Nap Time Changes Make a Grouchy Baby!

So I really can’t complain. My child is a sleeping champ. I actually just put her down wide awake without a sign of sleepiness in sight and she was fast asleep in 5 minutes. With that being said…her sleeping patterns are changing so fast!

First, let me remind you of her old habits. She normally would get up around 5:45-6am. She has a bottle every 3 hours. It used to be at her 9am-ish bottle she would fall asleep for 30-45 minutes. A little mini nap. Then at her noon bottle it would be hit or miss whether she would nap. There was usually an hour long nap in there somewhere. You could just never be quite sure when. Because of this she would be exhausted and ready for bed a lot of days by 5:30pm. This was always kind of sucky when I worked. I would get her around 4pm and she would be ready for bed so quick. It was like we never got to see her!

Well now it looks like she is going to the big girl nap schedule and taking just one long one a day. She acts pretty sleepy at her 9am bottle but hasn’t been actually falling asleep. At her noon bottle though she will go down for usually an hour and 45 minutes. I do like this better. It means I get almost 2 hours to pick up the house she has managed to destroy in the 6 hours she has been awake. This can also be used as workout time and starting next week I will be back in school as well.

And I wish it ended there…but that pesky time from her 9am bottle until her noon bottle…she is a grouchy mess! I understand she is making a pretty huge transition with this change but wow. She loses her mind over everything. She drops her toy and bursts into tears! I think being a new walker has a large part of this grumpiness as well. I have read as children are starting to develop and learn new big milestones, their minds are just overwhelmed with all the new developments.

I am hoping in another week or so she is used to these new changes. For now, I just play her some Baby Einstein and play with her as much as possible to keep her occupied. Fingers crossed the adjustment period goes quickly for all of us!

Cultural Tour of Japan…Part II

Last I left you we were heading out of Misawa to Hachinohe to visit a temple and go to the fish market. The guides kept calling it a temple but from what I have read it was actually a Shinto shrine. I’m not super familiar with these religions so I can’t be for sure.

So when we got there we were taught how to complete a purification ritual prior to entering the shrine. In order to enter the shrine this is a requirement. However, they did express if this were to go against your religious beliefs you did not HAVE to participate. Below you will see a picture of Nick doing the purification. What happens is you pick up the wooden ladle shown with your right hand. You fill it with water. The water was FREEZING by the way! You will then rinse your left hand, switch hands, rinse your right hand, switch hands, and rinse your mouth from the ladle. You will then rinse the hand that you used to rinse your mouth with.Do not drink directly from the ladle! At this time you will take the ladle in both hands and slowly raise it in front of you emptying the remaining water from it.

At this point you are allowed to enter the shrine. Below is the entrance to the shrine. It is called the Torii. It is only appropriate to enter a shrine through the Torii. A Torii is a wooden structure and will usually be painted orange and black. You will see in the pictures above and below that there are white pieces of paper hanging from a rope on the structure. These are there to mark the entrance of something sacred.

image4-2

Once inside you can throw a coin into the offering box and have a short prayer. We did not participate in this particular portion. The way shrines are different from the traditional church I am used to is pretty extensive. A shrine is not a place where worship or services take place. I equate it to much more like meditation. The inside of the shrine is typically where the sacred object is located. We were not authorized to enter. We did see a few young babies there. Newborns will often be taken to the shrine at a few weeks old for a blessing. They said sometimes weddings will also take place there.

One of the other things that you can often do at the shrine is receive your fortune. You can pay anywhere from 1-5$ to get your fortune. In the picture below you will see that you can also leave the fortune behind by hanging it up on the teepee like structures. The picture on the right is called a Kappa. A Kappa is a Japanese folklore. The green salamander is meant to scare children from swimming in the river and lakes. It is said the Kappa will eat them. Sometimes offerings are even given to the Kappa’s for protection.

The last place we went was the fish market. We bought some more delicious goodies from the fish market. We probably spent $50 alone on pastries 🙂 One whole side was the market and then there were individual stores within as well. It looked like a lot of the local business men and women went here for lunch. We saw a lot of eel and octopus. Octopus is a huge thing here. You will not hear about me partaking in that! The best sweet thing I have had in Japan so far was here. It was like a fried croissant with custard inside. I do not know what it was but I intend to figure out how to make it! It is also apple season here and the one picture below is of the giant apples. There were some that were the size of the baby’s head! Like I said before, it was a great day. It ended with the little girl passing out at the very end and one of the cookies I got had a sweet little message on it 🙂 Stay tuned for more adventures soon. I will say-it seems like we got here right at the end of all the festivals so I do not think I will be able to write about those. Instead we will get to tell you about all of our snow adventures!

