Toilet Humor

I'm sure I've mentioned in winters past how I love our Japanese heated toilet seat. It just makes me glow all over in warm appreciation for this kind of technology. And apparently I'm not the only one.

Turkey Funnies

While you guys in the US are prepping your birds for the oven, I'm having dried cranberries on my cereal and wondering how I can make them into some kind of sauce - for December 6! That's when we're doing our Thanksgiving with some friends here in Japan (today's not a holiday).

I'm thankful for so many things - first my family and friends (God bless all of you!), our warm apartment, nice comfy clothes to wear (and we have more than we even need!), a nice car that we all fit comfortably into (and we have space for two extra, so hop on over), plenty of good warm food, and so many other things.

And here are some laughs to be thankful for, too! Oh, and this one as well:

(Photo from Liz Stambaugh's profile page on Foodbuzz. She's hysterical!)

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!!

Tunnel of Cuteness

Matthew's Latest Coloring Creation

Freshly done this morning for your delectation...

The Boys and Their Mama

New Wheels

Just after this photo, Joel grabbed one of my clean shirts off the couch and proceeded to rub his snotty nose all over went right back into the washing much for that! He was happy, anyway, and of course that's all that matters. My family's happiness, and cheesecake. Those two things.

Me, Myself, and My Breakfast

A great way to get Matthew to eat...he loves showing himself what's in his mouth...very exciting stuff.


I'm sucking on propolis drops to keep a cold at bay, but does anybody know if this is OK if you're breastfeeding?

I'm telling you...

These boys crack me up! They're both a bit under the weather with colds (Joel's first ever), but they're still pretty funny and really darn cute, in my humble, completely unbiased opinion.

  • The other day Matthew looked out the window and said, "Tree! Sky! Oh, COOL!"
  • Yesterday for lunch I gave the Maffa some nori (his favorite food at the moment), and he shouted, "Hallelujah!"
  • Joel bit his own toe the other day and howled for quite a while--he even left a tooth indention in his big toe. Now maybe he knows how it feels!
  • The littlest Beansprout's enjoying his walker (yes, we watch him in it every second), and is really good at getting himself where he wants to go (and getting stuck in corners, too--we need some kind of reversing function).
  • I'm thinking of changing our blog title to "Rivers of Snot". Whaddya think? A bit too over the top? How about "I'll Kiss You for a Tissue"? I haven't been feeling 100% either, so maybe "Pajama Party"? "An Apple a Day Keeps the Pediatrician Away"? Maybe this one's too obscure, but if you're familiar with American culture and British culture, you might like it: "Calpol, Take Me Away!"


Matthew did a massive sneeze this morning, looked up at me, and said, "Oishii yo [really yummy]!"

I don't think I'll be putting up a recipe for that on Mamatouille. Or a photo, either.

Never a Dull Moment

The boys and I were all seatbelted and cah-seated in and were about to pull out of our parking garage to head to Santatta Hiroba. We were in for some serious play time with the wooden train set and the elephant slide.

In my usual mama fashion, I said to Matthew and Joel, "OK, here we go, little men!"

"Big green men," piped up a toddler voice from the recesses of the fam-van.

Um, OK, then. (Could've been that Marmite toast he had for brekkie.)

And then after our fun outing, on the way home, a white-haired gentleman (with a Japanese elderly driver mark on the hood of his car - see image below) started pulling out in front of me from a side street, never even looking my direction. I laid on the horn to get his attention (thankfully it did and he stopped), and I heard Matthew shout, "Hey, dude!" (Wonder where he got that?)
And in Baby-Land News, Joel got his second tooth this morning. Yippee! Hopefully we can all get proper sleep again...

In Friend News, today we have some happy-birthdays to shout out to Teresa, Chuck, and Donna D! Have a happy day, you guyses! (And for the rest of you, if I haven't written anything about your birthdays, I'm blaming it on the big green men sucking my powers of memory and blogability.)

