Thursday, March 31, 2011

Your quarter year favorites...

Dear Maya,
Yesterday you turned three months old!  Here are some of the things you've been loving lately:

1) Looking at your reflection

Mirrors are great, but in a pinch a window at night works, too--
especially when you live out in the middle of nowhere like we do!

2) Daddy

3) Quilt that Auntie Sam made

This awesome quilt was lovingly made with material from the summer kimono and obi sash
 that Auntie Sam and your mommy wore to a concert together several years ago in Japan.

4) Mommy

5) Dressing up (okay, you don't really love dressing up,
but you do love the attention you get when you're dressed up) 

This outfit from Auntie Charlotte you wore Sunday to
her son Wyatt's first birthday party where, by the way, you were
a) the youngest party guest, b) the only girl amongst all the little boys there and
c) so quiet and sweet as everyone cooed at you, pinched your cheeks and passed you around!

Yesterday was not only your three-month birthday, but also the four-year anniversary of mommy and daddy's wedding in Japan.  Aside from leaving you with Uncle Matt and Aunt Rhi to go see Aunt Bobbie's musical earlier in the month, it was our only time apart from you.  We went out for Japanese food and ice cream while you hung out with Grandma, Papa Stan, Aunt Bobbie and Aunt Kelsie and her boyfriend.  They reported that you were an angel and that you thoroughly enjoyed watching American Idol with them.  :)  Mommy and daddy missed you but were quite refreshed by the alone time and came home ready to lavish you with our love and attention once again.

Happy quarter birthday!  Love you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brown, green, white, wet

Dear Maya,

This past Sunday marked the first day of spring.  We celebrated with a birthday party for your Auntie Rhi at Grandma and Stan's house.  You were dressed to the nines in your adorable brown, green and white dress which we got through the Thred Up swap site.  Mommy also bought a pair of brown pants and picked the brown headband out of a set we bought to complete your outfit.  You looked so so cute!

What mommy didn't realize until we were getting ready to head out the door was that absolutely everything we were taking to the party was color-coordinated with your dress.  There was the pretty brown gift bag that held a gift certificate for Harney & Sons local tea room.  Then there were the two kinds of cupcakes mommy made:  the brown and white Irish coffee ones from St. Patty's Day and these new green tea ones.

When we got to the party you surprised us by getting really fussy.  You just didn't want to stop crying even though you were dry, fed and not too cold or hot.  Mommy, daddy and everyone who was feeling well tried walking around with you to no avail.  When mommy was walking around with you she noticed that Grandma had finished making this teddy bear for you.  Can you believe how well this matches your dress, too?

Your mood seemed to improve for a bit when we got home, but then you weren't yourself during your nighttime feedings.  The next day, Monday, you were super cranky all day and we couldn't figure out what was wrong with you.  You didn't seem to have a fever or any diaper rash or other irritations.  We checked all the things we were supposed to look for when a baby is suddenly fussy.  The only thing we noticed was this:

Lots and lots of drooling.

You have been spending an awful lot of time lately trying to fit your whole fist in your mouth.  Any time you get close enough to us you try to suck on our hands, wrists, chins, noses and even cheeks.  We finally had to break out your collection of bibs because your constant drooling kept soaking through your clothes.  All of this plus your crankiness made us worried you were starting to teethe already, very very early.

Monday night you were still acting a bit off during your feedings and mommy didn't sleep very well at all.  She was a bit worried you'd be in a terrible mood all day again Tuesday and she'd be pulling her hair out.  But, wonder of wonders, you reverted to your cheerful self again first thing Tuesday morning, like Sunday and Monday never even happened.  I guess you taught us not to take your awesomeness for granted!

By the way, the weather this week has matched the theme of this post, too.  We've had sunny, warm days when we walked around and admired the green bulbs peeking out of the ground.  But just when we started to dream that winter was over and the brown landscape would soon be overrun with green, it turned wet and white with snow yet again.  Twice, even.  I think mommy's going to dress you in solid green from now on...

Love you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bring on the green!

photo by daddy

Dear Maya,

Today is Saint Patrick's Day, and you celebrated your Irish heritage in style. 
First there was the felt shamrock headband mommy made for you:

Then the matching onesie (inspired by the ones created for you by our dear friend Chris):

And finally, a crazy pair of pants that mommy made for you out of a pair of her socks:

Put it all together, and you were ready to paint the town green! 
Somehow your mischievous look and posture in the pic below reminds me of a leprechaun, too!

Mommy and Daddy got to enjoy a little of the day's spirit, too, in the form of Irish coffee cupcakes. 
Espresso flavored cupcakes + whiskey flavored frosting = yum yum!
forgot to take a picture after dusting with espresso powder--
they were much prettier then!

