Thursday, December 29, 2011

Heat Tech + Favorite Hat

WIWW 12.28.2011 The main event for today was a WHOLE BUNCH of frantic cleaning and organizing, because we had a showing (our house is up for sale, I'm going to post about it soon). Just yesterday I confidently told a friend, "there's no activity in the housing market till the Super Bowl anyway, so I've kind of let the house go for now". Famous last words! With all that running through the house--I mean it, when I am straightening and cleaning for a showing, I literally sprint around, guess that's how much I don't enjoy the process?--I actually didn't need the Uniqlo heat tech shirt you can barely see layered under that hot pink whatchamacallit hoody thing. (Apparently Uniqlo is coming to Chicago...sometime.  I hope it's soon!  As much as I loved my trip to NYC in October, I can't afford to do that every time I need heat tech goods.)    

Also, please say hello to my favorite hat. Years and years ago, when I was single English teacher in Japan with nothing better to do on weekends but go snowboarding, I picked this hat up and it has been my faithful winter companion since. Here in the Chicago area, we've actually been having a super mild winter so far. But even after all these years, I'm kind of a wimp so if there's a chilly wind blowing, I need this guy (girl? one? wouldn't English be even more interesting and yet complicated if objects had gender like they do in Spanish?) sealing heat into my noggin.

pleated poppy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Official Greetings

Merry Christmas everyone! The stars are brightly shining, it is (was, two days ago, but who knows exactly?) the night of our dear Saviour's birth!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mission: Spend Christmas at Home, Day PM and Boxing Day Too

Christmas afternoon, we were privileged and blessed to witness three of our friends baptisms. After they were all properly and solemnly dunked, it was party time! We enjoyed a potluck dinner and then a "family concert," which really meant that anyone who wanted to could get up and perform. Izumi missed her school Christmas concert the week before last and therefore, her opportunity to perform "Joy to the World". She and her two little friends made up for it here! I expected her to be shy but instead, she was all about the mic! We don't attend Sunday services at this particular church, but I've been part of one of their Bible studies (in Japanese) for eight or nine years now. This community blesses us and takes us in though we aren't officially "members," and the special time we spent with them this Christmas was yet another reminder of their grace.
Izumi @ the mic
Boxing Day--a term I'm using only 'cause it sounds better than "the day after Christmas," not 'cause I actually know what it's about--was a triumph in my mind. We actually pulled off a family outing! Not our strength for now, though I'm sure we'll get better since Misaki is closer to turning three. We went to see ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo. We left home around 3:30 pm, which seemed kind of random but turned out to be perfect! We found *free* street parking on Cannon Drive! We had to walk a bit but it was worth it! I brought along a whole lot of food so other than the gas for driving, we didn't spend a penny on our outing! We were right out of there a little past six because it was well dark and getting chilly. Which meant that the kids went to bed more or less on time! Yes! I am disproportionately excited about our outing! Because we "made a memory"! Thanks for indulging my excessive use of exclamation points. Lincoln Park ZooLights

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mission: Spend Christmas At Home, Day AM

Our Christmas Day happened like this...not all moments are pictured 'cause I'm presenting my first ever photo collage, which I made on Picnik.
The kids woke up at seven. Maybe I had downplayed their presents enough (too much?), but I was fine with not doing the crack of dawn thing! We did stockings first, which was strictly a kid deal this year. They were delighted with their Bubble Yum (none for Misaki), resistance bands (2012 will be the year of working out, even for the kids. Oh yes.), and cards from Aunt Laurie with five bucks inside. Thanks, Aunt Laurie! 
OK, I need to be less detailed or I will never post this! Moving to bullet points: I hadn't made breakfast ahead of time, and as I had predicted to myself, I regretted it. In order to buy time to bake up some cinnamon bun muffins, I pulled out an ornament making kit that I had grabbed at Target. Yesterday. ahem. Had everyone work on that and it kept them occupied and happy till breakfast was ready. This is not a bullet point after all. Then Koji read us The Advent Book from beginning to end. Best $47 investment, seriously. The kids opened their presents. We all spent a considerable amount of time playing with the wrapping paper. Playing catch with the garbage bag full of the paper was a highlight, I'm not kidding. Knowing we were off to church at two, we headed to the basement for some Just Dance Kids (that's NOT an affiliate link, though I'm interested in the idea. gotta get more than two people reading this blog first...). The kids did a "show" for my parents over Skype. Sometimes I can't believe we can do that! So space age! Anyway, somehow Aogu and I started watching a documentary about the tsunami in Japan, which was super informative and compelling but not helpful as far as Christmas cheer goes.
Christmas 2011 collage

