Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Victoria

Dear Victoria,

It's been so great to get reacquainted with you recently--the girls have really missed you these past 14 months! They've been living in ugly, dumpy nursing bras this whole time. (Man, I really wish you'd share your secret with them.)

But they're back now. Bruised, battered and with battle scars (literally), but they're back. Yes, a little deflated, too, but worth it, right?

Looking forward to more good times,
MamaM

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3 Things: Ooh la la - Francophile Books for Toddlers

I admit, I am a shameless Francophile. When we got to choose between French and Spanish language study in 7th grade I opted for the language of l'amour. My more thoughtful and socially astute classmates chose Spanish - it made so much more sense in our community of Latino immigrants. But alas, I had images of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame in my head. Some of my favorite books were The Three Musketeers, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables, and a Tale of Two Cities. There was never a question...

Ironically, I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting that lovely country. Funds and vacation time have always been reserved for the costly trip to Japan - which is incredibly amazing and wonderful and worth it (I'm not complaining, promise!). But someday, I will walk the gardens in Luxembourg and eat croissants in a charming Parisian cafe. In the meantime, I'm passing on my obsession to Mayumi. Besides, it is so fun to practice my French accent!

Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock





Have I missed any? Let me know if you have one to add to the list!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Memory Monday

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From The Wonder Years
As retrospective, a blast from the past, a remembrance, a little history...


On a recent trip home, I discovered an old diary of mine from when I was nine years old. It's just one of many diaries I've kept over the years and it. is. classic. I was such a drama queen! And a little snot, too. I'm gonna have to go through it and share some of the hilarious, terrible and awkward moments in my life, but here's a preview for now. Just imagine big bubbly letters written in fluorescent ink...

(I am transcribing the entry with the same grammar and format it was written in back in 1992. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. (I was a very horrible little nine-year-old...))


Dear Diary,

Back in January, me and this girl, Donna, got in a fight. I won't explain all of the details because that would take up a whole page, even more. So ever since then I've HATED Donna. Now all my friends don't like her. Well, that's what they say. There's this one girl, Kourtney, and she was a close friend of mine. Use to be, that is.

You see, it seemed to me that she was becoming friends with Donna which I didn't care. She can choose her own friends. The part I didn't like was that I'd ask her if she liked Donna. She'd say "no way" so finally I wrote her a note. I don't remember what it said but the first part went like this: (I gave it to her in the classroom so I could see her read it. She sits across the room)

Dear Kourtney,

       I hope you're not showing this note to Donna, because I'm watching you.

So I gave the note to Kourtney and she didn't show it to Donna. Didn't show it to Donna in school, that is. That same exact day Kourtney went over Donna's house. And in my note didn't I specifically say not to show this note to Donna? Well, Kourtney not only showed the note to Donna, but she let Donna keep it! Can you believe the nerve of that girl? And we got into a fight before this one but I gave her another chance. Then she betrayed me again. But at Jessica's party I gave her another chance. Also there's one fight that we just recently got into but I'm not giving her another chance this time.

Luv,
[MamaM]


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meditation: Trails

“Every person has the power to make others happy.
Some do it simply by entering a room --
others by leaving the room.
Some individuals leave trails of gloom;
others, trails of joy.
Some leave trails of hate and bitterness;
others, trails of love and harmony.
Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism;
others trails of faith and optimism.
Some leave trails of criticism and resignation;
others trails of gratitude and hope.
What kind of trails do you leave?”
~William Arthur Ward
Feeling grateful for the trails I walk, which are mostly paved and sweet. Those that are rough and brambly are somehow passable - I'm grateful for the strength and help to get through them. And grateful for those who have blazed trails before me... so, so, so grateful.

Friday, March 25, 2011

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!
 
wishing you a lovely weekend! 


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mindful Eating

In the wake of my detox I'm trying to discern the lessons I've learned from the entire experience. As far as cleanses go, the CLEAN program is relatively mild. There was no serious fasting, I got to eat solid food every day, and the list of allowable foods was not so restrictive that I couldn't maintain the challenge for four weeks. That being said, it was still a struggle at times as I found myself staring longingly at forbidden foods and craving bread, sugar and eggs (brioche bread pudding, anyone?).

