Out with the husband, in with husband’s mother ūüė¨

Told MIL that we’re going to bed, it was like 9pm at the time.

We’re currently hiding out in the bedroom. Riku is playing baby games on an old cellphone while I try to relax for a few minutes. 
I’ve been complaining about my husband a lot lately, not without reason though. So, I’m going to take a few minutes to change the focus of complaints to, yes, you guessed it, my MIL.

**Going to throw in a warning here. This post is long, and sort of boring, and not written well. It’s basically me just dumping complaints onto the screen. Also I didn’t proofread for errors. Continue at your own risk**

Now don’t get me wrong, she’s great in some ways. She cares about my kids AND me, which I think is a huge deal. She’s letting us stay at her house because HER son is being an idiot and doesn’t want his family around. She does a lot for us. I’m grateful, I really am. But no matter how awesome she is, the woman just drives me nuts! I’m not writing this because I dislike her, quite the opposite in fact. I’m venting here so that I can keep the peace with her as much as possible. So any MIL’S out there who may be reading, please don’t take it the wrong way!

I’m going to start off by saying that I am 27 years old with 2 children. I’ve lived here in Japan for 3 years now, and I speak enough Japanese to get by on a day to day basis. I’ve been finding my way around on my own, because my husband doesn’t help much, without too much trouble for quite a while now. Despite this, I can’t even take a walk without her tagging along. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if she was coming because she wanted to spend time with us, but that’s not the case. She thinks I’m incapable of finding my way around. She thinks I’ll get lost. She thinks it’s too dangerous. She thinks taking 2 kids out alone is too difficult. On top of all that she’s constantly complaining that her hips and back hurt. I get it she’s not young, but that’s why I don’t expect her to come along every single day. I mean, I’m trying to lose some post baby weight here, if I don’t walk every day I’m probably not going to make any progress. Plus since this isn’t really our house it’s not like I can just lounge around when I don’t have anything to do.

Another reason why I want to get out of the house is that I have nothing to do here. I’ve offered to‚Äč help with household chores. I’ve offered to help do the laundry, I’ve offered to even just do mine and my children’s laundry. I’ve also offered to help cook, and I’ve offered to only cook for me and my children. She never accepts the help. I have to literally say “No, I’ll do it myself” or I can’t do anything. And frankly, it comes out sort of rude, not‚Äč on purpose but it does, and she seems to take it that way too. She always seems a bit offended. 

Another thing that offends her is food. I’ve asked her repeatedly to not worry about feeding me so much. I appreciate that she wants to feed me, but I don’t need her to cook every single meal for me, especially if she’s going to stress about what to cook. I get that she’s trying to be accommodating, it’s very considerate of her, but I can feed myself sometimes too. We can all eat together sometimes too. I can also feed my kids.

 She also makes a big deal about Riku’s food too. She wants him to eat healthy, which is great, but she gives him way too much food. She gives a little bit of a lot of different foods with every meal, it’s very Japanese of her. The problem is, Riku is only 2. He doesn’t eat well like that, he’s not used to it. A bit more of 1-2 foods at a time, rotating different foods on different days works a lot better. She’s asked me how to feed him, because she wants to give him Japanese food (which for some unknown reason, she seems to think I’m against, and I’m not, not at all). So I explained this to her, how Riku eats best. I told her that he will only eat the thing he likes best if you give him a variety of foods, and I told her to try to look at his eating over a weekly period rather than a per meal or even daily thing. Sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn’t. I told her these things because I think it’s great that she can expose him to foods that I probably won’t make, ever. I want her to succeed. I want him to be able to eat anything, unlike me. But she doesn’t listen, and then gets offended when I point out that she only failed (can’t think of a better word) because she didn’t do it the way I explained it. She seems to think listening to the explanation and then doing something different will still work. It’s not like I’m trying to make things difficult for her or anything!

Today Riku wouldn’t eat the rice and eggs she made for breakfast and she couldn’t figure out why. I pointed out that she’s been giving him rice and eggs everyday. So she exclaims “but I’ve changed the ingredients!” 

“But Riku is 2,” I say. “No matter what you put into them, rice is rice and eggs are eggs.” She wasn’t happy but unfortunately that’s just how things work for us. Riku isn’t a picky eater at all, he’s amazing so far. He’ll eat almost anything, until you give it to him repeatedly.

And speaking of MIL not listening….

She is HORRIBLE about respecting me as a parent. She has repeatedly done things I’ve asked her not to, and lets Riku do things that I’ve clearly said he’s not allowed to do, and sometimes just flat out ignores my requests. For example, I’ve asked her many times not to let Riku into the kitchen, because it’s dangerous. Her house isn’t baby proofed. Yet she lets him in and even plays with him there. Same with their junk room. They have this room, right off of the living room, that’s filled with all kinds of junk. A 2 year old should not be in there, but she doesn’t stop him, rather finds something from the room for him to play with.

