Sunday, February 26 it almost that time already?

Incredibly I have only 4 more days of work ahead of me. I can hardly believe it. Most of this winter has passed in a blur of teaching, sleeping, being ill, and taking care of various kid-related needs. I am almost 34 weeks pregnant and have been down for the count AGAIN this past week due to whatever was going around. My lowered immunity means that I am like black corduroy for lint. I look forward to being cloistered in my snug apartment with only the germs of my beloved filtering in. This is my first time in four pregnancies that I have worked this far into my pregnancy so come March 3rd, I am going to be a happy woman.

Part of slowing down means focusing on the fact that we will have a new baby here in a few short weeks. Luckily, having had a baby not so long ago, we do still have the basics such as baby carriers and a floor rocker. Unfortunately for Luca, most of the clothes for the previous baby are pink so that is something we must work on stockpiling in these next few weeks. He'll be a spring baby but spring in Nagoya is rather cool until the end of May usually so his earliest clothes will need to be long and warm. I do have plans to make some of his clothes but my plans and my reality rarely meet as I expect them to. So for those aunties and grannies out there looking for something to send, I would suggest looking in the used clothing shops or discount bins for footed rompers or coveralls. And socks are always a great thing too.

Another thing I would like to do is to use cloth instead of paper diapers. Besides for the ecological benefits, we are also going to be on a tight budget this next year so I believe it would be economically advantageous for us to give it a go. It is something I have always wanted to try but since I have never been home full-time with any of my infants, it was always off the table. I am thinking of ordering something like this starter set, something good for cloth diapering novices.

I am also searching the auction boards for my own mama chari, a bicycle that can carry Luca in the front and Colette in the back. The boys both have their own bikes and I think that this would be a good option even for neighborhood errands. Nico's only in school from 8:45-2:45 which really doesn't leave a lot of time for doing errands on foot. And in the summer time I think it would be nice to be able to bike around as a family instead of hoofing it on the melting pavement.

Another thing that I plan to implement since I will be queen of apartment #202 is to switch to a whole foods, macrobiotic based diet for the whole family. Again ecological and economical at the same time. We'll be planting some of our first plants in the balcony garden this next week or two now that the weather is leaning towards spring (though still dipping past freezing some nights).
It is shaping up to be a very domestically-minded year, something I am truly excited about.

Of course, I do have other plans as well but being sick recently has taught me that I need to focus on the core before working on the periphery. Like school supplies over art supplies. Reading skills for the boys over writing books. That sort of thing. But I am sure with a whole year ahead of me, I can manage to fit in everything. Just a matter of patience and diligence, which are part of that core as well.

Now, time to make some soup and rice and get everything ready for the start of another school week. Hope you are all well. Take care.

Tuesday, February 14



I don't know what number I am supposed to be at. I do know that I am in disgrace regarding my post-a-day plan. Gomen, ne.

I just returned from the doctor and feel a little frustrated. I had hoped that from his website that he was more progressive than most doctors. Instead, I feel hassled when I go there. Pregnant women don't need nurses and doctors to hassle them.

Here are their complaints about my body/me today:

I am 1 kilo over my targeted weight gain for this visit. This was written in my boshi techo (maternity record book) in bright red.

I haven't been on schedule with my visits. Of course, if their office hours were better, I could probably go more regularly. But every time I plan to go, someone in this little house is bedridden. Because it is winter. And that's what happen to kids in the winter.

Mr. Luca is upside down aka in breech position. My babies prefer breech. So I had to be taught the exercises to turn him around and I have check back in next week (I'll be 33 weeks) to see if he changed. If not, we have to schedule a c-section. THIS IS UTTER NONSENSE. Babies flip-flop all the time until the end of the term. I know. Now, if I was say 37 weeks and he was upside down, then maybe we could talk about the possibility. But I still have 2 solid months until my due date. Impatient people, doctors are.

Luckily, this is my fourth kid (and I don't say that lightly) so as a pregnant mother, I am not so easily swayed by their boos and jeers. I feel bad for the other skinny pregnant women in there who have to weigh their food and sweat about what the medical staff tells them. I personally don't buy it. My body knows what it is up to. It was designed for this purpose. The baby knows what it is up to. So though I feel hassled by their dire warnings, I don't take it to heart. I have better things to worry about.

I actually went to the doctor because I have a slight temperature and was concerned that I might be getting sick (again). He didn't have much to say about that, except that I should stay indoors and try not to get sick (again). Helpful advice.

Anyway, that is where I am at on this dreary, soggy Valentine's Day. Time to go and pile on some more kilos.

Hope you are all well. Take care.

Monday, February 6



I took the boys out yesterday morning without their sister or father. Since I work on Saturdays and they go to school during the week, Sundays are our only day together. So most Sundays I make the attempt to have a little date with my guys. And since I like to draw and they like to draw, I always fill my bag with the most important art supplies (though they just like to draw with pencils right now). All of the kids have stacks of their own drawing pads and most mornings when they wake earlier than breakfast, I will walk into their room to see them busy on their newest works. Sebastian has gotten more detailed lately, and has started to really look at his subject. Yesterday he drew lots of pigeons (we were at a park) and expressed his frustration/amazement with how his drawings had to keep changing to keep up with their movement. I also taught him how to blend colors with pastels and charcoal and showed him the difference between the hard and soft pastels. Nico, as you can see, is still going through his face period, which is terrific since his faces are so intricate and interesting.

All in all, it was a very good date, even there was still a lot of snow on the ground.


Sunday, February 5

(35) (36)

snow day nagoya
(Sebastian's school, under snow...)

After fretting and fretting over what I was going to do with myself for this upcoming year off, I had an epiphany. Studying Japanese will be my core focus. Everything else I do now has less pressure and can be done for pleasure, something I rarely allow for myself. Being proficient in Japanese will open doors for us here and I will wait until after I have achieved that state to worry about what lies beyond. This may seem like an obvious answer yet for me and my little anxious mind, it is hard to have such clarity about my direction. I want to do everything and have a hard time accepting the limitations of time. By studying a language that I love, I hope that I will develop a better respect for time including those limitations I fight against all the time (to no avail).

So now, at 5:30 on a Sunday morning, I am walking away from the computer where I was looking up things that happened in my dreams and going to the kitchen table, where a stack of books awaits me. First, I need to make a cup of tea (お茶).

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, February 3

(32) (33) (34)

snow day nagoya
snow day nagoya
Snow days and icy streets here in Nagoya. The country has been hit by the worst cold snap in a decade and it isn't pretty. We are fine here in central Japan but up north people are really suffering. Avalanches, houses collapsing, the elderly trapped inside because their doors are frozen shut. Very grim. And on top of it there is a flu epidemic sweeping the nation with over 1.5 million people falling victim to the virus in the past two weeks. No wonder the news is happy to report the anticipated cherry blossom blooming schedule. Spring is looking rather sweet right now.

snow day nagoya
(Small red bean bread made to look like oni (demons))

We celebrated the turning of the seasons today with a little in-house demon confrontation. Sebastian was reading a Setsubun picture book to his brother and sister when all of a sudden the lights went out. And then there was a low growling coming from the kitchen... Luckily mama had a bowl of beans nearby. Out with the demons, in with good fortune! 鬼は外,福は内!

This video gives you a better glimpse of one of my favorite holidays*

Setsubun at Yoshida Shrine 吉田の節分祭 from Michael McAteer on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 1


magnolia bud

One month down and what do I have to show for it. Lots of sleep and cups of tea. Some ideas born, some ideas killed. But we've survived January without too many chills and sniffles. So that has to count for something. Let's bring on the next month.