The Biggest Brain in the East

Matthew has some new winter hats from Uniqlo to keep his noggin warm. But not from the kids department. No, these are two adult size tea cosies. Boy's got a big brain in there!

The Scientific Laws of Noise Pollution

Why is it that just as I get both boys in bed and asleep for naps (at the same time, thankfully), the recycling truck picking up crashable nonburnable stuff (cans, bottles, glass) drives around and hurls loads of ear-splitting bits and bobs, and the neighbors decide it's time (of course) to start pounding on the futons hanging over their balconies?

They Call It a Revolution

I'm so so sorry, UK friends and family, but I'm afraid peanut butter ("beeah butter") has won out over Marmite recently in the Toddler-Bean Department.

Mad As a Smokin' Wet Mama Hen

My lungs finally had their fill of secondhand smoke today in the children's play area on the roof of the co-op and I politely but firmly let the staff know my feelings on the matter. They seemed surprised that it could be a problem at all.

There were no fewer than ten construction worker guys (all very nice and polite but all smokin' like chimneys) hanging out on a coffee/cig break and polluting my kids' breathing space. Matthew was playing with three or four little friends, Joel was entertaining the mommies (one held him almost the whole time), and I was trying to have fun but feeling pretty ticked.

I suppose because it's outdoors it's not considered an issue, but for me it was (obviously). I could smell it and you could probably see steam coming out of the anger horns on my noggin. Anyway, if it happens again I think I'll just head straight back into the store and drag a staffer out there to breathe it in for herself.

On a lighter and less smokey note, I'm LOVING our new stroller for Joel (it's only 3.9 kg). I can now navigate our hills on foot, without having to get out the car (though Matthew is always asking to be put into his new big-boy "cah seat" - he loves that thing, and Joel seems to enjoy his graduation to Matthew's former throne). As we were walking down to the bank, post office, and co-op this morning, I was complimenting Maffa-Laffa on his helping me "push" the stroller (a ruse on my part to keep him right next to me as there are no sidewalks) and his good walking, and he piped up and said "Eek you [thank you], Mama!" Lately Matthew's been searching the skies for helicopters, too, and when he doesn't see or hear one, shouts, "Ellocotter, are you [where are you]?" I love it when he I give him some options (about food or DVD or whatever), and he says, "How 'bout...?"

And now for some visual delights:

Joel in his new stroller yesterday at the park at the bottom of our hill...

Big grin (you can hardly see his new tooth, but believe me, I can tell you for sure it's there)...

Maffa-Laffa climbing out of the mosh pit (I mean sand box)...

Smiling at little bro in the new wheels...

Escaping from the swings (is it just me or do they make the swings narrower in the hip regions these days?)...

I'm a big boy now! Ascending the steps to the slide...

Nowhere to go but up...

Up and away!

And that's right when I put the camera down and got on the steps behind the Maffalator to be a Mama Airbag if need be!

Big Weekend for Joel

I'd been planning all week to start Joel on baby food yesterday so that Stephen could be here, camera ready for the big moment, and it just happened that yesterday morning Joel got his first tooth as well. He really seemed to like the oatmeal and even grabbed the spoon a few times to put it in his mouth all by himself. Lots of sloshing and drooling, but lots of fun, too.

And just tonight, as I was in the bathroom with Matthew, Stephen was astounded that Joel, who just this week decided that it's time to sit up all by himself, pulled himself from a lying position to a sitting position. Stephen said it's like watching time-lapse photography, sped up for emphasis. What next?


I was in the bathroom near the sink with Matthew this evening, just chatting with him as I normally do.

Mama: "What a big boy you're getting to be, Matthew!"

Matthew: "Boy."

Mama: "Daddy, Matthew, and Joel are boys, and Mama is a girl." [No, I did not explain any differences, in case you're wondering.]

Matthew: "Cow."

Before I started stamping and chewing my cud in anger, I realized Matthew was looking at our handsoap dispenser, the one from Costco with the cutesy bovine on it. Phew.