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mission: Spend Christmas At Home, Christmas Eve

Friends, we did it!  We spent Christmas at home, just the five of us, and we had a good time!

Though this is my eighth year with the title of Mama, I've been slow and reluctant to come to family Christmas.  I can't help it.  I'm an extrovert, and three, four or even five people just doesn't sound like enough for a Merry Christmas.

Exploring what on earth a Merry Christmas is, well, please watch this video.  We saw it at our church's Christmas Eve service.  It was a huge hit with everyone, and also apparently the inspiration for the glowsticks the kids are sporting:

Aogu and I were nostalgic as we watched friends with a new baby climb on stage to play Mary and Joseph. We did that too, back in the day!

After the service, we had planned to drive through Sauganash to see the Christmas lights.  I hadn't planned for everyone to be hungry for dinner.  They didn't want to eat clementines and dried cranberries for dinner?!

So we drove through Wendy's.  Which was not at all in line with my new food leanings, but was fast, and did get dinner taken care of.  OK.  

Driving through the neighborhood was a little bewildering, but we saw the tree that starts on the first floor, continues through the second, and sticks out through the roof (how do they do that?).  We saw the gigantic Rudolph, and we saw Santa's Workshop, Treehouse Version.  I call that a successful outing.

Home again for "Movie Night".  We tried to watch an animated version of The Christmas Carol, but even that was too scary.  So we abandoned it for an animated Christmas Story, in which an old donkey is something of a hero.  

When I was growing up, we had a tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve.  I had tried to continue that the last couple of years.  But this year, I gave it up.  It would have required the presents actually being under the tree!  The kids didn't remember that we had done that last year, and I was free to wrap all the presents after they went to bed.  Perfect!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday...and Tuesday

This fuzzy iPhone record of my outfit from yesterday is rather an accomplishment--first, that I shed my "house clothes," and second, in that it occurred to me to snap a photo--considering I've spent the better part of the last two and weeks in the house, hunkered down with Izumi. She had pneumonia, and it was so scary to watch. I am beyond relieved and thankful that she's finally doing better now. So I celebrated by tying this Italian silk scarf (for real, I bought it while we were in Rome in May) around my neck and going to the post office for some 98 cent stamps. My internationally-bound Christmas cards will be late, but you agree, don't you, that I have good reason?

Getting out yesterday really took effort.  Today I was a little more on my game.  Or trying to look that way.  Here I present my current go-to: polka dots.  White on black is my favorite.  In some past life (university), my friends thought my possession of enough orange clothing to present myself in that color head to toe was a little strange.  Now, I'm close to being able to do the same in polka dots.  It sounds like I'm bragging, but is it bragging when you're talking about doing something that no one else particularly wants to do anyway?!  Plus, I don't have polka dot shoes yet...

I'm linking to What I Wore Wednesday for the first time.  Here's hoping it won't be the last!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just Cut My Hair

For the first time in two years, two months, and two weeks. Looks like I was carrying a small poodle around on my head and didn't know it. I still really like long hair but for now, I feel relieved!

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Aogu and I stopped through Heathrow on our way back from Rome in May, and we had some euros left over so we went into a gift shop and bought the girls some Dora coloring books with plastic watches attached.  Why we didn't buy anything more durable, stylish or European? is a valid question I can't answer.  In any case, Misaki LOVES this watch.  Every day, she puts it on, looks at it and then announces,

"It's time o'clock."

