Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Hasn't Even Begun, but We're DONE!

We've carved a jack o 'lantern, we've made Halloween art, we've dressed up, and have eaten tons of sweets.

Carving a pumpkin with John - although Max was too delicate to get dirty.

It's only October 30th, but we've packed away the costume and are done with Halloween for 2010.

Last night, Maximo participated on our apartment complex's trick-or-treating. It was very organized and precise: Three teams of kids with adult chaperones. A map with locations and order of apartments to go visit. Candy bagged by parents handed in early and then distributed to be passed out (I didn't get my bags back). Three doorbell rings. Twenty-two bags. Not a bag leftover. Precision.
John went out with Max and all the Japanese moms and I stayed home to pass out the candy. Max had a grand old time and only asked for candy as soon as he got home. He's forgotten about it since. He was cute and had fun with the pack of kids.
Max and John's group's map:There's another Halloween party for the Canadian Academy families tonight, but Max is a bit under the weather, it's a dreary day and John has been superman as it is and I'd hate for him to have to do one more trick-or-treat. And really, does Maximo need to trick or treat 3 times?

It's glad we're retiring the T-Rex costume, as it was a bit small (although it said 3-4T on Amazon), especially around the crotch. It looked a bit like a banana hammock. I'm a little sad we didn't take a close up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Difference Between a Japanese and Expat Halloween

Here is what we are bringing to each:
Can you tell which one is for which?

Answer: Japan is about everything cute. The cute jack-o-lantern baggies are for the trick-or-treating around our apartment complex on Friday night (that I need to turn in early). The other for CA teachers' kids to go trick-or-treating. These will get dumped in a bowl and passed out from someone's doorway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing Around

I have so much extra time on my bottom these days, so I often get lost on the internet with about 20 tabs open on my web browser as I find new things - cool tech gadgets, Christmas present ideas, craft ideas, recipes... you name it.

Here's one I found today that'll maybe jazz up my pictures from time to time (let's see what it looks like when I publish it!). I used

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Do You Wear to A Wedding...

that you're attending virtually?

Pete and Elvia's wedding was in Mexico, so we figured we could get away with more casual attire:

Excuse the bandaid on his head. He bumped his head and insisted on wearing one, although there isn't even a bruise or a scratch on his head. We go through bandaids in this house like toilet paper.

Unfortunately, the Skype worked beautifully inside, BUT it was too bright outside (the ceremony was on the beach), so all we could see was this:
So we finally gave up after Cousins Skip and Jan tinkered with it for almost an hour. Jan sent us pictures intermittently with her cellphone which was nice. It looked like a fabulous day for all!

Congrats Pete and Elvia! We love you!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween 2010 - Take 1

Today was Maximo's first of three Halloween events (if we make it to them all). We're going to get the most out of this year's costume, unfortunately it's a tad small.

They had a party at his daycare which turned into a bit of a parade around island with places to stop and pick up candy.I ventured the block to his daycare to partake in the festivities at school (which I'm paying for a bit now). Then, John met us after he was done with work so he could help out as the kids paraded on island to trick or treat.

Maximo was a mess when I arrived at Yume Club. I think they woke him up from his nap and everyone in costumes and the change in routine was freaking him out. After fifteen minutes of crying, one of his senseis and I persuaded him to get into his dinosaur costume and have a snack before heading out. He then had another meltdown and refused to go into the "adult day services therapy center" downstairs from Yume Club, but joined the rest of the gang to get candy.
My halloween "candy" contribution - a lot more effort than I had intended.
Rice Krispie Pumpkins (with homemade fondant stems and leaves).

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Decision

Well, the doctor made the decision for us at my last visit. She said that she didn't think it was wise for me to keep working since I was continuing to have contractions. So, my agonizing over making the decision, was brought to an end. I appreciate all of our friends and family who gave us their thoughts, which overwhelmingly were "STOP WORKING!". This doesn't mean I don't feel guilty about my students, but they'll survive. A good substitute has been hired for the rest of the year, so hopefully I can tie up all my loose ends in the next week or two (and complete my report cards) and have a little closure with that.

So, what else did the doctor say? Lola is doing well. She's growing and is measuring over four pounds! Yipee! I was still having contractions, so the doctor told me to just stay on the anti-contraction medication until my c-section. Yesterday, my contractions seem to go away a bit. Today, I've had a few, but not like I was having. My cervix is still long and closed, so the stitches are doing their job.