Bigger than those, she likes to ignore my parenting choices. I’m fine with her giving advice, but she doesn’t understand that I’m not going to take all of her advice. Everyone has their own way parenting, you do what works for you and your child. You may even have 2 different styles with 2 children in 1 family, you just have to do works and feels right for you. When Riku cries, or throws a fit about something, I like to let him stop on his own, then explain what was bad/wrong/off limits to him. I feel like this gives him a chance to work through his own emotions. I want him to be able to handle being upset, and know what to do with his own anger. He usually stops crying within 2 minutes max. My MIL likes to ignore this though and instantly distract him with something so he’ll stop crying. Personally, I feel like this doesn’t give him a chance to learn anything. I feel like it teaches him that when you get angry, something new and shiny and fun will come to take your anger away. I feel like it’s essentially rewarding him for getting angry or crying. I’ve asked her so. Many. Times. to not distract Riku when he’s crying, but she just won’t listen. I’ve had to resort to saying something to her every time he cries, and she’s not liking it. She tries to defend her method, but judging by her sons behavior, unfortunately I don’t think it worked out too well. Maybe it works for some people, but it’s not my preferred method of parenting.

I’m in the -figured it out yourself and learn to be independent- parenting camp, not the -I’m going to teach you to rely on me forever- one. Okay, so those are admittedly on the extreme ends but, maybe you understand what I’m getting at.

The next thing is English.

Now this is also a big one. It’s number 2 on my list of annoyances, just after the crying thing. I’m trying to teach Riku English. We live in Japan so Riku will learn Japanese. It’s inevitable. Once he starts school everything around him will be Japanese, he’ll pick it up. English is a totally different story. English isn’t really all over the place in Japan. Now, Riku isn’t talking yet, but I’m trying to build his English foundation first because I know it’s going to be harder to keep up with in the future. So you can probably guess that I speak to Riku in English a majority of the time. The problem is that MIL likes to put her 2 cents (yen?) into everything. I’ll be telling Riku to get off the floor, or don’t touch, or put something back, or the name of something, like a train or police car, and MIL pipes in with the same thing in Japanese. I’ve asked her not to talk over my English for the sake of Japanese, and very nicely explained why, but she still does it! It’s insane how much this woman refuses to listen to reasonable explanations.

A bit more on the unreasonable, but still annoying, side is hand wiping. It drives me insane and Riku hates it and cries which starts that whole crying issue too. Wiping and washing hands is good. I get it. But kids are dirty. They’re going to touch thing. They’re going to touch dirty things. And guess what?! They aren’t going to die from it! My kids will touch the ground for like 2 seconds and she tries to wipe their hands. God forbid Riku sit down on the floor in public! She nearly had a heart attack from it. Now I don’t let my kids eat off the floor in restaurants, or put weird things in their mouth, or lick stuff (Riku has done this btw!) But really. The intensity with which she is adamant about germs is, quite frankly, stressful! I think a little germ exposure is good for kids. MIL tends to disagree with me.

All of these things wouldn’t be so bad if she could be a bit calmer about them. But she’s not. It’s like she’s constantly in super stress mode. Her voice gets all high pitched and she talks fast, it’s a big deal to her, no matter what it is. I’m more of a go with the flow person, so I don’t understand how she operates under so much stress all the time. She doesn’t understand how I’m not stressed about things. But my stress meter it’s full right now, my husband, her son, is using 100% of it. I have nothing left to stress about silly things with the kids. I do try to be considerate of her but she doesn’t notice. For example, I don’t care if Riku sits on the floor, but I try to not let him around her. I also don’t care if he spills a bit of water on his clothes, but I try not to give him open cups. I don’t care if he drops food on the table then eats‚Äč it with his hands, but I try to pick things up when he drops them. There’s more but, it would take me all night to list everything.

All in all, we’re just different people. She’s just wound a bit too tight for me, and I’m too carefree for her. But that’s okay, at least for me. It drives her crazy though. She does love us though, and I guess that’s all I can ask for from her. I’m glad she’s around.

Late night March update!

So I’ve been MIA from blogging again. I’ve really only just started and it feels like I keep taking breaks. 2 under 2 will do that to you I guess! So how have things been lately? A lot has happened since the last time I posted. I probably won’t cover everything in this post but we’ll see how it goes.

Riku is almost 2, his birthday is only like ONE MONTH away! I literally can’t believe I’m the mother of an almost 2 year old. Like, literally. It’s happening right in front of me but it still hasn’t registered in my brain. I don’t really feel like a mom yet. Heck, I don’t even feel like a proper adult most of the time, let alone a parent! Someone please tell me when that ends?! Do people ever feel “grown up”? 

My 3 boys. I think i have too many! Want one? (Joking btw!)

