What To Do

I asked Matthew (who has just recovered from an illness) what he would like to do today, and here are his ideas, in the order he gave them:

  • go to the mall
  • go see the trains [we sometimes go to the mall on the train so I think the trains are the main attraction]
  • wear a hat
  • wear his Thomas T-shirt
There you have it! Out of the mouths of beans.

Playing Pool

More Maffa-isms

We always talk about all the vehicles (norimono) that we see when we're out, and I was explaining to Matthew that the trucks, trains, and cars will look different in America. (I don't think he understands the concept of moving to a new country, or moving anywhere for that matter, but I'm trying to dialogue as we go.) I also said that a lot of things will be different in America, and Matthew said, "Me, too."

I guess he will change in some ways! Children are so wise.


Matthew's been highly influenced by the famous Rolf Harris song, "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", and loves to say, "G'day, sport!" to random people and at random moments.


The Bean's also been learning English (!) from his Shimajiro DVDs (which we're borrowing, btw) and as a result, loves to ask everybody how they're doing.

Including four-legged friends. At the sheep farm last week, Maffa walked up to a nice-looking ewe and said (very politely), "Hello, sheep! How are you?"


As I was putting Joel into the sling the other day, I said, "OK, Joel, into the pouch!"

And Matthew replied, "Into your heart."

If Then

If you've been either pregnant or breastfeeding continuously since July 2005...

If your fourteen-month-old suddenly upped his food caloric intake (if that's even possible - he was eating so much already)...

If he then decided one day (four days ago) that he had no more use/desire for mama's milk...

If guacamole is one of his favorite foods, along with olives and tomatoes (so he's getting plenty of variety - this kid will eat anything and everything)...

If, oddly enough, he's slept better the last four nights without having had breast milk before going to bed...

If you're a wee bit hormonal about all this and your body is in breeding/feeding recovery mode...

Then don't, I beseech you, don't ever, ever, ever watch the movie "P.S. I Love You."

I'm warning you.

It could be disastrous for your pillow's state of dry well-being.

Ham and Lamb

The guys (and parents, too) had a blast at the sheep farm on Mt. Rokko last week.

This one was waiting (lurking) for Matthew to buy him some food from a special machine just for our sheepish friends.

Sheep riding? New Olympic sport?

All amateur photographers within a 5-mile radius swooped down when Joel was near a few lambies, and Joel ate up the attention.

Matthew hammed it up a bit, too!

Hydrangeas on Mt. Rokko

Sheepishly Having Fun

Last Saturday at the sheep farm on Mt. Rokko. (Finally posting!)

Guest Bloggin'

I can't go to the BlogHer conference this year, but I can guest post for my friend Stephanie over at Queen of Quirky while she's there (having fun without me)!

We're Getting There!

And our mama is so proud!

Latest Maffa-isms

Stephen and Matthew were watching some home videos from around the time Joel was born, so lately Joel's been "Baby Joel." This morning I corrected Matthew, however, and told him that his brother is not a baby anymore - he's a toddler because he can walk. I called him "Toddler Joel," but Matthew corrected me and now Joel for some reason is "Regular Joel."


The other day Matthew looked around the apartment and said, "Daddy's gone! Where is he?" When I told him that Stephen was at work, he exclaimed, "Oh my word!"


I didn't even know that Matthew knew this word, much less in context, but when he ate an orange segment this morning, he yelled, "SUPPAI!" (the Japanese word for "sour").

Flower Power - Scenes from Our Flat

Till Death Us Do Part

I have a confession to make, and one that I'm not too proud of: I just smushed two mating mosquitoes in my kitchen.

I'm sorry, they were just (sort of) flying around, looking a bit drunk on love, not going anywhere in a hurry (and that's probably why I had absolutely no trouble killin' 'em).

Their little love-sick, flat bodies have now plunged to a watery grave down my drain, still stuck together, and I just felt like I had to tell someone.

