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The day my husband forgot about my birthday

Actually this post is about the most loved castle in Japan, Himeji Castle, and the most coveted beef worldwide, Kobe Beef. But it was also my birthday. So I win the title. But I still love you, Himeji Castle and Kobe Beef. You are welcome.

So for the past two days (31st March and 1st April) we had been traveling to different places in the Kansai region to fulfil my #47prefecture life mission. We had another day free for traveling, but I couldn’t decided where to go. Okayama for fruits? … Wakayama? It’s kind of a very unpopular place for tourists but that’s exactly why I wanted to visit, because I’d probably not get many chance to do it 😅. Hmmm… perhaps the lake in Shiga?

In the end we went to bed without a decision. And I was secretly in shock because… the danna really went to bed without wishing my happy birthday (it was past midnight).

(It was past 1st April midnight so it couldn’t be a joke anymore.😒)

I sighed in my heart, but I didn’t take it very seriously. I mean, coming from the danna who doesn’t even remember his wife’s phone number, this is nothing much of a surprise. Never mind la. I am already very used to being forgotten 😒.

Maybe tomorrow he will suddenly remember and feel very guilty about it. Then I can guilt-trip him into changing Sakura’s diapers for the next 3 months wahahaha.

2nd April

We woke up, I settled the kids, and the danna told me that we were going to Himeji. Ok boss.

So we took the train to Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture!

Solving an early sibling situation, ep.1 “Why Is My Ticket Bent“.

“Really? Let me have a look.”

“Oh it IS bent! Let me unbend it.” *works magic*

“There you go!”

Yeap. That’s how you solve a train ride crisis.

 

Himeji Castle

The most spectacular castle in Japan that has gone through a major renovation 2 years ago. It’s sparkly perfectly white and beautiful.

It was a perfect sunny day too!

Ooops. Photobombed by Himeji Castle at the background lol.

The castle has one of the most famous cherry blossom views in Japan, and sadly it was still too early. That was one lone sakura tree quietly blooming though.

Cute little blossoming buds

Himeji Castle in full bloom is supposed to look like this:

Managed to catch my version:

 

Haha. CLOSE ENOUGH!

Quite nice what. ☺️

And that was our hanami at Himeji. Admiring from afar.

Snack time: Road side oden. Yummy!!!

 

Kobe Beef

The danna was really looking forward to eat his Kobe beef for lunch. He actually worked in Kobe for four years as a stylist many years ago, and he knows all the best eats here so I was leaving the entire itinerary up to him. We took a train to Kobe city.

Two days ago we just had Matsusaka yakiniku in Matsusaka, so we were really excited to do a comparison. I mean, what a luxury to be able to even have this comparison done!!! 😀

Seriously, Kobe is full of Kobe beef restaurants. Left right up down center all Kobe beef. All of them looked pretty touristy because of the Chinese menu they have. Sometimes I feel a little bad because whenever I see Chinese translation I sort of automatically assume that it is a less authentic business that thrives on tourists’ impulse. But the danna said this one is pretty much the real deal. My bad.

Honestly I don’t even really know the restaurant’s name. The shop front shouts “THE KOBE BEEF”. Wa very direct lol. So yea I think that’s the restaurant’s name? Haha.

It was quite a fine-dine setting so I was very cautious with photo taking. Who knows the chef immediately shove this plate in front of us and asked us to take photos. Really, this Instagram generation is changing the world.

Award-winning Kobe beef. Yeah baybeh. Come to mama’s tummy!!

Starter – beef consomme and salad.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. That was my tastebuds moaning in pleasure.

The end.

 

HAHA it was a bit potong steam ok honestly, like… how come end so fast??? The beef was of course, extremely delicious but… it was so little!!!! In case you misunderstand, of course it is not just that 4 pieces la. It’s Teppanyaki style so the chef grills while you eat, and keep refilling your plate so I couldn’t get a full picture of the whole course.

I paid about 19000 yen for this, so if you ask me for a verdict, I say Matsusaka Yakiniku, any time. It feels waaaaay more value-for-money in terms of quantity. Quality wise… I’d say my tongue is not godly enough to pass a judgement yet. 😛

After lunch we went for a stroll in Kobe city.

Oh ya, noticed that I said “I” paid? Yeah, I was feeling really generous so I treated the danna (and Junya and Sakura haha) and was feeling very superior about it lol. So that when he finally realize that he had missed my birthday I’d be like, nah, you are welcome😊😊😊😊😊 <– like this. HAHA.

We went shopping a little until evening, and it was time to head back to Osaka. At this point I have already given up to have my birthday even celebrated today judging from how things are going. But I was really having a great time! My intestines are happily digesting those fatty Kobe morsels right now. I mean, I AM LITERALLY SMILING INSIDE.

On the way back to the train station, we passed by a public park with little kids performing, and there was a huge ass banner at the background that says, 2ND APRIL, AUTISM AWARENESS DAY 2017. So I actually can’t resist the temptation to throw him a hint, so I casually mentioned, “look!” and pointed to the banner and then told him about an acquaintance who has an austistic child. He had a glance and just casually ackowledged. I was getting close to feeling disbelief because… even looking at the date means nothing to him? 😂 So yea. The day has come. This is what 5 years of marriage does to you.

