2016年2月6日土曜日

February again!

It's February 2016, which means......

It will be 11 years since Yasushi and I first met in person and 8 years since we got married. We have had ups and downs (especially due to our personal struggles) but have remained strong through it all, and will only grow stronger with the arrival of our son next month! 

It will be 4 years since I started "no-poo". Other than the occasional Dr. Bronner's peppermint when it's hot and humid, my hair has been washed very infrequently with baking soda and ACV...and it always looks and smells clean! I've noticed generally that using Dr. Bronner's and just keeping things clean and sanitary (showering at night especially, before getting into bed!!) has pretty much eliminated the need for those heavily scented soaps and toiletries.....I don't miss them. 

It will be 3 years since I finally had to send a cease and desist letter to my parents because they threatened the safety of my family by posting our street address on a public Twitter account. My mother in particular had repeatedly harassed and threatened me and my family by claiming to be in talks with a lawyer to sue us, writing a blog about how I am autistic (and refusing any evidence that I am not or an offer from me to get diagnosed) and sent several hostile and aggressive emails to me personally. My parents both rejected any offers from me and Yasushi to work towards a solution after my mother got some therapy and they agreed to respect our lifestyle and boundaries (i.e. not call us assholes, liars, etc.) It's unfortunate that their stubbornness has cost them a life with grandchildren, but protecting my family comes first. Of course, there are many public forums on which to contact me (like this one) that they know about, so if they ever consider acknowledging what they did and my current situation living with a C-PTSD diagnosis, and are able to respect my lifestyle and boundaries, they know what to do.

Also, it will be 1 year since my husband became head chef. His restaurant has appeared on local TV 3 times and has 4.5 stars on Yelp. He always works hard, and Chinami admires him so much. She loves going to the restaurant, and at home, whenever she takes out her Play-Doh, it's for "cooking". She also helps me with cooking a lot, like stirring things, cutting bananas, making salads, and getting ingredients from the fridge. I don't have much expertise when it comes to cooking, but I will enjoy teaching her what I know when the time is right, so she will never know what it's like to be 18 and not know how to properly cook simple dishes.

So for us, February isn't just about the Chinese New Year and Valentines, it's a month to celebrate so many milestones in our lives. And next month, we will have one more milestone...we will become a family of 4 when Kairu is born. The pregnancy has definitely been more intense this time around, and so has our lifestyle, with me working 35 hours/week, 6 days, and riding my bicycle to get to work even as my due date is a little over a month away. I have taken Chinami's cloth diapers, newborn clothes, swaddlers, and co-sleeper out and cleaned them in preparation to be used again, and I got some very thoughtful gifts for Christmas from my grandmother as well. All that's left is to go to my workplace and pick up my homebirth supplies, a baby K'Tan wrap (The wrap I used for Chinami's first few months was in disrepair and unsafe to reuse), some additional cloth diapers and supplies, and we will be ready to welcome our son earthside.








2016年1月2日土曜日

Happy New Year!!!

A new year has begun!

2015 was an amazing year, a year full of change and growth for our family, starting with Yasushi's promotion in February, to the relocation of the restaurant in August, and my second job in September. And this year, we were able to take a short trip to Japan to see friends and family for the first time in 4 years, and then we found out we would be expecting another baby. 
Financially, we had a few months where we couldn't pay off our credit card bills as fast as we would like, due to the trip to Japan, our refrigerator breaking, and our car needing new tires. However, those are some of the most expensive things that could have possibly happened, and we were also able to get another roommate after our roommates moved out, so this year I anticipate being able to have some savings and accelerate mortgage payments. 
So I guess my goals for 2016 would be: a healthy baby, a clean and organized home (there are several projects I want to get going!) and less debt!

One of the most important things though, is how far I've come in my healing and how far I will continue to go. I definitely have no regrets, I suggested several times to work together and for my mother to work on her own issues and break the cycle as I was trying to do, but in the end they refused, and I had to do what was best for myself and my family and this gets clearer as time goes on. If anyone would have regrets for their actions in their life, I imagine it would be my parents, because at this point they will never meet their grandchildren, and it's all because of the choices they made. However, my children are not suffering without them, they have loving parents and extended ohana who would never to anything to hurt or endanger them.

So a healthy and happy 2016 for all, and may this year be a year of progress for everyone!



2015年12月27日日曜日

Christmas!

*Merry Christmas! I hope everyone was able to enjoy the holidays so far!

Even though I always try to remain positive throughout the holidays, I unfortunately can't sugarcoat everything. The pregnancy hormones and everything have been a bit difficult to cope with this time around, and since I stopped taking SAM-e for my C-PTSD, my symptoms have been coming back, and now since I am officially in my third trimester, I have decided to start taking it again. Even though extensive studies have not been done on the long-term effects on babies, there have been no birth defects linked to the supplements, and it has been considered safe to take in the 3rd semester, and in my case, the benefits are definitely going to outweigh the risks.