Reiji, baby number 2 is 3.5 months right now. Yeah, 2 kids! You might be wondering how can I not feel like a mother when I’ve birthed 2 children? You are asking the wrong person! I love them to pieces but honestly… I barely even believe that I have birth to them. It’s such a weird feeling.

But Reiji is just as cute as can be. He’s a ton more vocal than Riku was so he just hangs out with us ooo-ing and aah-ing all day. He rolled for the first time today too, so progress! Way too fast though, I just want him to stay little!

Riku still isn’t talking but he’s very obviously working up to it. He says “baby” and copies some other sounds sometimes. We have started working on baby sign language though, and he’s doing really great with it. So far he knows:

  • More
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Eat
  • Poop
  • Change (diaper)
  • Again
  • Sorry
  • TV
  • Want
  • Clean up
  • Brush teeth

Since we only started this a few weeks ago, I’m very proud of him! Next we’ll be working on please, thank you, play, up, and gentle. Probably. I’ll probably make a whole post about baby sign language at some point, maybe after we start working on it with Reiji too.

Both of my babies also had shots last month, on the same day. That was horrible. Never take 2 babies for shots in one day, just don’t. My husband was supposed to have the day off but he doesn’t know how to say “no” at work so I was stuck. Luckily I have some amazing friends and one of them came to help me out, even though it was not exactly convenient for her. Thanks to her, I survived the day. 

I think I’m only just now learning what it’s like to have actual friends who will support you. I’m also learning that it’s a 2 way street. Which is to say that up until now, I don’t think I’ve really been available as a friend, so it’s not exactly the fault of the other person, it’s probably been me. Just like in a romantic relationship, you have to be open to accept friendship, just like you have to be open to accepting love. I guess learning these things is what we call adulting.

Adulting is hard, I’m sure you understand.

Mommy, Daddy, baby day

In other adulting news, we took a family trip to Yokohama/Tokyo so we could get Reiji’s passport application/report of birth abroad/social security application in. Of course, I did 100% of the paperwork. Thanks SO much for all of your help husband! #sarcasm He did come along though, which was necessary for the process, so I’ll give him that. Oh, he also held the baby while we were there so I could do the other stuff, that was helpful. No, really, it was! Riku was home with MIL, so this was also the first time (and probably the last) for a bit of Mommy, Daddy, and baby time. It was very weird not having Riku with us. But I think he enjoyed playing with trains at MIL’s house.

Husband’s stupid wink-y face again, at Disney! He’s much cuter when he isn’t making that face!

Overall the trip was a lot of fun but I’m still having trouble getting my daily rhythm back. We spent a while week eating some of our favorite foods and we took a one day trip to Disney Sea, just me and the husband. 

It was a first for husband and I both. We left the kids with MIL for the day so we could have some much needed alone time. We spent more time trying the different foods than anything else but it was a fun day. I’ll review it at some point, when I can manage to find the time. (Link to review here, eventually)

On our way to Tokyo!

While Disney was great, the best part of the trip for me was the car ride. Both on the way there and back my husband and I had some pretty good conversation. My kids were in the backseat so I didn’t have to worry about them like I did when I left them with MIL for our Disney day. There’s something to be said for long car rides, I can’t say it myself, but there’s certainly something! We tend to make our trips in the evening, so the kids were asleep, we didn’t have the radio or TV on (yes A LOT of people watch TV in their cars here in Japan rather than listen to the radio). There was nothing but the passing cars, the sound of the highway, and us. There’s really no running from a conversation when you’re stuck in a car. 

We fumbled at first, it’s been a while since we had a big conversation that wasn’t provoked by an argument. We laced less serious topics into the conversation, going off‚Äč track to talk about a past experience, a funny story, or a hobby. This wandering of topics kept things from getting tense. It was something we both needed. I think we both felt that we understood one another a bit better by the time that we got home.

This conversation didn’t solve any of our ongoing problems, in fact nothing has changed. Things fell right back into their original places as soon as we got home. I think we need a few more extra long rides if we’re to make any real progress. Still, it was great. In that moment, things were great.

Home at last~

Coming home was like leaving another world in some ways. Back to the mundane day to day of a stay at home mom in a foreign country. Back to the same problems. Back to our routine. After having my husband with me (and actually being not only physically but mentally present as well) for a whole week, then going back to normal. It’s hard, to say the very least.

Here’s to hoping for many more long car rides to come!

Riku (DS1) – 1.5 year update!

Dear Darling Baby Boy,

Riku, you are my first born, my first baby, my first little boy, the first child I’ve ever loved.

You are already 1 and a half years old! I can’t believe how fast the time has flown. We’ve been through so many “firsts” in the time we’ve been together. You’ve grown so much, made so much progress. You’re learning so many things so quickly. Even to this day, it’s hard for me to look at you and believe that you came out of my belly! You spent 9 whole months in there! And now we’ve been together for 18 more months. I see you changing right before my eyes.