BUT, of course there's a but, there is some concern that my uterus is adhering to my old c-section scar which could cause problems during my c-section, specifically "massive bleeding". These are two words that really give me the shivers. Like I haven't put my dues in with this pregnancy... so if I make it to my c-section date, then I have to worry about profusely bleeding?? So, the doctors want to have blood on hand, just in case I need a transfusion. They will actually start taking some of my blood in the upcoming weeks to store for my surgery - hopefully they'll just be able to toss it when my surgery is over. Seriously, these Lemley kids are high maintenance from such an early age (but worth it).

I've been sitting around the house, feeling okay. Actually feeling very normal when sitting down, and a bit uncomfortable when I'm walking around, so I hope I'll make it, as long as I take it easy.

I had a lot of questions for the doctor the last visit, many "what ifs". The biggest ones was what if she comes early... well, besides having to deal with another emergency c-section, and premature baby in the NICU, I would not be able to have the baby at the hospital I've been going to (the one 5 minutes from our house) and my doctor would not be the one performing the delivery. She said that she would deliver the baby as early as 34 weeks, but no earlier. In my head, 35 weeks is when I feel we can breathe easier. I hope, I hope, I hope!

Here's me today, @ 31 1/2 weeks (starting to get a little rounder everywhere):

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Lot of Time to Think

Taking it easy is easier said than done when living with a three year old. Maximo loves to be outside and the weather this weekend was gorgeous, but I couldn't enjoy any of it. John has been fantastic about getting Max outside and letting him romp around, which is what he needs, daily... or we have a monster on our hands. For me, I have to get a little more creative with my activities with Maximo. In lieu of watching tv all day, which neither of us wants to do, I'm trying to think of good "sit down" activities for Max and I to do. We spent a half hour on the floor bowling balls into each other to make them crash, which was fun for about the first five minutes.

Then I went to some of my trusty craft/motherhood blogs and found this craft for us to do. Max LOVES marshmallows, so I had to convince him that he had to put down ten marshmallows before he could eat 2 (which usually turned into about 4 he stuffed into his mouth before I could count). He is also recognizing his name and the sounds letters make, which has been fun. Lately, he'll say, "Look, Mommy, M for Max" whenever he sees an 'M' out and about. This is what we created.
And we stuck it on the refrigerator.

Then the next morning when I was distracted and talking to my brother on the phone, I found him licking it and taking little nibbles of the marshmallows (and probably Elmer's glue):

(but of course, I took a picture, before I wrestled it out of his hands)

Today, Max and John went off to school and I stayed home to "take it easy". I feel fine sitting down, although I'm still having an occasional contraction when walking around. I keep changing my mind by the minute as to what I should do about work.

Should I go back? Should I stay home and not risk it? It just feels weird to be at home and feel fairly normal and I am feeling guilty about my students and my obligations as a teacher. Some minutes I've convinced myself that I just need to stay home regardless of how I feel and the next, I'm thinking, I feel fine and probably feel more pregnancy symptoms - my lovely heartburn, the aches in my pelvis, etc. because I'm just sitting around doing nothing.

I'm going to wrestle around with it for a few more days. I don't know what I'll do.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I think I mentioned before how superstitious I am. When I was growing up, I'd follow the same routine if my softball team was winning or I was hitting well - everything from eating the same food, not washing my uniform and wearing the same clothes down to my underwear. This continued when Max was little - whatever worked for him to have a good night's sleep: I'd try to replicate it exactly - the number of books read, the amount of milk he drank, the lighting in the room, music, the number of blankets... I know a bit obsessive.

Well, yesterday was the "day" during my pregnancy that Maximo was born. Coincidentally (or not), I ended up in the hospital yesterday with pressure and contractions. I don't think it was psycho-somatic, but really, who knows. Lola is fine and my cervix is still long and closed, so that was reassuring, but I'm still feeling pressure like I did with Maximo. So, I'm going to take the next few days off of work and I'm taking anti-contraction medication. I really just want to make it at least 4-5 weeks more. I've at least made it past "30 weeks and 6 days". I remember when Maximo was born, all I wanted to get past was September 3rd (the day my dad died). I don't know why, superstition perhaps, but I was worried the whole day, like this was just a day of doom and he was going to be taken too. Luckily, it was an uneventful day (as uneventful as the NICU was then) and I hope Lola hangs out in the womb for a wee bit longer. I go back to the doctor on Wednesday to see how the babe and the infamous incompetent cervix are doing. I'll tell you one thing, this body is not made for pregnancy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I remember way before we ever even thought of Maximo, struggling to "see the baby" when looking at a grainy black and white sonogram picture and usually not figuring out what I was looking at...