By the time we reached Osaka station, it was almost 7pm. The danna asked what I wanted to eat so I said ramen (I was really craving for ramen). He said ok. Then we took a taxi and I was busy posting pictures on Instagram.

And then the taxi dropped us at Ritz Calton Osaka.

Huh.

Where’s my ramen?

Before I could delete those ???? hovering above my head, I was promptly escorted into a fancy Italian restaurant with designated seat and a beautiful pink bouquet on the table.

Wait, is this…

HOMAIGOD.

 

It was all along planned, after all.

Now *I* am the one who felt guilty for thinking that my husband would forget about my birthday. He has just turned the whole table around.

Fine. I lost. Again.

Danna: 923876481491

Me: 0

Anyway, I asked the danna why he pretended to not remember my birthday?!!? Is this some new twisted romantic trick?!

He said, “no I wasn’t pretending anything in particular.”

Omg… Was it a test?? A test to see if his wife is those crazy type that would go berserk over a forgotten anniversary?? Luckily I didn’t fall for his trap!

Now I think that marrying this man is very stressful lol. I have to constantly think in multiple layers because that’s how his brain works. Layer after layer after layer. Sooner or later my brain is gonna turn into Baumkuchen. (The hole in the middle is for blanking out during moments like these.)

It was a happy ending for my birthday this year. The Italian dinner was lovely.

Full menu as below. I’m lazy to type out every single dish so you could refer to this course menu:

(click to enlarge)

 

Happy birthday to mama.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wa suddenly very awkward to see my own face so big.

Yeap. That was the story of how my husband did not forget about my birthday.

Hiroshima

I am feeling very powerful now, because I have just visited the most sacred shrine and the second most sacred shrine in Japan, one after another in two days.

In the previous post I went to Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture, and the next day I thought, let’s keep rolling and I decided to travel to Hiroshima. Hiroshima is one of the more popular destinations in Japan that I have not visited, and I was very excited to tick it off my #47prefecture bucket list.

Hiroshima is my 27th prefecture. 20 more to go.

It’s more than 300km from Osaka (about KL – SG kind of distance), but it took only 1.5 hours on Shinkansen.

Sorry I will have to repeat again. I really, really love Shinkansen. In fact the whole world should be connected with Shinkansen lol.

(5-storey Pagoda at the background)

I was quite sad that we only had an afternoon to visit Miyajima, a small island in Hiroshima Bay, as we departed quite late (lots of parenting havoc ongoing in the morning, showering kids, feeding, emergency diaper change, endless coaxing etc lol). I would really love to spend more time in Hiroshima city and to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Never mind, next time!!

We headed straight to Itsukushima Jinja, best known for its floating torii gate, and also ranked no.2 as best power spots in Japan. AND, also is voted one of the most scenic views in Japan. Wa wa wa need to bag so many accolades or not!

This, is one of the most scenic view for me, though. 😀

Early bloomer sakura <3

When you come to Hiroshima, of course oyster. 😋

Grilled oyster AGHHHH THIS WAS SO SO GOOD.

500 yen for two. I should have eaten 10 plates!!!

Another stall selling grilled oyster with rice. I prefer the previous one.

HAHAHAH Sakura totally not interested at all.

Deer.

Junya really loves animals.

Sakura buds. It was still a little too early.

World’s biggest rice scoop!!

Itsukushima Shrine.

So so amazing! I’ve never seen any shrines with so many pillars and broadwalks.

Torii gate at low tide.

Taken with danna’s iphone on portrait mode.

 

It was evening time when we left. We didn’t have time for dinner in the city so we headed back to Hiroshima station for Hiroshima Okonomiyaki.

It was really good!! But perhaps we have over-ordered because after the first slice, everything sort of tasted same-ish. It’s the sauce’s fault again 😅.

Anago, oyster and sardin.

Oysterrrr!

Bought some Hiroshima souvenir too. This is their famous Momiji Manjyu, in Doremi shape.

Heading back to Osaka. Junya had his Doremi snack.

Haha Junya please don’t squeeze anymoreeee.

 

That’s all for today! Next up would be Himeji and Kobe. It was my birthday and the entire day I was wondering how to punish to danna for forgetting my birthday… HAHAHA. Story next.

Ise Jingu and Matsusaka beef, Mie Prefecture

During our 3 week’s stay in Osaka, the danna asked if I had any request to travel anywhere within the Kansai region, since we hardly come to this part of Japan. It had to be a day trip because we have booked our accommodation in Osaka throughout the stay.

I thought about it and I said, ALL!!!!! Mie, Shiga, Wakayama, in addition to the prefectures I have visited (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo) to complete the whole region. But that’s not really possible, given the tight schedule. In the end I have decided that if there’s one place I’d like to visit, it has to be Ise Jingu, which is said to be the most sacred shrine in the entire Japan.

