Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Little Outing

Yesterday we ventured out in to the Kobe Flower and Bird Park. It's a huge greenhouse with plants, flowers, fish and birds! It was very interactive for Maximo. We had a nice buffet lunch there, which was nice, and we don't think we made too many faux pas while we were eating there.

Kobe Flower and Bird Park - Dec 09

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Fly on the Wall

Here are some snippets of our Christmas morning.
Max loves everything "boy" - dinosaurs, trains and construction,
so he made out well.
It was a nice low-key Christmas just the three of us.

And a couple of pictures from today:

I made play dough - edible of course, because, well... Max always has to try everything, usually by putting it in his mouth (I thought we were past this stage, but he actually didn't eat any - he only licked one piece). I set him up at the table, gave him some kitchen utensils, a popsicle stick and some cookie cutters and he played for an hour and a half!
We've never seen anything keep his attention for so long!

In my head, I always hear "Mama Says Knock You Out"
when I see a hoodie sweatshirt.
He helped water the plants this afternoon
and came in soaking wet and shivering,so we had to bundle him up!
P.S. Denis, he LOVES the slippers, thank you!

And to report important news, since this is somewhat of a "baby book"... Today we said bye-bye to his "pons" - chupons... pacifiers. We've had a few tears, but he went to bed fairly well, we'll see what tonight brings. He's been using one since he was about a year old but only when he slept or we were traveling. We've been really ready to get rid of them, but was glad he had a little something extra to help him keep it together during the move and transitioning here. Hopefully it'll continue to go smoothly - though I know I usually curse myself when I post something on the blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!

First, let me apologize for the bazillion pictures I have/will post in the next 24 hours. This really feels like our first Christmas with Maximo. The one where the Christmas magic (and the lies) begin. His first year was a blur, last year we went to Machu Picchu and didn't even put the tree up.

He still doesn't totally get all of it, and told me "No!" when I said Santa was coming tonight.

No, you don't have to sit on his lap today and smile through the tears for another photo, all you have to do is go to bed, sleep through the night, preferably to about 7:30ish (ha!) and then you'll have a bounty of presents under the tree!

Yesterday we went to Harborland on our quest to learn about more about Japan, especially the city we are living in and have explored very little of since we arrived. It's a labyrinth of stores that ends up outside (at a harbor, hence the name) where there are more stores AND some rides, the best being the 200 Yen Thomas ride.
Today, we lounged around, finished some shopping, then had our Christmas Eve dinner. We have been tossing around ideas about what to make - we wanted it to be special, but there's no sense in making a whole roast for just us three... And it turned out very special. We sat around sipping from my great grandmother's crystal, eating Kobe beef with blue cheese butter, smashed potatoes, salad and red wine. We really had a nice time, Max sat like a big boy and enjoyed the extra props of the candles and his "special glass".
A meal fit for a king - bite sized.

We tried for 5 minutes to use the timer to get a family picture.
We finally decided to enjoy our dinner and not worry about the picture!

We think Kobe beef should be our new Christmas Eve tradition.

We've played Santa already which was fun, but we realize that this job will get more and more difficult as he stays up later and we can't just keep things in the back of our closet. We assembled his tool bench at 7:15, just fifteen minutes after putting him to bed, that won't be the case ever again, we're sure.
The stockings are too swollen to be hung.
Wine for Santa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Love, Maximo

(Love, Maximo in Japanese)

Maximo wanted to make his own additions to the Christmas tree - washcloths!

Today, we put Maximo in day care for a half a day. Just writing that makes me cringe, BUT... I was able to put together a gift bag for his senseis, we were able to do some things around the house, and he was able to play with his friends and keep his routine. He will not be going back until January 5th, so don't stone me!

We put together a goodie bag for his senseis, full of faux-gingerbread cookies (I forgot to add the ginger, but they turned out okay), Starbucks giftcards, chocolates and a letter from Max. It's hard to get his teachers gifts because:
1. I don't know all their names
2. There are about 5 (or 6?) regular teachers, but many we see on and off.