I read an article in the February issue of Yoga Journal about one woman's experience with reducing the quantity of food she at, which in turn helped her to become more aware of her own body's needs and more mindful of the food she was actually eating. (I cannot find the online article, but here is a link to an interview with her about her book Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom. I really related to what she was talking about as far as mindfulness and awareness go. Here are the lessons I've learned:

1. I am more discerning about what "hunger" means to me. I used to think I was hungry all the time, so I was constantly snacking and never giving my digestive system a break. Now when I feel the urge to snack, I take some time to re-evaluate what I'm feeling. I drink water and if I still feel the need to eat I try to have something small and nutritious, like a few apple slices with almond butter or a sheet of nori. I thought I would experience a lot of hunger during the detox, but the truth is, I was surprisingly satisfied with the small amount of food I ate.

2. I'm more aware of the need to eat vegetables as my main source of nutrition. I used to think I was eating a lot of vegetables until I started this detox. I found myself needing to go to the market three or four times a week (instead of my once-a-week visit) to restock on veggies and fruit. Instead of filling up on carbs I am eating way more plants. Despite feeling a bit like a rabbit sometimes, it has been wonderful and mind-opening to be getting so much nutrition.

3. I used to take pride in my appetite and the fact that I didn't have to worry about my weight and could eat anything I wanted (I am not a junkfood eater, but I also don't shy away from high-caloric items like cream, eggs, or oils). I've realized that my pride was driving some of my food choices and now I'm more careful about keeping it in check.

4. I'm more careful about avoiding acidifying foods (dairy, meat, sugar and most grains) and focusing on alkalizing foods. It's been an experiment in self-control and self-understanding to acknowledge my desire for the kinds of food that are not in my best interest and then to either forego them or eat them sparingly. I feel more empowered now as a result of the combination of knowledge and the power to act on that knowledge.

5. Obviously, I've become much more mindful about what and how much I am eating. I am trying to take the time to really enjoy my food and think about where it came from and what it is doing for my body. I have always loved eating, but now it is almost a spiritual experience. (Can you believe I just said that?)

I started this detox in an effort to re-balance my body. I've struggled with excruciating pelvic pain (attributed to endometriosis and mittelschmerze syndrome) and infertility (due to a luteal phase defect?) for most of my adult life and the traditional western modes of medicine just don't mesh with my world view. It just didn't make sense for a healthy young woman like myself to have these issues and I couldn't help thinking that there is something I'm doing to myself, something in my environment, that is unbalancing me and causing these problems. I was angry at my body for a long time and then I had a revelation that I needed to channel that anger into working to make a change in my body, to do as much as I can and then once I can literally go no further, to then call in the big guns (IVF is my last option). So, this detox fell in line with the things I've learned in traditional Chinese medicine and I decided to try it out.

No miraculous results yet (aka, I'm still not pregnant) BUT I feel lighter and cleaner, more emotionally stable, and the debilitating cramping seems to have lessened, if not disappeared. So, I'm kinda converted to this now... and I'm proselyting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3 Things: Toddler Books for the Budding Naturalist

I'm such a bookworm, so my contribution to our 3 Things posts have primarily been books and I'm continuing the trend here. These are books that celebrate nature, gardening, and the seasonal cycles - a perfect way to welcome in spring, though they are standard reading fare in our home all year long. We LOVE them and I'm so incredibly happy to read them over and over to my little gardener (unlike other books which require incredible willpower to avoid groaning over whenever Mayumi requests them).

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown


Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow


The Money Tree by Sarah Stewart, Illustrated by David Small


Runner Up:
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Marla Frazee


I'm sure you have your favorite too, perhaps some that we haven't discovered yet, so please share!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Double Your Red Cross Donation for Japan Relief on Deal Pulp


I just posted HERE how Living Social was matching $5 contributions to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund the other day and now Deal Pulp, another group buying site, is offering the same promotion.