Photo Tag

My friend Kim over at City on the River tagged me to post the 6th picture in my 6th folder. Here you go! Matthew was eating something with his UK Grandpa at Oji Zoo in Kobe (this past June). The Bean was sitting in what was formerly known as The Stroller with a Working Seatbelt Before Mama Slammed It in the Trunk Door and Smashed It to Smithereens.

Monitoring the Maffa

The Maffalator took an eternally long nap today - all of 20 minutes. I could hear him through the monitor as he woke up and evidently he had food on the brain. His first words were "eggy bread" (aka French toast in American English) and "Marmite toast."

I left him a little while, hoping he'd go back to sleep (ha, my mistake!), until he started asking, "Mama, are you? Mama, are you? [Mama, where are you?]"

And for someone who'd only reclined a few minutes, he sure did have wild and craaaaaaaazy hair. (I just read Steve Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up, so I've got some of his catch phrases rolling round in my noggin.)

Now, if you'll please excuuuuuuse me while I go rescue the poor washing machine from our own in-house tinkerer.

What's New with the Little Men

  • Matthew loves to pat our heads and say, "Dessings [blessings], Mama! Dessings, Daddy! Dessings, Doel!" And sometimes he pats his own head and says, "Dessings, head!" Inanimate objects benefit as well: "Dessings, chair! Dessings, toy! Dessings, puppy [Polar Puppy]!"
  • Joel is pretty much sitting up on his own for extended periods of time now, and he's got ramrod-straight posture (I'm pretty jealous!).
  • If I ask Maffa what he would like to sing together, lately he's been saying, "CB [the ABC song]!"
  • The little guys LOVE to make each other laugh, and their eyes sparkle and twinkle when they achieve this.

It's a Zoo Out There

We went to Oji Koen zoo again today. When I say "again", I mean that we have successfully been there several times by train, and made the unfortunate decision to try to go by car a few weeks ago, only to be met with such a long line waiting for parking that we just turned round and came back.

Anyway, I think we are getting it down to a fine art now: Drive to Shukugawa and park the car, have brekkie at the local McDonald's. Pick up lunch at the convenience store and then get straight on the train. It's a short walk at the other end, and you are right there.

Here are some of the best shots from today:

Matthew the serious model...

... with a cheeky grin starting to poke through.

"Hello, little fella!"

"Ooh! You're a soft little warm-furry-thingy, aren't you!"

"Daddy, I'm so glad I'm not like that Joel or that giraffe, having to lick things for entertainment."

"What was it like when you met him?"

Not, "When did you believe in Jesus?" Or, "When did you become a Christian?"

And the other thing is that this is a question to ask about every day, and not just about some point in the past.

Another interesting insight from The God Journey podcast.


Matthew loves finding "big ones" (large rocks) to drop in the river for a resounding "plop":

"Hey, Daddy. That was a good one!"

"Ooh, ooh! I found another big one!"
"There it goes. Plop!"

Joel in the Jungle

Hantoshi - 6 Months!

  • Joel is still drooling profusely and just about to get that first tooth.
  • He gets up on his hands and knees, rocking back and forth and wiggling his little tushy in the air to practice proper crawling.
  • Does an amazing army/belly scooch.
  • We're already having to tell him no and pull him away from books and electrical cords, both of which would not be enhanced by the abovementioned slime-drool.
  • Talks up a storm in his own little Joel-language.
  • BIG smiles!
  • Loves to laugh with Matthew and make Matthew laugh.
  • Wants to be moving or upright during all waking moments.
  • Wakes up about 6-6:30 am every day.
  • Can't sit in his blue chair (shown below) anymore because he launches himself off it and ends up dangling upside down, held in place by the seat belt. He has no problem with this, and happily hangs there until one of us rushes over to rescue him, but his parents sure have racing hearts as a result! (Remember when Matthew did that, too?)
  • Rolling rolling rolling...


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