Head Bangers

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Happy 65th, Grandpa

Sumo Ski Suit

Portraits of Two Beans




Kaori and Keisuke

Our upstairs neighbors are moving this week...and we're bummed about that!

The boys love Kaori and Keisuke.

Keisuke just got back from a year in Brazil for work and now is being moved by his company to the Tokyo area.

Kaori and Joel the other day...
Keisuke taught Matthew how to throw and catch a rugby ball...
And how to play a guitar!
I couldn't help but get a little sappy on the envelope of the card we gave them...

Hug a Tree

A couple of our neighbors came over yesterday to hang out (Aina is 10 days younger than Joel and was born at the same clinic - cute, isn't she!), and Aina's mama commented longingly and wistfully about the two trees we can see from our window. It made me realize again how urbanized this area is - I guess after almost 8 years in Japan I've really gotten used to it, but I do miss having space between houses and abundant green grass (and this area is one of the nicest urban areas in the country). I carry Matthew and Joel (individually) out on our balcony (ducking around the laundry poles) so we can have fresh air and hear the wind in the leaves - they love it and beg to stay out there.

Maffa Do It!

Maffa likes to do things for himself and he's not afraid to tell us so.

So Stephen had the brainwave to design a T-shirt for him and order it for the Bean's 3rd birthday.

Here it is - live and in full action!


I loved Matthew's friend Rei-chan's reaction today when she saw it - "That looks like Matthew!" (Matthew was so excited when he first saw it, too - and he wants to keep looking at it.)

Here's the front...

And the back...



I guess this is one shirt that Joel won't inherit later.

Spring Winds Bring Changes

We may not ever have our clocks changed in Japan (thank goodness we don't have to deal with government-induced jet-lag twice a year - without the excitement of the jet), but haru ichiban (the first winds of spring) have brought some new things our way:

  • Joel has taken a step or two on his own this past week - Stephen and I have both independently witnessed this so apparently neither of us is dreaming.
  • I've had our windows open a bit yesterday and today and we've been enjoying the breezes and sunshine. Yay!
  • The only reason I wore my hat on our walk yesterday was to hide my unwashed hair and my crazy cowlicks, not because I needed something to keep my head warm.
  • Matthew turned THREE and is really good at puzzles, helping me, and being inquisitive. His new favorite book and video are Green Eggs and Ham, and it's the one long-ish book he'll sit through a reading of.
  • Though Joel is 10 months, he's just lately started having enough blond fuzz to have a bit of bed hair in the morning - very cute.
  • Our upstairs neighbors are moving next week to the Tokyo area for his job (March and April are big months for changes in Japan - the school year ends in March and starts in April). We'll sure miss them!
  • M and J share a room now.
  • We're so looking forward to having Stephen's parents come next week! My FIL is retiring this Friday (congratulations!!!) and they'll be hanging out with us for a month.
  • The cherry blossoms (sakura) will be poking their little pale pink faces out very soon - the buds are growing!
Some things never change, though - I'd better get in the kitchen soon because those dirty dishes are OUT OF CONTROL. Oh, and I've got a little spring bunny waking up from his nap. Mama's hoppin' to it!

Wakasa-chan

The boys had a little visitor last week - Wakasa is 6 months old now, very sweet and smiley, and charmed both of our beans.

The Writing on the Fridge

And now I'm not only "Mama" anymore: Today I was in the kitchen and Matthew started calling for "Okaasan" ("mom" in Japanese).

Parking

Don't you just wanna kiss their sweet cheeks?!?


Call Security - There's a Baby Who's Eating!!!

Since when is it a high-security situation for a baby to have some sustenance?

Since now.

A college friend of mine, Sara, just posted yesterday about having security called on her when she attempted to discreetly breastfeed her four-month-old in a public place in Oklahoma (even though state law says it is completely legal for her to do this).

I'm glad Sara is sweeter than I am because I think that nasty bully lady (who works for Kitchen Craft, btw) would've gotten an earful from me and a call from my lawyer (maybe I should get one)!

Ms. Kitchen Craft should've been forced to go to a secluded spot in a private lounge with a dark blanket over her head while she ate her burgers and fries for lunch. See how it feels.

Oh yeah, and have security called because she was being a danger and a nuisance for masticating.

(As you can clearly see, I'm completely neutral on the subject of breastfeeding and a baby's right to eat in public. 100% neutral. Just call me Switzerland.)

Have any of you ever encountered a situation like this? If so, tell all. I can't promise I won't get ticked off again, though.

Matthew's Birthday - Part I

Matthew whisper-sings happy birthday to himself, then sings aloud to himself and to his digger birthday card...and all the while I'm being attacked by a Joel who wants the camera.

Happy birthday (yesterday), Matthew-Bean! You're a whopping three years old now! How does it feel to be such a big boy?

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Matthew's Birthday - Part II

Helping Mama clean the peanut-butter frosting-covered beaters.

The look of joy on Matthew's face when he saw the plate of cupcakes was so sweet!