Friday, December 02, 2011

Welcome to the Age of Overparenting - Boston Magazine

Welcome to the Age of Overparenting - Boston Magazine

Great, great article. Reminds me of the days my friends and I would be out playing the ditches in the field out back--I think I was nine or 10. We wouldn't come home 'til the sun was setting and Dad whistled for us. Really.

So, how can I get my kids to jump on the trampoline without me?!!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Dear Koji, this is what you ate today

Koji is keeping a food journal right now and I am writing this mostly so that tomorrow morning when he says, "Mama, what did I eat yesterday?," I'll have this record.  At karate, he recently stepped up to blue belt.  His next level is purple, and one requirement for advancement is to keep a food journal for a week and avoid junk food during that period.  We haven't spent much time talking about junk food since I've always told myself that I am feeding the kids home cooked, healthy meals anyway.  The former was true.  The  So he's been constantly querying: "Mama, is this junk food?" "How about this?  Junk or no?" He's funny because he likes fruit, and since I'm always saying sweets are bad but fruit is sweet, he's been a little confused.  Anyway, for Thanksgiving last week, Koji was really looking forward to the privilege of eating dessert.  As seems to ever be true, since then it's been a bit difficult to get back on track.  %^&*$ nefarious habit forming sugar! 
Excuse the outburst, this is what he ate today:
Breakfast: (soaked) oatmeal, (raw) cream, dried cranberries, small piece of Japanese sweet potato, milk
Lunch: more Japanese sweet potato, one pickle sized cucumber, two slices of deli turkey, water
Snack: banana
Dinner: three pieces of pepperoni pizza, one snack sized bag of popcorn, applesauce and water. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There and Back Again, Minus Gollum

Today was like this:

to dentist with Koji and Izumi
take Izumi to school
take Koji to school
back home to claim Misaki
pick Izumi up from school
find out there's another showing, call Aogu and ask him to clean up since I don't have time to run home
go get the raw milk and pastured eggs with Misaki and Izumi
to Wally World with the aforementioned, shop
take Izumi to ice skating, pass her and Misaki to Aogu
drive to Koji's school all alone
take Koji to Minori-sensei's house for Eisa practice
leave early to make it to karate in time
seek refuge at Jan's
pick Koji and his friend T up from karate
drop off T
arrive at home
make multiple and numerous trips to and from the car to unload the day's accumulation
heat up Thanksgiving leftovers while fending off complaints
laugh with the kids over Frog and Toad (Koji and Toad have a lot in common)
drink mint tea and eat salted apples
watch Once Upon A Time, episode 4
while reading blogs in another window
put some oats and whole wheat flour in bowls for soaking
hope tomorrow's list is shorter

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Southport Lanes

has an actual guy that picks up the bowling pins and sets them back in place. Their motto is "If you see legs, don't bowl". No wonder we could only finish half of one game in an hour. Oh well, it was really great to visit with Jennifer & Peter!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Leaves

Though I see the theoretical merit of tackling Christmas tasks mid-November, I'm old fashioned and don't really want anyone to bring it up until the day after Thanksgiving.
So me posting this photo today means I am breaking my own rule. Can't help it though--aren't these leaves, even at night by the light off our front step, beautiful in a perfectly half-red and half-green kind of way?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All Hail Kale

and salmon.
and white rice.
don't worry, this is Aogu's plate.
if you must know, I didn't eat dinner.
I wasn't hungry.
stranger things have happened.
but I can't think what they are right now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Analysis Paralysis

Does anyone else like the fact that today's date is 11.20.2011?!!

So being an ENFP, I'm not inclined toward thinking in my head.  Thinking out loud is infinitely more fun and rewarding, but usual requires an actual listener to be effective (yes, I've tried talking to myself.  and I've tried praying out loud.  the latter bears more experimentation, the former made me feel like an idiot).

However, against all natural tendencies, I've been thinking in my head a lot lately.  What I am thinking about is food, specifically the Primaleolicious thing I mentioned the other day.  All of this is no surprise in that I've always liked food, liked to cook, liked to entertain, read food magazines, food blogs, etc.  This time feels different, more overwhelming and all encompassing, because I find myself being gradually but persistently persuaded to see food as not only something to keep me alive/bond me with others/entertain me but also, medicine.