 

 

Cultural Tour of Japan…Part I

So today the base sent us on a free little tour of the local area here in Japan. I really had no idea what to expect but it was actually really awesome and informative. It was so informative that I am going to split it up into two blogs!

We started with a short briefing. During the briefing we were told about a lot of the common courtesies of the area. We were told about not tipping wait staff.  The one thing that was discussed was an Onsen. A Japanese Onsen is a hot bath. It seems weird at first. Why in the world would you go to a public place to get undressed in front of strangers to take a bath? I can do this privately at home! After they described it, it made more sense. The way I interpreted it was more like what we would call a sauna or spa in America. It is meant to just be a relaxing and soothing soak in hot water. Prior to entering an Onsen you wash yourself off (you take your own soap and towels). The one thing that kind of surprised me was the briefer said before going always ask if they allow tattoos. The reason for this is because the Japanese often associate tattoos with members who have been in jail or in the mafia. Tattoos are not considered a popular fashion trend like they are in other parts of the world.

The next place we went was to the Misawa International Center. I am a little uncertain about this particular stop. We honestly did not cover anything there that we did not already know. One thing that we did go over was that the center offers a lot of classes. A few that I am particularly interested in are the language classes and cooking classes. I would LOVE to cook some Yakisoba and Beef and Noodle Bowls.

After the center we went to the Misawa Train Station to learn about purchasing tickets. The reason this is important is because one of the places people want to often visit from where we are located is Tokyo. I asked the question about other options (outside of the train) and was very surprised at the answer. To drive on your own from where we are located is over 8 hours and about $250 in tolls (that’s excluding gas). A plane ticket can range anywhere from $300-600. The “bullet train” known as the Shinkansen, goes about 200 MPH and will get you to Tokyo in under 3 hours. A round trip ticket, per person, on the Shinkansen is around $300. We do not have direct access to the Shinkansen from Misawa but we can take the train from Misawa to Hachinoe and get on the Shinkansen from there. The cheaper option is the “midnight” bus. This is a nighttime bus ride that takes about 12 hours but only cost $50. One thing that hit me while at the train station is the whole country uses a 24 hour clock.

The last place we stopped at in Misawa was the Veedol. To me this was a cross between a flea market, a farmers market, and an indoor strip mall. We had lunch here and bought some DELICIOUS pastries. Again, the sweets in Japan are very different from America. They are not as sweet. Many times the “foundation” of the sweets remind me of a shortbread or butter cookie. Very simple but not super sweet.

For lunch we ordered a value deal of Yakisoba and fried chicken and it was very delicious!

At this point we left Misawa and headed to Hachinohe to the temple and fish market. I’m going to end this particular post here. Keep an eye out for part II more tomorrow!

Diaper Rash, Teething, and a Bumped Head…

…what a way to spend the first week at home with the baby! Whew. As I have mentioned…our baby is a pro sleeper. 11-12 hours a night without waking up. Well, I think all of that finally found a way to be a negative. Yesterday morning I went to change the baby when we first woke up. Well at 545am I do not turn on too many lights in the house but I could tell she had pooped. What a way to wake up, right? That is a lot to handle before coffee 😉

Well when I went to wipe her she cried out in pain. The day before she had pooped three times and started getting a little red on her bottom so I had been using rash cream throughout the day but didn’t think much else about it. I think she must have went to the bathroom shortly after we had put her down because it was pretty dried up. I think that is what caused the rash. Well I got her cleaned up but she cried the whole time. It was SO red down there! I can say that was one of the hardest things I have done since being a mom. Inflicting pain on your child is in no way fun!

I monitored it throughout the day and when she would pee I would just dab her dry and used cream but she still cried in pain each time. Well the dreaded poop came. Nick had got home by this time and he sat at the top of her head while I cleaned her up as gently as possibly. Then we noticed the rash was bleeding and immediately made her an appointment to see the doctor.