Mama blew out and Matthew tried but didn't quite get the concept.

He enjoyed that candle so much he wanted me to light it up again. It was his birthday so of course I obliged.

Everybody sing!

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Monkeying Around

This is hilarious!

FYI

This doesn't always work.

Either/Or Is a Good Option

If you've got a toddler, you know they can get snarky in a heartbeat - you might not even know why half the time (and they probably don't understand what threw them in a tizzy, either).

So here's where Sheri Silk's advice really pays off: Distract them with options.

Here's an example: Yesterday I was getting the beans ready to go for a walk. You know, last-second diaper changes, hats on, coats on, Joel in the sling, Matthew's shoes on, your own shoes on, etc. These things take time and sometimes toddlers don't have the patience for that.

So Matthew decided he wanted to stay home and play instead. Not an option.

But I did give him other options that made him stop his soon-to-be-tantrum.

"Matthew, do you want to wear your red hat or your blue hat?"

He paused, thought about it (which took his mind off his anger at not being able to do what he wanted at exactly that moment), and he chose the red hat.

Tantrum averted, everyone happy.

Out the door.

Is It a Mall? Is It an Airport?

We're cheap dates, we Mundays. Take us to a big brand spankin'-new mall with each other and our camera and we're happy as clams. (The fact that it has big flat escalator-like people-movers from the train station doesn't detract at all from the excitement. Quite the opposite.)

Uh-oh. Where'd Joel-Beansprout go?
Peepo!
Look at those toofers...Each other, a camera, and a water bottle. Then we're all set.


Maffa and Daddy, cuddly as bugglies in a ruggly. Or on a soft new sofa in a sparkly mall.

Kanpai! Cheers!
Mama came out from behind the camera! Hisashiburi ni! Long time no see Mama's face!
Too close...a leetle too close (name that flick)...
Strategically placed leaf...
And these funky elevators. You'd think they would go somewhere and let those mannequins off once in a while, but no. They never stop. Up and down. Up and down. Carrying pricey merchandise. (That cute simple little summery outfit will run you 35,000 yen - approx. US$350.00. No lie. This is why we only go to the mall to let the little men roll around on the nice new carpet.)

Before and After

Ume (plum) blossoms:

February


March

Roomies - Day 3

Well, there's hope on the horizon! Naptime yesterday was a fiasco, and maybe because of that the little men went to sleep a bit faster than the first night.

Today's naptime was better, with both guys falling asleep after about 15 minutes or so (yea!), and tonight was awesome - almost no chatting or screeching at all before it got completely quiet.

They're getting used to it quicker than we thought they would - thanks, God!

Ageism

Matthew's really into his age at the moment - he always loves answering "two" when we ask him (though he'll have to change that as of next week).

So Stephen asked him tonight how old Daddy is, and Matthew said (of course), "Two."

But when I asked him my age, he answered, "One." (Mama is secretly very pleased about this.)

Roomie Update

It only took about an hour for both boys to fall asleep last night, and they both slept through very well.

Joel woke Matthew up this morning (our days of one of them sleeping a bit longer in the morning are over), and when I went in to them, Matthew popped up, looked around happily, and said, "New room! Same room!"

I guess he likes it again. Which is a good thing, because they're stuck with each other!

Roomies

It's official: The beans are in the same room as of tonight. They both seemed really excited about the new arrangement (Matthew ran around the room saying "New one! New one!" and Joel walked around holding on to furniture and trying to eat everything - which for him means he's pumped about it all).

Until the actual time came for them to go to sleep.

We put them down to bed 45 minutes ago and it's been mayhem ever since (and continues), with either one or both of them screaming, and when we go in to them we have to put a hall light on, which disturbs the other one, and on and on.

Matthew has changed his mind from his first assessment of the situation (at least for the moment), and now says, "No new one. No new one."

We'll keep you posted. You either have to laugh or cry, and right now I'm in laughing mode. I guess that's a good thing.

Standing on the...

...promises? Nope, just a truck. This is Joel's new hobby: Find something and stand on it. Works for him.

Our Father

Since Matthew's started praying, I've been really touched every time: He always says "ah-ba ah-ba ah-ba" over and over again (before he says "Amen!" with a really Southern accent - where did he get that?).

We've never taught him the word "Abba", but it sure sounds like that's what he's saying.

Feeling Flowery (Version 2.0)

I've had some questions about what kind of flowers were in my Feeling Flowery post from a couple of weeks ago, so here it is again (with names this time). At the time I took the photos, I asked our neighbors just to make sure I got them right.

The cherry trees are starting to show little buds so it won't be long before they're blooming, too! (Mum and Dad, hope they're out when you're here!)

Scenes from the 'hood...

Peach (momo) - the following three photos




I have no idea about this one (anybody know?) - there wasn't anybody walking around to ask what its name was when I saw this beauty


Plum (ume)


Daffodils (suisen)


Plum (ume) - the following three photos



 

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