(OK, so maybe I am a wee bit proud of my accomplishment - just so many mixed emotions at the moment. Sniff. Hee hee. Snort. GOTCHA, suckers!)

Glug, glug. Burp, went the drain.

Fred and Hilda are gone, long gone. And their future babies...

Not biting MY babies.

Policing the Police

Just trying to give our local law enforcement officers something to do while they're at work (we're nice like that). We dropped by the other day to ask how Stephen could get a background check for his green card (turns out he has to go to the prefectural office in Kobe - twice).

There were about ten officers just sitting around nattering, all very nice but all very hima (nothing to do), and on the way out Matthew asked me if he could see a patocah (patrol car in Japanese). So I turned right around, went back to the desk, and asked (never hurts to ask)! The only female officer jumped up (looking really happy), and ran out to the garage. She twisted two male officers' arms and they offered to drive one of the cars out in the lot so Matthew could take a gander. They turned the lights on and everything, and politely said I could take pictures of the car but not of them. (They never said I couldn't video them, though.)

It all looks very exciting for a 3-year-old, but actually Matthew was more enchanted with a Volkswagen in the parking lot than with the police car!


Say Cheese!

Goodbye Bafana

Looking for a flick for the weekend? This one's a thinker and a feeler - two attributes I really love in films.

Goodbye Bafana is the (apparently) true story of a white security guard in South Africa who was in charge of guarding Nelson Mandela (for almost the whole 27 years he was in custody), and of their ensuing friendship and deep respect for each other.

The guard (James Gregory) grew up playing with an indigenous South African friend, learning his language and customs, but somewhere along the line was influenced negatively by the surrounding apartheid culture. He had to make a living and without a college education, didn't have many options in that society. Even as a trained security guard, however, he was horrified by the treatment of prisoners on Robben Island, where he was transferred to guard Mandela and censor the prisoners' letters (they got to send one every six months and receive one every six months).

You'll have to watch the movie to find out all that happened, but I highly recommend it - your head and heart will have a (good) workout.

That's Me Son!

Recently Matthew and Joel received a fun Australian CD (and T-shirts), courtesy of their great-aunt Anne and great-uncle Mark in South Australia.

The Wiggles are a big Australian hit that have made it worldwide, and on this particular CD, they sing a famous song called "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", with the famous guy who wrote it, Rolf Harris.

So now Matthew uses the personal possessive pronoun "me" instead of "my".

As in "wash me hands". (I hope he doesn't stop for a while because it really makes me grin. Me smile just spreads across me face. I just can't help it.)

It's all Rolf's fault.

Tomatoes, Tomahtoes

The recent pic lied: I really do have tomatoes on my plants!

We All Live in a Blue Bus

I've been learning lots lately from parenting books (and I love watching others and their parenting styles, too). (I have to admit, though, that I'm missing fiction and this is the (re)start of my fiction lovin'.)

So anyway, the other night Matthew lost blue-bus privileges for a little while (this seems to work with Matthew more than anything else - losing a beloved toy for a bit). Something had gone down (I don't even remember what), and the blue bus had to sit on top of the speaker, out of reach. Matthew wanted it back in a bad way and kept pointing to it and asking for it. It was getting to the point where I thought a full-on tantrum was brewing, so I whipped out the box of crayons and some paper, drawing on (pun intended) a technique I read about recently in How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Have kids represent their feelings on paper - it's like lifting the lid off a pot of boiling water - the bad feelings come out in a safe way! So I adapted this idea a bit and asked Matthew to draw his blue bus - it worked! (He also drew a yellow one that is a bit harder to see, but it's there.)

Here's what Matthew was sorely missing:

And here - in a better perspective for size, next to a tissue box:

Better Late Than Never

Over a week ago!

Brekkie at Denny's...

Then walkies at Kabutoyama Shinrin Kouen (Mt. Kabuto Forest Park)...


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