Christmas fun!

I can't believe it is less than a week until Christmas! It has come around very quickly and I am totally disorganised. Well we have the food side of things pretty much sorted but I have done hardly any shopping for presents. I don't have that many people too buy for but still I had better get my butt into gear. We planned to buy a bike for Liam but now it appears jiichan is going to buy it for him but still pretend it's from Santa. I have a few other things for him but as he is going to get totally spoilt by other people I might just leave it at that. We are off to Toys R Us tomorrow though so something could jump at me. Ryuji is convinced that he needs something Kamen Rider or Shinkenja related but I think he could live without them!

My mum arrived on the 11th and has been a huge help. Liam is so much happier as I think with both Ryuji and I being pretty busy with work he was feeling a little attention deprived. He is getting heaps now from mum though and I also have more time to spend with him as I don't have to worry about doing everything around the house too. He has taken the month of daycare and seems to be perfectly happy about that too. He will be 5 in April and as he will start school in two years we had been thinking about doing the "normal" thing and sending him to the local daycare full time. As we live in the sticks the nearest kindy is a 30 minute bus ride away so most people around here do the daycare thing for at least 2 years. There is a daycare just down the road from us and I went and checked it out with a friend a couple of weeks and was almost ready to hand in the application papers when I had a sudden change of heart. New baby is due in April and my mum will be coming over again a week or so before my due date and staying for about 3 months and then I plan to go back to Australia with her for about 6 weeks with Liam and bub. We would have to pay about 30,000 yen a month for daycare and if we didn't want to pay while we were in Australia we would have to officially take him out and then re enrol him when we got back. As I won't be working at all our finances won't be very healthy so I have been wondering if it's really worth it. I talked to both Ryuji and mum about it and they both seem to think it's okay if he doesn't go so I think that's what is going to happen. I'm sure people around the place will think we are terrible parents but I don't really care. I will make an effort to do lots of educational stuff with him at home and make more of an effort to work on his English reading and writing.

In baby news, I had my 22 week appointment yesterday. I was worried about getting in trouble for my weight gain as I seemed to put on about 2kg in the week after my previous visit but with some sensible (or maybe not so sensible?) eating over the couple of days before my appointment all was okay! I have to go back again after the New Year though which might not be pretty at all lol. No luck again in finding out the sex either! This time, baby was lying horizontally across my belly with his/her legs jammed together! Rather disappointing but funny in a way too! I knew with Liam by the time he was 20 weeks so this baby is certainly making us wait and giving me way too much time to think about what it is.

My brother and his wife flew into Osaka tonight and hopefully will be at their hotel or making their way there. They are probably freezing as they are coming from the Australian summer where temperatures have been in the mid 30s. I hope they managed to find some warm clothes to bring with them. They are spending the day tomorrow in Kyoto with our Japanese friend Nami who did a homestay with us when I was at high school. They are then making their way down to Yamaguchi on Tuesday afternoon. We are all really looking forward to seeing them and Liam is counting down the days on the calendar. Mum and I spent the day getting ready for their arrival. We are going to give them our bedroom and Ryuji and I will bunk in with Liam. A friend has lent us a double futon so I think I will make Ryuji and Liam sleep on it and I will get the bed.

Mum and I did the usual pre-Christmas visit to Costco last Sunday. We left Liam at home with Ryuji which was a very good idea as it was manic. We arrived around 9:40 and at that stage there wasn't a line so we decided to wait in the car a bit. When we went back around 9:50 though there was quite a long line. We got our shopping done by about 11:30 but the lines at the registers were horrendous - probably 30m long. I had never seen it like that! We finally got out and after dumping all our purchases in the car had a walk around the rest of the complex. I was happy to find the Gap that I heard had opened there recently and was even happier to see they had sales on. Mum and I got a red cardigan which we are going to share and I got a pair of cords for Liam. We also had a look at the newborn stuff which was very cute.

I am off to Fukuoka again on Tuesday with my Aussie friend as she has go to the consulate to get her new baby's passport. She is leaving her two older kids and I am leaving Liam and we are going to enjoy a day of shopping, Starbucks and other fun. I so have to get my Christmas shopping done too.

