Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This month has also seen the, and I say this tentatively, end of the breastfeeding. Since December 15th, Luka has had only one feed, and that was a desperation one in the middle of the day. He is not having a feed at bedtime, just a cup of warm milk. This is a challenge in itself because he doesn't really seem to like cow's milk, but will take it if he is thirsty, and seems to enjoy drinking something warm. So to keep up his calcium intake, he is eating lots of cheese, nothing new there, little fish and yoghurt. Ok, so back to the getting fit and losing weight thing. Before I stopped bfing, I had lost a grand total of FIVE kilos - yippee!!! Then after the nursing stopped, I went up 400 grammes literally overnight. So far, this has not come off and I have hit a plateau. I refuse to let this put me off, however, and am still religiously exercising and eating well. It may not be anything to do with nursing, and could just be that my body has gained more muscle, because oh joy of joys, I noticed that my stomach is starting to show signs of a "4-pack"!!! Now I must clarify, I still have a tum, lower down, but I'm talking midriff here, and small steps and all that. I have NEVER had anything more than a 2 pack, and that was just fat...yuk...so I am determined to lose another 10kgs (or less if I'm happy with my figure) by mid 2010 I am still not back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but only another kilo to go, so that will be great! I have already been able to extend my wardrobe with clothes from before, but sadly other clothes have become too big. Not that I really mind in the long run!
So here I sit, writing this at one a.m., and thinking that I REALLY need to go to bed if I'm going to avoid oversleeping again tomorrow. Can you believe that I need to start using an alarm clock again?!?! Heaven! Night night!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
So I have just got the children off to bed, and have the evening to myself as Y has gone out to practice his next show for another friend's wedding. This is good, because it gives me chance to firegaze and I am not great company today due to dreaded period making it's appearance for this month. I made a salad for dinner as I am so bloated, no desire to eat/cook/do anything. I have a living room full of dust bunnies, fluff and laundry. And oh yes, forgot to mention that I did a load of laundry today with H's nappy...it was a dry one, thankfully, but for those who have experienced the joy of washing a nappy (or a panty liner for those without children) will know that they contain a lot of jelly like stuff that gets over EVERYTHING! Fortunately, today, I rinsed and spun again and it seemed to get a lot out, although I'm sure it can't be good for the washing machine!
Today is my sister's birthday, Happy Birthday J! But I am a rubbish sister because I didn't even get a card sent, let alone a present :(
On a POSITIVE note, because I certainly need one of those today, apart from a few hacks in the night, my cough is on the way out! My windpipe seems to be getting back to it's normal size, and I can actually talk without sounding like a female-impersonator too! There is my silver lining for today :) Let's hope it stops raining tomorrow.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Anyways, I was waiting for a parcel from FBC (Foreign Buyers Club), and as it's been a week, and I requested a morning delivery, I assumed it wasn't coming anytime soon. But the doorbell rang at around 6p.m., right when I was cooking dinner, and trying to tame the monsters. And sure enough, it was the parcel. I opened the door, and the parcel man looked really stunned. He asked if this was the right address, I said yes, and he got all flustered, and wouldn't stop staring at me. He stuttered for me to sign for it, all the while staring at me O_o and then I took the parcel from him, him checking that it wasn't too heavy for me...yeah, ok, it was only a few boxes of cereal, I often walk around carrying a 10kg baby on one arm and a 14kg baby on the other, oh and sometimes a basket of laundry at the same time ;). Then he literally, stumbled backwards down the stone steps while STILL staring at me.
Now I am not an arrogant person, in fact I have quite a few self-esteem issues. But..I swear... these were the actions of a man who has just seen a pretty girl *blush*. I asked him if he was ok, and he smiled and muttered something, then almost tripped down them again on his way to the van. So even though I found this quite odd (did not look my best apart from nice clothes, but still full of cold, untamed brows and greasy locks), it kind of made my day. Sad? Maybe, but I don't care :P
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
From tomorrow, H's kindergarten is closed for the rest of the week. That means H and L need entertaining. H has got into the habit of saying, "I'm bored.." pretty much all the time. So I am trying to plan one activity a day. Tomorrow, I thought I'd get her to help me make the lunch and kill two birds with one stone. In theory, this sounds good, because she loves making food, but then L always wants in on it too, then they get to squabbling, and I find myself wanting to reach for the bottle...(of course, I would never ;)) But I have tried to get around this by stationing H on one step, and then L on another step by the sink, filling a bowl full of water, and letting him play with it. He is a water freak.