There are many unofficial power spot rankings for shrines in Japan, and although each shrine is specifically powerful in certain aspect (for example wealth, relationships and baby-wishing), Ise Jingu champs every ranking as number 1. If you are curious, here are some of the regular top shrines in Japan:

1.Ise Jingu, Mie
2.Itsukushima Jinja, Hiroshima
3.Izumo Taisha, Shimane
4.Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto
5.Meiji Jingu, Tokyo

I am not someone who is very spiritually connected, but each time I visit a shrine in Japan I feel safe, peaceful and content. And I feel like I keep wanting to go back, and that I am attracted to them in some ways. And this time I had a specific wish to make, and it was a very very big wish, and I thought I just had to do it in the most powerful spot in Japan, which is Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine).

So we traveled by Shinkansen from Osaka to Ise Shima, Mie prefecture. The journey took about 1.5 hours.

Weather forecast said it was gonna rain the whole day but I didn’t care. It was a pilgrimage I had to make.

I know I have said this many times before but Shinkansen is really one of the best things ever invented. I have a feeling that I can complete my 47-prefecture life mission pretty soon!!

Geku

There are two main shrines in Ise Jingu, and they are Geku (Outer Shrine) and Naiku (Inner Shrine). It is advised that you visit Geku before heading over to Naiku.

At Geku.

Since it is deemed the holiest shrine in Japan, many people expected it to be ultra grand and unique, and disappointed to find out that it looks just like any other shrine (in fact, much, much simpler than many other shrines). Like, “…that’s it?” hahaha. Just know that if you are here to pray, all you need is a true heart.

Naiku

It’s a walk towards the inner shrine, similar to the path you experience in Meiji Shrine.

It was unexpectedly uncrowded, given how popular it is.

This is the only picture I could take before the no-photography point.

I made my prayers and then we we walked over to Oharaimachi, a stretch of traditional shophouses, for lunch.

Most restaurants were full and it was still raining, so we went inside the only restaurant that could accommodate our family. Junya fell asleep and skipped his lunch.

My Hitsumabushi. It’s like Unagi Don but it’s eaten differently with spice condiments and dashi soup. Something like ochazuke over unadon! I had been craving for this sooooo badly for a very long time, that I paid over $90 to have it in Chikuyotei, probably the only place thats serves good Hitsumabushi in Singapore.

Over here it is only less than 3000 yen. 😀

Dessert was yokan and hanami dango.

Ok you can have one tiny bite!!

 

Matsusaka

Matsusaka is so famous for its namesake beef that many people didn’t know that it is a city, located in Mie prefecture.

My only mission in Mie was Ise Jingu. What else is Mie famous for? Ise Ebi (lobster), pearl (Mikimoto), and… ninja? But the danna had another mission. Which is to go on his yakiniku hunt.

Many of you probably heard of Matsusaka Beef. Well, it’s just the most expensive beef in Japan. 🤤 I remember having it in Malaysia before, and it was RM240 for 100gm…😮😮😮

The restaurant the danna settled for was Isshobin, after reading many reviews.

This was 5000 yen I think. CHEAP OR WHAT???

Check out those marbled morsels…. 🤤🤤🤤

Yes Sakura ate too. Conquered best beef in the word at 10 months hahaha.

Junya skipped lunch so he was feasting real well.

Both the danna and I agreed that it was one of the best beef we have ever had, but realistically, you can get the best beef anywhere in the world as long as $y$o$u $c$a$n $a$f$f$o$r$d$. We can have the same beef in Tokyo or even Singapore, just that it probably costs 2X or 3X more.

Here at Matsusaka we were eating it like buffet lol. Order and order and order and order until I could not swallow another sesame seeds. The total bill came up to 16200 yen (about $200). Too damn worth it.

Two days after this trip, we headed to Kobe for a day trip and guess what we had? of course, the famed Kobe beef. That would be in the next post. 😀

Recipes you oat to know

May 22, 2017 in Commercial Break 2 Cheesed

Haha yes, judging from the cheesy pun, you know this post is about oats. 😛

Oats have not really been a favorite in our family because I grew up thinking that oats were bland and boring. But I thought it was time I introduce variety into our breakfast table instead of the usual milk, cereal and bread. After studying a little about oats and experimenting with some recipe, I was delighted that oats do not have to be on the breakfast table only, it could very well make a main course, even dessert!

Today I will introduce 3 simple and fool-proof recipes. But before that, have you ever wonder what’s the difference between the various types of oats or oatmeal in the market?

Captain Oats comes in 3 different types:

Rolled Oats: Also known as Traditional Oats. They are able to absorb more liquid, and hold their shape relatively well during cooking, has a chewier texture and nutty taste.

Quick Cook Oatmeal: Quick Cook Oats are the same as our Traditional Oats but they have been cut finer and rolled thinner. This makes them quicker to cook.

Instant Oatmeal: Instant oats are the most processed of the three oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, you just need to add hot water and stir!

 

What are some of the benefits of consuming oats?

  1. Oatmeal has a lower glycemic index (GI) compared to rice, releasing energy you need throughout the day.
  2. Oats contain high amounts of dietary fibre which improves gut health and prevents constipation.
  3. It is high in whole grains, which contain the entire grain – bran, germ and endosperm which packs in nutrients such as B-vitamins, iron and dietary fibre.
  4. Oats are also source of Beta-Glucan is a form of soluble fibre found in oats which helps to reduce the amount of LDL (”Bad”) cholesterol. This aids in reducing heart related health issues.

