Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just some thoughts...

This paragraph was part of an email I received, but as I read it I thought I could have written it myself, so I had to copy and paste it because it says what is in my heart too:

"My sweet little newborn is growing so fast. It breaks my heart. She will be two months old this week. It feels like maybe two weeks. The time slips away from me so fast, as does the newborn stage. I hear so many people say they prefer when their babies get a little older and have more personality. Not me, there is such innocence in the newborn stage that you never get back. She is so sweet and precious. I really don't want her to grow up at all. I want to keep her safely snuggled in my arms forever and protect her from the world.
My very next thought, please don't be like me. Please don't make my mistakes. Will she lose her path and be afraid? Will she seek love in the wrong places? Will she have crippling anxiety and fear? Will she sabotage relationships and run from her problems? I love her so much, I want her to have a life of joy and laughter. I want her to have confidence and strength. I want her to believe in herself and her potential. I don't want her to hurt and struggle.
I know it is inevitable, she will grow up. She will face challenges and heartache. Hopefully she will make better choices than I did. But right now, more than anything, I just want her to stay little. I want her to stay a newborn in my arms that is happy and safe and loved. I want to cherish every big grin, every coo and gurgle, I want her to be my baby as long as possible."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sitting up High and Watching the Show

Here's a few pictures of Mallory's first time in her high chair. She doesn't eat in it yet of course (still just a solid milk diet for her), but she sat in it the other day and watched Mommy cook dinner.
It tilts back and has head supports so that an infant can sit in it and not fall over I guess. I took the tray off, as with it tilted back that far, she couldn't really see over the tray, and she does need it yet anyway. She seemed to enjoy being up high enough to see what I was doing, and I enjoyed having a cooking buddy.

We chatted while I made dinner. Ok, so I talked to her and told her what I was doing- she didn't really input much into the conversation other that "coo" and "goo" and things like that. But it is so fun to have her around, and see her becoming so much more aware of what is going on around her. I love watching her grow and change every single day! Next week she will be 2 months old already- where does the time go??Whew- all that cooking and talking to Mommy made me ready for a nap!

Japanese Culture Club

One of the truly neat things about living in Japan is the ability to experience their culture up close and in person. They have such a rich history in this country. I love learning about it and becoming educated on a part of the world outside my little Texas bubble.
I also love the Japanese people. They are such a kind, gracious society. Luckily, thru the Yokota Officer's Spouse's Club there is a Culture Club you can join. It meets twice each month, once meeting hosted by the Japanese, the other by the Americans. We get to choose events and things we would like to do and learn about (Japanese cooking class, dressing in kimonos and having a tea ceremony, etc.) and in turn they choose American things they want to do (like Octoberfest on base, going to lunch at Chili's on base, etc).
Last Thursday was our first meeting. It was basically just to pick dates for the year and events we would want to do. The Japanese hosted it at a tea room off base, and served us yummy sushi for lunch. We got to introduce ourselves and hear all about the Japanese members and their families and interests.The garden of the tea room.Bamboo poles outside the tea room, in the garden. Bamboo is an evergreen, so it is green all year round. The Japanese believe this is lucky and it is supposed to grow in the gardens of all tea rooms. The waiting area, before your tea ceremony starts. We didn't actually have tea here, but they were just showing us around. We ate our sushi lunch in a separate room.
One of the ladies, Kimiko, telling us about the tea room. See the wood panel next to her, down low? That's actually the door to go in the room! It was closed at the time, but she said that it was built like that because of a long ago tradition. Back in the day, they had small doors like that so that samurai could enter the tea rooms but they had to take their swords off first. That eliminated issues and made everyone "equal". Sorta like if cowboys in the old west left their horse and guns outside the saloon!

I brought Mallory along, of course, and she was the star of the show. They LOVE babies in Japan, and I think I held her for a grand total of about 6 minutes- the rest of the time she was in the arms of one of the other members. Here is part of our group. I'm taking the picture. My daughter is inside the room behind us, where we ate lunch. She's being entertained by the Japanese, or maybe she's entertaining them.
They took off with her during lunch, letting me eat while they walked her around the gardens talking to her in Japanese and pointing out the various plants and stuff. It was so cute. And luckily she is a GREAT baby, and just stared at them in wonderment. Hopefully she's soaking up all the language as well so she can be fluent by 2 years old :)
The Japanese ladies unwrapping the sushi bowls. Everything in Japan comes wrapped up a certain way, and each of the wraps have different meanings.
The sushi spread.
Mallory is in the background, just wishing she could eat sushi, miso soup and salad too!
Mmmmm...look at all that yummy sushi. I never liked it until I moved to Japan, but they do it right in this country!
The whole group. Notice that I am not holding Mallory- in fact, she's 3 people over from me in the arms of a Japanese lady of course! (I admit to not knowing all their names or how to spell them, but I'll work on it and try to post them soon.)
It was a really fun day and I can't wait for the rest of the meetings this year. I'm hoping to get to participate all 3 years I am here, as it is a great way to meet people of an other culture, learn about their background and really take advantage of living in a different part of the world!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Newborn Notes by Mom

Here are a few things I have discovered about mommy hood and newborns so far:

-As a mom, I have learned to sleep on all kinds of things, in any position. I've woken up with my head in a pool of spit up, a pacifier wedged under my back, baby socks and a bottle in our bed - just to name a few.

-Baby farts are hilarious every single time. The face babies make while farting is even funnier.

-Baby burps are also quite funny, and the louder the better!

-We encourage our daughter to both fart and burp on a regular basis. We will work on "being a lady" later, or maybe she'll just be a tomboy.