Mum brought me over two blocks of cadbury choc which seem to be calling my name now. All I seem to have done today is eat but I have at least 2 weeks until my next doctor's appointment :-)


Long time no blog

I have no idea where the last half of November went and am in shock it's December already! I got my first Christmas card yesterday from a friend in the UK so I guess that means I better get my butt into gear and start organising mine. I used to be super slack about Christmas cards but after living here for so long realised it's actually nice to get them and for that to happen it's really a reciprocal deal :-)

I am having a lovely week as the school has tests on so I don't have to go in at all! I still have my private classes but having 8 classes less than usual is definitely nice. Liam and I headed to a shopping centre about 40 minutes away from here to meet up with another foreign wife and bub for the first time. We "met" on Facebook on a Yamaguchi teacher's page and organised to meet up. We are the same age with one kid and another on the way so it was really nice to hang out. Hopefully we can do it again soon and get some play groups happening in the future. Anyway, today we had pizza and pasta for lunch, did some shopping and then had cake and coffee at Starbucks. Yum yum! Felt the need to do the exercise bike when I got home but after that and vegie soup for dinner I am feeling slightly less piggish.

I have an unusually social week as tomorrow Aussie friend and her two girls are coming over for lunch and a play. I am making pasta sauce at the moment to have with yummy Costco ravioli. I am so not a morning person but my friend is and will probably be here early so at least if the sauce is done just throwing everything together will be easy. I need time to give the house a quick do over as well.

Then Thursday Liam and I are off to lunch with my lovely obachan student after class. I have been teaching two 60ish Japanese ladies for the last 7 year or so and they are like my Japanese mums. Unfortunately only one can come to class this week as the other's great nephew has the flu and as she was around him she doesn't want to risk giving it to me.

After working crazy hours for the last two months, Ryuji is finally getting home at a decent hour. For basically all of October and November he was leaving home at 6:20 and not getting home until 11 which meant Liam and I hardly ever saw him during the week. Before getting pregnant I still would have been up when he got home but lately if I am not asleep by then I am definitely snug in bed getting ready to be that way. But as of yesterday, he has been getting home at 7 so we have been doing the family dinner thing and then he showers with Liam and goes up to bed with him. It means Liam's bedtime is a bit later than if I was doing it but it also means that I get some me time which is definitely lovely.

My mum arrives next Friday which has come about quite quickly. She only left at the start of October but the time seemed to drag by until recently. She is here for a month this time and then will come back in April hopefully before the baby is born. Liam's birthday is on the 19th so she will come a week or so before that. Baby's due date is the 21st and as Liam was 8 days late she should be here. If she's not I guess baachan will have to step up and help out with Liam.

My last ob/gyn appointment was quite uneventful so I didn't post about it. I was hoping to both find out the baby's sex and get the new flu shot but neither happened. Baby was upside down and had its back towards us so we couldn't see anything. Major disappointment but next time I go I will be 22 weeks so if baby co-operates we should have a good chance of finding out. Re: the flu shot, there are at least 250 women at my clinic who want to get it but the clinic apparently only received 50 vaccines in November so gave them to the women who are furthest along in their pregnancy. My doctor seemed to think I would be able to get it at my next appointment at the middle of this month but who knows what will happen. Everyone around me seems to be getting it so I guess I just hope to be lucky enough not to. Liam got his shot last week too so hopefully that will mean he is less likely to bring it home from daycare.

Okay this is turning into a novel and a hot shower is calling me so I will be off :-)


Busy busy.....

Lots has been happening since I last posted. I had an easier than usual work week as I had a couple of afternoons off at the school I teach at because of parent/teacher interviews. I have also had a few cancellations because of the flu. We are all healthy for the moment so hopefully we stay that way for a while.

I had a lovely afternoon last Wednesday. I had a big gap between classes so first I met my Canadian friend Beth for a yummy Italian lunch and then I took myself off to the movies. I watched The Ugly Truth which was silly as expected but light and soppy so I enjoyed it. I took in a secret stash of choccies so that made it more enjoyable too.

I have been to the hospital to visit my friend Kerry for the last two days. Her 2 month old, Mia has the RS virus and as she is so little her doctor wants to monitor her and make sure it doesn't get too serious. Mia is dealing with it all very well and is still her cute smiley stuff but I feel sorry for Kerry. She is stuck in this tiny little room that only has a fold up bed and TV in it and she is feeling very bored. She has two older kids who are not allowed to visit so she is missing them too. I spent a few hours with her today and yesterday so at least she had a bit of company. I also enjoyed the break away from Liam (I am over using initials!) and hub. I just told hub I am happy that he will be back at work tomorrow as I will at least get a bit of peace and quiet lol!