St. Patty's Day isn't the only thing that's green around here. 
The snow is finally mostly melted, the clocks have sprung forward, and spring is starting to show its much-awaited presence.  You and mommy went outside two, count 'em, two days in a row for walks around the property this week!  This picture's a bit blurry, but I love how excited you look to go outside:

Check it out--no winter coat!

We went to visit the chickens that our landlady owns and you really seemed to like watching them. 

In other news, these last few days you've gotten even stronger. 
When we lay you down to lounge on your Boppy pillow, you try to sit up. 

 You succeed in getting yourself upright, but then usually end up bending over too far and need help getting back up.  It's not your fault your head is so heavy--you'll get the hang of it sooner or later.

You've been trying to turn your little tush over during tummy time, too.  You'll get there soon.

Well, mommy's exhausted and needs to get some rest.  Love you!

photo by daddy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A lamb among lions

Dear Maya,

This post is 2 days late because we have had an unbelievably crazy week.  It all started Sunday night when mommy heard you whimper and woke to discover that our power had gone out.  Without electricity our heaters don't work, so we tucked in bed together to ride it out until morning.  Thanks to mommy's super warm down comforter and our combined body heat, you slept very well.  Mommy, on the other hand, had contorted herself into a pretzel to give you the space you needed while protecting your face from getting covered up, so didn't get much sleep at all.  You were an angel, though.

When we looked outside in the morning we realized why we had no power--everything was completely covered in a half inch or more of heavy ice!  Our windows looked like stained glass, the trees were bowed and broken, and everything was sparkly and beautiful, but dangerous.  We hooked up the analog phone that Grandma and Stan had given us for just such emergencies and called them only to find out that the whole area was a mess and most likely no one would have power for quite a while.  Since they have a wood stove to keep warm we headed to their house mid-morning.  You were an angel there.

We spent Monday night at Grandma and Stan's house.  You slept pretty much for six hours straight, while mommy did her pretzel twists again and only got about two hours total because it was cold where we were in Aunt Kelsie's room.  When the electric company started notifying everyone that the power would likely not come back on until Wednesday at the earliest, we decided to spend Tuesday night at your great-grandma and great-grandpa's house because they had electricity.  We packed up and went there, had dinner, then found out the power was back on at our house and came home. You were an angel throughout.

Wednesday was a busy day for us because we had your 2-month doctor visit to go to.  You gained 2 and a half pounds and now weigh 13 pounds 7 ounces (in the 97th percentile).  You have grown an inch or so in length and are now 24 inches (in the 90th percentile).  You smiled and cooed at the nurses, the doctor, and were especially vocal looking at your own reflection in the large mirror that runs along the examining table.  When you got three shots, you cried for about 5 seconds until mommy picked you up.  Then you looked at the nurse who had given them to you and flashed her a great big smile.  Yet again, you were such an angel.

After the doctor's office we headed to the accountant's office to get mommy and daddy's taxes done.  Not only were you well-behaved while we were there, you also were a great help since you were born on December 30th as opposed to, oh, say, January 1st.  Next we hit a grocery store where you looked around with interest.  Then it was to Target to look for a couple of specific things, but mommy ended up getting sucked into a section of super cute spring baby dresses and had a hard time not buying one of everything.  After an initial fussy period, you slept quietly in your sling.  Have I mentioned that you're an angel?

On Thursday mommy was expecting the worst because the nurse said that your shots could cause you to be  sore, feverish and irritable.  The day was rough, but for a completely different reason.  At about 11am mommy realized the stove wouldn't light and the heater wasn't working because we had run out of gas.  It took many, many phone calls to find out which company is our supplier, and when we did it was too late for same-day delivery.  We'd have had to spend another night without heat, so again we were headed to your great-grandparents' house.  And you?  You didn't fuss all day.  Of course you were an angel.

On the way to your great-grandparents' house we stopped at the high school.  You see, this weekend is the musical "Brigadoon" featuring Aunt Kelsie's hair/makeup stylings and Aunt Bobbie in the starring role of Fiona.  Daddy made a mural to decorate the entryway and we had to drop that off.  While we were there you got so much attention from students and mothers alike, and you had a big smile for each and every one of them.  We decided to hang around to see a little of the rehearsal, and while I fed you in the dark auditorium, you thoughtfully listened to the orchestra.  You're such a musical little angel.

You were well-behaved at your great-grandparents' house as I knew you would be.  They love you so very much and you reciprocate with lots of smiles and giggles.  Yet again you slept well while mommy did the pretzel twist thing.  We woke to the news of a terrible earthquake in Japan and, heavy-hearted, headed home.  We only knew that the gas delivery would be sometime between 9am and 4pm, so we expected we might have to find ways to keep you warm in the interim, but when we pulled in the driveway at 8:50 the truck was already there.  Not that I was worried, since you're a tough little angel.

