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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yokosuka Curry Festival

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When you think Curry, what country do you think of? India of course, but Japan would not be a laughable answer. Oddly enough Yokosuka, Japan is a HUGE curry city, nicknamed 'Curry Town.' There are several amazing curry eats in Yokosuka as well as a couple large Curry events through the year that attract people from all over the country. One day Chris and I looked out our balcony window and were blown away by the mile long line (single file, no pushing or cutting because it's Japan) outside the Japan Navy military entrance. We thought it was maybe an open house day or something along those lines (the US base hosts 'Friendship Day' once a year where anyone can visit the base) but later learned there was a curry competition going on where each battleship served a different curry and the public voted. Yes, all the Japanese destroyers came back into bay for a curry competition, this is how serious they are about their curry. 

The last two years Chris and I have visited the Curry Festival in Mikasa Park near the base. Last year we happened upon it on accident on our way to Monkey Island for Mother's Day (we ironically ate curry from Nirvana beforehand) but this year we made sure we put it on the calendar! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ofuna Kannon-ji Temple

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At the end of our 2013 stint in Japan when riding the train to the airport we briefly saw what we noted as a 'white Buddha.' We had never seen anything like it and decided right then and there we'd visit that place next year. 

Next year was this year! We of course knew what we saw wasn't actually a white Buddha but at the time we had no idea what else to call it so please don't judge us as being insensitive. We later looked it up and learned what we had saw is actually called Kannon. A Kannon can be a part of a Buddhist temple like a Buddha god but is the east Asian goddess of Mercy. 

For us not being Japanese or Buddhist we couldn't tell the difference between a Buddhist temple that has a Buddha and one that has a Kannon (maybe there is no difference because the statue) but we did appreciate the impressive architectural beauty of the 82 foot while statue. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Brenik Arli- One Month

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Well, we made it to a month old (read, I made it to a month). I don't say this lightly because it was pretty hairy at times. Brenik has been a complete rockstar and has been as self sufficient as he possible can be for an infant. The transition to two littles has been a lot hard on me than I expected though a lot of that has to do with how slow of a recovery I've had, I'm actually awaiting a doctor's appointment to discuss a repair. My limited physical abilities have shorten my patience leading to reactive parenting rather than responsive parenting which has of course lead to days spiraling out of control emotionally for everyone involved. We're getting there little by little with high highs and low lows at times but we are getting there. Enough about that, let's get back to talking about Brenik.

Brenik entered the first Wonder Week right as Chris went back to work. I didn't know about Wonder Weeks with Gabriel but have since learned that they are predictable stages of mental growth that bring about extra fussiness and clinginess for about a week or two depending on which leap. The first week strikes at around 5 weeks from due date which for us was right around 3 weeks of age. This was a rough week to say the least, I felt overwhelmed to begin with now flying solo and then my easy-go-lucky newborn was all of a sudden fighting sleep to the extreme and only wanted to sit in my arms and nurse all day. I remember sitting with Gabriel in my arms days on end nursing without a care in the world but this time around I had Gabriel to take care of in addition to baby- those days of sitting around and doing nothing but nursing were far behind me. I read that during this week (and all Wonder Weeks for that matter) mothers do a lot of baby wearing. I ordered a Solly Baby Wrap but it wasn't here yet. I have an Ergo with an infant insert but didn't care to wear it. My neighbor loaned me her Moby Wrap so as a baby screamed and a toddler wouldn't keep his hands off the keyboard I tried to watch a YouTube tutorial on how to use it but as you can imagine that didn't end well. That whole day actually concluded in my throwing the towel in early and calling Chris to come home. What concluded Wonder Week that makes up for all the crazy is that Brenik smiles quite frequently at me now! Even in the middle of the night when he shouldn't be flirting with me I can't help but giggle at those open mouth smiles. In those couple seconds you forget about the tears, stress, and still existing pain from delivery.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ECing: Two Year Recap

A little over a year and a half ago I first blogged about our new adventure of EC (elimination communication). For those who do not remember, do not know, or are new around here it's essentially boiled down to as 'early potty training.' Now, true ECers or super crunchy mamas might scoff at me for calling it that but honestly that's the easiest way to describe it without going into it. To describe ECing by going into it the idea is that babies are born with the natural instinct to not soil themselves; this being supported by how common it is for babies to urinate/poop when their diaper is off. The socially recognized idea for this happening is that it is caused by the cold air touching the bum and genitals but in the ECing world this is not the belief. Have I lost you yet? I've often heard ECing be referred to as 'parent training.' I get it, I spent probably over an hour a day for months sitting on the bathroom floor as Gabriel got some toilet time. But think of it this way, your child communicates to you when s/he's hungry, tired, or bored right? Well why wouldn't your child communicate with you when s/he needs to use the bathroom? If a child can walk to the fridge to tell you when s/he is hungry why couldn't s/he walk to the toilet to tell you s/he needs to use the bathroom?  If you think of it this way, then it's not parent training at all, its just identify and listening to how your child communicates their needs.