This deal works a little bit differently because you can choose your donation amount of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200 or $500 and Deal Pulp with match your donation up to $100,000. Check out the deal HERE. You can see the progress and it looks like total donations are at $7,890 and there is still 16 hours to go. This is just another great way to make your donation stretch further.

Memory Monday

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From The Wonder Years
As retrospective, a blast from the past, a remembrance, a little history...

Acknowledging the Japanese tradition of paying respects to your ancestors on the Vernal Equinox, here are a few of the people who paved the way for us to be here today. Thank you dear family!

Great Grandmother Elsie
Grammie Erma and Grampa Deane with Uncle Jeff and Dad
Ojii-chan (grandfather)

Obaa-chan (grandmother)

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

The vernal equinox is today and in Japan it is a national holiday (shunbun no hi)! It was established in 1948 as a day for the admiration of nature and the love of living things. Prior to 1948, the vernal equinox was an imperial ancestor worship festival. Today, graves are still visited during this week and people pay their respects to their ancestors. Obviously, this has taken on a whole new meaning as Japan continues to navigate its way though this heart-wrenching disaster. But the Japanese people are so incredible - I am in awe of their grace, strength, resiliency and refusal to give in to self pity and selfishness. I imagine that this week many Japanese will continue with the tradition of visiting their ancestral graves and honoring those who have passed. I hope that they will draw stength and hope from the promise of renewal and rebirth that spring brings.

For my part, I love everything about the emergence of spring. There are signs of it everywhere! Perhaps this is nature heaving a sigh of relief?





Saturday, March 19, 2011

Double Your Red Cross Donation for Japan Relief on Living Social



MamaQ's last post helped to jog my memory that you can turn a $5 Red Cross donation for the Japanese quake and tsunami victims into $10 through Living Social HERE. Living Social is a group buying site similar to Groupon where you get daily deals delivered to your e-mail. I think it is so great when these deal sites can give us extra incentive to be charitable and make your donation go a little bit further. I think that this donation matching deal is only live for one more day so I hope you can dig in your pockets a little and get the most bang for your buck!

Prayers for Japan

Despite the anxiety and grief, it has been inspiring to observe how the tragedy in Japan has united so many people and brought out their humanity. Besides watching how the people of Japan are facing their situations with such grace and dignity, people all around the world are exhibiting compassion and contributing in any way they can.

Alicia Paulsen over at Posie Gets Cozy has compiled a list of various artists and crafters who are donating proceeeds to the relief effort. Handmade for Japan is holding an online auction to raise funds. People are donating to the Red Cross in hopes that even a small amount will be able to help somewhere.

And if you want to help, too, perhaps you would consider this small request. On Friday I received an email from my mother, who is living in Niigata prefecture on the west coast of Honshu. Though her area was relatively unaffected, the disaster has impacted all Japanese life and psyche. Her aunt and uncle live in Sendai and thankfully have survived, but now face a lack of supplies, gas, power and uncertain nuclear blowout. So her request seems like something we could all do:
Dear my friends,

I was asked to send this request to friends and families in USA to join the prayer, if you like. One sister in Japan suggested to pray (possibly fast also) at 9am on 20th of March for the affected people by last week's earthquake and Tsunami.
So many people lost their family member(s) and everything they had. And most likely, house insurance they have won't cover their damage, if they don't have a earthquake insurance. Many elderly people has been dying at evacuated places. There's not enough kerosene for their stove and not enough water and other stuff.
Thank you and I hope that forwarding this request is not offending any of you.
We believe in the power of prayer, particularly the collective power of prayer. We would be honored if you would join us in this hopeful act of faith, this gesture of solidarity, this collaborative effort. Let's pray for the people of Japan.

Oishii: Honey-lime enchiladas

One great thing about this recipe for honey-lime chicken enchiladas is that it makes enough to fill up a 3-quart and 1.5-quart casserole pan (about 12-15 enchiladas). That means if you have a big family, you'll have no problem feeding all those mouths, and if you have a small family like mine, you'll have a couple days' worth of leftovers.

