24 June 2013 @ 08:38 pm

Hi. Still alive, here. Working full(ish) time and coming home to be mama is SO HARD GUYS. Really truly a difficult thing. If I could decide again I would decide to not work at all this year. It would be different if Oli worked part-time or not at all, but as it is he's gone from 7am-3pm and some days 6 or 7pm so between the two of us our house is a disaster mess gross place with dust everywhere and the dishes are never done.

I get so aggressive about it too, like when Oli has free time I'm all "Why are you sitting down? What are you doing on your computer? Don't you know there is laundry to be hung and dishes to be washed?" because when I have free time I literally CAN'T relax until everything I can think of chores-wise has been completed, whereas Oli (and probably most husbands) can blissfully ignore them and watch a tv show or mess around on the internet. Which is his right. But it makes me so passive-aggressive and I HATE it (that is makes me passive aggressive). I don't wanna be that person.

Anyway, so... unemployment is on the cards for me next year. Or at least part-time worker.

Claudia recently had her modelling debut for a baby clothing catalogue called MapleLand. It was a fun experience, the money wasn't bad, and it will be neat to save the photos as memories.

Marcus is talking a lot, mostly in Japanese, but understands everything we say in Italian, English and Japanese. Pretty neat, seem like the multilingual thing is working out.

We booked flights to Canada from December 18th - January 2nd. Christmas and New Year's yaaaay! Freezing cold Canadian winter I haven't experienced in 7 years boooo! I am excited to take Marcus and Claudia tobogganing though, and New Year's Eve Oli and I can go out with my friends.

Uhh... that's it!

06 April 2013 @ 09:38 pm

(I just found this draft I started in the beginning of March. See? I tried!)

So many things have happened since my last post. It seems silly to go back and write about Christmas, New Year's, and everything that happened up to now but I hate to just forget about it all (my documentation OCD kicking in), so I will do some short summaries.

Oli got me some giant-Mariko-foot sized winter boots, a bunch of Lush products and the 7-season box set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I completely love. We're now in the midst of season 5 and watching Angel alongside since season 4 (when the spinoff started) which is totally geeky because we're following a timeline guide for the crossover episodes to match up. Oli loves Buffy and Angel as much as I do, thank god, so we're motoring through them pretty quickly despite the two child handicap.

I got Oli an airplane magazine, the new kindle paperwhite (because he drove me nuts keeping the light on at bedtime reading his old kindle) and the best one was a signed, personalised copy of his favourite author's new book (Michael Connelly, Black Box). Story behind that is, I went to Michael Connelly's website because I wasn't sure which book was his latest to find that he had JUST released a new one and was going on a book-signing tour across the states. There was a list of all the bookshops he was going to be visiting so I checked them all out online and emailed a couple before finding one that would send a sign copy to Japan in time for Christmas. All that is sweet and everything, but now I get a little weird. In my mind, I see this author signing copy after copy of his new book, having to come up with witty little messages each time. Ok, so already a bit impersonal. Now I see this guy writing a message to a person who isn't even AT the book signing. How would he know what to write without even knowing what Oli looks like? What kind of a person Oli is? I suddenly became paranoid that the message wouldn't matter at all, it would be some automated response after a long day of signing books for people who were there in the flesh. So I did what any slightly insane person would do, I sent the bookshop owner a family photo and explained that I thought Mr. Connelly needed to see who Oli was so that the message could be at least a little personal. Then I panicked that she (bookshop owner) and he (Michael Connelly) would think I was a crazy fan or stalker or something so I PHONED the bookshop to explain further that I am not a crazy person. Because I thought that would make it better. Oh, god.

Anyway, the lady was really nice and said the photo was lovely and that she loved my reasoning and that she would make sure Mr. Connelly saw it. I don't know if it made any difference because the message he wrote was a quote from one of his main characters, but the bookshop owner assures me she showed him the photo and told him why I sent it, and Oli loved his present and thinks it's hilarious that I"m such a loony for all the other things I did. Btw if you don't know who Michael Connelly is, probably you've heard of the movie Lincoln Lawyer. He wrote the book for that.

I don't know why I said "New Year's" as one of the big things that's happened, as we didn't really do anything for it. We let Marcus stay up until he crashed and the highlight of New Year's Eve was getting this cute photo:
new years crash
New Year's Day we did our annual visit to Kamigamo Shrine

06 April 2013 @ 07:10 am
I just have to write in this to break the cycle of not writing in this. I keep meaning to, and then start thinking of all the things I want to cover.. Christmas, job, Claudia and Marcus's various ongoings, Thailand... and then I say to myself "I will put aside a half hour and write about it all from where I left off in December" (December!) and never end up having that time. So here I am, not covering anything really.