Thursday and Friday? Well, no idea yet. Will let you know when tomorrow is done with..
Monday, November 16, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Well we are technically all moved, apart from my bike, which Y and I have to janken to decide who gets to cycle all the way up here on it. I tried the reverse psychology bit and told Y that I should do it because I am fitter than him. Didn't seem to work though. He just laughed. Have to think of a new technique if I want to get out of it then.
We have lived here since October 26th, which is a grand total of 13 days. Wow, that's a bit of a shock. It took two to three days to unpack. That is something of a record for us, because we often have boxes hanging around for weeks. I'd like to think it has a lot to do with me being more organised this time, and the fact that I must have got rid of a skipload of things we were hanging on to that we didn't really need. Having the storage room is great. We have the bookcases in there, so it leaves the rooms really clear. I always had a problem with the bookcase in the bedroom. Don't know why, but bookshelves always look really cluttered to me. Ideally, it would be nice to have a little desk in the storage room so I could sit in there and do the accounts, etc., but in reality, there may just not be enough space. The children are both sleeping in one bedroom, and it's looking really nice. When L is out of his cot, we are thinking of buying a high bed that we saw in Ikea where you can put a mattress at the bottom, which would be ideal for L to sleep on. It turns upside down and can be used as a kind of four poster bed for when they need their own rooms, which can be decorated with "girly swags". Anyway, THEIR room is sorted apart from the curtains, which I am hoping to make when my fabulous sis buys me a sewing machine ;) It has been years and years since we had our own bedroom to ourselves, and it's great not to have a nightlight on and sleep in pitch darkness. And to be able to actually talk!
As for our room, the double wardrobes are already full, how the hell did that happen!?!? I am trying to hang my clothes and maybe search for some nice drawers for jumpers and heavy things that will fit inside. At the moment we have those awful long plastic ones that I can't stand, but I prefer to have clothes hanging so I can flick through and see what I've got. Y has way too many clothes. I definitely think he needs to downsize. He wears about 4 different outfits when he's not wearing his suit, and yet he has drawfulls of clothes, some of which I have never even seen him wear. We got some drawers to use as bedside tables. They match the bed, but we went for the drawers as opposed to the bedside tables in the series, because they are more useful and I think look better anyway.
The curtains are up at the windows. We compromised on the "net" curtains, which I didn't want, and now we have some thin curtains up instead, which are far prettier and still let the sunlight pour in. And I have to hem the curtains for the other window at the back of the bed. The shame about having so many windows, is that there is not so much wall space to decorate. I am definitely thinking of making curtains for all of the little windows though, or blinds or something, because at night, it's cold. And the wind coming from the mountains hits the back of the house and it's just miserable. So hopefully curtains will help the north side at least feel a little better. So glad that all the rooms are south facing though.
The bathroom is one of my favourite rooms. Lots of space in the washing area, and we ended up using the kitchen trolley in the bathroom to store towels and p.j.s Only problem is there is a lot of floor and not enough bathmat and both children have run off it and slipped on the floor after taking a bath, so I'm on the lookout for a bigger bathmat.
Anyway, enough about the rooms, because I could go on about it all day. When I have things a bit more organised, I'll go round and take some photos to post.
We went to the neighbours to introduce ourselves, and got rather a frosty reception from one of them. Y apparently saw some comment on the internet about someone who lives around here. They were complaining that when they bought their property, there were assured that the prices would not be any further discounted, and that the remaining properties on the street are now being sold at a much lower price. Erm, yeah, ok, is that OUR fault?! What do they expect the housing company to do when they can't sell houses for a year?! There is still one house left, but I know I won't be crying if that gets discounted too. That's the gamble after all. Anyway, I am not really bothered about the neighbours as long as they don't get in our business, but it's good that there are plenty of younger children for L and H to play with in the future.