I wanted to write a little letter from Maximo and then decided to go all out and translate it and write the characters. I'm sure it reads all strange like:

Senseis Dearests,
Thanking you for my happy days and for me moving to Japan. Christmas Merry and New Year Happy!

Love, Maximo
(okay, that wasn't too bad, though I'm sure the iTranslator is a bit awkward).My first ever batch of (faux) gingerbread. It was pretty easy. I like recipes where I can do the messy part the day before and refrigerate! Yesterday, at IKEA, I bought an outdoor animal cookie cutter set - who doesn't need moose, porcupine, bear, squirrel and snail cookies?

And our budding genius reading his favorite book this week, Dinosaur Roar.

dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak
dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek
dinosaur fast, dinosaur s-l-o-w
dinosaur above, dinosaur below
dinosaur weak, dinosaur strong (with hand pumping fists)
dinosaur short(didn't come out right), or very, very long
dinosaur fat, dinosaur tiny
dinosaur clean, dinoaur (Ewww, bath) - should be slimy
dinosaur sweet, dinosaur grumpy
dinosaur spiky, dinosaur lumpy
all sorts of dinosaurs eating their lunch (all I can hear is lunch)
gobble, gobble, (nibble, nibble, munch, munch,) scrunch
(Then he points out the Mommy and Daddy dinosaurs
- everything has a Mommy and Daddy these days)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Feliz Año, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc.

I have been working for hours trying to get our Christmas card made. The other night, I gave up because I was tired. I thought I couldn't find a solution because I was tired... but I think it's the Kodak website.

For a few years, it has allowed me to make my own card, upload it, then the nice people at Kodak would individually ship them to my recipient list (which is a huge favor when living overseas, though a bit more expensive). This year, they are not so nice. I don't know if they are calling it something else or have stopped offering this service, but I am tired of trying to figure it out! I could have hand delivered them by now. Therefore, this is what it is supposed to look like. Those of you on my list, you will get something, I assure you, what it will be remains uncertain.
(Take 1)

(Take 3)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Life is Like in December

Pretend sleeping with Flavius.
Flavius is the most patient (or most desperate for cuddles) cat I've ever met!
Just a quick post to share Max's cute voice and counting/pet-loving/washing skills. Enjoy.

If we don't get him over the hump of 1-2-3, it usually turns into 1-2-14-15-16.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa, Baby

On Sunday, some of the teachers and their kids had a brunch and Santa stopped by for a visit with big bags of loot! Max was a bit scared of Santa, but bravely fought back tears and sat in his lap after he got his present.

Denis & Max

Playing with his dinosaur puzzle from Santa and DD's trucks too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


This is our forecast for the end of this week:

SEE THE SNOWMEN??? We haven't lived somewhere with snow in years. I can't tell you the last time I enjoyed snow. Maybe ten years ago when John and I were visiting my family and we went sledding in an inch of snow on the hill in their backyard.

This may not be great for many of our friends who are flying out on Friday and Saturday, but it'll hopefully be fun for us! We can't wait for Maximo to go play in the snow.

He loves his book, The Snowy Day. Hopefully he'll get to play in the snow like Peter.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ode to a Peanut Blossom

Gone are the days of the pop open paper - (WOW! To reveal a picture of a toy drum) Advent Calendars. Not really. We actually have one, and I remember fighting my sister to open the door to find things such as cardinals, tops, and bells.

We don't really like the chocolate advent calendars, because we didn't want Max to eat a chocolate every morning either, so those were out. Swirling on the internet are ideas of Activity Advents or Holiday Activity Calendars, so after reading a bunch of cool ideas on the internet and being inspired by Celia's Activity and Book Calendar, I started the search for a holiday calendar for Los Lemleys.

I'm not crafty and don't have a ton of time, so making one was not really an option. We're not religious, so I didn't want one smattered with the nativity or baby Jesus, so after looking and looking, I found one on Pottery Barn. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I talked myself into it quickly, since we'd be using it for years and years to come.We received two packages from Nana on Thursday which were fun to open and it included some of my favorite Yankee Candle holiday scents, our new Rudolph tree topper and the calendar.