Honey-lime chicken enchiladas

1.5 lbs chicken, cooked and shredded
3 10-oz cans green enchilada sauce
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
12+ tortillas

Sauce:
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. lime juice
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1) Mix together sauce ingredients. Marinate shredded chicken in sauce for at least an hour.

2) Lightly spray 2 pans with non-stick baking spray (usually a 9x13 and an 8x8). Pour 1.5 cans of green enchilada sauce to coat the entire bottom of pans.

3) Fill tortillas with shredded meat and cheese, using all the meat and about half of the cheese. Roll and place in dish seam side down.

4) Pour remaining 1.5 cans of enchilada sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Free Utah Event: Artful Afternoon Series at UMFA



Looking for something fun and free to do with the kiddos this weekend?

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is hosting a free event for families every Saturday in March. The series explores the Elements of Science and Art and each week they look at a new element (air, fire, water, and earth). This Saturday, the activity will be watercolor cloudscapes.

The activity will be held from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM in the UMFA Emma Eccles Jones Classroom. For more information, you can check it out HERE.


I hope I can make it to this tomorrow. I'm disappointed that I've already missed the first two weeks but hopefully, Lucy and I can make it to the last two. If any local Utah readers have been to the previous weeks activities, leave a comment to let us know what you thought about it.

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!
 
wishing you a lovely weekend! 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

happy st. patrick's day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Hope you all remember to wear green and have some mischievous leprechaun fun today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarn Along: Eggs, Birds, and the Great American Novel

Joining Ginny over at Small Things for the regular Wednesday Yarn Along!
Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us!
~ Ginny Sheller from Small Things

Knitting Project: "Egg to Bluebird and a Little Nest, too" from itty-bitty toys by Susan B. Anderson
I wanted a little something to help usher in spring and when I saw this reversable little gem I thought I'd try it out. I'm just using some random yarn scraps from my stash since it is such a small project. The egg knit up pretty quickly and I hope to start the bird soon (I love that there is a bluebird on the cover of the book, too!). I want to make a nest, but I don't care for the one she has, so I may try my hand at the darling felted nests on Betz White's blog.

Book: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
A few weeks ago I attended a reading by Franzen as part of the PEN Faulkner series and it was fabulous. Got my book signed and chatted with the drole author - now I just have to finish reading the book. It's gotten a lot of hype and in addition to Franzen being lauded as one of THE great American writers (and featured on the cover of Time magazine no less), my friend Kimberly insists that this is THE great American novel of our generation. THE great American novel? Well, the jury is still out, but we'll see...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Let Them Eat Pie!

With all the worry and anxiety about Japan over the past few days, it's nice to take a few moments and find some joy in celebration and family tradition. So I woke up this morning and started making an apple pie.

Does anyone ever really need an excuse to eat a good pie? I certainly don't. But if you do, perhaps today will give you reason to celebrate with this tasty dessert, because today is Pi Day!
π = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

Pi is the mathematical constant approximately equal to 3.14 in the usual decimal notation. Today's date - March 14th (or 3.14, the calendrical equivalent of pi) is a time to celebrate this glorious numeric principle with none other than PIE! What could be more appropriate?
 
Our go-to is always apple pie. Macintosh is our preferred apple, but so difficult to obtain 'round these parts! I went with a mix of granny smith and pink lady.


On a side note, in Japan today they would normally be celebrating White Day, a day designated for men to give white chocolate (or some other kind of white dessert treat) to all the women who gave them chocolate the precious month (in Japan, it is customary and expected for women to give all the men in their lives (bosses, colleagues, boyfriends, fathers, etc.) chocolate on Valentine's Day). Just another way life and traditions and have become commodified and commercialized, I suppose. But for better or worse, I imagine there won't be much chocolate-giving today in Japan. I wish I could just box up this pie and send it to all the people of Japan today - some mathematical sugar love and happy thoughts.

Memory Monday

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From The Wonder Years
As retrospective, a blast from the past, a remembrance, a little history...

