Sogo Park

A Boy After My Own Heart

Matthew likes to pretend to go "shopping" (i.e. grocery shopping) and carry a bag with a handle around the house, and this morning I asked him what he was buying.

"A bunch of chocolate."

A Little Candle Magic

Not only did this work (Matthew ate his entire meal!), but the bean also sang happy birthday to the "dear candle."


Matthew likes his room-temperature water ("regular water") better than the fridge-cold version. And lately he's also been asking for "regular milk", though I don't think pasteurization can take it that far.


Overheard this morning by a fly on the wall:

Mama: Matthew, I'm going to wash your face now, OK?

Matthew: Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!

Helpful Hints

  • I got a brilliant idea today from Small Notebook! Matthew's just not really into eating, but he LOVES candles, so I think I'll try what she suggested: Have a candle going on the table at dinnertime, and if your child eats well that meal, let him blow out the candle afterward. I'll let you know how this one goes, but I think it could change the face of mealtimes around here. Matthew adores candles that much. (I have been known to put one in a snack and light it just so he can blow it out - floats the bean's boat.)
  • If you're around kids in any capacity (teaching, parenting, babysitting, wiping bums), then this podcast is really gonna rock your world - and the book they talk about is one I'm reading now (it's an amazing, positive, paradigm-shifter in that it focuses on relationship and not punishment in child-rearing). One of the quotes from the podcast I loved the most was when Danny Silk (who is the author of that book and an interviewee on the podcast), said something like, "If raising kids who never misbehave or act out in public shows that you're a good parent, then Joseph and Mary failed miserably." And Sheri Silk, the author's wife, brought tears to my eyes when she said that her goal as a parent is to help her kids fall in love with her. It's all about the freedom that God gives to us - that same freedom will win our kids over and help them to make wise choices as they grow and learn. Danny said that he obeys the IRS, but that doesn't give him any affection for them. I'm learning so much lately about God's unconditional love (it's really true!) and I pray M and J feel that same love from me.
  • Those two pics at the top of this post have nothing whatsoever to do with helpful hints, but I thought you might like to see them anyway (and poor Joel's lip - he ate wood floor the other day).

Teeny Tomatoes and Happy Hydrangeas

I'm happy to say these beauts are gracing our very own balcony!

And here they are in context...

My hydrangea is ecstatic about the rainy season!

Rain-kissed petals...

Dad's Day

As we were walking out to our car in a parking lot yesterday, Stephen pointed out a Porsche to Matthew and asked him if he'd like to leave in our car or in the Porsche.

Matthew answered, "Our Porsche."

I hope all you dads (and future dads) out there get the Porsche of your dreams this Father's Day.

Imo Hori - Potato Harvesting

Our friends Nobue, Masayuki, and Rei-chan have a garden allotment at their condo (see it here last fall) where they raise all kinds of goodies in a very small space.

They invited us over today to dig up the new potatoes and have a meal to eat them (if you want to know what they made for us, read about it here!). Yummy! There's nothing like hanging out with good friends and eating just-plucked produce.


Here are the leftovers hanging out, sunning on Rei-chan's's amazing how much can grow in a very small space. I'm cheering for my tomatoes this year (also growing in a very small space - aka our balcony).


My makeup mirror after Joel gave it some cheesy kisses...

I'm not even gonna show you what my face looked like after using said mirror to beautify myself yesterday morning.

Corralled by a Tiger

Three kiddiewinks in an after-lunch Shimajiro-induced stupor. (Make sure you watch the linked video - Shimajiro is our potty-training muse.)

College Flashback (Sorta)

Instead of going to our usual park this morning, I asked the guys if they would like to go see the puppies and fish at Royal Home Center or to a different park. Matthew piped up with "new park" so off we went to a really exclusive college campus nearby (where it's totally legal and acceptable for local citizens to walk or ride their bikes through - I mean "exclusive" in that the students have to pay mighty mighty hefty sums to get in and it's the most beautiful campus I've ever seen in Japan - really similar to the Mediterranean-style architecture of Rollins College in Orlando).

OK, no offense to our family and friends who smoke, but I was pretty shocked at the number of students sitting around in between classes and puffing away. Is that the new trend for this generation, or is it a Japanese thing? Japan Tobacco is owned by the government and as such, smoking is totally encouraged here (non-smoking sections in restaurants and other public places are pretty much in name only). I'd love your feedback on this because I was floored - I would say about 70% of the students sitting on benches around the campus were smokers.