After filling our tank the delivery man went down into the basement to check our hot water heater and told us we'd better come take a look.  As has been the case in many houses around here this week, ours was starting to flood.  The unique problem, though, was that the water was pouring in through our breaker box.  He pointed out the lucky coincidence that, while he was blocking our shared driveway to pump the gas, an electrician's van had come down from one of the houses above and was waiting to be let out.  Mommy ran outside to ask for their help.  You waited patiently inside, my little angel.

The electricians moved the wires out of the way of the flowing water and made sure there was no risk of shorts or electrocution.  They diagnosed the problem as a crack in the conduit bringing the wires from the landlady's house to our cottage.  That is a large span, and we're not sure if or how we'll ever find the crack.  Daddy started a one-man bucket brigade to keep the basement from really filling up while we thought about how to deal with this problem.  Eventually we used a big container and a pump borrowed from Stan to get the water out.  You were a little fussy, but overall still an angel.

Last night, for the first time, mommy left your side to go see the musical.  Daddy was on his own with you for about three and a half hours.  And what did you do?  You slept like an angel for all but the last ten minutes or so.  This week you've been shuffled around from place to place, slept in three beds that weren't your own, been held and cooed at by all kinds of people you didn't know, been away from your mommy for the first time, gotten vaccines in your little legs, and had to cope with the cold of unheated homes during a blackout.  And you were better than I've ever seen you.

You.  Are.  Truly.  An.  Angel.


And especially now as more and more news becomes available and we learn just how tragic the situation in Japan is, we realize how fortunate we are to be dealing with these relatively small problems.  Who cares if we've got puddles in our basement when at least we still have a roof over our heads?  Who cares if we weren't able to shower when at least we knew our water would come back on sooner than later?  And who cares if we were stressed out being cooped up in close quarters without heat or electricity when at least we are all still here to be cooped up together?

Mommy started out this post to be about you and how unbelievably calm you have been during this trying week.  Although you've never been a fussy baby by any stretch, you've really outdone yourself with your continuous smiles and cooing, and mommy has found herself saying to you over and over again, "You are amazing!"  But another important message has hit home for us, too.  We are lucky to have such an agreeable baby, but we are also just lucky to have each other.  We are lucky that no family members or friends in Japan have been lost.

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the earthquake. 皆様のご無事を心からお祈り申し上げます。

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The festival of dolls

*English speakers please scroll down to continue reading :)

おばあちゃん、誕生日おめでとうございます。そしてステキなお雛様のお人形、日本のおもちゃやお菓子をありがとう。これからもますます元気でいてください。おじいちゃんとおばあちゃんに会える日が楽しみです。日本にもいつか行きます。  まや

Dear Maya,
Today was Hinamatsuri in Japan, translated as the Doll Festival or commonly known as Girls' Day.  We may have been far from Japan, but we did it up good!  Mommy made the traditional chirashizushi, or scattered sushi.  Your grandparents in Japan sent you your own small set of dolls.  Often girls are given a large set of hinaningyo dolls that are displayed on seven tiers, but luckily the ones they sent were an abbreviated version as we wouldn't have had room for a full display.  Regardless of the size, they are beautiful!

Since you arrived in our lives, mommy has been bitten by a domestic bug, and decided to sew (!!!) an outfit for you for this festival.  Girls in Japan usually dress more formally, but traditional kimono are way too complicated and uncomfortable for an infant as little as you.  Therefore, mommy managed to put together this sweet little happi for you, and is quite proud of herself for doing so, I might add.  

You didn't seem to mind wearing it at all, even when daddy added the twisted fabric headband.


The full set of dolls in these pictures belong to our landlady. 
Between them, the cushions and the tatami mats, it looks like we're in Japan!

Your grandparents also sent three ornaments that feature adorable babies on strings.  Mommy has long been a huge fan of anything made out of chirimen (Japanese crepe material) and so loved them at first sight.  It wasn't until the next day that I realized they were what I had been waiting for--I had been putting off making a mobile for over your bed until I found just the right unique and special things to hang from it, and now here they were.  And you seem to like them quite a bit. 

Well, my left arm is numb from your weight as I type this with my right hand only, so I think I'll go put you in bed.  Love you!

P.S.  The beginning of this post was a message from Maya for her Japanese grandmother's birthday.  It says, "Grandma, happy birthday.  Thank you for the wonderful dolls, Japanese toys and snacks.  Please take care of yourself.  I can't wait to meet you.  I will come to Japan soon.  Maya" 
P. P. S. Maya's Japanese grandmother loves owls.