Spinning Out of Control

Flutter Flutter

Even after seven years of marriage, Stephen still makes my heart go doki doki! When we were engaged, we were living on different continents, and both of us were pining away until we could get hitched. We ended up sending several thousand emails to each other, web cammed when web camming meant you had to use dial-up and you were green and pixellized, and we talked on the phone every day, sometimes more than once (even with the time difference). Yep, we had it bad.

Stephen came up with a creative way to tell me how much I meant to him: He made some really funky big bright letters that spelled out I LOVE YOU, and each letter was decorated and had something written on it that started with that letter. He packaged them up individually and every few days would mail one to me, only the U took ages to arrive, so I had I LOVE YO on the wall in my room for quite a while. I think Mr. U took a U-turn somewhere and got a tan in the Bahamas on his way to my doorstep. It finally arrived, but we still sometimes (even to this day) tell each other, "I love yo!"

So yesterday as I went into the bathroom, this message awaited me:

Matthew and Joel

Everybody keeps asking me if Joel looks like Matthew did at that age, and I keep saying yes, almost exactly, but I haven't actually gone back to look at pictures and prove my theory, until now. Check them out!

Joel at 3 months

Matthew at a little over 4 months

More New Words

  • Matthew = Sassu
  • juice = juice
  • shower = showoo
  • hallelujah = lelu

Bath Friend

As I was washing my sweaty little face last night before bed, I heard some suspicious scurrying sounds coming from the shower/bath area to the right of our sink. Guess who???

We left the window open, hoping he'd go back for his family reunion outside, and this morning the shower was surprise-free, so I guess he had gone on home.

Quotable Quote

Matthew had to go in his No-Fun Zone today for a couple of minutes due to an infraction of the house rules, and as I left him in his room in his NFZ, I heard him quietly say, "Oh, dear!"

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

OK, so I totally wasn't expecting Joel to roll over at three months, but he's gone and done it. This video was a couple of days ago, and today as I hung out the clothes to dry and came back into the living room, he'd wiggled himself off his play mat completely and rolled over as well! One arm was pinned under him, but he had gone from his back all the way over onto his tummy, even more than he'd done in this video. Gosh. Who knows where he'll be next? Korea?



Matthew surprised and amazed us with his first sentence this evening. I had just fought him into his PJs which have a small, dark blue star on the front. I didn't twig at first, but then I realized that he was saying, "This is a star". It came out more like "Sis is star", but he was pointing at it, so I knew this was no random mistake, and when I started saying the sentence with him, he was saying it more clearly.

There was certainly no doubting his new syntactical leap when I was telling Abigail about it a few minutes later, and she decided to test out his new ability with a different word - "shoe". Holding up one of her black clonker shoes that she wears around the house, she asked Matthew, "What's this?" To which he replied (without prompting), "This is a shoe."

Of course, the correct answer in this situation would have been, "That's a shoe." Poor Matthew, growing up with a couple of former ESL teachers to drill him.

M's New Words

  • off = off
  • okey kokey (British version of okey dokey) = ah kokie
  • pull = pull
  • through = foo
  • shizuka (Japanese for "quiet") = shizoka (usually when there's no CD playing)
  • hole = hole
  • see = see
  • cookie = cookie
  • burp = buhpy

Matthew also stamps one leg when we say jump, sings "wheeee" and "Not I!" at the appropriate moments in the Danny Kaye "Ugly Duckling" song, and misses Joel when he's still asleep in the morning and does his best to wake him up (opening the door to his room or knocking on the door) if I'm not right there to stop him. And when Joel does wake up, Matthew perks up!

He calls his Veggie Tales CD "apple" because of the tomato on the front, and he must think we are automatic CD changers because Matthew's got the CD short-attention-span disease. After a few songs he thinks it's time for a new one. That gets old really fast.

Our little bean is also fascinated with pinging our fingernails and toenails with his own fingernails, which feels really weird for us, but he seems to enjoy it. Hmmm.