So in brief, things that are different about the new place and area:
- It's quiet. Far from the main road and no real through-roads.
- It STINKS. There is a pig farm and a cow farm just north of here and at night time the air is positively humming
- We don't really have much of a view compared to the old place because of the houses across from us.
- We DO have an AMAZING view of the mountains from the back of the house though!
- It's a bit chilly here at night, but the airconditioner is filling the 18 mat quota as promised!
- It's nice to not have to fold our dining table up anymore.
- Our t.v. is humungous, but it's not as overbearing as I had imagined it was going to be.
- Our rubbish men come way too early in the morning here, so no more chance to take out the rubbish if Y forgets.
- The postie also comes in the morning (as opposed to 4p.m. at the old place!) which is great!
- There are not as many pointless salesmen ringing the doorbell at all hours.
- Cleaning didn't get harder, just takes longer :)
Unfortunately, we will have to wait until the new year to get our new sofa, t.v. stand and dining table, which kind of sucks, but is just one of those things. I'm hoping that next week I'll be able to organise everything a bit more and that we'll get the blinds for the living room delivered. Without them it all seems a bit cold. Then it might start feeling a bit more like home.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Next H's clothes and paraphenalia (swimming bag, beach towel, baby playmat that she refuses to get rid of, etc.). I have told her that on Friday, she can help me to pack the rest of her stuff. Last time, it took her a long time to realise that all of her things had been brought with us, and there was nothing left at "home", so this time I decided that packing together might make her feel a little less stressed about the whole moving thing. I think she will be much better this time, because we have talked about all the space that she will have to play in, and that we will try to have her and L together in her bedroom, not to mention the huge bath that we can splash around in! So it looks as if she is excited about it, but still a little bit apprehensive-looking whenever she sees there are more boxes packed up. She came to me tonight when we were getting ready for stories in bed, carrying her Winnie the Pooh light music wind-up toy and said, "Mummy, I think I can leave this here for the next little boy who lives here to play with." Sweet.
So this morning, MIL was off work and said that she could help me to change my gaikokujin card address and take a photocopy of it to the hoikuen because we had forgotten to include it in our application. I appreciate the offer, I really do, but I thought, hang on a minute, these are things that I can do myself. I am a slight control freak (heh heh), and don't really like to depend on people, or to HAVE to depend on people, so the more I can do, the better. I let people help me too much when I was first here, but I know enough Japanese to get by and should try on my own. After all, I am not a child, although I often feel like one! So after handing the copy to the hoikuen (daycare) I went off to the town office and the woman let me change my address even though I stupidly forgot to take my passport - gah! Then picked up a form from the post office for them to forward mail to the new address. This was also written in English and Japanese, but decided to let Y fill that out just for ease of understanding for the postie. Then spent way too much in the supermarket because there was a huge delivery of veggies from the farmers. Saw them all putting their produce on the shelves. Got a HUGE head of broccoli for 170 yen (almost, but not quite the size of my own head). Absolutely delicious.
After picking H up from kindy, we went to Toys R Us to get H's costume for a Hallowe'en party that S is hosting for us and her little girl. It's usually quite a battle to get round there, what with all of the toys and toys and TOYS around, but H was really good, so I bought her and L (he was not so good, so I buckled him in the trolley) a little "shake and go" car from the clearance section. L is scared of it though. Just the revving noises that it makes. He has suddenly become afraid of that kind of thing. Even the animal sound book that he used to love. Not really sure why. Any ideas?
Anyway, I digress..at the till, there was a mother and her (about 5 year old) son buying a rubber dinosaur. I stood at the cash desk and this boy, otherwise known as naughty little s**t, came up to L shouting and saying stuff like, "No, NO, it's not yours, get away, GET AWAY!" and then proceeded to vigourously shake the trolley that L was sitting in. I almost whacked him one. And his mother meekly pulled him away and said nothing to me. After this, he continued to verbally attack H and I just told her that he was naughty and just to ignore him. Times like this, I wish I could have said it more loudly and in Japanese. I think the boy was just high on sugar like most sweety filled hyperactive children around here. I saw another mother with a toddler probably the same age as L throwing a tantrum because he couldn't get a bag of crisps from the vending machine. And so his mother BOUGHT HIM ONE. The mind boggles...