I read the following books:

Why We Get Fat

Sugar Nation

Wheat Belly

Eat Fat, Lose Fat

And I've gotten some information from these blogs (this is a sample, not an exhaustive list, and these are not in any particular order):

Wellness Mama

Kitchen Stewardship

Livin' La Vida Low Carb

Food Renegade

Paleo Parents

Whole New Mom

Mark's Daily Apple

The Healthy Home Economist

So, what's the point?  What's my conclusion?  That's just it, I'm realizing that I am barely out of the gate on the journey of figuring out "food as medicine" and what it means for me and my family.  I do know that we eat almost no processed food, we don't eat bread (except the occasional almond butter sandwich on Trader Joe's Sprouted Flourless Whole Wheat Berry Bread) or processed sugar.  So far.  We also don't drink fruit juice or soda at all, just water, raw milk and tea.  We haven't given up coffee entirely but--more because Aogu's been sick than a conscious decision--we're not going through it the way we used to.  Hm.  I wish I had spun this as a positive list of DOs rather than DON'Ts.  For the most part, that's how I feel, like it's all good!  It's great to have lost some weight (though I'm not at my goal, and full disclosure, I lost it with the HCG Diet) and to feel like my digestive system is working better than any time in recent memory.  And now, without much cohesiveness, I must abruptly end here.  Surely this "discussion" will be continued, especially if you make a comment! 

Bonus super-interesting side note quote from this Food Renegade post.  I'm including this, though it doesn't seem directly related to the above for the following reason: in the last two weeks, both of my older kids had fevers and I didn't medicate them at all, other than with a bit of honey and lemon in warm water.  They both recovered more quickly than they have in the past with Advil!
"One of the most interesting talks I sat in on was with Dr. Thomas Cowan. He spoke on the healthfulness of fevers in children. Of course, this isn’t a surprise. Most of us natural mommas don’t immediately turn to Tylenol when our babies get fevers. Instead we trust that the fever is an effective immune response, and that if we let it run its course and guide it to its end our children will heal faster and have a stronger immune system for it. But did you know that before chemo and radiation therapies were invented in the 1930s, the go-to form of cancer treatment was to induce fevers? They would get terminal, stage 4 cancer patients (people with no hope of survival) infected with high-fever inducing diseases. When their immune system successfully fought off the fever, not only was the infection gone but so was the cancer! They had success rates ranging from 20-30%. According to what we knew about infectious diseases, this kind of therapy shouldn’t work. Cancer is not an infectious disease. It shouldn’t be fought off by a fever, but it is! It turns out that when you induce a genuine fever that’s an immunological response, it starts a cascade of other effects inside the body which are protective against cancer. So, every time you let yourself or your child fight off a fever instead of reaching for the Tylenol, you’re actually improving their innate cancer fighting abilities for later in life!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Keepin' it Real

Misaki has a cold.  Every time the teeniest bit of something that looks like water comes out of her nose, she shouts "HANA!" (Japanese for "NOSE!") and I'm supposed to run to her with a tissue.  Not a great system.  And I've been trying to wipe gently, but the sheer number of tissues needed has turned her poor little upper lip all red and chapped.

So we stayed in today, and thank God, I was able to get rides to and from school for Izumi and Aogu picked Koji up from his bus stop.  We were truly in.  Which meant she watched scandalous amounts of TV and I cooked.  I did the laundry too, but mostly I cooked.  I like to cook.  The rest of the household jobs, not so appealing.  Even though I try to launch myself to the kitchen to accomplish a non-cooking task, before I know it I'm back in there fiddling with the vegetables and telling myself, I have to do this right now.  Which may or may not be true.

HA!  Feeling validated by the following quote that I found on Portrait of an ENFP:
"Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivious to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP's family members."... italics and underlining added by me... 

Means that I'm prepared though!  When a friend came by right around lunch time, no big deal, there was a big pot of soup all ready to go.  And I was a little proud of that soup, it was the first I remember making with no recipe at all.  I wasn't even inspired by anything other than what I had on hand.  So that felt like an accomplishment.