With the events of the past few days, we've been thinking a lot about our family in Japan. We loved spending summers over there every few years growing up. Here are the four wabisabi siblings with Ojii-chan and our late Obaa-chan at a train station on one of those summer trips. 



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Saturday, March 12, 2011

UPDATE: Auntie and Uncle Okay!

We just got news that Aunt Keiko and Uncle Seishiro are fine. They happened to be in their quake-proof condo in Sendai (as opposed to out in the open). My uncle was only able to speak to my grandfather for a few minutes - his landline and cell phone were inoperable but for whatever reason there was a random pay phone that worked and people were standing in line waiting to use it to call their loved ones. But the important thing is that they are okay!

Thank you so much for all your prayers and concern. There is such relief and gratitude on our end. But our hearts and thoughts are with those who still have loved ones missing over there - may you find some comfort and peace in all of this turmoil.

Helping and Finding Japan...

Information from the Japan-American Society of Washington DC:

(1) First, how you can help. The American Red Cross has already set up an online donation site to provide assistance to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. You probably also have heard that President Obama has promised all possible assistance to the people of Japan. US military assets, including the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier, and other ships are moving to the region, ready to provide aid.


(2) Second, how to find out about your friends and family. As the earthquake hit, JASW's Director of Educational Programs, Risa Kamio, was flying to Tokyo. Her plane was diverted to Yokota Air Force Base and then to Kansai. Risa has shared the following information with us.
"I was on the way from DC to Narita when the earthquake hit and the plane could not land. I am spending the night at Kansai Airport. They are asking people not to try to use the regular phone lines to find out if your family and friends are safe. Use Twitter, Skype, Mixi, etc. and save the phone lines for someone who really needs it in the Tohoku area."

Google has created the site, "Google Person Finder". It currently has the record of 7200 people and you can type in the name of person you are looking for and find out if he/she is safe.
If the person you are looking for has a cell phone in Japan, and you know which company his/her cellphone is, you can check each company's website below and type in the phone number to see if he/she has left a message. The available areas are Aomori, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures.
For Docomo users:
For KDDI (Ezweb) users:
For Softbank users:
For Wilcom users:
For Emobile users:

(3) To locate US citizens in Japan:
The US Embassy and Consulates in Japan are working to obtaininformation on the status of U.S. citizens and to provide assistance asnecessary. * If you have concerns about a specific U.S. citizen in Japan,please send the State Department an email at JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov * If you have concerns about a specific U.S. citizen in theTsunami zone outside of Japan, please send the State Department an email at PacificTsunamiUSC@state.gov Although telephone lines are disrupted, you may want to try contacting your loved one by email, text (SMS) message, or other social media.
* Tokyo airports (Narita and Haneda) are currently closed andpossibly damaged. Trains and subways are down in the Tokyo metropolitanregion, and train service may be sporadic throughout the rest of thecountry..
* Aftershocks can be expected and may be severe. U.S. citizensshould take basic earthquake safety precautions. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE INQUIRIES
* U.S. Forces Japan reports that all personnel have beenaccounted for, and there are no reports of injuries.
* The Department of Defense instructs that family members ofDepartment of Defense personnel should call 1-800-342-9647 to inquireabout their loved ones or contact the individual unit command directlyfor more specific information.
JAPANESE AND OTHER CITIZENS
* If you are calling regarding a Japanese citizen, please contact the Japanese Embassy (Washington - 202-238-6700) or Consulate.
* If you are calling regarding a citizen of a third country,please contact that country's Embassy or Consulate. Contact informationfor foreign Embassies and Consulates in the United States is availablein the Country Specific Information links at www.travel.state.gov.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan in Our Thoughts and Prayers

Our heart-felt gratitude and thanks to those who've contacted us expressing concern about our family in Japan.

Our parents who are living in Niigata are fine, though severe aftershocks continue to rock the country and we anxiously wait to hear updates from them.

Most of our family is well and accounted for except for a beloved aunt and uncle in Sendai. It has been a heart-wrenching day as we listen to news about the continuing destruction along the coast. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Japan. Now we wait...
MamaQ and Mayumi with Keiko and Sei-chan during our last visit.
Beautiful Sendai city in the background...