Ok, I have to rant about this now, because I feel a bit like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Every day when I pick H up/drop her off, I see parents in the car park, mostly mothers but some fathers/grandparents too. They drive in with their cars all equipped with child seats, as the law dictates. But hang on, a lot of these seats are in the front. I saw this and thought, "ooh, that would be quite nice for Hannah to be able to sit in the front", as I knew the rear-facing seats have to go in the back, so I checked to see if this was legal/safe, and found that airbag or not, the safest place for children to be is in the back. Now as a mother, I'm sure other mothers will agree that safety is at the forefront of other mothers' minds, right? WRONG! But that is not the worst of it...I very rarely see the children actually IN their car seats. Now surely this is just laziness?!? Or is it the children saying, "I don't want to sit in my seat", and the mothers saying, "oh, ok then." Am I unusual in being strict about seatbelts? I would like to think not, but there is too much evidence to the contrary, at least from what I have seen here in Gunma. And horror of horrors, today, I saw a mother with her kindergarten child floating around in the backseat, and her SEVEN month old baby in a rear-facing car seat, in the passenger seat, and the baby was actually lying on her tummy peering out of the windscreen. I mean, I'm all for freedom of choice, but this is simply bad parenting, surely?!?! I thought afterwards, as I followed her car out of the car park, I should have beeped the horn furiously and told her that she had forgotten to strap her tiny baby in.
Seems that a lot of parents do things not only because other people do them (the sheep mentality), but because children want to do them. It's nice that children have choices, but when it comes to safety, and erm, that thing called the law, surely it's kinder to choose for them.
Phew, ok, well today was a pretty good day all in all, apart from that niggle, that seems to get worse every day...Am very excited about moving, especially as our downstairs curtains are now ordered and lights and furniture too :)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
- lots of natural light
- good size
- open plan LDK (living, dining, kitchen)
- sociable kitchen, i.e. not facing the wall/window, but into the house
- four bedrooms, one downstairs that can be used as a playroom/guestroom/classroom
- all south facing rooms
- parking space
- big bath
- balcony with a roof
- lots of storage space (including a storage room)
Now these are the boxes it DIDN'T tick, but that we decided were outweighed by everything else:
- BIG garden at the rear
- underfloor storage
- balcony running the length of the house
- living room with at least 3 solid walls (no doors)
- car port
Hmm, thought there were more than that! Nice surprise :) Another GREAT plus is that it is only a five minute walk to the primary school. This had been a big worry to me, as children often walk to and from school alone here, but from the land we were going to build on, it was a 1.5km walk, including a really busy big road :( I tell Y that I am going to take the children to school until they are ten anyway, but we will see. I definitely won't let them go alone at 6 years old, no matter how "safe" it is here. This is also a big plus if I eventually decide to teach primary school children.
So we looked at the house, considered the great location, quiet, and yet not isolated, other children around for ours to play with, and the price, and realised that we could buy it ourselves. MIL was reluctant to help out if we bought a used house. But Y called MIL to come and look at it herself. It was all a bit of a scramble, so we had little time to decide if we really wanted it, and to weigh up the pros and cons. There was another family interested, which didn't help, pressure wise. ARghhhh, so there I was trying to convince myself that if we didn't get it, it wouldn't be the end of the world, ha ha! MIL came, looked around, but the children were getting grizzly for their dinner, and it was getting late. So I decided to leave it in their hands and told Y that if he was sure, then I was sure.
Hours later, they managed to get a further discount of 800,000 yen (down to the MIL ;) ) and as they were desperate to sell, there was also 1,000,000 yen to spend on furniture at a designer store. So exciting! But so nervewracking too! They were sorting it all out all night and Y didn't get back until midnight, by which time, I'd gone to bed! Before this, I was sitting all alone at home excited, arghhhh! So frustrating!