I'd like to have an activity every day. Since we got this late, I'm not sure if I'm going to make it happen during the week, since those days are hectic.

Our activity yesterday was just a Fun Family Friday: John made pizzas (with Italian sausage- YUM!), then we sat down as a family and watch Curious George's A Very Monkey Christmas which Max enjoyed.

Today I made, my favorite... and an American classic - to me it stands up there with hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie. The delicious PEANUT BLOSSOM. Who doesn't like a Hershey's Kiss nestled smuggly on top of a peanut butter cookie? WE DO, WE DO!

Last night we tried to go to the Luminary in Kobe, but as we stumbled out of the train station, we met a wall of people. There was a two hour wait in a line moving as slow as molasses to the beginning of the luminary, so we skirted around it, walked down the only creepy alley in all of Japan, parked the crew on a curb, ate cookies, watched a street performer, then headed home. John and I got on the wrong train, so our trip home was a little longer, but we vowed to learn the rails a bit more over the vacation!

Monday, December 07, 2009

We've Got Spirit, How 'Bout You?

HO! Ho! HO!

This weekend was full of holiday cheer. We spent Saturday around the house and when Max woke up, he and I did a Christmas craft - painting a candy cane. He loves to paint, so we put his easel out on the back porch, gave him some red paint, a sponge and brush and he was content forever (side note - forever to a toddler and one's parents is about 45 minutes). There's actually one more step, which is to glue cotton "stripes"on the painted cane, but he doesn't love glue - he hates the feeling of it on his hands, so we just left that step out. Then, he got to EAT his first candy cane, which he loved! When the candy cane dried, we threw it up on the tree.

On Sunday, we invited over a few friends to decorate gingerbread houses. We had a lot of fun! We quickly realized that the little ones should just play with a 2-D cookie (i.e. one side of the house) because the adults could barely put together one of the houses. Maximo did more eating then decorating, and got frustrated with the Hershey kiss wrapper and decided that it wasn't going to get in the way of his chocolate, so in his mouth it went. Luckily a friend's child let me know and we fished foil out of Max's mouth.
2 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (in the crib)

It was a fun afternoon with a full house of Christmas cheer balanced with chaos (11 kids worth of mayhem)- isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Because You're Dying To Know

What goes on in a Japanese daycare...

We continue to love Max's daycare although some days I feel like that love is not reciprocated. Not because they aren't loving to Maximo or because they aren't kind to us. They are both of those things. It's just that he has had some issues lately at school, as I've mentioned before and I hold my breath every day when I ask the senseis how his day went. Today was one of those good days when he didn't bite anyone or scratch a baby. Honestly, what more could a mother want?

A few weeks ago, his sensei handed us a DVD and showed us a sign-up sheet. We soon figured that it was a video of the kids and we could sign it out for 48 hours. They filmed a day at the daycare. It's quite cute. I made a copy of it and cut it up a bit (since it was about 40 minutes long) to highlight our shining star.

And, voila... It wasn't the best quality video to begin with, then I converted it, and cut it and didn't add transitions, so hopefully it won't make you too nauseous to watch it!

Here is a day in the life of Maximo at "school"- Yume Club.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

'Tis the Season

For sickness and holiday cheer.

As soon as we celebrated Thanksgiving, we put up our tree. On Monday, we opened up the Christmas box - Pop's (my grandfather) old army foot locker. We pulled out all the ornaments, Christmas books and stockings and started to spread it around the house.

We've had a bit of a rough week. Max's daycare called on Tuesday afternoon saying that he had a fever and he kept a fever through Thursday night. It hasn't returned, but he's now puked a couple of times and he does not feel well and it's been a bit rough around the house - lots of tears, cuddles and movies and we're trying to keep him hydrated and eating Saltines.

We made sugar cookie dough yesterday, when he seemed to be doing better so Max and I could make cookies today. He helped make them, but couldn't even finish one because he was feeling so bad today.
A true sign of a sick kid.Needless to say we won't be sharing this batch with our friends.

While he was sleeping today, I made fudge for a cookie exchange tonight.
One of my childhood favorites!