My life has changed so much since you’ve came into it. I know everyone says that about their children, but it really is true. Someday you’ll probably understand.

There’s so many things I want to tell you, so many things I want to say to you, so many things I want to teach you, so many things that I just can’t quite put into words yet. Someday, someday maybe I can express it all.

There’s also a TON of things that I want to remember about this precious time we have together. A ton of things I’m afraid I’ll forget! Someday we’ll be too busy to spend so much time together, like we do now, so it’s important that we treasure this special time. Time will go on, things will change, we’ll get older, but for now your world is still just mommy, daddy, baby brother, and our home. Your world is slowly going to grow, and I’ll become a smaller part of your world, taking up less space and getting less of your time. Even when that time comes, mommy will still love you! Always!


Update: Riku at 1.5 years

A lot has changed with my baby boy in the 1 and a half years he’s been around. I really wish that I had started blogging sooner so that I could have kept a record of his progress and such but things just didn’t happen that way. So we’re going to talk about where Riku is now, progress wise.

When Riku hit 1.5 years, I noticed quite a big change, maybe the most noticeable yet. He really started to understand words almost exactly at 1.5 years. He had been able to follow simple commands up until this point but his understanding of the world around him just exploded! He started being able to understand what some of his toys are called, what different utensils are, where he’d left things, stuff like that. He also started showing interest in undressing himself, no concern for putting clothes back on though! He also discovered the fun of walking around in daddy’s 10-times-too-big-for-him shoes.

It seemed like all of this happened overnight.

One day Riku was just a baby, running around the house without a care in the world, the next he had turned into a toddler without me even noticing it! It really is amazing watching your firstborn grow in so many different ways.

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Riku trying to style his hair just like daddy! No the iron is not on, don’t worry!

Riku’s development has been very focused on the physical. He’s been walking since before 1 year old. He loves running, jumping, dancing, touching, hitting, and he’s recently discovered throwing (time to take cover!). He also really loves eating and he’s super active. Thanks to all of this, I have myself an awesome little sleeper!

There’s a lot of methods of sleep training and such out there, I’ve read about a few, but in the end I just did it my way and I think it really worked out wonderfully. Riku sleeps in his own bed, every night, goes to sleep on his own at nap time and bedtime, he doesn’t use a bottle or pacifier, and has no sleeping crutches. So just how did we manage that? Well it was simple actually. (Obviously all kids/families/living situations are different so this method won’t work for everyone.) The first goal I had was to never use the crib for anything other than sleeping. We never put Riku in his crib just to get him out of the way, or to play, or to punish, or anything for that matter.

In the beginning, breastfeeding means keeping baby close, even at night. We had Riku’s crib right beside our bed with the side open until he could move on his own, then we closed it. He slept with us some but I tried to put him back into his crib as regularly as possible. Once he was sleeping through the night, crib every night. no exceptions. I fed him in our bed and then transferred him to the crib. He did use a pacifier in the beginning. Once I noticed that dropping the pacifier at night was causing him to wake up, we stopped immediately. This was at about 8-9 months and resulted in a few days of crying at bedtime but quickly resolved itself. When I stopped breastfeeding just after 1 year, we gave him a small bottle to drink before sleeping. At about 16 months we switched to water in the bottle, which he was not happy with and refused to drink. A few days later I stopped giving him the bottle all together. Now Riku is an amazing little sleeper all on his own.

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Taking it all off!

On the other hand, Riku isn’t talking yet, not Japanese or English. He doesn’t even say mama or papa yet, but it seems like he’s working on trying to say “baby.” I’m not worried about him not speaking, everyone always brings that up if I mention that he’s not talking, but I’m not. I’m really not! I know kids develop differently, so no worries yet, he’s still just a little guy, but I AM looking forward to my little cutie calling out to me! I also can’t wait to start teaching him how to talk. Talking is something I feel like I can help with, everything else he’s basically learning on his own. His comprehension level, even with this recent jump in progress, seems nearly even in English and Japanese. I use English at home with Riku and my husband uses Japanese but there isn’t much noticeable difference yet.

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Riku loving on his little brother ‚ô•

 

Emotionally, Riku has hit the toddler phase. He throws little tantrums when he can’t get his way, he cries when he does something bad, his mood swings are intense, but overall he’s usually happy. He’s slowly learning how to deal with other children when we go out to play. He’s more aware of mommy and daddy than he has been in the past, he actually follows us rather than running off now. He also seems to like his baby brother, he loves kissing him and trying to hold him. Riku is starting to discover jealousy, he wants my attention when I’m feeding the baby but is otherwise unconcerned with me.