(source: http://www.mycaptainoats.com/)

 

So today I am sharing 3 recipes that I have tried, using all 3 different types of oats from Captain Oats.

1. Happy Sundae Bowl (Instant Oatmeal)

^^

This one is sooooo easy! I made this for Junya as breakfast before his school time. To cook Instant Oatmeal, you will need a cup of oats, and a cup of water.

Mix both in a heat-resistant bowl, and then pop it into the microwave for 1.5 minutes.

And then you have a bowl of cooked oatmeal. A life-saver when you run out of time to fix a proper meal for your kids! I add a small cup of chilled milk for a creamy texture and better flavor.

It’s all fluffed up and ready to serve! … well not yet 😛 We have to add all our kiddo’s favorite toppings.

For me I have banana, dark chocolate bar (with probiotics) and roasted mixed nuts.

It looks super good now but if you want to give it some extra colors, feel free to sprinkle some sugar strands and a cherry for the happy holiday feel!

(To be honest I never liked pickled cherry because it has this artificial taste to it, but this K&K red cherry I got from Meidiya actually tastes quite pleasant!)

Now you have a bowl of Instagenic Sundae Bowl.

^^

Sakura Oatmeal Porridge (Quick Cook Oatmeal)

Pretty in pink!

This is a super simple recipe for the baby, inspired by all the spring-theme meals I have seen in Japan lately. You will need: pickled cherry blossom petals, baby dashi (you can replace it with chicken stock or any other baby-friendly stock you have!) and half cup of Quick Cook Oatmeal and water, that’s all!

First you wash away the salt on the petals thoroughly (I use about 6 petals for the base and one for deco), and soak it for 10 minutes to minimize the salty taste.

Boil the water with a spoon of baby dashi, and add in chopped petals.

Add in Quick Cook oatmeal and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.

And it’s ready to serve! How does it taste like? It has a distinct scent of the cherry blossom leaf that resembles a sakura-mochi, with a savoury mild dashi flavor, very filling for the small tummy!

It was actually Sakura’s first time having oatmeal, I wasn’t sure how she likes it since she has quite a strong preference on food textures.

But she finished the whole bowl!!! I’m so happy that she likes oatmeal, it looks like now I have more recipe to play with when it comes to #lunchforsakura!

 

Mushroom, Sausage and Spinach Risotto (Rolled Oats)

I always have the impression of oatmeal being sweet with fruits or honey/syrup in it, so I decided to do it a little differently. Perhaps something savoury?  I love risotto and I thought, why not turn rolled oats into a risotto, since they have similar texture?

Ingredients: spinach, brown mushroom, sausages, parmesan cheese, and a cup of Rolled Oats. You can use your favorite soup stock (chicken/seafood).

First, sautee the sausage and mushroom with olive oil. (I use the spray type so it’s calorie-saving.) Add spinach and the rolled oats, then pour in half a cup of hot stock.

I cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer. Unlike the traditional arborio rice, I find it so much easier to cook with rolled oats as it only takes about 5-8 minutes and you don’t have to keep watching and stirring it constantly! Add in parmesan cheese right before serving for a creamy texture.

I prefer a slightly al-dente texture so I served it after 5 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle parsley and extra parmesan cheese.

To my surprise, guess what I think it tasted like? It actually has an uncanny resemblance to pasta!! It tasted like very mini Conchiglie (shell pasta), actually I think it would blend perfectly with meat sauce too!! Keeping note for next recipe. 😛

That’s all for today, I am very happy to have added these recipes to my repertoire, hopefully I can discover more creative cooking ideas through Captain Oats!

You can go to Captain Oat’s website for more info. They also have a wide range of recipes for your reference! ^^

FB Link: facebook.com/captainoats

Website: http://www.mycaptainoats.com/

 

 

Hanami 2017

Finally! Writing this post makes me so happy ❤︎

This is a photo post on all the breathtaking pink blossoms in Japan this spring.

Osaka Castle

Number76 Company Trip I

For 4 years in a row, Number76 has been organizing their annual company trips to Japan! I didn’t get to join the first one in 2014 because I just gave birth to Junya. For the first 3 years they went to Tokyo, so this time they decided to do it a little differently and travel to Osaka instead, during the sakura season!

The group was huge (80 over staff!!) so they split into 2 batches at different timing, and I was so lucky to be able to jojn both ❤︎

The thing was, the blossoms were blooming late this year, and there was no full bloom in sight in Osaka and likely not when the staff arrive 🙁 . We had a big hanami picnic crisis. No hanami = no picnic T_T.

The danna spent one whole morning and cab around town and miraculously he found a few blooming trees right in front of Osaka Castle. And there was a nice spot for picnic!!

It still was a long way until full bloom but good enough! 😀

 

Some of the blossomed petals. ❤︎

Went there super early to chup seats lol. We found (chupped) a great spot to accommodate over 30 people.

Sakura’s first hanami!!

Trying all sorts of angle to capture the pink in the sky ^^

With Cheesiepetit.

Snack snack snack snack!!!