Well here goes the short version. Christmas was good and Marcus was actually excited about opening presents this year. New Year's we stayed home obviously and had a quiet family countdown together. From February 22nd to March 15th we were in Thailand for vacation.. an area called Rawai close to Phuket Town. That was really lovely and also really hard at times with two babies. Marcus had a blast though, he loved the beach and running around barefoot in the sand. I had bought him a swim helper thingy and by the end of our trip he was totally comfortable in the water. The only downer of the whole thing was the flight there and back... Marcus does NOT fly well anymore and was freaking out about having to wear a seatbelt, and wanting to get off the airplane. Making it worse was the fact that Oli does not respond well to Marcus freaking out so my nerves were shot trying to calm down two cranky boys. Ugh. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT. For those three weeks in Thailand it was completely worth it.

Well as soon as we came back from Thailand I started work, the first two weeks was training and preparing my classroom for a new school year (academic year starts in April in Japan). From this Tuesday our classes officially started and I've been teaching my new nursery students all this week. My mother-in-law and her boyfriend Ray came from the UK to visit since last Friday, they are staying at our house and it's making the whole starting work thing a teensy bit more hectic. Marcus also started his new class one level up and Claudia started nursery school too so there's a bunch of new things I have to remember for both of them (packing their bags, futons, etc). I have been drop dead busy and omg I appreciate the weekend now!

It's also cherry-blossom season in Kyoto and as usual, absolutely breathtaking. I'm sad that I was working everyday so I didn't have a lot of time to appreciate it. But we went to Nijo Castle after my work on Wednesday to see the light-up (they illuminate the trees at night, very pretty) and when I go to work in the morning there are trees right outside on the way.

Today we have the entrance ceremony for Claudia at the nursery school, and then in the afternoon I'm taking my MIL to Gion (geisha district) to see the Miyako Odori. I went last year with my friend Dre who was visiting. Basically it's a dance that all the geisha-in-training (maiko) do, very elaborate with a storyline and backdrops and in a theatre. They do it every April, but you know... You can only see it in Kyoto, in April.. and there are only so many geisha and maiko left... so it really is a neat thing to watch.

Claudia is getting bored now so off I go to entertain.
I'm feeling: busybusy
23 November 2012 @ 08:28 pm
The baby is asleep and the bigger not-really-a-baby anymore toddler is asleep too. Whew. It's been a busy couple of weeks since Claudia's been born but we are managing it day by day. My mom was here until 3 days ago and she was a GIGANTIC help.. dishes were always done right away, she picked up and dropped off Marcus at school.. played with him at home.. rocked Claudia to sleep.. My mom is fantastic. At the same time though it is nice to have just our family in it now, and see that we can survive this without a grandma present.

The last two days I've had to get Marcus dressed, fed and ready for school. Then Claudia goes in the baby carrier and Marcus in the stroller and I walk with them both to drop him off. It is incredibly hard to have a 2 year old and a 2 week old both ready to leave the house at the exact same time! When Claudia gets big enough I'm getting a double stroller to make my job a little easier.. and when she gets even bigger I'm taking the bicycle. But until then, I'm glad the nursery school Marcus goes to is only a 10-15 minutes walk away.

By the way, this is the double stroller I want.

I don't know who cares about strollers except other mamas.. but I think this one is neat. The older kid can sit or stand on the back part... I think Marcus will like that.

While my mom was here we were talking about how we wanted to eventually leave Japan, and how that will be hard because I basically am qualified to be a waitress or a telemarketer if we moved to a Western country, and how if I want a job at an international school in say, Europe, I'd need an actual degree. I searched before for a distance-learning course in Early Childhood Education (what I'd need a degree in) and found nothing.. but my mom urged me to search again so I did. And I found one. Not just a bachelors, but a masters course. I emailed the university and they basically said that because of my experience and that I'd be entering as a 'mature student' that I could by-pass doing a bachelors and go straight to doing the masters. It's a 2-3 year course and I'd be working as well as raising two kids but if I ever want a good job outside of Japan then it's what I need to do. I'm in the process of applying and just waiting on my references (which are proving difficult to get because like.. WHO do I ask?).
So! That's exciting for me. I never went to university because I felt that why should I go and waste money when I don't really know what I want to be, and what course I want to take? And now I DO know what I want so I'm glad I waited until now. And to go straight to doing a masters is awesome. I really really hope I'm accepted. Cross things for me!