One of their conditions was for a quick move, so we are moving in at the end of this month, and we have this apartment until 8th November. Plenty of time to move, but I want to get as much packed as possible. I'm soooooo glad that I de-cluttered. Must have been fate :)
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Underworld - Don DeLillo - never read - 700 yen
The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 - never read - 700 yen
The Fabulous Mum’s Handbook – Grace Saunders (hardback) – 300yen
What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Murkoff, Eisenberg & Hathaway (paperback2002 edition) – 300 yen
The Dorling Kindersley Pregnancy Question and Answer Book – Lees, Reynolds & McCartan (paperback) – 500 yen
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera - 200 yen
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami - 200 yen
Crayon Shinchan -1, 2, 3 - 400 yen for three
Yuyu Hakusho - 1 - 100 yen
Monster - Naoki Urasawa - 1, 2, 3 - 600 yen for three
Flowers & Bees - Moyoko Anno - 1, 2 - 400 yen for two
And a Pilates for Pregnancy (during and post) DVD Region 2 PAL - 700 yen
Please contact me here first. Thanks :)
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wake up at 3.a.m. to a screaming L. Go downstairs to the loo, I must take my time, because when I get back, Y is moved over to my side of the bed and is trying to calm down screaming child. Instead of saying, "ok, thanks, I'll take over." I decide to crawl into his side of the bed and see if I can snatch another few minutes of much-needed sleep. This new night waking (not that there hasn't ALWAYS been night waking, just different) is accompanied by new levels of screaming. It is a step higher, and seems to sound much more like a pterodactyl than before. It is the sound that you imagine torturers could get confessions with.
After 5 minutes of inconsolable screeching, I give in as I realise that I am not going to get any sleep with this racket going on anyway. About 10 minutes later, L is asleep...in his cot...for now.
Alarm goes off at 6:30, oh, and by alarm, I mean L with more screeching. I wonder if I should be worrying that he has some kind of sickness. His teeth have just come through, so don't think it should be that, but give him some Bonjela just in case. Crawl out of bed, reluctantly bringing my stomach cramps, and two children downstairs with me. Step on scales, have lost half a kilo. Yay! It's a small victory, but I will take it!
I grab a quick shower while I can, and then set to work making my husband's bento. No home made stuff today. Just a selection of wonderful frozen bento goods from China. Most of them even in their own packets so I don't even have to get the chopsticks out. Five minutes later, H starts tantruming that she can't fasten her blouse buttons. I tell her it is because she can't shift her gaze from The Wiggles. She tells me that is not the reason (all while not taking her eyes off The Wiggles) and starts crying for no reason. The t.v. goes off until she can fasten two buttons. Y leaves for work, 20 minutes late. Don't get fired, don't get fired.
Breakfast is lovely. Rice Crispies and minimal conversation. Heavenly :) We actually manage to arrive at nursery on time today and don't face the shame of the "late gate", but instead get to walk to the lovely big gate where the older children wait for H so they can hold her hand across the playground.
Get home and go through an hour of L grizzling because he is tired but can't go to sleep. I resist BFing and remember that I shouldn't anyway, because have taken a paracetamol for my cramps and have given him some baby paracetamol for his gums. He ends up writhing and screeching and then suddenly falling asleep on my chest, where he gets to stay for the next 20 minutes. Then it's back to the nursery for the Sport's Day practice where I have to dance with pom-poms while H does some very complicated moves while shaking her rice-filled bottles in the hall with all the other Mums and children. Oh, while L is having the time of his life dancing and shaking his hands in the air with the kids. I lose sight of him about 5 times. Can't really give H my full attention. She does well, but doesn't really look as if she is enjoying herself much. Not sure that I want to subject her to the real thing in a couple of weeks. Kindergarten wants to teach how to be competitive. Not sure that competing is all that necessary at her age anyway.
Go home to lunch and more of the grizzles. My son doesn't want to sleep unless I give up the goods.
