Tuesday, February 28, 2012

5 Years Old!

   Cash is 5 Years Old! He let us know yesterday at 4 a.m., and 6 a.m., and just about every hour since! He had a very relaxed birthday as he has plans with friends this weekend and got to do things he usually doesn't get to do, like watch an entire movie in one sitting in the middle of the day (Kung Fu Panda 2, thanks Grandpa Rick!).

His good buddy Tamara-sensei gave him an Optimus Prime!

He wanted to make his cake and decorate himself, as big boys do:

Blowing out the candles!  Not sure what's going on with his floppy hair :)

Here are some other things 5 year olds do, according to Cash:
--protect their sisters on the playground ("Get back here, I'm a 5 year old!")
-- eat red peppers (only 6 year olds are big enough to eat tomatoes)
--flip their own pancakes
--stand on stools to reach tall things
--no longer pick their noses
--use a lighter (sorry, bud, not this year!)

Cash is so fun, and we are so excited that he is 5 years old now!  He loves to color, read out loud, play outside, and snuggle his brother.  He loves the show Wild Kratts and really likes when I show him old shows that I used to watch, like Rescue Rangers and Inspector Gadget.
  Cash still eats a banana every morning, just as he has since he was 1.  He loves fish, meat, and curry rice.  This boy will not eat string cheese, flavored yogurt, or pizza!
   It is really fun to have Cash around.  He is a great helper and is eager to please.  He loves to count the members of our little family and proudly announce, "The boys are winning!"
  Cash is a great big brother and almost never hits back when he is being bullied (sadly) by Coco.  We have to tell him to stick up for himself with her!
   He has just started asking a TON of questions--"Why does soap make use clean?" "Who is Heavenly Father's Father?" "How does your body make milk?"  Keeps us on our toes!
  I remember very clearly what my little brother David was like growing up, and Cash reminds me a lot of him.  Very sensitive, active, and curious.

We really love our Cashy boy and look forward to what this next year brings for him!

Friday, February 17, 2012

In an alley in Osaka...

    Yesterday, we made the trip to the U.S. Consulate in Osaka to put in applications for Quincy's birth certificate and social security number.  I'm a bit let down with the U.S. Consulate--I thought we would be greeted with a welcome basket of Grape Nuts and US Weekly--hey, I can hope :).  They did have a T.V. playing a Bulls vs. Celtics basketball game, though, so I guess that was something!
Anyways, afterwards we took an alley to get back to the station.  Alleys here are actually little outdoor malls (some shadier than others) behind bigger buildings, and it's our experience that going down these alleys yields really awesome surprises.  We were not disappointed!

 First, we found  a really cool shrine nestled between two skyscrapers.  I really loved this wishing wall:

  Then, we found a little hole-in-the-wall Okonomiyaki restaurant.  I forgot to mention this earlier but the ferry we took to Osaka left at 1 a.m.  We realized this at 11 pm when I re-read the kanji on the ferry website.  So, we were running on literally zero sleep, and the kids got maybe about 4 hours.

  There are 2 styles of Okonomiyaki in Japan: Hiroshima and Osaka.  I love Hiroshima-style, but Osaka-style is good, too.
This is a shrimp okonomiyaki--they place a large shrimp on top for looks--you don't actually eat it whole.

And finally, we found the most awesome pet shop!  It had monkeys, a meerkat, and a crazy groundhog for sale!
This meerkat can be yours for a mere 600,000 yen--that's about $7500!

   After exploring a while, we were literally so dead on our feet, which is sad because Osaka has really cool shopping areas. We explored as much as we could! The kids were thrilled, because they got to ride a ferry, bus, and train in one day!  Our return ferry home got us back at 1:30 a.m., so it was a quick and exhausting trip--but the paperwork is in and Quincy's passport is on its way!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hospital Food in Japan--a glimpse

    I am obsessed with food, as are most of the people in my immediate family. Take that food obsession and add in a pregnancy and a year in a foreign country and you get an even more food-obsessed person. A person who was not able to indulge in ANY of her cravings while pregnant--cranberry juice, Cafe Rio, salmon burgers with sweet potatoes, chocolate soymilk, etc. etc. Whaaa... So, I held no high hopes for hospital food here, especially after my previous hospital experiences.

    After laboring all night with Cash, I was presented with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread. Wow. With Cosette, we requested a vegetarian menu, so lunch was an entire plate of only: french fries. Just french fries. "Where is the protein? She is bleeding!!" Fox demanded of the head dietician. "Sorry about that, she'll have protein for dinner," he said. Dinner was a green salad with a side of protein: a small cup of slivered almonds.

        After that, I swore I would have all my babies at home just so that I could have hot lentil soup afterwards. You can imagine my suprise when every single one of my hospital meals here in Japan was not only beautiful but super yummy and nutritious (except of course for white bread and rice)! A nurse came in and told me, "You are nursing and recovering, so everything we are giving you has iron and calcium in it." Yes, thank you, finally!! Granted, I still couldn't recognize all of it, but I ate 90% of it, which was awesome.  Here's a glimpse:

Breakfast: salad with grapefruit and boiled eggs, fish with tomatoes, vegetable soup

Lunch: Salad, rolls, tomato soup, honeydew, apricot mousse, fish w/ zucchini stir-fry.  Zucchini and honeydew are very rare here!

Okay, this one I didn't eat much of, but it was presented in a beautiful layered bento. Orange, clear soup, sashimi, shrimp with okra and kabocha, tempura, and a veggie broth of some sort.

Another breakfast: salad, omelette, clam chowder, and mango pudding. The drink on the top is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that I had with every meal to contract my uterus.  It tasted like echinacea.

   Also, every day at 3 p.m. was tea--the first day, they brought in a dish of vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches. The next day was another apricot mousse. So yummy! With dinner, they also provided a carton of juice and a pastry for a later snack.  It was so fun to actually look forward to my hospital meals and see how beautifully they were presented. I don't think I've ever eaten as many vegetables in such a short period of time.

  The hospital also provided a free facial on one of the days. A nurse watched the baby, while I went down to the "esthe" room for 30 minutes of hot steam and a face massage. Also, each day the hospital would bring a new-mother present: a new nursing pillow, large towels, a bound baby book. It was awesome. Good job, Inoshita Hospital! You are tops in my book :)