In the Thick of It

That is how you feel when you look around this amazing, submersive 360-degree panorama of the Beijing Olympics - taken in the main stadium shortly before the men's 100m final, apparently.

Click here and wait for it to load. You can then click and drag with your mouse to move around, and zoom in and out using the mouse scroll button. We were closer to Beijing here than most of you, but we didn't get to go (Joel and Matthew were keeping us busy), so this is the closest we could get to experiencing it. Maybe we should plan a visit to the UK in 2012....

New Blog

Mamatouille lives.

Tasty Toes

And now back to our regularly scheduled programs...

Now that the Olympics are over, we're back to talking heads expounding on the latest diet fad and Korean soap operas with Japanese subtitles.


This is probably why we pretty much only use our TV for DVDs.


A new video from Nooma describes God's feminine qualities (in addition to his masculine ones) - wow. As a woman and a mother I think this is powerful stuff.

But wait, before you draw any hasty conclusions, have a look for yourself.

Sunday at the Harbor

Joel was born (newsflash!), we've had company, Inna and Anastasia were in Russia for a while, we were thwarted yesterday by loads of rain, but today was a nice day for a trip to the harbor.

Eugene delights Matthew and Anastasia with boobah (aka bubbles)!

Remember Matthew posting items down the drain a while ago? Some things never change.

Ana chan loved Joel.

Anastasia and her ball.

Matthew looking for boobah in the bush and smelling the leaves while hunting.

Inna couldn't believe how big Joel's gotten!

Rodrigo y Gabriela y Mateo

I quietly grabbed the camera as Matthew was sitting on the sofa, sucking his thumb, mesmerized after lunch today by Rodrigo y Gabriela, but as soon as he saw me he was up and over to the camera to see what I was doing.


The fascination with my video-taking didn't last long, however, as he was sucked back into Funky Guitar DVD Land.

Friendly Faces

Kunio kun wondering what's in our hall closet, and Momo chan with my house shoes

Auntie Nobue and Rei chan love the little Munday dudes!

My Kitchen

Well, I've bared my soul and my laundry (and probably my underwear) to you recently, so I thought I'd go ahead and open the door to my kitchen (though it's just a door frame and a baby gate, no real door). It's all of three mats (tatami mat size - how they measure rooms in Japan, even if there's no tatami in them at all), including the space for cabinets, which means there's about enough room in there for one person to tap dance or for two people to give each other hugs. It's not as big and fancy as The Pioneer Woman's, but not as dirty either, thank goodness. (I do like her island and those glass-fronted drawers for flour and sugar.) My current little baby kitchen, though, is even bigger than our last one, and I'm happy to have it. It's cozy and comfy and feels like (a sweaty) home to me. (I do wish the air con blast from the living room would wend its way in there every once in a while - and what kind of architect worked on this place? The window doesn't open!) So anyway, without further ado, adulation, or griping...

My counter space has a drainboard and a rice cooker keeping it company.

Three-burner gas stove with a little baby grill underneath.

My shelves with radio, microwave, bread maker, toaster oven, and oven.

Yeah, I know, putting a shoe in your kitchen is pretty gross, but I just wanted you to try it on for size (I mean, as compared to my oven). (And don't look at the dirty oven door - goodness knows I've tried to get all that gunk off, but if anybody has any suggestions for that, let me know.)

Fancy fridge. My Japanese friends are always surprised at how many pics I've got on there, but hey, a lot of my friends and rellies are too far away and I like to see their shining faces before I reach for the chocolate inside.

Modern art sculpture by Stephen.

Just wondering...

Since I have nothing else to do, I'm just sitting here pondering why they have ribbon dancing/prancing as an Olympic sport. Yeah, it looks hard, and as an art form, sure, knock yourself out, but the Olympics? Hmmm.

(This guy is really good. Check him out. And here's a real sample.)


You know it's still summer when you have to expand your toe ring.


Just for reference, that's the name of my future foodie blog. I'm claiming it now in case anybody tries to jump in line ahead of me.

If it ever cools down enough for me to enter the kitchen again, if I ever learn how to use our camera properly, and if the boys can ever go more than ten seconds without needing diaper changes, I'm bloggin' about my fourth love (after Jesus, family, and friends).