In the meantime I did what every first time mom does-I googled. Many results came up. What we decided to do was let her soak in a bath in warm water. After that I let her air out for about 30 minutes or so. I then put A+D cream on her and then put baby powder over that. This morning it was SO much better. We still kept the doctors appointment though just to verify no infection was present. There was no infection! The doctor recommended using neosporin, a lot of air dry time, and no wipes. If she pees just let it air out and if she poops just use a wet cloth to clean her up. The doctor also took a look in her mouth and saw her 9th tooth popping through and swollen gums around a few others. She said teething can often cause some diarrhea which then leads to diaper rash.

To top off the night…she managed to knock herself over the head. Her walker is packed up and she was pushing her stroller around like it was a walker and it fell down on her right eye. She has a little bruise now. At first I thought she landed on the back of her head and I was so freaked out.

We did end the night on a good note, though! I was washing her bottles and I hear something and I turned around and she walked to me from the other room! She has only walked back and forth between the two of us previously so this was a big deal! So much excitement, so little time.

Babies and Dogs

As the baby comes up on being the big one (NOOOO) I have been posting a lot of pictures of her “playing” with one of our dogs. Let’s be honest, people always love pictures of babies and pets. It also raises the question of: how did you introduce and adjust the dogs to the baby. Let me tell you how we did it!

We have two larger dogs (60 and 70 lbs), Gilly and Rosie. Gilly was adopted from an animal shelter and Rosie is a legit rescued dog. As in, abandoned in the woods and I brought her home. For this reason, Rosie is our lover pup. She wants to be pet and loved on ALL the time. Gilly is very aloof and la-di-da.

I think a misconception is that the adjustment happens immediately. For us, that was not the case. Until the baby started moving I don’t think the dogs cared either way. Well, they did look a little stressed on the days she cried a lot 😉 but that wasn’t often. A lot of the pictures I have are with the baby and Gilly. This is because Rosie usually immediately runs away if the baby comes after her. I think if the baby could pet her, it would be different.

There was one time the baby went to Gilly while she was sleeping and Gilly jumped up and growled. We can neither be mad at Gilly or the baby for this! What we do now is if we see the baby going for either dog we immediately say the dogs name to wake them up and then they decide whether they want to run or not. Rosie gets up and leaves 95% of the time. Gilly will usually hang out and see what’s going to happen.

When the baby is near either of the dogs we try to stay right there with them and pet the dog and reassure them with “good girl, Gilly” and pet them while the baby is crawling on them. Generally, the baby squeals at them, gives them a few pats, and moves on.

We try to make sure once the baby is in bed (or playing) we give the dogs plenty of attention. I have had Gilly for almost 7 years and Rosie about 5.5 years so it’s important for them to not feel forgotten.

Rosie is a licker. It is very bad. We will let her get a few licks in and then usually have to force her to stop. She would lick that baby raw if we let her!

What we did/do is really fairly simple. Both of our dogs do really well with the baby and we have a GREAT and easy baby. If it seems the dogs are irritated with her we simply move her, give her a new toy to play with, and again verbally assure the dog that they did nothing wrong.

I will say, if the dogs are eating or have treats we do not allow the baby anywhere near them. Other than that we really try to let the dogs decide whether they feel like dealing with her. Once the dogs walk away the baby rarely chases them down. She just finds something else to terrorize 😦

I imagine the relationship between the baby and the dogs will change drastically over the years. At this point I just have no idea how! I do believe that Rosie will like her a lot more when she is actually able to pet and play with her!

At Home 20 Minute Workout Challenge

I will start by saying…I am a runner. I do not like any other form of “working out.” I like hiking, swimming, walks, that sort of thing. But I highly doubt you will see me in a gym. I know, weight lifting and strength training is important. I really do know that. So no lectures, please 🙂 When I lost a lot of weight many years ago some weights were involved but it was mainly using my own body weight as resistance.

With us being 4 weeks out from Thanksgiving I wanted to take a proactive approach and just shred the weight I may gain. I found some 20 minute at home workouts on Pinterest that I think are completely achievable and doable during nap times and after bedtime. I have created an event for this to encourage anyone to join, should they wish! Just look for my Facebook page and you will find it!

I am going to include before, progress, and after pictures as well. The movers still have not delivered our things so I do not have a scale in my house so I am going to try to swing by the gym and get my starting weight as well. I am a little scared about this…we have not been eating very well for about a month with the moving shenanigans!

