Wednesday, June 20

I Can Hardly Wait

And he's nine. Just like that.
Nine years ago Sebastian was welcomed into the world with his grandparents and our friends (his godparents) waiting outside the door. His was by far my longest labor and everyone had been waiting since the morning of the 19th for Sebastian to make his appearance. He wasn't too concerned with time (a trait he still possesses) and waited until 1:15 am on the 20th to slide into this world. He has transformed from that pale dark-eyed baby to my energetic and dramatic boy, the oldest of four kids.
I am fiercely proud of Sebastian. It isn't easy being our son and being the first child. It isn't easy to be thrown into school where everyone shares the same home language and culture that is rather different from his own. And despite his occasional grumblings, he steps up to the plate everyday.
Happy 9 years together, my beautiful boy.

Thursday, June 14

How does your garden grow

balcony gardening

It has only been a couple of weeks since we started our gardening venture. I am so glad to have brought this into our lives. We all get so much pleasure in watering the plants and watching them thrive. Colette is the Queen of the Watering Can so I have to get out there before she does in the morning to make sure all the plants get watered. And she has learned the valuable lesson of not crushing the plants, or plucking them out of the ground. Now she is very careful and hardly ever plays with their dirt. Sebastian is pleased because the sunflower seeds that he planted, most of the twenty(!) seeds, sprouted and are zooming up in all directions right now. Jason even contributed to the mix by adding that lovely little hydrangea with the perfect antique blue tiny blossoms.

It is an addictive habit, this gardening stuff. This weekend we plan to add eggplant, shiso, rosemary, and salad greens. And we will be starting a little compost container to use all of our kitchen scraps, perhaps using the bokashi method. It is part of my goal of cutting our garbage production in half.

The best thing about this experience has been involving the kids in every step. They already have a natural interest in all things growing (and all things in general, of course) and the boys get to do a little gardening at both of their schools. Colette is happiest when she is digging and using her hands so this new routine of ours is perfect for her. I do worry about their attitude towards the natural world living in a human curated city that is heavy on the concrete and light on the green. This balcony garden of ours has given us a tiny corner of botany and ecology, of responsibility and togetherness. I just wish we had started it sooner.

my assistant colette

Wednesday, June 13

Oh, baby baby.

luca 7 weeks
Little Luca is now in the process of becoming Little Luca the American. We are a little tardy on all of the official paperwork. Next week I have to go all the way to Immigration to apologize and tell them that I don't have a passport yet. In Japan, unless you are Japanese you are always a foreigner so Immigration demands that babies have a visa in their passport by 6 weeks old.
Mathematically, we were doomed. A week spent in the hospital after the birth, then Golden Week, then my injury, then chicken pox, and chicken pox, AND chicken pox... nope, it just didn't add up to equal bureaucratic success.
Hopefully the presence of this lovely boy will melt the hearts of the worn-out paper pushers. I don't want a repeat of last year's deportation scare.

Hope you are all well. Take care.

Wednesday, June 6

ducking in here to say...


hello from chicken pox central.  kids number 1 and 3 have become rather spotty.

today's list of things to do, made at 8 o'clock this morning:

-finish skirts
-make cookies
-fold laundry

12 hours later:

-side seams of skirts finished, hem and waist pressed and pinned
-1/2 of laundry folded then more clean clothes were dumped on the floor so i could hang two more loads of laundry
-kids fed, medicine administered
-collected kid number 2 from kindergarten
-took a few blurry pictures of hydrangeas
-didn't go bananas
-successfully ignored dirty dishes

new list:

-get kids to bed
-put luca in sling
-make cookies
-watch 180 south again

okay, all four kids are sleeping now so i must get some cookies made.
see you on the other side.

Saturday, June 2

Summer Project: Gardening

balcony gardening
Now that I have caught my breath, I am ready to begin tackling my epic maternity leave laundry-list. This mega list has its own sections and subsections. I won't share all the glorious details with you since I don't want to bore you or jinx myself. But I think I am safe sharing the section headed Summer Projects as they are kid-related and I suspect that is what most of you tune in for.

I have wanted to start a little container garden like, um, forever. Being a band of traveling gypsies, it is hard to overcome my resistance to putting any kind of roots down, literal or otherwise. Now that I am home and have more time to consider things properly, I decided that there was no time like the present for starting a tiny garden. Mainly because gardening is good for the kids on many levels and because we live in the hottest concrete jungle in Japan so we really need that bit of green.
balcony gardening

So here we have tomatoes, peppers, basil, bitter melon, and sunflowers. Each kid has their own plant to tend: Nico chose the pepper, Colette has the basil. Sebastian's are the sunflowers, his favorite flower being a summer child. Also, we can use any seeds from the flowers to feed the hamsters later.

I am caring for the tomato and bitter melon. The bitter melon will hopefully stretch upwards on the netting, their lush vines forming a 'green curtain'. It is our contribution to setsuden, energy saving in a reduced-nuclear Japan. Another summer project in the making.

balcony gardening

Friday, June 1

One month into it

I have been home from the hospital for one month now. Home in our little apartment that barely holds four people and now must fit six of us. Luckily some of us are a little more compact than others.
We have hit the ground running since I returned. It has been non-stop kid since May Day. The other day when I was dealing with one thing (which happened to come after and before another), I had a flash of negativity and thought, why can't I just have one moment of peace? One moment when nothing is happening? Then my regular mind responded, because this is what life is about. One thing after another. Peace is simply accepting this fact.

Hope you are all well. xoxo