Children’s Day 2014

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Despite having had a fever the day before, E was his regular super happy self on his second Children’s Day. He would dance every time we turned on his special music box.

This year he is 15 months and full of personality. Last year he was just 3 months old!

To learn more about Children’s Day, check out my posts from last year:

https://etwaewsw.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/childrens-day/

https://etwaewsw.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/koinobori-carp-streamer/

https://etwaewsw.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/kabuto-warrior-helmet/

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‘Tis the Season

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I feel like this Christmas season started early for us. We started our shopping in October and saw a sky diving Santa in November. We were ready to get E’s first Christmas started!

 

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The sky diving Santa and elves were way more awesome than we expected. There was a huge crowd waiting when we arrived and a big X on the ground were Santa was going to land. A live band played Christmas music and we were told than when we heard “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, we would see Santa jump from a plane that was circling above our heads. Santa and his two elves were obviously professional sky divers because they came swooping in for quick landings, doing flips and turns in the air along the way.

 

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We took E to get a professional photo taken with Santa the Monday before Thanksgiving. Santa appears at the mall some time in early November and has crazy lines from Black Friday to Christmas. It was kind of spur of the moment, but as soon as he woke up from his afternoon nap that day, we dressed him, gave him milk, and drove to the mall. There was no one waiting for Santa, so we walked right up and sat him in his lap.

He didn’t cry! In fact, he was mesmerized by Santa’s beard. We got a great photo, and were able to take our time, picking out what kind of prints we wanted, since there were no other customers waiting behind us.

 

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My mom found the idea for these hand print Santa ornaments online and we decided to try it out. We thought it would make a cute gift for his grandparents in Japan. I believe the dough was made from flour, water, and salt and then once we got E’s hand prints and one from my nephew, we just cut them out, added a hole for the string, and baked them all afternoon on low heat in the oven. The following week we painted them and then put a sprayed them clear for shine. I think they turned out great!

 

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In early December, Santa was coming to our local library that we visit each week, so we thought we’d try meeting Santa one more time before Christmas. This time we had to wait 30 minutes, and by the time we got to the front of the line, E was antsy because it was just an hour before bedtime. I don’t think he was afraid of Santa, just tired.

I should’ve known that we wouldn’t get lucky twice, but a first Christmas isn’t complete without your baby crying on Santa’s lap, right? I have a feeling that Santa will definitely be scary next year….

 

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My mom got a fancy, new camera so she took our Christmas card photo this year. She’s also captured some great Christmas photos of E that we are thankful to have, including the one at the top of this post.

 

It’s also the season for sick babies. E and my husband are both getting over colds at the moment and I’m doing my best to not catch it too.

I think we’ve been pretty lucky so far though, because many other new moms I know have had babies suffering through multiple colds, strep, and the flu recently. E’s never had a fever or anything bad enough to mess with his sleep cycles (thank goodness!) Let’s hope he finishes out his first year healthy!

Cheers until after Christmas!

Thankful

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We celebrated Father’s Day with the whole family at my parents’ house yesterday. The fathers in attendance were my dad, two brothers, and for the first time, my husband too.

It was a very summery day filled with sunshine, kiddie pools, and homemade icecream. My parents bought a tiny pool for E, so we put a bathing suit on him for the first time, and propped him up in the water for a little while. They also set up a baby swing for him, which he loved. He stayed in it for so long that he fell asleep. I put sunscreen on him, but at the end of the day, he was still left with a little “baby tan,” from all the outdoor time.

By the way, according to my husband, parents in Japan don’t worry about sunscreen much. He says he never remembers putting on sunscreen before playing outdoors as a kid. Maybe that’s because Japanese children tan in the summer instead of turning alarmingly red like white children? I wonder if E will tan or burn when he gets older….? My husband turns quite brown in the summer, while I am incapable of turning any shades other than white, pink, or red.

My favorite part about these family get togethers is getting to just laze around in the backyard chatting with everyone, while the kids run around playing.