As for food, Riku loves to eat. He’s started to have preferences and refuses to eat sometimes but he’s generally a good eater, not very picky at all.

All in all, I think he’s progressing really well and I’m looking forward everything that we still have to look forward to.

Now back to the mothering! More posts to come soon!

Update! Babies, Babies, Babies

So I’ve been out of commission for the past few months. Late pregnancy was exhausting, MIL was exhausting, 2 babies are continuing to be exhausting.

Tummy Time with big brother

Turns out that getting things done with 2 babies is nearly impossible for the first few months. A toddler plus a newborn means no sleep! None. That whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing, it doesn’t exactly work when you have another baby to look after. I’m up several times a night with the newborn and then I have to be up all day with my toddler, his naptime is my get-things-done time, so no time for a nap. I know this sounds like a bunch of excuses, but really, that’s just how it is.

There’s quite a few things that I’d like to be writing about, and I’m going to try to slowly get more into keeping up with it, but I think posts are going to be sparse until the baby is sleeping through the night. Fortunately, we got a 6 hour stretch last night so we might be working towards that soon.

My last belly shot before baby came!

I hadn’t been blogging for very long before I had my second baby, forcing me into a hiatus, but I’ve found it to be helpful in getting my feelings out and also as a good journaling tool. I really want to keep up with it. I’m planning to make a post about my MIL, being pregnant in Japan, having kids in Japan (more specifically being foreign with kids in japan), baby must haves, etc etc. I have too many ideas. Too many things to say!

For now though, just the cliff notes version of the past few months.

My last post was in November, I believe. After my MIL went home I spent a majority of my time trying to relax because I knew that once baby number 2 made his appearance that I wouldn’t have any time for things like that. I tried to write a post several times but the baby brain was way too strong! ¬†Most days I just couldn’t concentrate on anything.¬†I did manage to get the house cleaned up before baby finally came on December 17th, right on his due date. That was a long, long day. A day for another post. We did have to call MIL to come that day to help out with DS1 while I was in the hospital. She stayed quite a bit longer than necessary and we had plenty of arguments during her time here. She’s barely even speaking to my husband and I because she claims we didn’t even take the time to say goodbye to her. We did. We really did. It was a bit hurried because we stopped the car in a place where you aren’t really supposed to, but taxis stop all the time, so I understand, but we really did say goodbye to her.

She finally left in mid-January. I’ve been stumbling through the days since then, just trying to get back into the groove of things but I still haven’t quite found it. I’ve lost my rhythm so much so that I can’t even figure out what to do for dinner on most days. I think I finally got lunch down, freezer foods are my new best friend. Cereal, cereal is also very important!

I did manage to get all the paperwork for the new baby done along with his 1 month check-up, my 6 week postpartum check-up, and made an appointment for his 2 month check-up and shots. I also had a chance to have a few friends over for the first time, that was pretty amazing. I’ve also finally learned how to get out of the house with both babies in tow.

And I can’t believe I’ve made it this far into the post without mentioning just how adorable this little guy is! Honestly, I had mixed feelings for a while, that will also be a whole different post, but when DS2 was born, a lot of the confusion just fell away. I’m very pleased with how cute both of my little guys are!

Husband and I are still having issues, unfortunately, almost no progress recently. And he’s been going out of town for work a lot, and he will be again this month too. It’s really hard to fix things when we don’t have much time together. It also makes me lonely so I’m not exactly pleasant when he does get back home. Not to even mention how tired I am from watching the babies by myself.

I’m trying to make some general lifestyle improvements since I can’t work on our relationship alone. I’m going to start studying Japanese again, drinking more water, exercising, taking DS1 to play more often, college classes once baby is sleeping a bit better, and hopefully blogging more as well. I guess the goal is to get healthy and stay busy.

If you have made this far into this post, you are way more awesome than you need to be! Reading my ramblings can’t possibly be very entertaining but I’m hoping to get back to better posts soon! Hopefully I can manage it!

November Update!

So it’s basically been a whole month since I’ve posted. Too many things have happened that managed to keep me away from the computer. I had several things I wanted to make full posts about but the pregnancy brain is very strong at this point so I’ve forgotten a lot of the details. I’ve still got plenty to say though! It really is time for an update. No fancy post this time though, I’m too exhausted!

This month started off pretty normal. My husband I still weren’t exactly getting along but he had a big test coming up so I was making an effort to just leave things alone until the test was over so he could study and pass it. It was working for the most part. I managed to keep everything between us completely civil for the few weeks leading up to his test. Hopefully he passed, but we won’t know until next month.

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Husband studying at the in laws while baby watches a movie on the tablet.