One thing I am also committing to is taking a picture in the same location and in the same outfit for my before, progress, and after photos. I am also going to wear some shorts that have an elastic band and aren’t lose. I feel like these are “tricks” those fitness guru’s often use to make it look like more was accomplished than really was. I want to point out…I do not know the person who made these workouts so I cannot say whether they are legit or not! I may not lose anything or tone anything!

Below are the workouts I am going to do. I am going to attempt to do cardio everyday, rotate core, lower, and upper then finish on Saturdays with just the “everything” workout.

I will do another blog at the end of the first week (next Thursday) with my before and first progress photos!

Since I am so far ahead in time of most of my friends completing this with me I may also do some videos showing modifications if some of the moves seem too difficult for any beginners. I can’t wait to see the results!

An Accidental Stay-at-Home Mom

As most of you know, the military recently relocated us to Japan. We are extremely excited for all the changes that come along with this move. One of the big changes is that I am currently not working. I am applying for jobs and hope to be working soon. Until then, my job is wife and mommy!

For those who are stay-at-home moms and infant childcare givers-you are amazing. After working for the last 14 plus years this is a really big adjustment for me and for our family. The biggest thing I am making sure to do is enjoy this while it lasts. While I have no intentions of staying at home permanently, I know that there are a lot of moms who would love to have this opportunity. I even recall bawling on the way home from picking her up from daycare those first few times. So I know I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mom at one point.

More than anything-I am terrified. Since she was 8 weeks old I haven’t been with her 24/7. Of course I have had her on my own many times. Weekends, days off, etc. The weather is still decent and there is a playground right outside of our building. I am excited to try that out! I may also seek some mom groups. I feel so ridiculous even saying that! I used to think that was so snooty. Moms meeting at the playground to gossip while their children play. Now I realize how important socialization and interaction with other children is. I get the feeling about once a day that my daughter is SO bored with me 🙂 As a mom I want to make sure I am giving her every opportunity to grow and develop as I can. I know she will not get that by sitting at home with just me all day, everyday!

I will, obviously, keep you posted on our mommy/daughter adventures. She has this thing where she crawls in my lap to sit and play. That is the picture below. She brought her little crab and a picture of herself along today. She is waving-that is the blurriness around her hand.

fullsizerender-9

If any of my stay-at-home moms have some tips-I welcome them!

Fall Baking-Pumpkin Bread!

I know I may get stabbed for this, but I just do not get the pumpkin craze. I really don’t. But before you come after me with pitchforks…there are two things pumpkin that I like. Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer and my husband’s grandmothers pumpkin bread! I, unfortunately, never had the honor of meeting his grandma but I LOVE that I get that opportunity to continue to share her memory by making my family one of her beloved recipes. Note: I made sure to clear it with my sister-in-law before sharing this 🙂

For my baking handicapped friends, do not fear! This is a very simple recipe! I do not even have dishes and bowls and I managed! That leads me into-don’t laugh at my pot and plastic fork! I was determined to make this bread today! I improvised admirably, if I do say so myself!

My daughter was just not having a nap today but was also managing to entertain herself quite well so I thought this chilly day would pair well with this beloved family favorite!

See below for the full ingredients list and instruction.

fullsizerender-8                   img_0073

This is what the first step will look like.        This will be when all ingredients are combined.

The consistency of this batter is no where close to a “normal” bread dough so do not freak out! To me it seems somewhere in between a cake and brownie batter consistency and will be somewhat sticky.

Since we do not have our dishes/pots/pans yet I bought an aluminum loaf pan. They were pretty small and I did not want to mess up my bread so I used two to be on the safe side. In the end: they made more like mini loaves. If you have a normal bread pan you will only need one!

What I used:                                                                  Divided into two.

image3                    image4

So here is where it may get tricky for some of my non-baking friends…baking time. Please watch closely. It is going to depend completely on your loaf pan size and oven! The recipe itself says 1 hour and 15 minutes. For these two mini pans it only took 27 minutes. In my old oven I believe it was around 65 minutes. I would always set a timer to 50 minutes and then check every 5 minutes. The last thing you want is to ruin your bread by over baking. Today I set the timer for 45 minutes but went off the ole “when you start to smell it, it is almost done” rule and sure enough…it was done!