E was tired, so he doesn’t look very happy, but my mom snapped this family photo for us:

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Father’s Day reminded me of how lucky I am to have such great men in my life. My own father is so sweet and loveable, and seeing my brothers and my husband turn into fathers has been really exciting. I’m so proud of them. ♡

First Mother’s Day

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When I was making photo cards for Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago, my husband mentioned how it was exciting that we would be celebrating me this year too. “OH YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT!” I answered back.

Before that, I hadn’t even thought about it, but I then began to get even more excited about Mother’s Day. I guess because my kid’s not running around calling me “Mama” yet, it didn’t click until he said something about it.

Of course I definitely feel like a mama, but the experience is so new and my son is still so small, that I guess I’m kind of in a new mom haze where I’m still learning something new every second and my brain is trying to catch up on everything I’ve been processing. It’s exhilarating and tiring at the same time.

This year I definitely have a deeper appreciation for what my mom (and my dad!) went through to bring me into this world and raise me. Pregnancy, child birth, and baby care are all rewarding but challenging (not to mention expensive!), so I am thankful that they decided to do it a third time, even though my brothers were already 7 and 8 by then. I can’t even imagine looking after two big kids while keeping up with this little one that currently demands most of my time and attention. When it comes to our little guy, they couldn’t be more loving or supportive, and now more than ever, I understand that being a parent doesn’t end when your children leave home. I just hope that I can continue to have as good a relationship with my son when he’s an adult as my parents have kept with us.

Ever since we told them that we were expecting, my husband’s parents have been connecting with us on a whole new level. His mom and I email back and forth, we send them tons of photos, and we get to talk with them face to face on Skype each week. They are as in love with E as we are, and they definitely show it. We are so thankful to have them in our lives and can’t wait to see them hold their grandson. They are the sweetest  ♡

As much as I love my tiny boy, and a small part of my mind wishes that he could stay small enough for me to hold him forever, I’m more excited to see him grow and change on his path to adulthood. I know that no matter what he turns out to be, I’ll always be proud to be his Mama. ♡

Children’s Day!

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This past Sunday was Children’s Day in Japan and my husband’s parents sent us some things to celebrate. I already wrote about the koinobori (carp streamers) and the kabuto (samurai helmet) that families with boys display in their homes before the special day, but we also received a mini jinbaori (samurai vest) for E to wear.

It’s pretty fancy, and E was only interested in trying to eat the collar, so we just put it on him for a few minutes to snap a quick photo, but it was worth it. He’ll grow into it better over the next few years too. ♡

Maybe next year, when the little guy is eating real food, we’ll make the traditional mochi (rice cakes) that are served on this day.

Here’s to a healthy, happy baby!

 

Koinobori (Carp Streamer)

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Koinobori are displayed outside homes with boys from April to early May for Children’s Day. They are also symbols of strong and healthy sons.

When I was in Japan, most koinobori that I saw looked huge, but I was relieved to find out that there were smaller sized versions for displaying on apartment balconies. Still, I was surprised at how big it turned out to be!

The large, black carp symbolizes the father, the smaller, red carp symbolizes the mother, and any after that are their sons. More carp streamers can be added at any time. ♡

E’s all set for his first Children’s Day. ♡

Kabuto (Warrior Helmet)

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May 5 is Kodomo no hi or Children’s Day in Japan. Families with sons celebrate by displaying kabuto (warrior helmets) and koinobori (carp streamers) at their home. (Girls are celebrated on March 3, which is called Hinamatsuri)

My husband’s parents sent us these decorations from Japan so that we can celebrate with E. The kabuto is the symbol of a strong, healthy boy.

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The little vest is for E to wear, and the decoration in the right corner is actually a music box that plays a Children’s Day song called “Koinobori.” I’ll post pictures of the carp streamers once we set it up ♡

Easter

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We went over to my parents’ house for Easter today and it was the first time that all four cousins were together. We got each of the older kids to take turns holding E for photos and they did a great job! It was really cute. ♡

My mom made tons of food and there were Easter baskets for the kids, an Easter egg hunt, and lots of playing out in the sunshine. We knew we’d be in the backyard a lot today so we picked up these baby sunglasses yesterday to protect E’s eyes. They really helped and were also coincidentally pretty adorable. ♡ It was a really fun day!

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What do you put in an Easter basket for an infant? I went with board books about bunnies. ♡