The test was in Tokyo so we went to stay with his parents in Yokohama for a few days. He could have went alone, but he wanted to drive the new car so we all went. It was a nice trip for the most part, we ate some of our favorite Tokyo foods (Kebabs, BBQ, Taco Bell) and we got to check out some of the children’s goods recycle shops. Staying with the inlaws wasn’t horrible, but then again we were only there for a total of 3 days. Of course, MIL had to find something to stress out about though, so breakfast was a big ordeal every morning. “What are we going to eat tomorrow morning?” “Is this okay? What about that?” “What about bread? It has to be from this expensive bakery though!” “Soup! Can we put this in it? What about that?” “But we had that yesterday!”

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BBQ in Tokyo

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Kebabs in Akihabara

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that she tries to make me comfortable, I really do! But she really does¬†stress¬†over it, it’s not like she’s just asking like a normal person would. And it’s not just once either. It can get a little overwhelming. Especially when I’m trying very hard to keep my own emotions under control to avoid arguing with the husband. Pregnancy and controlled emotions just don’t mesh. We did, somehow, manage to make it work though. I was at my limit when it was time to go home, I was ready to go home and get some things done (cleaning, laundry, baby prep., etc) but then MIL decided to come with us…

It was mentioned from the beginning. It wasn’t a sudden thing. But the entire time we were there, MIL was complaining about money, like always, and because of that, she was saying that she couldn’t go back with us. I, trying to be nice, told her that she could come anyways even though I really just wanted some me time. At the last minute she decided to come. Her reasoning for coming was ridiculous, but that’s a story for another post. A MIL post will be coming at some point, hopefully soon-ish. Our trip home was +1 human, a ton of luggage, and quite a bit more tension than the trip there. MIL and husband weren’t exactly on the absolute best of terms, but it could have been worse. And it got worse, much worse, by the time she went home.

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Upgraded the sofa to 3 seats so we can all fit finally!

So, MIL stayed for about a week. We ended up getting a few baby things, arguing plenty, and I got absolutely nothing done during that time. MIL is a monopolizer. She takes up a lot of attention and time when she’s here. I didn’t have a chance to turn my computer on, let alone use it. I really need to get my tablet fixed. You would think that having another person in the house to lend a helping hand would allow me some time get things done or to relax, but that’s not the case. She wants to talk, which is fine, but we don’t need to have the same conversation multiple times! Like, seriously! How many times can we possibly talk about my husband being an idiot? We can repeat it 1000 times and he’ll still be an idiot. No matter how many times we discuss money, it won’t start growing on trees. Even if we talk for days, my husband won’t comprehend certain things right now. I don’t know if she thinks that repeating things will help, or maybe she just doesn’t remember, or maybe complaining makes her happy, but it honestly just stresses me out. I’m really not a big worry-er, even when other people might be more inclined to start worrying about something. I don’t mind discussing things, it’s necessary, and it can help, but in my opinion stress just doesn’t help anything. Especially at 8 months pregnant!!

MIL finally went home, the day before my birthday. She and my husband also got into a huge fight that day, over something stupid, but I think it was really just a bunch of things building up and  that little thing just set it off.

After that I caught a cold. I’ve been mostly confined to the house because cold-tired and pregnancy-tired together are not a nice combination. I’m going a little crazy here.

They say stress weakens your body and makes you more susceptible to illness. I totally believe this. I get sick every single time MIL comes to our house. Every Single Time. I had a sore throat, cough, runny and then stuffy nose, some nausea, oh and the pregnancy heartburn. I’ve still got the cough and a scratchy throat but things are starting to get better.¬†Unfortunately DS caught my cold too but it’s not hitting him quite as hard as it did me.

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Birthday Yakiniku

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Roses from the husband! One for every year, but please don’t try to count them!!

My husband actually made an effort to make my birthday nice, even though I wasn’t feeling well. It was enough to make you think that things were looking up for us, but totally not the case at all.

So here we are, at the end of the month and husband and I are fighting again. We had a talk last night but at this point I’m just not sure anything is going to change with him. If things keep going this way, I really don’t see us working out long term. That’s a whole other story though!

It’s been a rough month.

 

Pregnancy and Autumn in Sendai, Japan

Dear Autumn,

Back home, in Florida, you were completely under my radar. Sure, the unbearable heat of the summer would slowly fade away, but in reality, it was as if you didn’t exist. Fall and winter basically just run into each other in a way that makes you indistinguishable from one another. The jacket weather would come and the leaves would instantly turn brown. Of course there’s a little bit of red, orange, and yellow mixed in but the majority of trees and plants just turn brown or shrivel up completely, awaiting the next spring. The highlight of fall was really just the holidays.

Autumn, you always bring with you a few of my favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving.¬†Even in Florida where we don’t get the beautiful scenery that you provide some of our more northern neighbors, the magic of the holidays was never lost. Both Halloween and Thanksgiving were always social events at my house. We’d gather our friends and family and have parties, get togethers, and dinners. Long talks about everything and anything would ensue. It was never a lonely time, but it also didn’t have a distinct year-end feel to it.