My Face, In Manga

Is that really me? Anyway, I got the idea to Face Your Manga from Evil Chef Mom, to whom I'll be forever indebted, because making your own visage is just so dang fun!

Just Like Me. NOT!

Sometimes I want God to feel every emotion I'm feeling every exact moment I'm feeling them. You know what I mean? When I'm grumpy, I expect sympathy and a mutual sharing of grumpiness. Guess that ain't never gonna happen.

Good thing.

He's God and I'm not.


I was just feeling sorry for myself making dinner in the kitchen. It's been one of those days - I've been grumpy, the boys have been whiny, we've all been a bit mopey. It's not usually like that, thank goodness, but today was a doozy.

And you know what God did when I told him about it? He laughed.

Yep, he laughed and told me we all have crappy days.

And you know what? I started laughing, too, because his eyes were just so twinkly and sparkly I couldn't help myself.

Thank God he's not limited to my hormonal moments, or I'd miss out on so much good stuff.

Hairy Situation

You know this is starting to happen again when you spot your toddler sitting on the floor and flossing between his toes with a long strand of brown hair.

I'm Dreaming of a...

White Christmases are not on my list, but man, looniness must be!

I've pretty much had raging hormones since July 2005 when I got pregnant with Matthew, through the pregnancy, the breastfeeding, a second pregnancy that began a week after Matthew stopped nursing, through those nine months, and now with more breastfeeding. So that's over three years living with wild wackiness and nonsensical dreams.

I don't even have time to tell you all of them, but a couple of nights ago I was back in college, trying to get my locker open but not succeeding (and hey, you don't even have lockers in college, but it was a dream, so bear with me), late for class, running but not getting there till it was almost over, not having the right books or writing utensils, and then my seat was in the front row, of course.

The professor asked me point blank to summarize what happened in class, which of course I couldn't, so I got him off my case by saying something about C.S. Lewis and Tolkien being misogynists.

And last night I was in an airport and somebody brought me a package with a homemade decorated T-shirt (really 80's) and jewelry from somebody's dad that I didn't even know, and then somebody else brought me a glass of red wine.

I'm sure some dream interpreter would have a field day with all the stuff I go through every night in the wee hours, but hey, if they brought me a glass of red wine I'd listen.

My Three Boys



The unique way Matthew slides

Wrong year, but Joel looking cool anyway

Matthew eating Marmite toast like the good little half-English laddy he is

The Splash-Splash Place

Seven Years in Japan

August 15th came and went, and although I did think of my cousin Kristin's birthday that day, I didn't realize that there was anything else significant about it.

Until our next-door neighbor came to pay a visit. She and her family moved in today and wanted to meet us (and brought the traditional moving-in gift of laundry detergent), and when she asked how long we had been in Japan, it hit me!

Wow, time sure does fly...

We've Got Some New Words, Folks!

In the past few days, Maffa's come up with these:

  • key = key
  • sofa = soda
  • Rei = Rei (pronounced similarly to Ray - she's one of Matthew's little buddies)
  • shorts = shortsies (imitating Stephen's kid-talk)
  • puppy = puppy

Quotable Quote II

Matthew always has to say bye-bye to everything when something is finished or when he's leaving the room, leaving the house, going to bed, etc.

The bean calls his Baby Einstein Language Nursery DVD the "hello" DVD because that's the first word on it, and tonight, as that DVD was ending, he said, "Da-da (bye-bye in Matthew language) hello!"

Quotable Quote I

As I was feeding Joel this evening, Matthew walked over and asked his little brother, "Oishii?", which means "Yummy?"

New Words Today

Matthew said

  • toy = doy
  • happy = happy
I was singing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart...and I'm so happy, so very happy, I've got the love of Jesus in my heart..." and Matthew chimed in on the "happy"!