In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, I was able to enjoy some holiday traditions with Chinami, such as watching some great local Christmas parades, sharing my favorite Christmas movies with Chinami, riding the McCully Shopping Center Christmas trolley, and finding a Santa to meet that doesn't charge $20 minimum for a picture (This year we unfortunately missed the Makiki Christmas event, but we went to Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki and took a picture with their wonderfully tropical themed Santa.) We also had some awesome new experiences such as the School of Deaf and Blind's winter fair, complete with a pile of ice cold snow in the middle of the field for everyone to play in! And on Christmas Eve, I took Chinami to the beautiful Central Union Church for their Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, where we watched a kid-centered version of the story of the birth of Jesus. Chinami often goes to church with her Aunty Lia and Uncle Papi so she was excited when I told her we were going to church, and she kind of showed me what to do. I also feel that it is important to teach Chinami about the Christian aspect of Christmas.....We also did have a makeshift menorah made with LED candles that we lit together on each night of Hanukkah, and I had a smaller green Christmas tree that we decorated with more earthy, Yule-themed ornaments.

On Christmas Day, I had to go to work but I was able to get home around 8 am, make some waffles and we had our present opening time before Yasushi had to go to work. After that, we cleaned up, tested out our presents. Chinami got a riding toy and minion toys from Daddy and an ukelele, minions toothbrush, puzzle, new shoes, Inside Out sheets, and other little practical things from Mommy...she spent most of the morning sitting on the riding toy and strumming the ukelele to an audience of little Minions. I put some lamb, beef, garlic, onion, mushrooms, seasonings, and wine in my new electric 7-in-1 pressure cooker, and plugged in my vacuum/steam mop and gave everything a good cleaning!
Then we headed out to Manoa to visit our other ohana, exchange presents, and make gingerbread houses! I always do it every  year using graham crackers, pop-tarts, and icing and marshmallow fluff, and this year we had so much Halloween candy that I saved a bunch of things like taffy, etc. that we don't eat anyway and we used it to decorate our houses! And then we went straight to Waikiki, bought some sushi and headed to the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon to eat our dinner by the ocean, and then enjoyed the weekly fireworks show. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy and we couldn't see the beautiful full moon, but the fireworks were great!

This Christmas, I was especially pleased to be able to show my gratitude and appreciation for the loved ones in my life. I was blessed with the opportunity to work at a honey stand selling some of the most delicious honey until the beginning of this year, and a few months ago I started working at the only true gathering place for new parents interested in the best and most natural things for their babies, plus a full cafe with a range of organic teas and a menu of healthy and delicious food. So this year for Christmas, I put together various gifts of tea and honey and sent them out to my loved ones.

So now that Christmas is over, it's time to transform our tree into a New Year's decoration, and make sure our home is clean and organized for 2016. 2015 had its ups and downs, but I'm looking forward to meeting our son Kairu in 2016 and continuing to heal and grow personally.


2015年11月29日日曜日

Holiday traditions...

I can't believe it's almost December again. This year has been so full of great things, and now my favorite time of the year has come. I have always enjoyed Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but now I love these holidays because I feel like I finally have a real family and home and our own traditions.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I don't have very clear memories of Halloween as a child, my costumes were often generic store-bought, I was a devil one year, Catwoman one year, a witch, etc. Only in high school did I really start to get in touch with my creative side and pursue my own interests and hand-sew my own costumes. So now in my family, our Halloween tradition is to make our own costumes. This year, Chinami was lucky enough to have 3 costumes! She was a Minion for trick-or-treating at the shopping center, Joy from Inside Out for her preschool party, and for our family trick-or-treating, we dressed up together, me as Totoro and Chinami as Mei (and I drew a baby Totoro on my bump as well for Kairu.) We ended up spending Halloween up in Manoa with our "ohana" from the baby store, who were dressed up in homemade Alice-in-Wonderland themed costumes, which was an interesting combination!

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and Chinami and I were especially blessed because not only were we able to enjoy the holiday with Yasushi as a family on his day off the day before, we were also able to join our other ohana for dinner on the actual day. Because of a combination of the emotional abuse inflicted on me as a child (and resulting low self-esteem and C-PTSD) and the fact that I have been moving across countries and oceans every few years for basically my whole life, I find that I have become untrusting and scared to really make a connection to people. In Hawaii, your friends become your ohana, your sisters, your brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins.....and I am finally becoming comfortable with letting more people into my ohana, and extremely blessed that I have found some amazing people. Chinami has also done her part to help me make these connections with her exuberant sociable personality and I am so thankful for her! Anyway, the food was amazing! I made my traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which was a turkey stuffed with lil smokies, onions, and garlic, and covered in a bacon blanket, with some brussels sprouts in the pan, mashed potatoes (that Chinami helped make!) creamed spinach Boston Market-style, wild rice and quinoa cooked with chopped onions, carrots, and celery in a turkey stock "takikomi" style, and for dessert, a two-layered kabocha and sweet potato pie. My friend/brother's Thanksgiving was similar, except he had a traditional roast turkey with crispy skin  stuffed with wild rice and whole vegetables, various side dishes and pupus including potato-carrot mash, creamed spinach, homemade cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, giblet pate on toast, and I contributed one of my pies and a plate of squash and eggplant cut into sticks, wrapped in bacon, and roasted in the oven. The kids made fun turkey headbands and we all had a blast!

