Thursday, February 26, 2009

Infertility Bloggers + Warm Socks = LOVE


I've mentioned before that Peanut didn't come easily for Gboy and me. In fact, the wait was long enough to technically put us in the "infertile" category in the U.S. During what felt like that interminable wait, I read a lot of infertility blogs. I was trying to learn as much as I could about our situation and our options; that's how I deal with things - research and research some more. But more than that, I found a community of people with a great deal of compassion for one another. Despite our different approaches to building our families (and there are oh-so-many paths and outcomes), I found an immense amount of understanding, encouragement and sympathy. I don't know how I would have endured the wait for Peanut without the words of all my fellow infertility (IF) bloggers.

Now, if you're at all familiar with the community of infertility bloggers, you may have discovered Kym's blog already. If you haven't seen her blog, I highly recommend stopping by for some interesting reading. She's been through a lot as she and her husband Frank struggled to have kids; and now she's working on being a surrogate mom to help another couple add a child to their family. Also, Kym is just plain old funny and it sounds like her husband Frank should be on FoodTV. There's a lot to uncover on her blog!

Anyway, Kym (aka "The Smart One") had this wonderful idea to further expound on and demonstrate how warm and fuzzy the community can be - supporting one another through cycles, treatments, adoptions, surrogacy, etc. She's coordinating a sock exchange. I know!!! Great idea no? If you're at all interested in participating, click on the badge above or stop by her blog to learn how you can both give and receive a pair of socks along with a whole lotta love!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Have you ever heard of a danjiri? Me either! At least, I hadn't heard of one until a couple of years ago. This video gives you an idea of what it looks like - a big wooden cart of sorts - being pulled along by dozens, maybe even hundreds of people. Kishiwada, a small city not far from here has a big Danjiri Festival each fall. I've never been to the festival in person, but I hear the streets are packed with on-lookers. Sometimes if the danjiri are being pulled too quickly as they rush around a corner the danjiri doesn't quite clear the corner resulting in property damage and occasionally injury. Gboy and I like to think of it like a kind of "running with the bulls". Only without any animals.

Anyway, this past weekend we visited the Danjiri Museum. It's a small museum, but their interactive components made the trip totally worthwhile. Not only did I get to "play" some of the instruments that are on the bottom half of the danjiri, I got to experience what it might be like to stand atop the danjiri (at about half the actual height and minus any movement)! I can safely say that I'd be too chicken to try it for real, but that's the beauty of a museum with interactive elements, I can pretend I have the guts to do something wild and still keep all my teeth (knowing me I'd fall off the thing and lose a tooth!).

Can you tell I was having fun?!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tweens as tourists

Living with a 12-year-old girl for a week has been interesting. We don't know this girl (I'll call her A) all that well. We've been friends with her father for a few years now, but since we met A when she was 7 or 8 years old, we've seen her a couple of times a year and she's obviously grown a lot since when we first met her. As a result, keeping tabs on all of her interests has been practically impossible.

Thus, before she came here we asked her father if there was anything in particular she'd like to do or see here in Japan (her first solo trip overseas - or anywhere for that matter). He said no and she seemed to reinforce that while here. Every time we'd ask where she'd like to go, she couldn't tell us, so I quickly resorted to offering choices - two to keep it simple. But even when I followed her lead, taking her shopping on Friday in a place with many accessories and jewelry etc. (based on observing her stop at every accessory store in Doutonbori when we took her shopping earlier in the week) we discovered she doesn't wear earrings, doesn't like flowers or girlie things, and basically did a 180 on the whole thing. Ooookay.

To be fair, she's been incredibly polite and well-behaved and is able to entertain herself for large blocks of time, it's the "we are showing you around Japan" times that have been challenging. I just keep thinking of how lucky she is to have such an amazing opportunity and how thrilled I would have been to be in her shoes at that age. Of course I've always been a kind of history and museum geek girl meaning the opportunity to visit multiple castles, temples and shrines here in Japan would have been much to my liking. For A, this isn't the case. Nor does she really seem interested in the artwork, manga, or entertainment sides of Japan like many American kids I know. Living on a farm that grows lots of vegetables has also been of zero interest to her - she doesn't like vegetables. So we're still not quite sure why A wanted to come here but I think it mostly has to do with the fact that her father REALLY wanted her to come and the poor kid is desperate to please her dad.

The upside to all of this, is that it gives us a sense of the complex and seemingly mercurial personalities that pre-teen girls can display. A possible glimpse into our future 11 years from now? The downside is that I'm exhausted from trying to entertain her for a week, and we've still got all day tomorrow to get through! But we've got a plan and soon enough she'll be on her way back to the U.S.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Polka dots and spots

On Friday, Peanut seemed to nap surprisingly early in the morning, but since she'd been a tad on the cranky side, we figured she was tired and that's what caused her to zonk out so early. I was a bit concerned about going out for the better part of that afternoon and evening as I had originally planned - leaving Gboy home alone with a cranky Peanut for that long, but he assured me they'd be fine. I called that night before returning home and he told me she'd gone to sleep 30 minutes earlier than usual without a bit of fussing; she just fell asleep. He said she'd seemed a tad feverish but no big deal. We were amazed. She didn't need to nurse at all, didn't seem upset by my absence even though she's used to having both of us around for her bedtime routine. Congratulations to us on our fabulous parenting! Um or whatever. She slept soundly Friday night and on Saturday she seemed fine. That's when fate stepped in to prove to us how wrong we can be.

Saturday night...