Later - it is now 8p.m., Y came home at around 7, just as we were all out of the bath and ready for bed. He took H for her storytime in her bedroom, meaning I could lie and feed Luka while reading my book and having some firegazing time. Nice. Now more time for me :) Am thinking about getting my hot water bottle out to try and ease some of these cramps. The estate agents from the house we saw in Annaka have sent some land information, so Y is looking through it now. Might have a peek too, even though the living room is still absolute tip :(
Have to go to take L for his second DPT shot tomorrow - he is seriously behind on his jabs, so no doubt the doc will give me a piece of his mind. Good though, because he is very serious about vaccinations, so he can sort it all out. All these rules about the duration of time that must elapse between certain jabs, etc. Plus we couldn't get any last month because it is too hot in August so they usually don't do them..interesting. Let's hope he doesn't take it too badly!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today weather isn't the best. After a night of rain, this morning is dull and cloudy. After I drop H off at kindergarten, it starts raining again. Sorry L..another day in the house.
Weaning is going ok. Some days are better than others. L was awake for pretty much all of the night last night. Woke up with his feet donking my head as he was sleeping lengthways between mine and Y's heads...So when Y's alarm goes off at 6:40a.m. I nearly cry. Fortunately, Y makes his own bento today - bless. I give the children cheese on toast for breakfast, despite H requesting rice crispies. Cheese on toast = finger food = more time for me to get everything sorted ready to leave.
Not really sure where the time goes today. I do the usual, laundry (now hanging inside the living room window - yuk!), vacuuming, oh yes, I clean the floors, although that is kind of undone when L finds it feels quite nice to walk around in the dampness. Lots of pretty little light coloured footprints on the floor. I had always thought that laminate flooring would be easier to maintain than carpet, but it's not really. The only real advantage is spills are easier to clean up. Laminate flooring hides NOTHING. I am always down on my hands and needs scrubbing up dirty spots. What do I use, what do I use? I heard vinegar and water, I heard a damp mop, window cleaner. What?! I am from a carpet nation. How should I know? I resort to my Perfect Housewife bible, but that only tells me that I don't know whether my floor is sealed or not..hmm...back to square one.
Eat lunch - last night's pork curry leftovers, egg and rice - yummy! L gets potato and fish bake from the freezer, eating and eyelids drooping. I resist the feeding temptation and am glad that I am back in a non-nursing bra today, because the temptation to feed him to sleep is great, but not so great that I can be bothered to take my whole bra off :) He eventually goes to sleep on my lap while I am cutting his fingernails. Ahhhh, quite sweet really.
After that, I have about an hour and a half to really get something done! I sort out the shelves in the living room, which were an absolute mess. No point having shelves to organise things when they are just full of disorganised junk. I start on the "home office" stuff, but there are too many random indecipherable Japanese documents, so unfortunately, that is one that I will have to do with Y. Realise that I only really like cleaning when it is connected to changing something. I rearrange the computer desk, and it is a lot more spacious and clean now. Although it is still just another high surface which Y will probably fill with more junk :( MUST prevent that from happening somehow.
Arghhh, thank goodness for auto-draft saving...just almost lost the whole thing!
Tomorrow is the practice day for H's sport's day. She has been practicing a dance with rice filled PET bottles at kindergarten for the past month. Tomorrow is a practice with "Mums". Yes...we have to participate in this dance too...I had thought that it was going to be impossible. After all, I have L to take care of. So I had thought that I would let H take the day off and go to the indoor play centre. But H is so excited when I picked her up. She says the teacher has been telling them that the Mums will be coming to watch them dance tomorrow. Hmmm, maybe Y had got it wrong and that it will just be an observing thing. Well, I can do that, I think. Wrong...it is still a Mum/child dance, and have now got myself roped into going with L on my back and prancing about with a bottle of rice covered with stickers...ahhhh, parenthood...
This is one thing I don't like about kindergarten vs daycare...parent (more like mother) participation is expected whenever and wherever they like. No consideration for mothers having jobs, other children, lives. Roll on April!
Manage to get the children fed, bathed and in bed asleep by 7:30 tonight, so have lots of time to sit here and do this. I haven't been to the gym since last Monday because of my sore throat and general lethargy. Now, when I am sitting dressed in my sweats and feeling motivated, Y is not home :( Must keep motivation up! Or maybe I should just dig out the Billy's Bootcamp DVD and work up a sweat chez moi...