Yesterday was the day after Thanksgiving, which is always the day of the holiday parade in Waikiki. Just like last year, I made a dinner from leftovers we could pack up and eat while watching the parade. Since we had a picnic lunch of turkey-bacon wraps and raw veggies in guacamole at the park, for dinner I made a tomato soup with corn, lil smokies and brussels sprouts, and a couple of creamed spinach pies and cheesy crescent rolls. We enjoyed the parade, and were able to hurry to the beach to watch the Friday fireworks as well before taking the bus home for a good night's sleep.

This Sunday, we will put up our Christmas tree. Since I don't see a point in buying a real tree that was shipped from the Mainland, usually brings invasive species with it, and dries out and dies by Christmas because of the climate here, so we have a white fiber optic Christmas tree that goes nicely in our living room. In Honolulu, there are many local Christmas parades and other fun events to enjoy up until the big day, and even though Yasushi works on Christmas, Chinami and I will still find ways to enjoy the day making candy houses and playing with whatever toys she gets.

After Christmas, it's New Year's, which will be celebrated Japanese style of course with Gagaku at the Dendocho. Hawaii is such a great place to live, not only because of the weather, but because of all the great things to do!

2015年10月11日日曜日

International Babywearing Week 2015

http://babywearinginternational.org/events/international-babywearing-week/

This year, International Babywearing Week was October 4-10.
Unfortunately, I haven't been wearing Chinami anymore as I am now 4 months pregnant and she is very heavy and also a great walker/balance bike rider. However, I will always be grateful for the 3 years I did wear her and treasure all of those memories. I'm glad that our trip to Japan was the last time I wore her, I have so many great pictures.

Especially with my new job and my second child on the way, I will always be one to advocate for babywearing. There are just too many reasons, but here are the main ones that come to mind for me:

~ It's cheap. If you are strapped for cash you can MAKE a wrap, and a soft structured carrier to last through toddlerhood is usually less than one of those 3 wheeled strollers.

~ It's healthy. Babywearing works your core muscles AND your baby's. Keeping a newborn baby snugly wrapped against you regulates their heartbeat and body temperature and helps your body make milk.

~  It's convenient. No searching for ramps and elevators to accomodate your stroller. You can ride the bus by just stepping on, no folding up strollers and awkwardly carrying it with one hand and baby in the other. And if you're breastfeeding, baby can just drink their milk and take their nap right there as you take a walk! Once baby is 6 months you can do a back carry and pretty much do anything with baby on your back!

And pretty much the best and most important reason of all is how incredibly adorable that happy face is when they are asleep against your chest or back, and how happy you feel listening to their little snores. I really couldn't have it any other way, no matter how many features that $500 stroller claims to have. Just give me a wrap or a carrier any day!

2015年9月13日日曜日

New beginnings!

This month is a month of change for our family!

The restaurant where Yasushi is head chef is moving locations this month with their grand opening near the end of the month.
I have decided to cut my hours at my main job, going part time with a shift from 4am-9am, and taking on a second part time job.
Chinami is going to be a big sister in March!

Yes, everything is very exciting and tiring for all of us right now.

For me, though, it seemed like everything kind of fell into place at the right time, and is going to turn out perfectly. But first, a little backstory;

From around April of this year, the company I work at did a major rearrangement of the office in an effort to streamline things. As a full-time employee, I had an office job in addition to the early morning customer support job I had been doing. However, my assignment was changed from office work to additional customer service/dispatch work, done outside in a parking lot full of fumes. It felt to me like mindless busy work to "fill the hours" and a waste of my time and the company's time. There were lots of times when there were almost no customers around and the boredom was mind-numbing. I am a native speaker of English, and can speak, read, and write Japanese at JLPT1 level! There must be something better I could be doing with my time than telling people which bus goes to Waikiki (the one right in front of you, read the signs that are in Japanese!) Anyway, it got pretty old pretty fast and I was soon contemplating if I should go part-time like my part-time coworkers and finish at 9AM, and consider taking a second job that would suit me more.