New Look For Fushigi News

I have been meaning to do this for a while as our previous header image did not include Joel, and was beginning to look seriously out of date, as Matthew had grown a lot since the photo that I used for it was taken well over a year ago. Since I am now in my one week Obon holiday, I have a bit of time to do important things like this (and Joel's passport applications etc.), so here it is.

If you are feeling sentimental about the old look, here is the old header image here:

Chatty Boys


Joel talks to Daddy and Matthew talks to Joel!

Laughing Maffa


We've had a request for a laughing Matthew video, so even though this one is about a month old, here he is, in all his guffawing glory! Uncle Andy was entertaining him via Skype at the time.

Summer Sounds


I think we probably post something like this every summer, but the semi (cicada) noises are so loud that I just can't help but want to share it again.

The Boys on the Mountain


New Words

Matthew continues to astonish us on a daily basis!

  • seat = sea
  • bear = bear
  • two = two
  • four = four
  • seven = seben
I always count as we're walking up the stairs from our car (there are 30 steps to our landing), and today Matthew surprised me by saying two, four, and seven before I could! That's the first time he's counted as far as I know.

Weigh Out!

Joel got on the scales today at the breastfeeding consultant's office, and he now officially weighs what I weighed at one year!

Are you ready? Drum rolls, please (or is that chubby rolls?): 7.1 kg or 15.65 pounds!

And as the Japanese say it, his cheeks are puku-puku and his arms and legs are muchi-muchi (in other words, he's a little chunker).

I say he's just really really kissable!

Fushigi Kid

We've all got our little quirks, and I love Matthew's recent ones!

  • Ate a whole grapefruit this morning, tartness and all. Not even a grimace.
  • Now says "hola" more than he says hello, and we have no Spanish blood in our families anywhere, so I don't know where he got that gene. He's half-British, half-American, and thinks he's Japanese because of all of his friends, but speaks Spanish. Hmmm.
  • At the pet shop this morning, Matthew had to say bye-bye to all the "puppies" and "meows" before we could leave.
  • He's got the best sense of direction I've ever heard of in a kid! In Sports Authority this morning, while I was feeding Joel out on a bench in the front lobby, Stephen chased Matthew all over the store and in and out of aisles of stuff that Matthew is too short to see over. But he led Stephen right back to the front of the shop with no problems. He also knows the location of all of our friends' homes and gets upset if we drive by without stopping to visit.

Jesus Anime

A friend of ours is working on this Jesus anime, so have a look, see what you think, and take the short survey at the end if you've got time. It's a work in progress, and they would love your input.

Anime is basically Japanese-style animation, but if you want more detail, look here.

(By the way, this anime is probably not one to watch with little tykes.)

How Sad

This made me cry. Poor baby!

Quotable Quote

We made some new friends at the playground on the roof of the co-op today. I had to go to the bank, the post office, and the co-op (and they're all in the same area), so rather than get back in the car and do that whole prat around again, we stayed at the co-op to play, even though the roof is sizzling hot.

The little boy and his mommy that we met were really, really friendly, and Matthew was elated to have a new friend to hang out with (though all of us could only handle about 10 or 15 minutes up there).

Our new friend is one and a half, and in the throes of teething, so he was wearing a bib and quite a lot of drool was pouring out, poor thing.

Matthew took one look at him, pointed at the dribble, and shouted, "Uh-oh!"

Me in the Mirror

When I was growing up, everybody told me I looked like my dad. And I guess to some extent I still do, but as I get (a wee bit) older, I'm starting to realize my mom's face is hiding in mine and peeks out from time to time! Evidently there are others out there who think the same way.

Matthew's Diaper Camp

You know Billy, right? Well, we've got our own little aerobics instructor in-house, and Julie had a great workout the other night. Who needs the gym when you've got a toddler around?


A funny thing happened...

Last night I was on the sofa feeding Joel, Stephen was in the kitchen washing dishes, and Matthew reached for the box of tissues on top of the TV. Normally I would say no, but he was doing it so gingerly and carefully that I decided to just watch and see what would happen. He wasn't in attack mode, so I thought it might all turn out okay.