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Here in Japan, we have a very different relationship. You came to Sendai and the scenery around me changed. The breeze began to strengthen, and the fashion of the city changed almost in an instant. The colors of the city shifted from the deep greens of the trees and the bright¬†colors of the¬†flowers to the vibrant reds and oranges of the turning leaves.¬†I dragged out our winter clothes, got the baby some footie pajamas, and started closing the windows. We turned on the heater for the first time in months. I started baking again, something I had abandoned in the warmer summer months, the scent of fresh muffins and bread filling the house. Maybe this year I’ll even try to tackle baking a pie.

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Muffins pre-baking plus the baby bump

Things are different here. But that’s okay. Autumn, you are still of one of my favorite times of the year.

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Baby in his PJs


 

Autumn in Sendai and Pregnant in Autumn

After living in Florida for so long, it really is a strange feeling when fall comes rushing in. There’s something about fall in Japan that is peaceful, something inviting, something calling for you to go explore the great outdoors. Fall brings with it a lot of things that bring the family together, especially in Japan. It’s certainly different than the way holidays bring us together back in the US, but with a distinct lack of central heating in a majority of Japanese homes, everyone crowds in the rooms with the heater or even under a kotatsu. Sharing a kotatsu with the whole family has a uniquely “Japan” feeling to it. There’s also the seasonal foods. They are so distinctly different from the summer foods that, even as a foreigner who knows next to nothing about Japanese food, it’s easy to see the difference in the menus.

 

With autumn also comes a lot of outdoor events and sightseeing also picks up in popularity. Something about the bright fiery reds of the trees says “hey, come take a walk under me!” And it’s really hard to pass up the invitation.

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I’ve only been here for 3 years now, so I haven’t been able to see too much yet but so far my favorite fall activity is the Matsushima Fall Lightup. I really think onsens will win once I can start going to them, but both last year and this year, I’ve been pregnant during the fall. Being pregnant in the fall is really nice by the way. Great pregnancy weather. You can bundle up when you want, or take off the layers and feel the cold air when you get too hot. I think it’s really the only season that affords such freedoms to us pregnant women.

Anyways.

There are a lot of events and sightseeing locations around here. I made a post about some of them HERE, so check it out if you’re interested. ¬†There’s a video covering the Light Up in the other post or you can just watch it HERE.

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The new car, this photo was taken by the husband, of course.

My husband, he’s really gung-ho about getting out and seeing all of these things this year. At least that’s how he’s trying to make it seem, in reality he just wants to drive the new car. But new cars are expensive. He’s created his own dilemma and doesn’t even realize it. Because we got the car, of course we have more expenses than we did before, higher car payment, insurance, gas, you know the drill. My husband isn’t used to the concept of living on budget yet. He is an only child from a family that was well off, at least from what I can tell. He just really doesn’t understand the concept of not having money. I’m sure he’ll get there though…eventually. I’m hoping sooner rather than later since we have baby number two on the way!

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Baby number 2 at 28 weeks. I’m sure they all look similar, but this really really looks almost exactly like baby number 1 did

Which leads to the next problem. I am currently 33 weeks pregnant.

The first time around, I was totally fine all the way up until the end. We were going places and doing things up until the day the baby was born. This time, well things aren’t going quite as easily. I’m lucky enough to not have any major problems in my pregnancy, really lucky, but being pregnant in and of itself is…difficult to say the least. I’m sure we can all agree on that.

I’m tired. Really tired. I mean, I’m doing everything I did the first time around (cooking, cleaning, laundry, lunches, etc.) but this time I’m watching a 1.5 year old while doing it. My husband, he doesn’t comprehend that this makes things a bit more difficult. Also, my braxton hicks are a lot more intense with this pregnancy. I got them before, but this time they’re quite strong if I’m active. They’re to the point that I have to sit down and rest when they come on. They get a bit painful if I don’t take things slowly. The baby is also quite strong so his movements aren’t exactly those cute little flutters, they’re strong (read: painful) kicks and punches! This is where pregnancy and autumn don’t mesh too well.

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October 2014 – A ski range open for fall barbeques

I’d love to go see all the sights and take walks in the forest and around small rural towns and go to parks and see rivers and explore mountains, but I just can’t. The third trimester of pregnancy and long walks don’t go well together. Sure, they say walking is good for you, but I do plenty of that just trying to keep up with my little one everyday! Luckily he’s recently gotten interested in movies a bit so I do get a short reprieve while he’s watching them. But they say TV is bad for kids. Oh, the dilemmas of parenting.

This post was also supposed to be more…well, involved or in depth or insightful or something way better than it turned out, but that’s what happens when you blog with a toddler on your lap and a baby in your belly. Yay pregnancy brain!