But my throat is really sore and dry and I think it's probably not going to make sense for me to appear at my Chorus performance tomorrow morning.  The other members likely want me to appear anyway and just lip synch the song.  Not a terrible idea since there are parts I'm still not confident about.  Hm.

We have "Family Movie Night" semi-regularly on Fridays but it was sad tonight.  Aogu went out on a Redbox tour to try and get Cars 2 on Blu-Ray and they were all rented.  So we had to settle for some random Super Mario thing that Koji is very excited about and the rest of us, not so much.

Here's to a better day tomorrow, everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mystery Vegetable

Our local fresh delivery co. brought this veggie that looks like a bushy green spider to our house today.  Yes, what you see is really all of whatever it is.

Thankfully, the veggies come with literature that labels them.  If not, I'm not sure how I would ever figure out that this is tatsoi.  At this moment, I still have no idea how to cook it but I may try to do so tomorrow.  So if you have any suggestions or ideas, please leave a comment!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Small Dreams Coming True

I've always wanted to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.  But it as little as it looks, still, until this year it was too much for me.  

Likely it would have been too much this year too, but thanks to the positive encouragement of the kids' Awana Club...more than that, their firm deadline, TODAY, we were able to pull two boxes together.  

This is Koji's box for a boy 5-9 years old.  I should have taken a picture of the contents for my future reference.  I think it was a tablet of construction paper, a box of markers, a couple of mechanical pencils, a bar of soap, a sponge, two pairs of socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, five Hot Wheels cars and one plastic tiger.  We had fun walking through Target and picking out things for his "friend".  I was afraid that the kids would be angling to get things for themselves, but they were actually super unselfish.  Koji went in to the clothing section and nominated several different shirts, even.  Too bad we had to skip them for the sake of our budget.  

Anyway, Izumi's box was similar, but for a girl 5-9 years old.  I think we changed out the cars for a mini baby doll and the plastic tiger for a plastic tiara, but otherwise the contents were the same.  It was so sweet when Izumi said, "Mama, let's get this baby for my friend and then when I meet her someday we can play with it together".  

So, putting together and submitting the boxes is one dream come true and the other is the kids attendance at the Awana club.  It's not terribly convenient, getting them all to Glenview by 6:30 every Wednesday night, but the time I spent in Awana as a kid was extremely influential (I can still sing Judy Weathers' songs!) and I want them to have the same experience.  

We've had plenty of things that didn't turn out ideally this year, so I am thankful for these two small dreams realized!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What is Primaleolicious?

This is a word that I invented to describe my new eating style.  By the way, I am still in process with my new eating style.

Take  something like "primal"

which also resembles "paleo"

set aside the minor problem that I don't believe in evolution

and there you have my grain-free (excepting the very occasional bowl of white rice), processed sugar and other processed food-free new food life.  

Which also contains a lot of coconut

getting a lot more sleep is apparently important for optimum primaleoliciousness too.  

so good night.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Art Museum Snob

Last month when Aogu's mom and her friend were here, we went to the Art Institute of (in?) Chicago together. I noticed that though it's been remodeled since my last visit, I was underwhelmed. I guess in going to the Vatican Museum in Rome, I inadvertently ruined every other museum in the world for myself.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Half Birthday to Izumi!

Unfortunately becoming five and A HALF doesn't mean your smile is more synchronized with your sister's. It does mean your mama is highly amused by her own rendition of half a happy birthday song. As in,

Get it?!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Our first time but not our last! This is SO fun. For some reason, Izumi is better at flying it than Koji. She's calmer?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Corduroy*--Not Just a Cute Bear in a Children's Book

So I understand and appreciate that today is Veteran's Day.  The below will make it sound as though I don't give a hoot about those who have sacrificed their lives for my freedom.  Not true, I am deeply grateful....

But I'm infinitely more amused that it's also National Corduroy Appreciation Day.

And this post would have more power if I had a photograph.  You'll have to believe me when I say, I wore my kelly green cords today.  I wish I had known about the three item rule.  I think I could have pulled it off.