We had turned the air conditioner off because there had been a huge thunder/lightning storm and it had cooled off a lot, down to about 28 degrees C (82 F), and we wanted some of that fresh after-rain air to infiltrate our apartment. We were all a bit sweaty, but I didn't realize the extent of Matthew's discomfort until...

He gently pulled out a tissue, wiped off his face and forehead, and pushed the wrinkled wet Kleenex back into the opening on the top of the box.

More Words

Matthew's new vocab in the past few days (out of the blue!):

  • pea = pea
  • black = ba
  • white = wa
  • star = stah
  • inai inai bah (Japanese version of peekaboo) = naa naa bah
  • hola = hola
  • bonjour = bonjour
The last two he picked up from Baby Einstein's Language Nursery, and he gets a huge smile on his face when he hears the Japanese.

Tasty Beans

I don't mean our little beans (though little beans' toes and tummies are so yummy when they're tiny), but these lentil tacos are treats for your taste buds! I had some cooked lentils in the freezer and wanted to do something with them other than my usual curry.

Allrecipes is a great place to look for stuff, and I love their rating system. I hardly ever make anything with less than 5 stars, so this lentil dish fit the bill.

Stuff I did differently: I already had the lentils cooked (with salt and beef bouillon), so I just cut up some onions and sauteed them with a bit of finely diced bacon and some garlic paste before adding the spices and defrosted lentils. I also added sliced black olives along with the cheese and lettuce, and I didn't use tomatoes because there was already salsa in with the beans (and because I didn't have any). I very rarely see taco shells for sale here, so I used flour tortillas I got frozen at Costco.

Stuff I'll do differently next time: The recipe calls for sour cream, but that's really expensive in Japan and I hardly ever splurge on it, so I might add a bit of plain yogurt next time for that cold creamy element.

Verdict: Oh-my-goodness yummy! Beat the pants off refried beans.

Karashi Renkon

When Stephen and I visited Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu several years ago to hang out with our friends Chuck and Julie, we tasted the city's specialty, karashi renkon. It's a hunk of lotus root with Japanese spicy mustard filled in all the little holes. Oh wow. The mustard will attack your nose with its spiciness, but man alive, that stuff is GOOD! C and J brought us some dried karashi renkon snacks when they came this past weekend, and the snacks sure didn't last long around here, especially with the game nights we had (our favorite game they brought was Gift Trap - way way way fun). Games mean munchies, and munchies mean karashi renkon snackies.

More Weekend Piccies

The two J's...Julie and Joel...

Splash time at Rokko Island...

Kyushu Buddies

Our longtime friends (we first met them in 2001 in Chiryu at the language school where Stephen taught) Chuck and Julie came for a few days - yea!

Julie has a birthday coming up this week - happy birthday, Julie!

The two of them brought some playdoh (Japanese equivalent) and had a hoot teaching Matthew how to use the stuff, though he was really more interested in the plastic container.

Had some swim time up at the office...

Watch out for the splash brigade!

Word of Mouth

Maffa's new words:

  • car = gah
  • police car = poo gah
  • pee pee = pee pee (I tried again the other day to stick him on the potty for this, but he was having none of that)
  • ouchy = oushy
  • arm = ahm
  • bed = beh
  • taxi = saxi
  • kashite (Japanese for please give it to me now, literally "loan it to me") = ashite
  • help = ep (when he asks for help with something)
  • Oh, man! = Oh, man!
  • Oh, shoot! = Oh, shoot! (this phrase and the one above directly from the mouth of Mama - could be worse, I guess)
In other news, Matthew was ecstatic this morning when I said it was time to cut his fingernails, and I was confused until he started shouting, "Show, show!" Then I realized that every time I cut his nails, I turn on the TV to mesmerize him into submission, and this was the part he was looking forward to (though there's only ever baseball, Korean soap operas with Japanese subtitles, and plenty of shopping channels).

He also gets a huge smile on his face when I say, "Give me five, up high, down low, too slow!" and move my hand away quickly so he swipes at air on the last bit. Maffa thinks that's absolutely hilarious, even when I'm too slow and he does get my hand.


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