Catering for the picnic OMG would you look at that???? Best picnic ever!!!

Hahahha everyone was busying taking photos, even some tourists came over and asked if they could take pictures 😂.

 

Number76 Company Trip II

Second week! This week we held the hanami picnic inside the castle since majority of cherry blossom has started blooming!

With the rest of Number76 staff.

Family shot ❤︎

All of us were dressed in pink border!

Amy^^

Haha #notsureif peace of two year old 😂.

Say hi pls

Hi!!

Love this shot so much!!! Taken by Amy with her iPhone 7 plus’s portrait mode.

A nice view of Osaka Castle.

iPhone portrait mode for Amy.

Junya’s selfie.

Snacking non-stop!

Hanami dango

Junya eating Babystar. Sakura wants some pizza.

Celebrate April babies’ birthday!

 

Shinsaibashi, Osaka

On the last few days of our stay in Osaka, it was finally reaching full bloom. This is a shrine near our apartment. When we first came it was bare!

And now it’s all pink ^^

We went back to Tokyo after that so that was the only full bloom we saw in Osaka.

 

Kyoto

Kyoto was no where near full bloom either during our visit, but the botanical garden had lots of different cherry blossom species (just like the Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo!), so you are bound to see a few shades of pink even if your hanami timing is a little off. The early bloomers or late bloomers will be there to welcome you.

This was one of it.

And a super pink one.

One right at the train station.

Got my hanami and hanami dango Gotochi Kitty from Kyoto.

And this kind of hanami, wherever, whenever. lolol. I want to bite that cheek. *bury lips in*

 

Roppongi Midtown

Roppongi Midtown is actually one of the best, yet pretty well kept secret when it comes to hanami in Tokyo. While Yoyogi, Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen and Nakameguro is definite the top hanami spots in Tokyo, you also risk getting push off into the river by a wave of overly excited tourists or get poked in the head by few thousand selfie sticks.

Midtown though, was so, so so peaceful and quiet, and I could not spot a single tourist in sight. Nobody tried to climb a sakura tree nor shake the tree branch to create sakura rain. It was the best kind of hanami.

You can sip champagne with an uninterrupted view of the blossom. How can life be so perfect?

Sakura tunnel

I was sighing in awe the whole time.

We were a little late as it was one of the last few good days for hanami before the storm blew it all away.

haha

By Theta

Spotted some green sprouting already!

Almost time to say good bye…

I loved that place so much that I went back again the next day and met up with Stella from Indonesia. All these pictures below were taken with her awesome camera!

^^

 

Musashi Kosugi

It was my last day in Japan and this was my last by-the-way hanami when I went for a work meeting.

The trees are now a mix of equal pink and fresh green.

See you again, next year 🙂

 

Wanderzoom Family Photoshoot

And the best photos for this trip was of course, our family shots taken by a professional photographer in Japan, booked via Wanderzoom, a vacation photography platform.

I was so glad we did this because nobody else could ever help us take such nice pictures and of course it would be impossible to import a photographer from Singapore haha.

Our Wanderzoom photographer from Kyoto, S.S, turned out to be one of the nicest photographers I have ever worked with. We booked a 3 hour session with him, but he ended up spending the entire day with us T__T. So we really did take a lot of great photos. And Junya warmed up to him very quickly (since he brought bribes for both cheesiepetits haha) and that resulted in many natural, smiley photos 🙂

Sharing some of them here!

magic moment lol

Behind the scene video:

 

That’s all for 2017’s hanami. See you again next year!

 

35 months VS 12 months

May 11, 2017 in Baby / Pokemom 18 Cheesed

Junya turns 2 years 11 months today, and Sakura is… 1!!

I still remember the days when I was so so so nervous to find out the gender of my second baby… If it turned out to be a boy again I will make myself a third one lol.

And now my baby girl is 1 year old. Which makes her not a baby anymore T__T. And in one month’s time, my toddler boy is also not a toddler anymore. Omg it’s a little too much to take in at one go. Haha.

I have celebrated a first year birthday, twice!!! Now that’s an achievement for myself haha.

Just for comparison ^^

Let’s look at Oniichan first.

For Junya

Also read Junya’s  1st month , 2nd month , 3rd month , 4th month , 5th month , 6th month , 7th month 8th month, 9th month , 10th month , 11th month , 12th month , 13th month , 14th month 15th month , 16th month , 17th month , 18th months , 19th month , 20th month ,21st month , 22nd month , 23rd month 24th month , 25th month , 26th month , 27th month , 28th month , 29th month , 30th month , 31st month , 32nd month , 33rd month and 34th month here.

 

Money in the air

Junya is starting to take his imaginary belongings/creations a little too seriously.

Every night after Sakura sleeps, it is “JunJun Special Time”, and he loves to play pretend with me. One day he stuffed a soft toy into a box and presented it to me.