*in the unlikely event that you've never heard of Corduroy, the bear mentioned in my title, here's a link. This is where I would normally say, "you're welcome".  I've seen many bloggers say that after they give out some kind of information.  Does anyone else find that annoying?!  Even if I give out information I find interesting, I don't know if it will be helpful to you or not, so isn't responding to your theoretical thanks a bit presumptuous?

Wow.  That was off topic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Hold

That library system where I can put a book on hold is brilliant. Except when someone else puts the book I'm reading on hold. Then I feel guilty for not returning it. The thing is, I'm still reading it !!!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Day to You

is what Misaki says when she means Happy Birthday and so tonight when we called my dad to wish him the same, I told her, say Happy Birthday to Grandpa and she didn't change it to Happy Day but pronounced it perfectly, just as I had, I was sad

Because I want her to stay "yittle"
I want the days when we ride in a car and she's watching a DVD and she wants the sound "youder Mama youder" to keep going on
Now that this is my third child, I understand better though not perfectly, what I utterly failed to see, feel and grasp with Koji and Izumi
The world is turning frantically and so is my life and theirs
And each day when they wake up now I can almost see how much bigger they are than the day before

I wonder how I will see them in heaven
I suppose they will be their very best selves, beyond what I know or imagine
But some of these days I think,
that best self will be just how they are right now
Right now.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Ah, the library. One can read a book, borrow a DVD, enrich one's mind...or turn into a Knight.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Observation Day at Koji's School

Thanks to Eriko san, I have this photographic evidence of my presence at Koji's school today. Here we are at that point in the class where the kids were to take turns reciting a portion of the multiplication table to the parents. I'll have to explain it more another day when I'm more coherent. I'll drop this hint though: the sevens are particularly tongue twisting!

Observation Day at Koji's School

Thanks to Eriko-San for this picture! The kids had to say their multiplication tables to the parents. They're working on sevens right now. It's a tongue twister. I'll have to explain on another day when I'm more coherent!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

"Free" Chocolate or No

don't go to the Hot Chocolate 5K without training. No amount of chocolate is worth the physical pain. Ironic twist: thanks to my kind, patient, long-suffering, and in-shape friend Lee, I actually ran my fastest 5K ever. 39 minutes. Which is not at all a thing to mention. But I just did.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Dear Future Pumpkins

Meet your ancestors, the pumpkins of October 2011. From left to right, they are Misaki's "Kitty Bat," Koji's "Two Friendly Ghosts," and Izumi's "Kitty Bat". Future pumpkins, you will always and only be carved if and when we are invited to a pumpkin-carving party. At said party, if there are tools and templates and multiple FWOKs (Friends With Out Kids) to further the cause, so much the better. Pumpkins, when we bring your carved selves, complete with hole in bottom rather than top, home: do not fear for you will be the subject of much lavish attention. You will have candles lit inside of you at any time, and particularly when it occurs to Misaki to fetch the matches (future pumpkins, don't judge. I know I should move the matches to a place she can't reach....). Perhaps your insides will go moldy, but we promise to never put you outside and let the squirrels get you. Not until after Halloween, anyway. Dear Future Pumpkins, we thank you sincerely in advance for your sacrifice for our family's bonding and entertainment. We look forward to meeting you next year. Love, Jamie


The day before yesterday, as I was in the Command Center (aka the kitchen), Misaki came in looking like she had something other than food in her mouth. 

Recall, for context, that she is two years and seven months old. 

Sternly, I said to her (in English, we've been speaking it more at home lately):
"Misaki, what do you have in your mouth?"

She was very offended by my question and replied adamantly:
"ANYTHING, Mama, anything!"

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November First.  It's the beginning of that annual event, seemingly the only rear end kick that can roust me from my non-posting stupor on this here long-lived yet sadly neglected blog.  You know, that annual event.  The one that means so much to me, I can't remember what it's called.

So for lack of other direction, here's the scoop on us: 
our biggest event happened on the same day two months ago.  Aogu turned 40 and worked his last day at his corporate job.  We still intend for him to--God willing--rake in corporate bucks or some such approximation.  But we hope and pray he can do that while bossing himself in his own company.  At this moment, he has some good contacts, good leads, and great ideas, but no contracts signed.  

