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 one...one 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!