Junya: hai mama, I make cake.
Mama: Wow thank you so much! Nom nom nom nom *eats cake*
Junya: No mama, you blow the candle first.
Mama: Ok ok. *blows*
Junya: Hai. Can you give me fork?
Mama: *grabs imaginary fork and passes to son*
Junya: No no! The big one, not the small one!
Mama: *grabs a imaginarily smaller imaginary fork and passes to son*
Junya: Hai. Can you pay money?
Mama: (Why I must pay for my own birthday cake -_-) Ok. How much is it?
Junya: Twenty dollars.
Mama: *grabs imaginary money and hands over*
Junya: No, from your pocket.
Mama: (sigh) *Stretches hand into imaginary pocket to pull out imaginary money*

Another day, he made me some food (imaginary) and asked for money. And then he also gave me an imaginary receipt. I ate the receipt too, just for the fun of it, and he got genuinely upset. “Mama!! Where my receipt??!” and then I had to regurgitate the imaginarily half-masticated receipt back for him 🙄.

Manner Police

He is now very actively playing the manner police to catch his sister in misbehaviour, so that I could correct the baby who has no idea what she was doing.

“MAMA! Sakuwa throw the remote control!”
“MAMA! Sakuwa drop the spoon!”
“MAMA! Sakuwa say nononono!”

Yeap. His sister’s favorite gesture now is shaking her head. She shakes her head whenever she hears someone say “no” or “dowan”. And the brother’s favorite word is still “dowan.”

Junya: *sulking* Dowan mama, dowan to eat peanut butter toast.
Sakura: *shakes head*
Junya: *upset* MAMA! See Sakuwa liddis!!! *shakes his own head to show me what his sister did*
Sakura: *very pleased that she gets a response so she shakes her head more vigorously*
Junya: *super upset* MAMA!!! Dowan Sakuwa! Sakura liddis!!!! *shakes head*
Sakura: *shakes head non-stop*

-___-

Again he was genuinely annoyed because he thought his sister is mocking him sarcastically of his “dowan dowan” when the baby was just doing it in respond to the words she knows, and happily so since every time she gets an exaggerated reaction from her brother.

 

WHY?????

Yeap. The big Y nightmare has begun. Every waking hour I have to tune my brain to work separately, focusing on whatever I do and have a spare CPU running at the same time to answer his endless questions.

(At the supermarket.)

Mama: Let’s go home!
Junya: Why we go home?
Mama: Because we finished shopping.
Junya: why we finish shopping?
Mama: Because… We have bought everything we need.
Junya: Why we bought everything we need?
Mama: Because…hmm. Because… Junya wanted to eat peanut butter toast so I bought bread and peanut butter.
Junya: Why Junya want to eat peanut butter toast?
Mama: … You wanted to eat peanut butter toast, right?
Junya: Oh.

(In the bathroom)

Mama: I have to shower Sakura first ok.
Junya: Why shower Sakuwa?
Mama: Because she is sweaty.
Junya: Why she is sweaty?
Mama: Because… our bodies sweat when it is hot.
Junya: Why our body sweat when it hot?
Mama: Because…we have tiny pores all over our body.
Junya: Why we have tiny pore our body?
Mama: Everybody has pores.
Junya: Why everybody heh pore?
Mama: … That’s the way it is.
Junya: Why that the way it is?
Mama:…🤔

 

A long walk home

One of the things that I dread everyday is the walk home after picking him up from school. (Papa does the drop off in the morning so I’m very thankful for that.)

The walk from our apartment to his school is about 15 minutes. Which is fine for me. I mean, I have zero time for any fitness activity, so I am happy to anyhow count this as one. HOWEVER, the walk from the school back to our house is somehow… I dunno. 30 minutes. Or more. Depending on how many things catch his attention that particular day. Usually A LOT.

Yeap. He wants to stop and tell me about every. single. image that his retina receives. Sometimes under scorching sun, with me pushing a stroller stuffed with frozen gyoza and a baby who is tired and fussing, all I wish is to GET BACK HOME TO AIRCON AT FULL BLAST AND SHOVE THE MELTING GYOZA INTO THE FREEZER. But no. My overly observant and inquisitive toddler does not know any of that.

“Mama, why got hole here on the road. Why?”

So we spend about 3 minutes here examining the hole. And then 2 minutes later…

“Mama? What is this number?”

(He means alphabets. He is learning letters in school and now he stops at every damn poster ad, signboard, road sign, and ask me what does it say.) (Imagine he asks me to read out the phone number of EVERY SINGLE to-let ad hanging outside apartments?! ARGGGH.)

Sometimes I purposely distract him (Junya let’s sing a song!! Junya you want to eat hamburg or chicken later??) whenever I see something that may intrigue him that will end up stalling the walk home. But hey, he always manages to find something else to be amazed about. Roadworks, buses, grass… I used to walk damn fast and pretend I didn’t hear lol. But boy, he would stop and call out, MAMA, MAMA!!! until I walked back to him and entertained his questions/statements. Double the work for me 😒. So now I have learnt to just be his Miss Google on demand whenever, whenever. Faster that way anyway. 😒 ASK AWAY!!

 

Cover mouth

If he does something bad (like breaking something in the house) he covers his mouth and looks genuinely shocked.