Finished product: I should note, my husband has not tasted it yet…but myself and the baby did and we approve!

image5

Recipe and Directions:

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup oil (I used good ole vegetable oil)

1/4 cup water

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 2/3 cup flour

Mix eggs, sugar, and pumpkin. Blend in oil and water. Add all remaining ingredients. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Week One, down!

In a few hours we will have been in Japan for a whole week! I think we are pretty adjusted on sleep. Last night I went to bed around 10pm and was awake around 545am. We never sleep much past 6am since the baby was born so that seems pretty good!

We went to a Yen store yesterday and it was pretty much the greatest thing ever! The one we went to was called Daiso. The American equivalent to this is a Dollar store, so think Dollar General or Family Dollar. So family, be ready for tons of goodies from there! We loaded up on junk food to see what types of Japanese goodies are our favorite! The one thing I noticed right away is the “sweets” here are nothing like the sweets in America. Although I still consider them “junk” food, the sugar content is nothing like I am used to.

fullsizerender-7

One thing that struck me as comical was in the parking lot of the Yen store was a lottery machine. When we were parking I could here something and I was thinking “what is that?” Well I look up and it is a little lottery machine in a vestibule with speakers on the outside blaring a voice!

fullsizerender-6

I have talked a lot about driving so far. Below is a picture of the first little intersection off the base. The red triangle is the stop sign. You can see on the pavement the white diamonds. In the states those indicate a carpool lane. Here those mean that a pedestrian crosswalk is coming up.

fullsizerender-5

Another thing (I don’t have a picture…yet!) that is very common here are vending machines in the middle of nowhere. There could be absolutely NOTHING but there is a drink machine! There is one right outside our door in our building…they have this coffee I LOVE. It is called Georgia. The vending machines seem similarly priced as American, I think. We did not really have iced coffee in cans in vending machines there! But the ones here cost the equivalent of $1.30.

With baby girl about to turn 1 (AHHHH) I will be leaning more towards posts on mommy hood here soon. I also have a few other things I want to blog about. One is I am doing Scarlett’s one year photos and smash cake myself so I will be writing about that and showing you how simple it is to do some of these things on your own. I know getting pictures taken and ordering cakes can be an expensive cost…that we do not always have! Stay tuned on how to save some of that money!

Our First Eating Adventures in Japan

I will start by saying…for those of you who do not know me well…I hate not knowing what is going on. I also do not like feeling like I am offending someone. I have definitely felt both of those ways within the last two days! By saying it is overwhelming to be in a country that you do not know the language or the common courtesies is an understatement. For this, I am thankful for my husband. He is not gun shy and will jump right in and figure things out. I am so scared of accidentally offending someone that I just freeze and would rather leave than feel awkward.

The first place we went to yesterday was one of those sushi places where it goes around the room and you just grab what you want off of the conveyer belt as it goes by you. The excitement in my husbands eyes was so hilarious. He had been talking about one of these places since we found out we were coming to Japan. Me-I was terrified. Haha. Thankfully he figured out how to change our electronic menu to English. He took over and just ordered us a bunch of stuff. When you order from the menu it comes out to you on a little alligator. It was adorable. The picture below shows the fries we ordered for Scarlett on the alligator.

We ordered a kids meal for Scarlett and it came with real (raw) sushi, one chicken nugget, a few french fries and some juice.

Today the place we went I enjoyed MUCH more. I was still a little overwhelmed and this was because Scarlett was due a bottle and trying to ask for hot water when no one speaks English is not fun! They had an English menu, also. From the very few places I have seen, it looks like most of the places that are right here around the base in Misawa City have English as well. Which is very helpful! The place we went is called Sukiya. It is a Japanese “fast food” place and it was so delicious! We both had a beef bowl. They also have curry, eel, and a dish called gyudon-which is beef and onions. I want to try that the next time we go. Although we have not went to a “real” restaurant yet, the one thing I have noticed is there were buttons at both places at the individual tables to “call” when we were ready to order/pay/needed assistance.

img_0028

The one thing that has been told to us repeatedly is that it is considered rude to tip here. It is an insult to the service they have provided you. This will save Nick and I SO much money. We were already very good at tipping and had become even better since having a child. That kid destroys the table everywhere we go!

I am not only excited to keep visiting the local places but also very excited to learn how to cook a few Japanese dishes!