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!
 
wishing you a lovely weekend!


Happy Birthday MamaM

Another year older, another year wiser, another glorious year on this planet and in our lives. We love you M!

MamaM, circa 1992

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to our winner of the Little Pink Plum kokeshi magnets!

And thank you to everyone who entered a comment and/or visited the Little Pink Plum Etsy store. If you haven't done so yet, please check it out and support our wonderful sponsor!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Free Samples of Tea!


I am not actually much of a tea-drinking person but I couldn't pass up FREE! I know that someone out there is so I ordered the sample and just wanted to share it with you.

If you're interested, go to teasta.com and add two tea samples to your cart that cost $3.15 each (I chose strawberry kiwi fruit tea and chocolate mint rooibos herbal tea). Then use the discount code TRYME at checkout. You do need to register on the site with your name and address but you don't need to enter in any credit card information.

I read about this from My Frugal Adventures and I did read in the comments that this sample has been offered in years past and people never received them. So I guess it depends on how protective you are about your personal information.

Any readers every heard about or used this company. Let us know in the comments if you think it's worth it to request a sample.

Sleeping success!

So...I have to eat my words a little.

Okay, a lot.

I might actually choke on them.

Remember this post I did about a month ago on how I wouldn't let Olive cry it out? Well... I did. And this time it really worked.

We had made progress with Olive using the No-Cry Sleep Solution: bedtime was quick and easy and she was not nursing to sleep, but she was still waking up once a night most nights. A friend of mine was telling me how her 20-month old still wakes up at night and will escape from her crib into the parents' bedroom or cry like crazy if they try to put her back in her room. I do not want that happening! I needed to get Olive sleeping through the entire night before she figured out how to do that.

My other friend told me how CIO had worked for her child after doing it only once when he was about four months old (he is now around 9 months old). Since I felt like I had done all I could without letting Olive cry, I resorted, once again, to letting her cry it out.

That first night, Olive woke around 4 a.m. and we let her cry herself back to sleep, which took about 35 minutes. In the three weeks since then, Olive has awoken four times, or 19% of the time--a much better statistic than before CIO! We let her cry one of those times for 40 minutes until she fell back asleep, let her cry another time for 40 minutes before going to get her and soothe her back to sleep, another time for 65 minutes before getting her and a fourth time got up with her after just a few minutes because she sounded serious. 

Other than those four times, Olive is now sleeping through each night for an average of 11 hours. It is heavenly!

I'm obviously not a child sleep expert, but have learned a lot through trial and error. For those who are interested, here's my personal opinion on what works, what I've learned, what I believe and what I would recommend based on my experience (I would love to hear what has worked for you, too):

1. Try everything you can before letting your child cry it out -- including creating a calm, consistent bedtime routine and allowing your child to fall asleep without a sleep aid (bottle, breast, rocking).

2. Use a bottle for bedtime feeding. When I used to breastfeed Olive before bed, she would nurse and nurse and nurse until she fell asleep. I became her sleep aid and her pacifier. When I determined to not nurse to sleep, I would pry Olive off my breast when I could tell she was done eating. She was not happy about this and would get upset, making her more awake and making it harder to get her to sleep on her own. I found that pumping and giving Olive breast milk in a bottle at night worked much better. It allowed me to know she was getting plenty of food to get her through the night, and she would push the bottle away when she was done. It also has proven helpful as I've been trying to wean Olive, as I can mix cow's milk with the breast milk. And more importantly, it allows Dad to do bedtime!


3. Allow your child to slowly adjust to a full night's sleep. I believe CIO should not be tried until a child has naturally developed a pattern of sleeping through the whole night. Once the baby has proved they are capable of going that long without waking and eating, I would feel more comfortable trying CIO. For me, that comfort zone would not come before six months.