If I talk to guests and he really REALLY wants my attention, he covers my mouth. -__-

 

JunJun says

(on the way to school)

Mama: Can you hold your own backpack? I have many heavy things to carry.
Junya: No cuz we almost reaching (school).
Mama: -_-

*

Junya: Mama! Junya is number 1 or number 2?
Mama: Hmmm. What do you think?
Junya: Number 1 and number 2.

*

Junya: Mama? Why Junya say dowan papa? Why I do that?

 

For Sakura

Is now one year old!! 😀

Read Sakura’s 1st month, 2nd month , 3rd month , 4th month , 5th month 6th month , 7th month , 8th month 9th month , 10th month and 11th month here.

 

Milestones

Compared to her elder brother, Sakura prefers to take things slow. Junya started walking 4 days after his birthday, Sakura doesn’t really like cruising (along tables/couches, etc) and will only walk when I hold her hands. And she loves it!

She can now pick up things and pass it to me/brother when we ask her to. And also busy stuffing things into pouches/bottles/boxes. ^^ She can clap, and her favorite activity is of course… throwing everything we give to her -_-.

She can also (try to) mimic some words although totally not accurate at all lol.

Mama: “BA-NA-NA!”
Sakura: “appa.

Oh she can also do “kiss”, which means opening her mouth and rub it against my cheek lol.

 

Independence

I no longer have to carry her like a backpack while doing housework anymore. One day she just roamed into a spare room (which was supposed to be her and Junya’s bedroom until the plan failed -_-) and played lego by herself.

And the best thing that happened was, she is finally willing to sit in the stroller. We have a total of 3 strollers at home yet we only use one, and that’s to put my bags and shopping, or Junya when he needs a rest or nap after a long outing. Sakura never liked to be in the stroller. Put her down for 5 seconds and she started crying to be carried. T_T. So I ended up baby-carrying her all.the.time for the past 11 months.

One day she just decided that ok fine, I’ll sit in the stroller. after months of trying and coaxing. The first few days I distracted her with snacks and a bottle of water (toys never work cuz she will just throw them off the stroller -_-). When she starts fussing I just pass a stick snack which she can slowly nibble on.

I am hoping that this is the start of an end to my agonizing back pain.

 

Weight

When Junya was 1 I remember being super paranoid about his weight because he was soooooo lighttttt (still is). And now Sakura is even lighter than Junya at 1 year old. She is barely 7KG. After pooping is like 6.9 or something. 3 months old babies are heavier than her. She is eating and nursing well otherwise. I already gave up on having babies of average weight. -_-

 

6 teeth

She now has 6 teeth! Two new upper teeth on their way out! The teeth-grinding is still happening occasionally 😒.

 

Weaning & Sleep Training

She woke up every 15 minutes during the first hour of her night sleep, and out of convenience I always nursed her back to sleep. I know, I know. It was the easiest way for us until I realized that it was also the hardest way. Just like how giving a pacifier was the easy way out at first. I wasn’t very concerned about it because Junya was exactly like that, and he grew to be a super good sleeper over time. Even Aerosmith screaming on steroid won’t wake him up nowadays.

But I thought it was time all of us deserve a better, uninterrupted sleep. Junya had a successfully “cry it out” sleep training for only 3 days (and the rest was bliss), so I applied the same method for Sakura, for the goal of weaning her night feeds. The first night I basically held and rocked a screaming wild baby bear for like 2-3 hours in total, throughout the night. And then the second night about 5 minutes. Then the third night, she woke up a couple of times but she just whined for a few seconds and drifted back to sleep.

IT REALLY WORKS OMG.

Just when I thought I’m done with this whole waking up to settle babies thing for the rest of my life, a fever hit right in my face. Well, actually on Sakura, and all my effort is now down the drain.

 

Fever

Why do babies always get their first major fever around 1 year old?? Junya also got his exactly at 12 months old.

Just when Sakura was weaned off the night, the fever made her fussy the whole night, so I ended up giving in and nursed her all night long in bed hoping that she would feel better.

Now I have to do it all over again. T__T.

 

For Mama

Breastfeeding Journey

Junya was breastfed for 15 months. When I found out I was pregnant with Sakura I thought it was time to stop. I did pump (hate hate hate) a lot, and as soon as he turned 6 months old I supplemented with formula to buy myself some freedom. My mom or the ex helper could help look after him when I was away for work.

For Sakura, things are different. This time around I don’t have a helper, and my mom isn’t in the same country. Sakura also did not know how to use a milk bottle. Every time I shove it to her she just ended up chewing it like a teether and then spitting it out with a disgusted expression.

So the result was, I have breastfed her for one whole year. Full time. Without supplementing. Or Pumping. Which also means, I have not stepped away from her for more than 30 minutes at a time for 365 days. In fact the only time I left her was to quickly run over to Ichiran 10 mins away from our Roppongi apartment to fix my ramen craving in the middle of the night during our trip in Tokyo, and then crept back into bed. That’s how much we have been stuck together, and how inseparable we have become.

She is 1 now. I am slowly introducing formula, in bottles, in straw cups, in normal cups, in bottle without the teat. Sometimes she takes it, sometimes she spits out. Sometimes she just pushes away and grab my shirt and rubs her face into my chest and complains instead.

