been reading back through a few posts and thought you might enjoy this one as much as I did. I don't know if you have to be in Japan to get all the humor, but it helps. (Probably doesn't hurt to be a woman, either.) Anyway, have a look and laugh some kilos off your bum. I did.

And just so I add some much-needed balance to this new year, I think I'll go have a few chocolate cookies to recapture that missing weight while I make dinner.

Christening

Matthew's potty-training toilet has had its first use, but not by Matthew. He won't go near it except to play with it and pull all the different bits apart, and then he tries to figure out the puzzle of getting it back together again.

His little friend Rei chan broke it in today, and we were so proud of her! You go, girl!


 

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