The past two months have been up and down.  In case the above wasn't sufficient to shake things up, we also had the following: 
  • we put our house up for sale.   which included FIVE STRAIGHT DAYS of cleaning and decluttering so our realtor could take photos.  and now still includes SIX STRAIGHT HOURS of tidying and cleaning each time we have a showing.  which we haven't had for two weeks.  
  • Aogu went to Japan twice, 10 days per trip, once at the beginning of September.  second trip ended yesterday.  so I'm sure I don't need to tell you he's asleep right now.  the key to surviving temporary single motherhood, for me, is well-planned weekends. good to know, extremely difficult to execute.  I digress. 
  • my MIL came to visit.  she was here for 17 days.  
  • we went to New York together.  believe it or not, it was my first trip ever!!  I know, right.  I'm good at putting out that "been there, done that" air, but it's simply not true.  for example, I've never been ice fishing.  
  • last and greatest, not really in a good way: I should have given birth to Koji's younger brother yesterday.  I wouldn't have, hopefully, because I never would have wanted my child's birthday to coincide with Halloween.  and so I would have asked everyone I know who prays to please pray that baby would come earlier or later, but not ON October 31st.  regrettable mistake for this time: I really wonder why, when I found out on March 1st, 2011 that I was pregnant, why oh why did I not immediately put my news out that and petition prayer for baby?  instead, I left him in Rome.  I will post that story another day.  
Because I think this is enough for today, since I will see you here again tomorrow.  Good night and thanks for reading!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Not a great photo but taking any photo and posting it is an accomplishment! Just thrifted this shirt on Monday. I haven't worn many collared button down shirts for the last several years. At some point for some reason I randomly decided they don't suit me. Based on this one, I retract that judgment. This would probably be even better with some kind of thing at a time, right? Right.
Or perhaps I should say left because I do want you to note my argyle socks!
Happy Wednesday~

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

I'm too shy to link up with the official WIWW but apparently not too shy to take a (blurry) picture of myself and post it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

As My Neck Turns

Thrilled to be en route to a family holiday in Galena, I removed my seat belt.  My husband was driving and I was in the second row of our mini van, so what harm could there be in shifting our provisions around a bit?
Plenty, when the older gentlemen in the next car veered into our lane.  Brakes slammed, and so did I, right into the seat in front of me.  Since I had been partially standing, my head and neck bounded away from my body for a moment.
Fast forward to the next morning.  I awoke from a night of restless sleep to find whiplash had frozen my neck and upper shoulders.  Holiday? Ha!
Creeping around our condo and trying to take care of everyone without moving my head or shoulders was frustrating.  Thank God for my husband, who stepped into the gap and heroically escorted our three small children to the resort pool.   Four times.  Within 48 hours.
The pain and stiffness began to fall away slightly as the hours and days passed.  However, Sunday morning I was back home and still couldn't pick up my youngest daughter for the pain radiating down my left arm.  I was starting to panic.  My husband was gracious, but his grace wouldn't cover my temporary disability once he was in Tokyo.  His departure was in three days.
At church, the message barely registered.  The service flowed over and around me as I waited for prayer time.  At last, I went forward and found two gentlemen to pray for me.
Physical healing by the Holy Spirit is something I've been privileged to hear much about and even witness over the last 10 years.  I cried to the two prayer warriors and to the Lord about the pain in my neck, upper back and arms, and then experienced healing for myself.
My arm and much of the pain in my back disappeared.  But knowing all of my needs, God didn't stop with my physical body.  He prompted one of the men to speak about the "whiplash of the heart" I was suffering.  Exactly.
Realizing that the Lord of the Universe knows the state of my internal being floored me and flooded me with peace.
Since then, my neck and back have gradually returned to full function.  I am posting this today because on the two week anniversary of the accident, I went through the day and not once did I note, "OUCH, that bit of my neck apparently wasn't healed!".  The peace ebbs and flows a bit with the rhythm or lack thereof in the days, but even at ebb, it's more with me than before.
How have you been healed?  Or how would you like to be healed?    