As hubby was outside painting again today I decided that Liam and I should bake a cake to keep him occupied. I am not much of a baker and can only remember ever making one cake before so I was a little worried about how it would turn out but it ended up being okay. We had a few ripe bananas so I found a recipe online for one with lemon icing. Hubby reckons the icing was sour but this is the man who thinks that strawberries are sour so I didn't expect anything else :-) Liam who in the end didn't help at all in the baking process thinks it's yummy tho. I also made a big fruit salad as I have been craving it lately. I took up both some cake and fruit salad to my friend in hospital and both were hits. I saw her dinner before I left and I don't how she is surviving on such unappetising food. She is using it as a good chance to diet :-)

It is now less than a month until my mum arrives which we are all looking forward to. It makes life so much easier having her around to help out with Liam when I am teaching such crazy hours. He is also going through an anti daycare phase so he will enjoy staying at home with his granny. Hubby is looking forward to the Bundy Rum she always brings over for him. My brother and his wife are coming over for Christmas which will be lovely too. It will be the first time we have all been together for Christmas and the first time in 4 years that my mum, bro and I have been together. My mum usually alternates between spending it here or with my brother and this year she was supposed to be in Australia but my brother decided to come here. Yay! I am little bit sad that I will probably be the only sober one on Christmas day but I will have to make up for it in the eating department.

I am back to the doctor on Friday for my monthly check up. I am looking forward to it as I feel so normal and not particularly pregnant so it will be reassuring to have an ultrasound and see bub. I will be 18 weeks so I'm hoping there might be a chance I can find out the sex but not too hopeful as my dr has a reputation of not saying anything until he is 99% sure. Can always hope though :-)


Weekend eating!

I guess it's a common thing but I always seem to make a huge pig of myself on weekends. We are pretty busy during the week and not home a lot which is definitely a good thing! I have had the nibbles all day. Even though dinner is not too far away I just made myself a mini feast of cheese and tomato on crackers. It would have gone down even better with a glass of red but alas that won't be happening for a while.

It has been a pretty quiet weekend here. I had a couple of classes yesterday, one in the city and one at home. I went and had my haircut before my first class which was nice and relaxing. I love love the shampoo time! I got a free treatment which was a nice surprise. I used to get my hair coloured professionally too but it was getting a bit expensive so mum is now sending me over cheap Aussie hair dye and hub dyes it for me. He bitches and moans about having to do it but actually does a good job. Better than my mum who gets it all over my face and I then have to walk around for a few days with random wine red smudges on my face. Haha luckily my family doesn't know about this blog. I am actually a bit shy about sharing it with people I know! Is that weird?

Hub has been painting again today so I have had the job of keeping L entertained and stopping him going outside and whining at daddy. I don't really mind R having to deal with the whining but I don't trust L not to wander off. Last week he was missing for over half an hour as he went off with the neighbour to walk his dog. R had basically seen them go off but wasn't sure. Silly man! I made him go off in the car to look for them which he did but he came back saying they looked so happy that he just let them be. If it was me L would have been snatched away and taken home for a severe talking too. He still ended up getting the talking too but it happened when he finally got home with a yellow flower (weed?) for mummy and a strange nut like thing for daddy.

L and I went to get our seasonal flu shots on Friday. We ended up having to go to two different doctors as the place I had mine done wouldn't give L his as he had never been a patient there and they were giving priority to their existing patients. Very silly I thought! R goes there too and as he got the vac through work doesn't need to get it done. I tried to use this as an argument for letting L have his but of course he didn't work. So off we went to another clinic to get his done. They are offering the vac quite cheaply so it was a mad house. After it was done the doctor told us he probably wouldn't be able to get the second one as there would be no vaccines left. Dodgy!


Flu season!

Does a day go by lately where you don't have a conversation with someone about the flu? Lordy, I am watching the repeat of the Yankees game on TV and they just mentioned it on there. I teach 4 private classes at home on Thursday and they turned out to be very quiet. The parents of 4 kids let me know in advance that they wouldn't be coming. One boy has the new flu but not sure about the others. Then my last class which is with two sisters just didn't show up and I haven't heard anything from them. Very bizarre! I was kind of happy though as it meant my day finished early and I had time to throw dinner for hub before L got home from baachans.