 

 

Change: Viral Videos | Getting Older

Dear Internet,

You never cease to amaze me with your vastness. You hold an endless amount of resources and information, and you even give us access to all of it. You are the encyclopedia for our generation. You are our library, our news source, our music store, our TV, even our social platform. There’s almost nothing that you don’t do for us. You help us find jobs, you provide companionship, you let us buy almost anything, you entertain us, you help us find our way when we’re lost, you connect us. You have become essential in our world. You really have become something amazing.

But…

Sometimes you amaze me in a different way.

Viral videos. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, they pop up every now and then. There were all those “challenge” videos going around a few years back, Mean Kitty, Gangnam Style, Nyan Cat, that one fox song, you know the type. Everyone knows the type. People try to explain it but I don’t think anyone really knows why or how a specific video goes viral. I personally think luck might have a lot to do with it. Luck and being out of the “norm” of course.

It’s been a while since I’ve kept up with these trends. A husband, baby, and pregnancy will do that to someone. But recently I’ve been hearing about a new video that is making its way around the world. I’m even hearing about it in places and from people that I wouldn’t even expect to know what a viral video is. Apparently this video originates in Japan, my current home country, and topping billboard charts in the a variety of countries, breaking various records, people are talking about it everywhere. I don’t know how, but, Internet, you’ve done it again. Only this time, I really just don’t understand it. Realizing how thoroughly I don’t understand the appeal also made me realize that things just aren’t how they used to be.

I’m not going to link to the song here, simply because I just can’t bring myself to do it. I do realize that by simply talking about this, I’m “spreading the word” but that’s as far as I’ll go. The song, PPAP, made by a Japanese comedian is basically just a few simple sentences in English put together in a song format. I just can’t wrap my head around why this is so incredibly popular.¬†Sure, it has catchy music and is easy to remember, but is that really all it takes to get popular these days? Internet, where has your creativity gone?! Maybe its not you? Maybe its me? Maybe I’ve changed. I’m sure I have.

I used to get so much pleasure from your brand of humor. I used to spend hours browsing your archives of pictures, GIFs, and videos. I used to be engrossed in your world. I used to even be a part of your world, contributing to it, participating in it. Sometimes, I find myself missing your companionship. You are always there after all. You never leave your users lonely. You always have something new to show us, to share with us, to teach us. I used to be a part of all of this. Is it you who abandoned me, or I who abandoned you?

Honestly, I can’t answer that question, but what I can say is that even though that chapter of my life is clearly over, this new chapter isn’t so bad either. Internet, while I may not use you like I used to, you are still a big part of my new life. I may no longer spend hours with you everyday, but I don’t know what I’d do without you


Getting Older

I’m not who I was 10 years ago.¬†I don’t think any of us are.

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Selfies! Have I really changed that much?   Me with baby and husband now VS me in 2009

With a family comes change. Sometimes we feel that change more strongly than other times. Sometimes we miss what was, even though way back then we were probably looking forward to what was to come rather than focusing on the now. Moving to a new country also brings change, big change. Aging also brings change, they say older and wiser, but who knows. Meeting new people, making memories, doing things, not doing things, getting hurt, hurting someone, experiencing something new, making decisions, simply living, all of these things change us.

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Husband was the first to bang the new car door into a pole, not me. This is for the record.

I’m in Japan. I’m married. I have a baby. I’m expecting another baby in the next few months. My husband and I just bought a car. By all normal standards, we’re adults. The big three-zero is creeping up on both me and my husband. Life is progressing. We are slowly getting older. And sometimes I really feel it. The Internet makes me feel it quite often. There’s always some new trend that I haven’t quite heard of yet, something I’ve not seen, something I know literally nothing about. These things make me feel my gradual aging.

But other times I still feel so inexperienced. There’s still so much that I want to do, so much I need to do, so much that I don’t know yet. I find it hard to imagine people that are even younger than myself making families and not being scared. Or making big decisions about a career for the rest of their lives. Or buying a house. I’m 26 and sometimes I still don’t even feel like an adult yet!

Looking at myself from 10 years ago, and my current self, I realize how much things have changed. It makes it hard to picture the next 10 years. I have an idea of where I want to be, but my idea from 10 years ago didn’t exactly pan out, which I imagine is actually quite normal, but it makes it really difficult to think about how things be 10 years from now. I’ll have 2 children, maybe even 3. But will I be here? Will I be back home in America? What kind of career will I have? Will I have finished college like I want to? What will my children be like? What will my husband be like? Will we even still be together? Will I have completed any of my life goals yet? What kinds of things will I have experienced? I have no idea what the future holds.

I do hope that 10 years from now that I can look back through all pictures, these new blogs, and maybe videos, and think “yeah, that was just the beginning. I’m glad I kept up with it.”

Here’s to not giving up the blogging even with baby number 2 on the way! Wish me luck!