-You can rock a baby to sleep, place them in the crib, slip into your bed and get comfy- and then they let you know they aren't really asleep.

-New moms don't really enjoy being told "wow, you look really tired". Well, that would be because I am really tired. Not sure if you were trying to compliment me, but thanks for the reminder that I'm running on about 3 good hours.

-Babies, on the other hand, sleep a lot. You can try to wake them and play with them, and nothing seems to get them up. That is, until it is nap time or bed time. Then they are wide awake!

- Newborns sleep is some very uncomfy looking positions- arms out, above the head and head crunched down so it looks like they just might break their neck. Don't try to rearrange them. It just wakes them up and then you have to start the whole bedtime procedure all over again.

- Whoever said breast fed babies diapers have a "sweet" smell to them- obviously hasn't changed my kid's diapers.

-I had no idea my house would be taken over by small plastic objects- I have at least 2 pacifiers in ever room in the house!

- I wish there was an invention to help them hold said pacifiers in the mouth.

- Newborns are noisy, noisy sleepers. I thought I was a heavy sleeper until Mallory was born and started sleeping in our room. For a person with no language skills, the kid can make a LOT of noise at night!

- I can walk around all day long (and run errands all over town) with spit-up on my shoulder and not even know it until my husband walks in from work and says "nice clump of white junk on your shirt". Lovely.

-True love is seeing your child smile at you for the first time. It 100% overrides all the noises, smells, wet stuff, etc. She's worth it all and then some!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Patch "Pretend"

I love fall and everything that comes with it- leaves, orange and brown, spiced lattes, hay bales and of course, pumpkin patches. So, I FINALLY have a baby after 32 years, but in a country where fall pumpkin patches are unheard of, can you believe that? I don't think they even grow big, orange pumpkins here in Japan like they do in the states. Bummer.
After my initial disappointment of thinking I wouldn't have fall pics of my own little pumpkin in a pumpkin patch, I discussed it with the moms in the infant play group I take Mallory to each week. I said if we each bought 1 or 2 pumpkins and brought them to class, we could make our own psuedo-pumpkin patch and take pictures. Much better than the alternative, which was me going to the commisary, buying a cart full of pumpkins, setting them up to take pictures of Mallory, and then having 20 pumpkins and nothing to do with them (and people on base mad at me because I bought a whole shipment of pumpkins and didn't save any for them).
The idea went over well with the play group. So last Friday we made our own pumpkin patch, and these pictures are the result:

Little Mallory can't sit up on her own yet, of course. She is propped up in a baby seat, with a blanket around it. She has on a pretty white dress, but bless her little heart, she looks like a munchkin all smashed in that chair. A munchkin with stubs for legs and arms- haha.

My little oompa-loompa baby:

Taking pictures and looking cute is tiring work!
Here are the group shots we tried to get. As you can see, it was just quite hilarious to try to get 10 kids ages 7 wks (Mallory is the baby of the group) to 1 year to try to sit still and smile at a camera at the same time.
Mallory looks like she is the queen of the pumkin patch and all her little royal subjects are face planted around her- haha!
Isn;t this just the cutest little pumpkin you ever did see??

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mallory's Top 10 (plus 1) before turning 10 days old

1. She tried out her new swing and her papasan chair and the Pack 'n Play. She was a fan of all of them!
2. She spent some time hanging out with friends, family and neighbors. This is Bridget, who lives in the building behind us. Her weenie dog Huey and Maverick are best friends. This is Matt and Amanda. Small world- Matt and my little brother were best friends in high school. Years later, Matt becomes a helicopter pilot, they are stationed here at Yokota as well, and we all hang out quite regularly. This is Amanda, Bridget, and her husband Mike, also a helicopter pilot. It took a little convincing for Mike to hold Mallory, but doesn't he look like a natural?
3. She hung out with her puppy Maverick, who I am sure will be her best buddy one day soon.
4. She told Daddy to have a great day at work as his first day back as a Dad. Daddy looks a little freaked out to go back to work, or that he has a kid, or something...
5. She took naps with Nana and Grandpa. They took naps with Malllory.
6. She went on her 1 week dr visit. This is the hospital she was born at, as well as where she goes for dr visits and check-ups. The nurse measured her, weighed her, listened to her heart, answered all our questions as first time parents, and generally calmed all our new parent fears. Then Mallory showed off her "party trick"- at 1 week old she was already rolling to her side!
7. She went on her first walk around the neighborhood in her fancy stroller. It put her to sleep!
8. She went to Joyful Honda. It's a store that is like Super Wal-Mart on crack- it has EVERYTHING! We walked around and explored.Nana and Grandpa were amused by the small Japanese furniture. Mom wore the Moby wrap for the first time and Mallory LOVED it- she just slept and cooed the entire time! It was an experiment getting it tied though (I'll spare you the pictures of us practicing getting it wrapped right, and using a stuffed lamb as practice).
9. She went to the Farmer's Market, where Mom and Nana picked out some plants. She also went to the Daiso (dollar store). In between the two stores, she slept soundly in her carseat. The girl knows how to sleep!!
10. She went on her very first dinner out, at the Yakiniku Restaurant. It's the restaurant where you cook your own meat at the table. That is what this sign says :)Mommy got Miss Mallory all dressed up in a cute, girly outfit and big bow. Her pants even had the cutest ruffly butt- nothing manly for this girl! Here we all are, getting ready to grill. Mallory was sooo good, and just chilled out in her carseat the whole time.
11. She had her very first bottle, and drank it without hesitation. Daddy gave it to me. She looks so little in his big hands. She drank it all up, burped quite loudly, and the bottle was a hit!
And this was all before I turned 10 days old!!