I felt a wee bit natsukashii (nostalgic) about my own college days (nothing to do with the smoking I saw), and I wondered what I would be like as a non-traditional student. Would I remember how to take notes (or even write with a pen on paper, for that matter - not that I would need either as I would probably have to have a laptop), or listen to a prof without my mind wandering to dirty diapers?

As we walked around, the little beans got LOADS of admiration and "kawaii!!!" (cute) from the girls, and I saw more than a few of the Japanese student blokies looking jealous. Ah, if they were only two feet tall and blond, they wouldn't be able to keep the co-eds away.

Naptime Warm-Up

Conversation I just had with Matthew as the boys were wrestling and goofing off before naptime (getting the last dregs of energy out):

Abigail: "Matthew, please stop biting the cushion. What are cushions for?"

Matthew: "Eating."

The Bean in his new bed, with Polar Puppy for a pillow and Anpanman, White Bear, and a troll puppet (aka "Gruffalo") as company

After a few glitches, Ikea has finally sent us the proper parts for the bed so Stephen could put it together last night - with Matthew's help, of course. Maffa did a super job helping and he is loving his new digs.

As I put little Joel Jelly Bean into his own bed just now, he immediately sat up and grinned his cheeky little grin. I asked him to lie back down, so he literally threw himself backwards into a lying position, smiling the whole time. He loves doing that on our guest-room air bed, too - and even when he's standing up straight on the bed he has no qualms about falling backwards without looking. He loves it.

And I love these little guys.

Odds and Ends

Yesterday as we were praying before dinner, I said, "Thank you, God, for Matthew and Joel, " and Matthew piped up with "...and Mama." Sweet! (Stephen was still walking home from work at this point so he didn't get a special mention.)

Today after our morning park time, I washed the boys' sandals in the bathroom sink to get the dust off. Joel stood there for a minute, watching me intently, and then went to the genkan and brought me one of Stephen's sandals. Cute!

Poo... and the 2000th Fushigi News Blog Post

Yes, folks, this epic 2000th blog post is about a very deep subject: poop.

It's coming out my ears, people. (OK, if that was really true it would be extra extra gross and I'd be running to our ENT.)

When you've got a preschooler whose favorite drink contains about 5,472 veggies and fruits, a toddler always on the move (in more ways than one), and to top it off, basil plants that caterpillars adore (and who show their appreciation by leaving me little gifts on the holey leaves they've been munching), there's just nothing to do except...

wash my hands...



blog about it.

I knew you'd be happy to wake up to fushigi poo news.

Happy 2000th post and almost five years of blogging to us!

Uegahara Kominkan Park

Yesterday we spent two hours in the (hot) morning in the local neighborhood park at the bottom of our hill - the guys wore their new T-shirts from their great-uncle and great-aunt who live in Australia.

Our friend Erina-chan from upstairs...

Readin', Drawin', DVDin'

Lunchies with Friends

Harumi and Wakasa came for a visit and both beans fell in love with little Wakasa all over again!



Desert Song

Watch the video here. (Link from my friend Megan.)

And here are the lyrics:

Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow


Goose bumps. If you're in need of some encouragement today, I hope this does the trick. I don't think the point of being filled up is so that we have to be "emptied again," but I really do think Papa loves to give us good gifts, just because. Because he is love.

This Little Light

Matthew always sings while driving, and here's just another example:



You know it's the rainy season again when your preschooler runs around the house doing dramatic bug-smushing hand-clapping and yelling, "Mosquito! Matthew did it!"

(Caveat: No animals have been harmed in the process of writing this blog post. Or when the dramatic hand-clapping happens, either. Matthew never gets 'em. So far.)

Happy 8 Years to Us!

Doesn't seem like 2001 was that long ago, but I guess it was!

Our friend Richard agreed to bring his laptop round yesterday evening and hang out here after the kiddiewinks went to bed, monitoring the "mama-ter" while Stephen and I hit the town. (Or actually, an Italian restaurant with really nice espresso-flavored "babaloa" - like foamy custard pudding, and chocolate "torta" - a kind of cake. They also had awesome fully leaded cappuccino that we drank at 9 p.m. and I was still appreciating it at midnight when I couldn't sleep. Anyway, my mind was fully alert so I "wrote" our love story in my brain, coming soon to a blog near you - watch this space.)

If you care to take a gander, I've searched our blog archives for anniversaries past:






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