As cliched as it sounds, it is a truly special relationship. While I am dying to wean her off the night, I also get this crazy urge to want to nurse her at the same time. Like, when she is deep asleep I would sometimes wish that I could just cuddle her and shove my boob to her little mouth. Lolol did you hear how insane I just sounded??? I don’t know, it just feels soooo comforting, for the both of us, and a perfect way to fall asleep, for the both of us. Anyway so I am absolutely sending mix signals to both her and myself – Aiya nemai la just feed her one extra time won’t hurt. Huh no! It’s time to stop!! But…

Then I remember how I felt like I had a bad breakup after weaning Junya completely, so I have decided that it is not time yet. I’m not ready. I don’t want to break up just yet.

 

#pokeMOM Level 29

The danna had to go back to Japan for work and I was left with two kids to handle for one whole week.

I remember when I was 8 months pregnant with Sakura, I had to take care of Junya alone too when he was back to Japan, and that was right after my ex helper ran away. It was my worst nightmare ever because it turned out Junya had high fever and was vomitting the whole night.

I remember waking up every 15 minutes to soothe him, and I had to change the bedsheet in the middle of the night like 3 times because he kept throwing up UNTIL I HAD NO MORE SPARE SHEETS TO CHANGE. In the end I gave up and just line bath towels over his bed and just remove the towels. It was really one of the worst nights ever. And to think that I have to deal with a mountain of puke-filled sheets and towels the next morning 😭😭😭.

This time around, I thought it was  gonna be a breeze. I mean, I have done it so many times and I should be a pro by now, plus Junya goes to school, hah. Nothing I cannot handle.

… or so I thought.

And then Sakura developed high fever.

Why. JUST WHY?? Why does every time I am left with two kids all by myself, I have to be tested with a new mission impossible?

Oh, and just when I thought things couldn’t have gotten worse, they bloody did.

I started to have a fever myself LOLOLOL. At this point I was just like, ok whatever dude. Is that all you have? COME AT ME!!! ALL AT ONCE! MUWAHHAHA…

Anyway, Junya did not fall sick, so it was not the worst. Yet.

And then I had to deal with this lolol. This is nothing.

And I survived this challenge. I feel invincible now. I really do.

You would think that I would be relieved to have the danna back and just chill the hell out of the last day before his flight home right? No. I went on a major house cleaning session. Kitchen, toilet, every single dirty laundry. I think I am slowly mutating with Japanese wife DNA. And I actually really did enjoy the cleaning process. There’s nothing worse than coming back to a home that looks like a tornado aftermath. That’s basic courtesy you have to master in order to stay married with a Japanese husband lol.

And? He bought us all 7-11 egg sandwiches and mentaiko onigiri and special edition pocky that day. All worth it.

 

My Baby Girl

Remember I said somewhere in this blog before, that I could not imagine how having a baby girl would be like, because having a boy just felt so right. Uh… right. I take that back now. If (IF!!!) I ever have a third child, there’s no doubt I would want another girl. (For now. Who knows I’ll change my mind again lol).

Because… girls are SO. CUTE. Omg. Junya is cute but… Sakura is another level of cute. Of course Junya is bigger now and I can’t be sniffing and smooching him all the time. But that’s exactly why my lips are constantly stuck to Sakura’s cheek. Like, every waking hour lolol. ARGHHH I want to glue my lips to her cheeks lolol. I am also obsessed with kissing the curved corner of her lips because then I get the lips AND cheek at the same time, which is better than 7-11 egg sandwiches and mentaiko onigiri combined.

Come to think of it now, it probably doesn’t have anything to do with gender after all. I just want to kiss and sniff and cuddle a baby. Because… they grow up too fast. I know because I experienced it first hand. Now at the second attempt, I am trying to cling on to the whole babyhood as tightly and obsessively as I could.

And I am going to say the weirdest thing every single mother will say at some point, which turns out to be the most heartfelt words that we don’t really mean at all, in all contradiction:

“Please don’t grow up so fast.”

(No, really, please do, but please don’t.)

 

My Big Boy

As I am typing this, Junya is asleep on the couch behind me. He fell asleep while waiting for me to clean up the house. The only precious time Junya has with me is after Sakura goes to bed. Now I understand why he always end up sleeping so late. Because he was looking forward to “Junjun Special Time”. I read him books, we talked nonsense, and then I had to prepare for tomorrow morning’s routine. He waited for me and fell asleep. So I thought why not I continue to write this blog post, and here I am.

Many nights I carry him to bed from the living room, and it feels a little strange. Now it hit me that it was because I am not used to carrying him anymore. He has grown so much that his body shape and weight is totally different from Sakura. Then it shocked me how long I have not cuddled or carried him.

Then I think about many of the 2~3 year old boys I know. Usually they still ask to be carried and manja their mothers. But I don’t even remember the last time Junya asked to be carried. Recently he doesn’t even ask to sit in the stroller anymore.

My brave boy. Grasping the concept of being an older brother. Taking in new unknown emotions. Getting used to sharing his mama’s love with another person. Wading through rejection every time a request is denied. Learning how to be strong.

My brave, brave boy. Whenever you need a hug, I am here. Always.

Stored in Baby / Pokemom | 18 Cheesed