Dinner is ready now and I have to eat while I can, so that's it for now. Oh, and this is my baby.
I'm feeling: busybusy
28 October 2012 @ 03:04 pm
Actually his birthday is tomorrow, but yesterday we had his party. It was a success! I made fruit and cheese skewers, a veggie platter and bought a bunch of sushi rolls and inari-zushi. There was a good show of people and everybody looked like they enjoyed themselves. Marcus of course had a couple of meltdowns but I expected that because it's totally overwhelming for him to have so many people in his face all day. The first attempt at doing cake he was screaming and crying because he wanted to go play so I just cut one of the cakes and left the other one for when he was in the mood for pictures and we sang happy birthday then. The cakes were really cute, too!


..and my awesome Halloween shirt that I got my mom to bring :o)

Overall it went really well. It was great to see all the families out and the kids all playing together. Marcus totally wore himself out and less than 5 minutes after leaving he was passed out in his stroller.
Today the plan was to go to the local Halloween parade and possibly walk in it, but we got rained out so instead we decided to give Marcus his birthday present a day early so he's have something to keep him occupied indoors. We got him a marble run and WHAT AN AWESOME PRESENT I AM A GENIUS. Haha, he played with it for like 2 hours straight.
We only assembled one of the small runs and actually it goes up to 59 pieces so I think we're going to get a lot of mileage out of this toy.

Oh yeah, I forced him to wear the lion costume. I'm a terrible person because the first 5 minutes after putting it on him he was screaming and crying and trying to take it off and I was laughing sooooo hard because it was SUCH an over-reaction. Then I pointed out to him that he had a tail (like our cats!) and suddenly he was ok with the suit. Weirdo. Anyway he looked adorable walking around in it... wish I could get him to wear the mane but there's pretty much no chance of that. I did a good job though so here's the finished product. Please tell me it looks awesome so that all my hard work is justified :oP


And since this post is already photo-heavy here's one more of Marcus the lion.
I'm feeling: sleepysleepy
02 October 2012 @ 02:47 pm
I napped and I feel much better.

So one more month until I'm due! One one hand I cannot WAIT to not be pregnant and get this baby out and on the other hand I really hope she stays in there at least until after Marcus' birthday on the 29th. It's gonna be close, that's for sure, but I'd like to be able to celebrate Marcus turning 2 (we're having a little party at the botanical gardens playground). Also, my mom is flying in on the 24th to stay for a month and help out with everything so at the VERY least I want to wait until then. We're doing a home water birth again because it went so well last time and hey, we already have the pool! But this time is different with Marcus being here and all, and while I have no problem with him witnessing his sister's birth (although if he were older I might not be comfortable with it) I just know that he's not going to sit patiently by or play quietly by himself while I'm in labour. Not gonna happen. So the plan is if I go into labour while Marcus is home (not at school) and awake (not like.. 2am) my mom is checking into a hotel for the night with him so that he'll be out of the way while everything is happening. This is all counting on the fact that Claudia isn't more than a week early. If she *is*... well I suppose Oli will have to take Marcus to a hotel and it will just be me and the midwives... which would make me kind of sad. So stay in there, baby! But not too long! If she is late, that's also inconvenient because my mom is only staying until the 20th of November and the later she is the less help I get from my mom. All this is counting a lot on a completely unpredictable thing... but Marcus came at exactly the right time (a week late but like, hours before my mom's flight landed in Japan) so maybe we will be lucky.

In other news I saw this tshirt online and I really want it, but it's expensive and not available in Japan anyway.

I found a tutorial on how to make it yourself with fabric paint and wax paper stenciling so if I manage to find time and the supplies then I think that's what I will do. I've been debating on whether or not to dress-up Marcus for Halloween... I feel like it's kind of a waste of money to buy a costume for him when we don't even do trick-or-treating over here. I love Halloween though and I love dressing Marcus up (poor kid, haha) so that might win out over being sensible. If I was more skilled at sewing I would make his costume for him but I want him to be a lion (he LOVES lions) and I'm not sure I could make that without it looking like crap.
This is just adorable:
But again, I have to limit myself to what I can find here or what I can have shipped to my mom in Canada in time for her to bring with her.

Okay, enough procrastinating! I feel like I wasted enough of my day by napping.... on to the mountain of dishes! :oP