We woke up in the middle of the night to lots of vigorous crying and as soon as I picked Peanut up I knew what was wrong - she was burning up. We took her temperature and it was over 39.6 C (that's somewhere over 103F if you're like me and don't operate metrically). Plenty high. Gboy being even more paranoid than I am decided we should make a trip to the hospital to have her checked out. We had called ahead and knew that there was no one in the urgent care/ER waiting area ("How is this possible?" I wondered as I recalled this story). The doctor took one look at her and said the symptoms of influenza weren't evident (we agreed with this as she HAD no symptoms other than a fever) and he diagnosed her as having Roseola. True to form, she had the high fever on and off for about 3 days and then promptly broke out in the tell-tale rash.

Ah ha! It all makes sense now! The unusually early and long nap on Friday morning. The early bedtime on Friday night. The easy bedtime routine.

I love being a parent. It's ALWAYS a surprise!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Isn't February supposed to be dull?

Truly, it's been chaos around here for pretty much the entire month of February thus far with little chance of a change in the near future. We just got back from Okinawa and my sister-in-law arrived with her son (5 months older than Peanut). They stayed for one week and then departed a day and a half ago. This afternoon the 12 year-old daughter of a friend of ours (they live in the US) will be arriving for a one-week stay. I'm not interested in baby-sitting her, but hopefully she won't require much attention as she's a fairly mature girl for her age. She'll be gone for just about one week before sister-in-law returns with her family for the one-year anniversary celebration/memorial for grandmother. We've got our work cut out for us for sure.

I did manage to sneak off to see Mamma Mia! earlier this week with several other foreign wives here in Osaka and let me just say, it rocked my world. I enjoyed getting out with other ladies, going to the movies, reminiscing about ABBA and generally having a bouncy and happy good time. I loved Meryl Streep's character and how full of life she and her girlfriends were even in middle age. That's how cool I want to be when I get older. Sometimes it's easy for me to get caught up in being responsible because I'm someone's mother. But that can be incredibly weighty. What I really want is to balance that with being able to celebrate life all the time - dancing and singing and feeling young!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Idea File: Bilingual/Bicultural Family Network

I can't remember if I've plugged this website before, but I'll do it again just in case. The Multilingual Living Magazine is published by the Bilingual/Bicultural Family Network website. And don't worry, if you're raising your kids in a multilingual/multicultural family they're got plenty for you too. This month's issue of the magazine is about trilingual families and they even touch on how to move to four languages. Cool stuff!

Specifically, one of the sites I learned about in the latest issue of the magazine is Lingo. It's geared toward Australians and since I know some of you lovely readers are Australian, I figured I'd pass this along. Not only do they have postings about upcoming events, many of which are naturally in Australia, they also have postings about resources and research regarding bilingual or multilingual families. Tuck this away in your idea file!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In which our heroine sustains a blow to her self-esteem

I've felt pretty good about my post-baby body. Lots of changes took place for sure, but a year after Peanut's birth I was a few pounds below where I was before getting pregnant. I chalked this up to lots of breast-feeding and the miles and miles we walked in those earlier months when I was trying to get out of the house and regain some sanity on those days when Peanut just wouldn't nap. Regardless of how or why it happened, things seem to be on the upswing so-to-speak these days. A few pounds here and there and while I can't say I'm worried about it, the winter clothes are feeling snug. Especially when you consider that I'm so cold in my in-laws' house (which I HAVE mentioned has no central heating right?) that I'm usually wearing a haramaki, long underwear, a turtleneck, a sweater and often a fleece on top of all that. Needless to say, things are tight.

Knowing all of this is true doesn't make the following any easier to take. Tonight after dinner, my mother-in-law asked if my stomach was okay. I thought she was asking if I'd had enough to eat (in some round-about fashion) and while she may have been doing just that, she then went on to say I look like I have a second baby in my belly. Ouch. Considering we more or less haven't been "not-trying" to have another baby lately if you get my drift, with nothing to show for it (here we go again), this was a blow to my self-esteem on multiple levels. Guess it's time to start my exercise regime again. You know. In all my spare time.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I couldn't even tell you what I planned to write about today. My brain is addled by the amazing fortuitousness of the luscious goodies I tasted today. If you've never had a beignet, you don't know what you're missing.

But let me back up...On our trip to the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium today we stumbled upon a little cafe on which was a sign that said "Cafe Du Monde". I assumed this couldn't possibly be THE Cafe Du Monde from New Orleans, but when I saw the beignets depicted in the glass box where all the Japanese food is displayed in plastic, and next to that sat cans of official Cafe Du Monde coffee, I knew we'd found the promised land.

Apparently, a number of years ago some Japanese business men approached the owners of the New Orleans business and the Japanese Cafe Du Monde was born. There are 56 locations here in Japan. I can't even believe it. Naturally we stopped to sample the goods and "Oh boy!" I'm in heaven.

Frankly, beignets aren't all that hard to make. Fry up a little bread dough and sprinkle some powdered sugar on them and you get a reasonable approximation of a beignet in a pinch. Alternatively, use a recipe such as this one. I was once told that getting powdered sugar on you get on you while you eat them brings you good luck. So don't worry about being neat; just dig in!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mama's girl

Thanks for stopping by! I'm keeping mama busy these days. I dragged her to Okinawa and insisted that she take me to the beach. Then after several days of traipsing all over the island, we returned home at which point I developed a raging cold. Tomorrow she thinks she might return to her regular routine. We'll see. I may have other plans for her....