But in the past three years, I've looked at over thirty or more and we've been lucky enough to get to see sonograms each time we visit the doctor (for both kiddos). Because anatomy and physiology have always fascinated me, I ask the doctor many questions as he/she has checked the baby's measurements and we've watched them flipping around. So now, I'm a pro at "guess the part of the baby", although you may be not.

So, I've labeled the "creepy" sonograms of Lola:
And not to leave out big brother, here's a recent picture of him at the Osaka Castle playground, which he LOVES!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Christmas Present (to myself) Early

Note: The new banner is made of the creepy face-shots that my doctor thinks are so "kawaii" (cute).

I've never been a huge bike rider. Yes, I adored my banana seat Schwinn as a kid and have been on a couple of fantastic mountain biking treks, but I've never owned a nice bike or used a bike regularly.

Japan has changed all that. We don't have a car here, which I love, except when it's pouring down rain. So everyday, we hop on our bikes to go to work, shop or do our everyday things on the island. And now, I have become a proficient everyday biker. The first couple weeks we were here I was a little wobbly, especially with Max on the back. Unfortunately, I always buy too much when I go to the store, so I'm forever trying to creatively pack on my groceries - with bungies or with the front basket and back babyseat full AND my handlebars both with bags hanging off them, but I still seem to manage.

I have also mastered the art of riding my bike while holding an umbrella. This has become a little scarier now that I'm pregnant, but I can do it just the same. The big problem is loading the bike while it's raining. While I can arrive at my destination fairly dry when riding my bike, pushing the stroller while trying to hold an umbrella is near impossible... Hence, my purchase:

I hope it's easy to move from bike to stroller. If not, I may have to buy another.

We bought this today at the bike shop. Why were we at the bike shop? Well my petite frame caused my tire to POP on Saturday afternoon!

I did learn one lesson from using an umbrella while riding a bike, you may want to note if you want to try this balancing act... do not ride your bike with a dark colored umbrella. The clear ones are the best. (I almost ran over a lady one day because I had the umbrella down low because the rain was coming down hard.)

Friday, October 08, 2010

A Baby and Maximo Update

It's been ridiculously busy at work - so much so that I barely feel like I'm balancing everything. I'm trying to "take it easy" as much as I can, and I normally feel pretty good physically, but this week has been rough... and this week is continuing for me into the weekend as I have signed up for a workshop which is being hosted at our school Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday. Unfortunately, I didn't read the fine print when I signed up for a full-day workshop for the whole weekend, but, fortunately, it was great today and motivating.

I had my check up this week and Lola is doing well. Her size is good (1550 g *3.4 lbs.* about the size of Max at birth) and my cervix is still completely closed! This is encouraging because this was the same time as the check up I had with Maximo when I learned that things were taking a turn for the worst. She's jumping, dancing and kicking around quite a bit. So much so, that I have a hard time sleeping at night.

I'm getting big as you can see:And this is what the little lady looks like:
I get ultrasound pictures every time I have a doctor's appointment, which is a perk of having a baby outside the US. Unfortunately, my doctor likes to get "head on" shots of the baby. All the photos are creepy alien -like vacant-eyed skull shots. Not those cute, profile, baby shots you normally see. So, I'll spare you those shots, or maybe I'll make a photo montage for Halloween.

I get these updates weekly through BabyCenter. It's a nice little weekly email to look forward to which explains where the baby is developmentally and its approximate size. And as the kids get older, it switches to monthly emails, which I still receive for Maximo.

And now on to Maximo... he has been really fun lately. The things he does and says are always entertaining to John and I. He, of course, has his moments, like when he pitched a fit this week because he didn't want to wear pants to school (because his Thomas underwear were just too cool)., or when the stem of the banana broke and he couldn't peel it from the top by himself - you know, HUGE toddler problems. But on a whole, he's been a joy and so curious and excited about everything around him.

To add on to our busy week, both John and Max were a bit under the weather. Maximo has a nasty cough, but has been fairly happy, so he's gone off to daycare all week. Today we got this note (we get notes everyday, and love that connection with what's going on during the day).
This one takes a bit of deciphering...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

La La La La

Lately, Maximo has been singing anything he can - the jingle at the beginning of Dinosaur Train, Happy Birthday song, Yellow Submarine, etc... and wants to hear the kids' music CD we have regularly (even though it gets annoying after a while).

John and I aren't the best about playing music while we're just hanging around the house. Partly, I know for me, this is due to the fact that I love to come home to a "quiet" house after being around kids all day. We're going to need to start playing more music around the house, and find some good "adult" music so I don't go crazy listening to toddlers sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider".

Here are some mini-concerts for your listening enjoyment: