Monday, February 28, 2011

Fun facts from Japan

Acceptable weight gain for a Ma to be in Japan?

5-10 lbs.

I am sure some genetics play a huge part in this, culturally speaking, but during my pregnancy with Noah his weight and the weight of all the amniotic fluid he called home would have tipped a Japanese scale. I have only gained 2 lbs so far this pregnancy thanks to the stomach flu (x3) and morning sickness that just won`t end. But still, I am curious to see how my Japanese OB is going to react to these numbers during my next appointment on Wednesday.

An appointment in which I will find out if I am hosting a little lad or lassie in there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sister shout out

Jessica, Emily, Bryna

When it comes to companions and friendship there is nothing like the bond between sisters. I have been blessed with two of the most wonderful older sisters; they are my best friends. 

Of course that was not always the case. I am sure shortly before or after the above picture was taken Em or Jess were telling me what an obnoxious little twerp I was, or I was doing something completely annoying for attention. In fact, Emily hated me so much she would pray to God at night that I would die.... out loud from the top bunk with me laying on the bottom. True story. (even though she denies it)

We are all three so very different but get along so well. As we have all become adults we have developed this unmistakable bond. An unspoken loyalty to one another. We have been there for one another through some of the hardest and some of the best times. I respect these two women for who they are, what they stand for, what they believe in and the wonderful mothers they are to their children. What wonderful role models they are not only to me but to Noah (and the little one who is cooking) as well! 

I am so lucky to have so much love and support from two amazing sisters. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sapporo wrap up (I`m a jerk)

Instead of writing a big long post describing our entire trip, I will just give you a few key highlights, just to give you an idea:

- The day before we were supposed to leave with the tour group I came down with the stomach flu. My third bout in a month.

- Jeff left Sunday night on the Ferry. I still had a fever so Noah and I stayed behind.

- Woke up Monday morning feeling better, sans fever. Decided to catch a train to Sapporo.

Enter big deal here. I have never really traveled a notable distance by myself while in Japan. The handy Japanese speaking husband is always in tow, so I never have to try hard. I am very proud of how Noah and I handled the 6 hours of travel and 3 train transfers. Even when the elevator was out of order at not one but ALL of the train stations, meaning I had to carry Noah, stroller, suitcase and diaper bag up and down stairs, we still managed to get from A to B with grace and little to no hiccups.

Here is Noah people watching while we waited for one of our trains.

- Arrived in Sapporo just in time to hop on the tour bus with the other travelers to head to Sapporo Beer Garden for dinner.

mmm, lamb. I was partial to the bean sprouts, myself.

- The next day we did some exploring on our own.

- At breakfast I almost lost Noah. Yep. He got on an elevator and I could not get there in time before the doors closed. Panic followed for about 3 minutes until I heard him crying the floor below, being carried by a security guard. 

- Then I lost my wallet at a train station.

-Japanese zoos are depressing and not worth the effort to get there. The conditions are horrible and I spent the whole time feeling sorry for the animals.

- Yep, you can make a big sculpture out of snow. Lots of oohing and ahhing over snow shaped like other things. 

- CROWDS of people.

- Dinner at a quaint and quiet Italian place. 

- Chocolate mousse. 

- Another day of snow shaped like things. More crowds.

- Indian food for lunch = not a good idea after just having had the stomach flu.

- My partially inflated right lung hurts in the cold. I can`t walk far without getting winded. I am like a whiney old lady. 

- The ferry ride back was not bad at all. Noah slept the entire time. 

So why am I a jerk? Both Jeff and I decided we hate crowds. Why in the world did we decide to go to such a big tourist attraction? I mean, I get it. It`s neat. `Look at all the snow shaped like things! Honey, take my picture in front of this two story dinosaur made entirely of SNOW! Can you believe all the snow that is shaped like things? My life is now complete after seeing that big dinosaur!`

Yeah, I am a jerk.

Everyone says that the Sapporo snow festival is a must-see before you leave Japan. But let`s be honest folks; while it was pretty cool it was certainly NOT worth the money and not worth the headache of getting there, especially if you hate crowds the way that Jeff and I do. But we did make some great family memories while we were there...

 ... and we did have a good time on our own. 

We made the best of it and actually *cough cough* just avoided the Snow Festival all together which greatly improved our experience. Oh, and the Beer Garden was tasty. I would certainly go back to Sapporo.

In the Spring.

By ourselves. 

(Anyone else notice that my highlights of the trip, my most favorite memories, all involve FOOD? I mean waffles with bananas and chocolate for lunch?! Best Italian meal I have had in a long time, and in our own quaint little corner of the restaurant?! What is not to cherish about those memories?! )

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wait, don`t we live in Japan?...

Life has been mundane. Routine. And adventure-less. Sometimes at the end of the day when I reflect on my going-ons I have to stop and remind myself, `Hey, don`t you live in a foreign Country?!` The opportunities for adventure should be limitless! But I have been setting the limits here lately; not wanting to fight the bitter cold and snow or morning sickness or the toddler or the language or the drivers or the... you get my point. 

Plus, we live in Misawa. 

Misawa is in the puke green, Tohoku region, more specifically in the Aomori Prefecture, way up north on the east side. The `Axis of Cool` is primarily in the brightly colored southern regions. Don`t get me wrong, Tohoku can rock a mountain, or a lake, or a hike through the woods... but it is not a big tourist destination. Misawa is a geographical oddity, in that it takes 2 hours to get anywhere worth going. And it simply takes a lot of effort to GO. But living in a quaint, fishing and farming town is not without its charm... it is just without adventure, especially in the winter. 

But wait! Adventure calling!

We are packing our bags and heading north to Sapporo, in the fun red Hokkaid region, for their annual Snow Festival. I am SO excited! We will be traveling to and fro by means of an over night ferry. An adventure in and of itself, we decided to save some yennies and pay the coach fare. Meaning we will be sleeping in a common room equipped with floor mats and japanese style pillows. And lots of other travelers. It will be... something. Wait, no, my mood will set the pace... it will be an AWESOME, once-in-a-life-time experience! 

Once in Sapporo we will spend 2 nights, enjoying the sites including the famous Sapporo beer factory and garden! I am sure Jeff will have no problem drinking enough beer and sake for the two of us. 

Lots of adventure ahead. With lots of fun photo ops. And great family time together. 

Heres to adventures while living in Japan! Kanpai!