So now I am having dilemmas about vaccinations and wondering if I should just go with H1n1 (is that right?) or have the seasonal one too. I had pretty much decided against having the seasonal one but after doing some reading am thinking maybe it would be better to have it. I didn't have it when I was pregnant with L or when he was a baby but then I ended up getting the flu when he was about 8 months old. It was harsh but bearable even without meds as I didn't want to take anything as I was breastfeeding. But if getting it will have an affect on the baby that's a different matter. So I will do some ringing around tomorrow and see if there are any places around that still have some vaccines available. I want L to get his regardless of what I decide on.

Aussie friend K was supposed to be coming over tomorrow with her two lovely girls, 2 year old E and almost 2 month old M. She has a son the same age as L but he goes to kindy so wasn't going to come. She mailed me earlier to say that he is sick though and will be off kindy and as she doesn't want to give us anything they will stay away. It has been a while since I've had a good gossip session with another foreign pal so it's a bit of a bummer but as I don't have a class until 3 L and I can have a nice relaxing morning. Hopefully L will sleep in a bit. I have actually trained him quite well and he is not an early riser. I'm sure it is a result of all the lie ins we had when he was a baby as he was not much of a night time sleeper.

So as I said earlier I am watching the baseball! I always loved watching sport on TV in Australia but after coming to Japan couldn't really get in to anything here. I then discovered major league baseball and became a quick fan. I follow the Yankees and am a big Matsui fan so was over the moon to hear that they won the World Series today and that Matsui was named MVP. Yay! I couldn't watch the game live this morning but it is being repeated now. I would have been quite tense if I watched it this morning but now I know the result it's all good.

Hope everyone has a great Friday and even better weekend. Stay warm and healthy!


Off to Costco tomorrow!

Yay for ETC and cheap highway travel as we can make it down to Fukuoka and Costco a lot more. We only used to visit a couple of times a year before big events such as Christmas or L's birthday but recently we have been going every couple of months. I was trying to hold off until before Christmas but I need a few staples like pasta, cheese and canned stuff. We are going to head to the You Me Town in Hakata first. They have a tiny kid's NEXT store so I like to check it out and I also wouldn't mind looking at a few clothes for me. I am not a fan of the maternity clothes here so am trying to stay in normal clothes for as long as possible. I bought a couple of knit dresses that are big and flowy so will work well over leggings and hopefully I will wear again when I'm not pregnant. Being a bigger city though there might be some semi decent maternity stuff so I will check it out. It's supposed to rain tomorrow but hopefully it's not too bad. Loading a load of Costco stuff in the car will not be fun otherwise.

Planning to leave at 8 tomorrow morning which will be a bit harsh. I am so not a morning person but if I have something to look forward I can usually handle it. We will skip breakfast and get something on the way so at least we will just have to get up, get dressed and get out the door. Fun fun! I am such a shopaholic that even grocery shopping is exciting for me.

So is everyone getting ready for the cold snap coming up? I am guessing it will be all over Japan but it looks like it will be majorly chilly from Monday. I finally changed our doona from the thin summer type to a big thick one today. We have to drag the heaters out and buy some kero tomorrow though. I still am not a fan of winter in Japan. I lived in Hokkaido for 10 months when I was a uni student but I don't know how I survived as the winters in Yamaguchi even kill me.

After thinking about my over spending on groceries this week I decided I would make dinner with what was in the fridge even though there wasn't much. I found 2 small packs of mince and chicken in the freezer so decided to make a pasta sauce for the boys. We had some eggplant, capsicum, spinach and a yellow zucchini so it actually ended up being quite nutritious. I had sweet potato with yogurt and salad and sweet chili sauce. Might sound strange but it actually tastes really good.

Better do my chores so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour. I took advantage of the lovely sunny day and did about 4 loads of washing. Shit that reminds me I washed some jumpers and forgot to take them out of the washing machine. I must be suffering from pregnancy brain already. I hope they aren't smelling too rank.

Edited to add:

We just had our first ever kids come here trick or treating. We only had rice crackers and a few random lollies to give them. I wanted to say I was Australian so we don't celebrate Halloween but hubby is kinder than me :-)


Two nightmare days over for another week!