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Izumi's First Day at Sea

Izumi turned five in May, which means that as of today, she's a big kid at her school. She moved from the 3 & 4 year old "Sky Class" up to the 5 & 6 year old "Sea Class". Last year, particularly at the beginning of the year, it was hard for her to separate, but today, she walked right in like she owns the place.

That's what her teacher reported as well: that she literally jumped in as you see above.

She also hand sewed two little bags. They are for catching "kobito," which means "little people". They are tiny dwarf like creatures who supposedly live around her school. I haven't linked to the site, because I don't think they are particularly appealing as pictured in the book. Better to imagine them, catch them and imprison them in a small cloth holder...

So proud of my biggest little girl!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Child's Prayer

In cleaning out a box of junk, I found a napkin on which I recorded the following prayer:


Yesu sama, kono shokuji wo naoshite kudasai.
Kono tabemono wo tabete kudasai.  Amen.

Jesus, Please fix this meal.
And please eat this food.

It's funnier in Japanese.  And it would be an even better story if I noted here which one of the kids said this and when.  But alas, I left those details unrecorded.  Ah well, it's a relief to know that if we can't be bothered to eat our own food, we can always ask Jesus to do it for us.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Over the last three weeks or so, the once reluctant Koji has mysteriously transformed into an avid practitioner of karate.  For the most part, I am in favor of the transformation.  Finding ways to get him to the dojo daily Monday through Thursday feels strangely easier than dealing with his previous reluctance to go once a week.
A large part of my adventure, finding myself a sudden and thorough "karate mom," is figuring out what on earth the girls and I are supposed to do from 5:30 to 6:30 every day.  Let me note that I would love for us to linger and watch him at practice.  Alas, my only quibble with his dojo: the waiting area is too small to accommodate two active little girls and their increasingly frazzled mama.  We have to drop him off and then entertain ourselves as the distance back home is just a little too great to warrant a trip there and back.
Thank God, it's summer, for now.  Killing time isn't so complicated.  And I'm finding the more we do it, somehow, I don't mind the waiting as much.  We're moving from killing time to investing time in making memories together.  And that feels like a sort of climbing.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I haven't been thanking God that Koji is studious, but I should be.  Every day when he gets home from school, he does his homework immediately and for the most part, without being asked.  Historically, motivating others hasn't been my strong suite.  That is why, when I thank God today that Koji is self-motivated (for studying; helping around the house, not so much), I will also add a plea that he may continue on this way for as long as he is a student...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Possible Resurrection

I know well that when someone posts to their blog after an extremely long silence, it's passe or boring or some kind of uncool to apologize or make excuses for one's absence.  Nevertheless, I have to note the hold up, if only for my own sake in posterity: we got a new computer.

One would expect that getting a new computer would likely lead to MORE posting, not less.  Erm.  That goes for people who know how to operate their sparkly machine.  Let's suppose the old one was a PC and the new one is a Mac and against better judgment, no help articles or manuals or anything that might actually explain what to do have been used.  At all.  Ever.

That is why I did not know how to resize a photo to post to the blog.  Though I'm sometimes pompous enough to rather enjoy my own blathering, I know better than to presume the same of you.  In other words, no pictures means no posting.

But now, ever so fortuitously and accidentally, I have discovered how to resize a photo.  And thus, I hope to revive this blog.  I hope.  I hope.  When I post next time, maybe I will arrive at informing you of Koji's school Sports Day, pictures above.  Wait for it.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Short Term Short Distance Exchange

Last Wednesday Jan. 26 the 1st grade class from an elementary school across the road came to visit Koji and his classmates for the day. They had a full program of activities, including some very creative games. A highlight for me was when one American kid asked how to play "Rock Paper Scissors". Know that Japanese society would not function (seriously!) without RPS. Consider that at 21 months, Misaki has some grasp of RPS.... Anyway, here is Koji and his partner for the day.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

In 2011, I will

Play more Bananagrams. Find more people who want to do the same, and/or use this banana shaped game as an excuse--that is, perfectly legitimate reason--to reunite with the like-minded. Along the way, learn more words that start with "Q" and "Z".