Though not very common in practice here in The States (how many of you have actually heard the term ECing?) it's basically standard practice in every other part of the world. Did you know that the age at which children stop using diapers is much higher in the US than many other countries? Did you know that the age at which children stop wearing diapers began growing exponentially with the introduction of the disposable diaper? And though the pull-up is advertised as a way to help kids potty train and transition to underwear when it was introduced the average age at which children potty train went up again?* Many countries in the world don't have the luxury of using disposable diapers thus instead they focus on elimination communication, learning the body language and cues of their child that are presented at the time of needing to pee and poop as well as providing verbal cues for those actions.

As you are probably already piecing together, this is a hot topic, what parenting topic isn't? I want to stop here before I go any farther and say that by no means is ECing for everyone and which ever way you choose to go about transitioning from diapers to the toilet and at whatever age that happens is totally fine by me- it's your child and I'm not here to tell you how to do your job or make you feel guilty, I'm just simply sharing my experience because it's unique to our culture and I've had people interested in what we've done. There is no right or wrong here. I also want to admit that though I'm going to try and EC again with Brenik, I'm not as optimistic about it going as successfully as it did with Gabriel. This time around I'll also have a toddler so I don't feel like I'll have the adequate amount of time each day to commit to ECing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn (Toddler Created) Banner

I don't think I officially told you guys that I got my 50mm 1.4f lens serviced! After the huge push around from Nikon (I seriously felt like they bullied the little guy, aka me) I easily and quickly got it successfully serviced by a local Seattle place. They thought it was sort of a joke that Nikon didn't work on it and happily accepted the job (read my money)! Needless to say it's been so nice having it back.

With the new addition of Brenik I have wanted to be more intentional with the time Gabriel and I do have together. We no longer have our days to just the two of us so the one-on-one time I do get with him I really want to make the most of. Realistically this doesn't mean it's always going to be some grand project but when the time presents it self I'll take advantage of it!

We learned back in Japan that Gabriel LOVES to paint (I'd like to meet a toddler who doesn't like getting that gooey stuff between their fingers and on everything within reach) so for his birthday he was gifted a huge box of it!

I'm sure you have all slowly felt the change in the air and seen the leaves begin to fall. My transition into fall was far less subtle with being locked up in my bedroom for the most part between August 31st and September 21st. I drove out into town today and was somewhat taken aback by how much things have changed in just three weeks! We needed to bring a little bit of that into our home.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brenik Arli's Birth Story Part 3 (of 3)

As you are about to see why, the most appropriate way for me to record the events of Brenik's birth was by a time log. I originally tried to type it up in paragraph/story form like Gabriel's birth story but that just didn't fit or feel right...

2:00/3:00am- I started to stir in bed from what I thought was just some annoying pelvic pressure/pain.
5:00am- Got out of bed and headed down stairs to sleep thinking I could get more comfortable on the couch.
5:12am- Messaged a friend on Facebook asking if she discovered any tricks on how to reduce pelvic pressure pain while sleeping. Turned on Hulu to distract myself.
5:23am- On my blog's Facebook Page wrote, "Well it's official, unless this baby comes in the next 18.5 hours we're going to have a September baby (at some point). So crazy to realize that all month we have thought this was the month all to see it come and go sans baby."
5:30am- Started to realize that the supposed pelvic pressure/pain was actually coming somewhat rhythmically, began tracking it and discovered it was every 4-5 minutes for 60-90 seconds. Got up and made some eggs to see if eating settled or changed them.
5:50am- Sat on the birthing ball, increased the discomfort in my pelvic, decided to stick with just walking around. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Brenik's Birth Story Part 2 (of 3)

Saturday August 30th marked being 41/42 weeks pregnant depending on which country we were following (once again, gotta love due dates). Chris had taken Friday the day before off as the beginning of his maternity leave anticipating baby by end of the holiday weekend but also having the freedom to reset his maternity leave and go back to work Tuesday if baby still hadn't arrived. Friday was spent as a low key, no pressure day just enjoying ourselves at home. It was fabulous just lazing around the house but come Saturday we were already feeling cooped up and looking for something to do. We live in an incredibly beautiful part of the country where mountains and the ocean are just a short drive away. I honestly couldn't imagine calling any other part of the country home base. To get us out of the house we took a last minute afternoon trip (like 10 minutes before nap time we said, "lets go north!") up to Port Townsend.


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