4. Allow yourself to break CIO routines. Babies get sick, go through growth spurts, teethe--legitimate needs that call for a parent's comfort. It's okay to soothe your baby at night during these times.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bystanders

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Back in January I heard a piece by Michel Martin on NPR about the dilemma of the bystander and I found myself a bit disturbed. She described an incident where a man was attacked on the Metro platform by two teenagers who just started beating him up for no apparent reason. There were other people there who witnessed the event, but no one stepped in to assist or call for help. I was appalled and then I choked up a bit and wondered what I would've done if I were in that situation. I'd like to think I would have yelled at the kids to stop it, or I would've run up to the Metro kiosk to request help or police assistance. I think I would, but I also know that I am much more loath to get involved in anything remotely dangerous when I have my daughter with me.

But the story stuck with me and I found myself bringing it up with everyone I talked to that week. I asked Mr. Q what he would've done if he were there and without hesitation he announced that he definitely would've stepped in to break up the fight. Which is no surprise considering he has stepped into fights before and he is the first one to speak up when he sees something unethical or suspicious going on. I love him for that (and for many other reasons, too).

When I brought it up with a group of girlfriends my friend Kimber (who also blogs with her sisters here) related a story when she was in line at the supermarket (with her baby) and witnessed a man verbally berating a small child and then threaten to physically "whip him." When he began to remove his belt Kimber piped up (something to the tune of), "Oh no, you are not going to hit that child." An argument ensued about whether or not this was any of her business, during which Kimber promptly called the police. But the store was packed with people and NO ONE else said anything to back her up.

My friend Suzanne once saw a group of teenagers beating up on another kid and when she called out to them to stop it or she would call the police, the kids turned on her. Despite the fact that she was out for a walk with her child in the stroller they hit her in the face and stole her cell phone.

So, to speak up or to stay silent? It can be a tough call to make, especially when you're with your child and your primary responsibility is to keep that child safe. But what are we teaching our children when we don't speak up and stand up for what is right? What kind of community are we living in when we aren't helping each other? I'm grateful to have such brave friends and family around me and I can only hope that when I'm in a similar situation (I hope and pray I never am!) that I will have the moral courage and clarity of thinking to make the best choice.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Memory Monday

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From The Wonder Years
As retrospective, a blast from the past, a remembrance, a little history...


I was the only one who could balance on Dad's hands like this. That's got to be worth something, right?


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Don't forget to enter our giveaway for kokeshi magnets at Little Pink Plum! Leave a comment here before Tuesday 8pm for a chance to win.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Enjoy Being a Girl

This past Thursday in Japan was Hina Matsuri or the Doll Festival (originally known as Girls' Day). Every home with a little girl displayed the traditional Emperor and Empress doll set and the appropriate food was made for the festivities. How lovely to celebrate being a girl! (And if you are a tomboy and turn your nose up at the old-fashioned notion that dolls and girls always going hand-in-hand, I would recommend a lovely book by Barbara McClintock called Dahlia).
mailed all the way from Japan!
To carry on the tradition in our home, we relished the idea of celebrating our girliness. We don't have the fortune (or the room) to have our own heirloom decorative doll display, so I decided to experiment with making some from this tutorial.


If you'd rather go the good ol' origami route try these:

But perhaps my favorite is this edible couple:
photo courtesy of Hinamatsuri-Kodomonohi.
Along with having our own set of dolls for display, we also celebrated with food! Traditionally, families will eat chirashizushi, a delightful dish that consists of sushi rice topped with an array of colorful toppings, displayed like jewels. But in our family we are die-hard fans of temakizushi and it really is the same thing, just presented a bit differently, we went with that.



In addition I tried making mochi for the first time ever.

My recipe:
Hinamatsuri Mochi
3 cups mochiko flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly oil 9x13" pan.
In a small bowl mix wet ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and then create a well in the center. Add wet mixture slowly to dry ingredients and stir together. Pour mochi batter into prepared pan and seal with foil.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven and take foil off and cool overnight. Cut into squares (or preferred shapes) and use a paper towel to absorb any excess oil before dusting with cornstarch (or powdered sugar!).