Meanwhile, the doula who had helped me when I gave birth to Chinami was pregnant and gave birth to her baby boy in June. Her and her husband own a shop up in Manoa that sells baby items geared toward attachment/natural minded parenting such as cloth diapers, baby wraps/carriers, and herbal remedies. They also have a little cafe in the shop serving organic teas, healthy smoothies and sandwiches. They also opened up a bakery right near it with absolutely delicious goodies. I started going up to Manoa to enjoy the goodies when I could and reconnected with the lovely family.

And then in July, I found out that we would be having another baby! I would have liked to wait just a little longer to plan for another one but just like with Chinami, this one felt like now would be a good time, I guess. And perhaps it was. Having a baby meant that staying at my job full-time would be impossible. Not only would it be hard on the baby and breastfeeding, and Yasushi as well, but the cost of having two children in daycare at once, even on the part-time schedule I have Chinami on now, would be more than the salary I was earning. It would simply be impossible.

And then my friend asked me if I would like a job in her shop. She had been hiring for a while and had already gone through a few employees, and was looking for someone reliable. Obviously, it would be okay to work through pregnancy and come back as soon as I felt comfortable, and babywear while I worked. More than anything, I would be able to work in a field I have been passionate about since I found out I was pregnant with Chinami. I would be able to help new moms get the information and goods they needed to do their best for their babies. And I always loved jobs where I served food, because usually we had satisfied happy customers! So anyway, for a chance at this dream job, I immediately let my current managers know I would be going part-time due to my pregnancy and lifestyle changes.

This month, I started my part-time schedule from 4AM and have been coming home by 9:30 AM. And we finally worked out a schedule for my second job, working on Tuesdays and Thursdays all day. Chinami is also changing her schedule from three days per week to just two days until 5:30pm. This means that for two days per week, we won't get to spend that much time together, but for the rest of the week, we can still spend all day together. And even better, we can both spend more time with Yasushi on his days off.

There have been hardships, the first trimester of this pregnancy was a lot harder than the first time, with constant fatigue and morning sickness, through which I still was working 40 hours/week and taking care of Chinami. And because SAM-e has still not fully been tested, just to be safe I fully went off of it, which meant my C-PTSD has also been re-appearing. But as my belly grows a little bit bigger and with my wonderful new part-time job, things have been getting better and I feel like I am coming to the end of another tunnel.


2015年8月21日金曜日

Throwback Thursday ~~10 years ago~~





8/22/2005

so...yea. 
he's on the way back to Japan now. 
The last 3 days were amazing. Of course in going to the airport it all went perfectly as planned so I arrived over an hour early at the airport because my parents made me leave a half hour earlier than I was going to. We met and took the subway back to the hotel. The hotel was so amazing....so huge and luxurious and cool looking..the room was small but still perfect. That night we went to the Empire State building and he gave me a bracelet. It's silver with two hearts linked by two slender chains. We went to Chinatown for dinner that night, and also got to walk around Times Square before heading back to the room and taking a bath with some lavender bath salt he brought from Japan. ^^ it made the water a bright purple color XD 
Then the next day we woke up early and walked to Central Park. We had some Jamba Juice on the way. Then we walked back up towards Times Square/hotel area and did some shopping. We ate lunch at a Red Lobster and then walked around some more. We had a street artist do a picture of Yasushi's tattoo. It was awesome and hilarious as people were watching and staring at the tattoo. 
Then we came home and had dinner, and met Jer and Messh via webcam. Sunday we went out to brunch, and then hung out in New Hope and admired bikes and went on a river boat ride and fed ducks. Yasushi got bitten by a swan. XD I also showed him I could belch louder than him :p it was funny.
Then we got dressed up and went to Morimoto. It was really awesome. So cool-looking, great atmosphere, and the food was so tasty and interesting. All sorts of sashimi dishes and Kobe beef too. Wasabi raspberry sorbet is weird, but it was still so well-made. 
Then we came home, and went out to the BFD with Jer, Tara, and Steve. Was fun. Then we went back and took a bath and slept. Then this morning it was just breakfast and then off to the airport. 
At least this time it's only going to be a little over a month until we see each other again, but still...
Yasushi also gave me a cell phone to use while I'm in Japan. It's on his same plan, so I won't use it much, but still. I have a cellphone for Japan now, I can make a call the minute I get to Kobe if I want. It also has a camera and can take video. AND it's pink with flowers. 
My parents like him and he likes my parents. It was all so wonderful but at the same time so sad because we knew we had so little time. I tried to make it the best for him and there were times when it didn't turn out perfect....but we spent every moment we could together. 
I miss him so much. it's so lonely not having him here. 

8/23/2005
I miss Yasushi so much...
on top of that my parents just did the whole "Sammi's a spoiled brat" talk again. seriously, insult to injury. really hurts. 
excuse me for not being in the best mood this morning. jesus christ.
I can't wait to get away from here. It'll be so much better for me when I do.