I seriously hate my Wednesdays and Thursdays at the moment. I teach about 24 classes a week but 14 of them are on Wednesday and Thursday. I have no idea how I got myself into it but it's here to stay for the moment. On Wednesdays, I teach at L's daycare in the morn, three classes at the high school, two primary school boys and then two court clerks. I don't finish until 6:30 so L stays until daycare until late which he is not very impressed about. Then Thursday, I have a private class with two older ladies in the morning, three classes at the school and then four classes at home in the arvo. My mother in law works part time at a nursing home but fortunately she organises to have Thursday off so she can take care of L while I do my afternoon classes here. I got myself in the silly situation of letting the parent's of my students wait in the living room while I teach. There are some siblings that have classes after each other so it seemed like an okay idea at the start but it's really not good at all. I have to make sure the living room is in a reasonable state and then the mothers seem to think it's gossip time for them so they don't really watch their kids and let them run riot in and outside of the house. I know I really should say something but the money I get for these Thursday classes is a fair chunk and I really can't afford to lose it.

Anyway, enough of my bitching, tomorrow is Friday and I only have two classes. Yay! I am looking forward to a sleep in on Saturday. I don't have classes until 10 at the earliest so we don't have to get up too early usually but 8 o'clock has been a struggle for me this week.

I am still getting used to this whole blogging thing. I can't seem to change the language to English on my main page and I am unsure about the whole comment thing. If someone leaves a comment on one of your posts and you respond to it, how often do they actually see it? Sorry for the silly questions :-)

Enjoy your Fridays!!!!!



I have been lucky enough to have no real morning sickness this pregnancy or my last one but this time I am really feeling the tiredness. I don't know if it's because I am busier at work or because I have a 4 year old to look after. Maybe both!

Today was a relatively easy day work wise with only 2 classes at the high school. I did some banking when I was done and then picked L up from daycare to go to swimming class. He seemed to be asleep when I walked in the door but then was suddenly crying for some reason. He has been going to daycare since he was one but lately we are having some major issues about going. He hasn't been a daytime sleeper since he was quite little so the enforced nap thing doesn't help but as he has been going for so long he was pretty much used to it. I don't know if it has something to do with the baby but he cries most mornings about going. As he only goes when I have work on there are some days when I can pick him up before nap time and if I tell him that is going to happen he is fine. If he knows it will be later he puts on a performance.

Anyway, had swimming class which was crazy as usual. Ten 4 to 5 year olds jumping around in the water. L is getting better but is half the time too busy mucking around with other boys to do what he is supposed to do. After swimming we hit the supermarket to get stuff for the week. I usually do a big shop on Monday but still end up getting stuff at various times throughout the week. We spend way too much on groceries. Usually over 60,000 for just the three of us but I love my fresh fruit and vege and that's what seems to kill us.

Dinner was leftover pumpkin and sweet potato soup. Hub won't be home until after 9 but of course soup won't do as a dinner for him so I have made him an assortment of stuff including slightly burnt spare ribs. Oops! I have a good excuse though as I was on the exercise bike when they were cooking and couldn't check.

Shower and bed are calling. I bought a region free DVD player for our bedroom which was a great buy.


First post

After being an avid reader of various foreign wives in Japan's blogs for the last few years I decided to bite the bullet and start my own. I like writing but have never been much of a diary writer even so we'll see how I go. After living in Japan for so long my written English is rather dodgy too so hopefully blog writing will help it a bit. I especially look forward to getting to know some of the writers of the blogs I love to read!

We are having a quiet Sunday here! Hubby R is outside painting our house. He is doing it himself as it is so expensive to get it done professionally but it's a never ending job! He was really into it for a while but for the last couple of weeks has been slacking off big time. Probably the 15 hour days he has been working aren't helping either! The yard is a huge mess with scaffolding and paint supplies all over the place so really hope he finishes soon. At least it's an excuse for me not to do the weeding though. Son L doesn't like the fact that daddy is too busy to play with him so we have some huge meltdowns which I would like to see the end of too. He is quietly watching Animalia at the moment so hopefully that will keep him distracted for a while. I have lots of things I should be doing but of course procrastinating on here is much more enjoyable.

I'm not looking forward to work this week as I have classes everyday except for Sunday. I thought less people wanted to study English with the economy the way it is but I seem to be getting more and more students. Usually I wouldn't keep accepting them but I keep thinking about how poor we will be after the baby is born in April so will somehow keep at it. I will have to take some time off of course and don't know when and what classes I will be able to resume anyway. If I have superbaby who sleeps all the time it might be easy enough but as 4 year old L doesn't even sleep through the night all the time now I am not so hopeful.

L has just announced he is going to make daddy lunch by mixing egg, sugar and tomato sauce in a bowl so I had better go and check it out!