We had a tea party for Mayumi and a few of her girlfriends yesterday, which was great fun. Everyone seemed to love the idea of celebrating being a girl and I think this will be a tradition we continue through the years!

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Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win some cute kokeshi magnets from Little Pink Plum! Leave a comment here by Monday for a chance to win.

Friday, March 4, 2011

{this moment}

a friday ritual (inspired by soulemama).

a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember.if you're inspired to do the same, share a link to your 'moment' in the comments!

wishing you a lovely weekend!


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Don't forget to enter our giveaway for kokeshi magnets at Little Pink Plum! Leave a comment here before Monday for a chance to win.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Zero Waste Home



This may be old hat to some of our readers but it was completely new to me. I first read about the Zero Waste Home in this article from Sunset magazine last month (when I meant to post about it here but time slipped away from me). I was reminded about it in this month's Sunset magazine in the letters to the editor section and then again when my husband forwarded me this Huffington Post article along with the actual blog of the Zero Waste Home.

When I read the article, I was intrigued and daresay, inspired. I love the subtitle to the blog:

"Refuse, Refuse, Refuse. Then reduce, reuse, recycle (and only in that order).

I have to admit, I think it is a little extreme and realistically, I don't think I could do what this family does. However, it makes me realize that I can do better with my consumption. MamaQ has touched on this subject--consumerism and materialism--before in past blog posts. To a certain extent, I take pleasure in "things" and not just experiences. I like clothes and shoes and jewelry and meaningful art. But, there are other things that I think I could potentially do without: paper towels and napkins, plastic sandwich bags. Then I start to delve deeper and think, "Feminine hygiene products - hmmm, I don't know about that."

I guess what I am trying to say is that we all could start somewhere. School lunches could be made in bento boxes. An investment can be made into cloth napkins and rags for cleaning (instead of those pesky-yet-oh-so-convenient disposable wipes). A switch could be made to cloth diapers instead of disposables (I've been wanting to do this for a long time).

I already use reusable grocery bags but why not invest in some reusable produce bags as well (check out Blue Avocado for these). We already compost but maybe we could figure out a gray water system to irrigate our gardens as we renovate our home (and make our own laundry detergent and soaps!). And hopefully in the long run, this could save us some money since we wouldn't constantly be buying disposable stuff. And then I wouldn't have to spend so much money on finding deals and could actually post a little bit more on the blog!

Anyone have any other ideas on how to be a little less wasteful? Post them in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Giveaway: Little Pink Plum!


Our Wabisabi Giveaway for this month is from our sponsor Little Pink Plum. Janette Pasali, the creative mind behind Little Pink Plum, is a stay-at-home mom of three, living in San Diego, California. She blogs over at Jan's Crafty Nest. Her shop, Little Pink Plum, is stocked with all sorts of lovely magnets and buttons.
In her words:
It seems like I’ve been crafting with paper my whole life. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, my mother (who is Japanese) taught me how to fold a crane from origami paper and I became fascinated with being able to create things from paper - jewelry, cards, etc. Now, using my button press to make fun accessories is the perfect way for me to create and also work with paper. I am inspired by nature, animals, current trends and love using fun images as well as origami and Japanese chiyogami paper.
Some of the goodies you'll find in Janette's store:


This month Janette is offering one lucky reader a set of the adorable kokeshi magnets featured above (you may remember that we featured them earlier this year in this post). These would make lovely gifts, Easter basket stuffers, or look great on your own fridge!

To be entered to win please leave a comment on this post. You can gain additional entries by becoming a fan on facebook (1st timers only - leave a separate comment) or becoming a follower by clicking on the sidebar (1st timers only - leave a separate comment). Comments close one week from today, on March 8th at 8pm EST. A winner will be selected by random number generator and announced here on March 9th.


In addition, Janette is offering a discount  of 15% off the purchase price to all Wabisabi Mama readers, so please visit Little Pink Plum, add one of her sweet creations to your cart and input "WABISABI" at checkout.

Thanks for supporting us and other fabulous mamas! Good luck!
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Comments closed! Thanks for participating and stay tuned for the winner!