Monday, August 24, 2009

So close!


(The following post is not to be read while eating, unless you are someone who has purchased or washed diapers within 12 months, or can vividly recall the time when you did.)

The Pumpkin Princess is, at 3 years and 8 months old, this close to being fully potty trained. This past Saturday, we went to Shinjuku, Tokyo, which was a 2 hour trip each way (not counting the walk to our final destination). We put her in pull ups, just in case, but she told us every time she needed to go and had a 100% success rate at getting to the toilet in time. Much to the dismay of the man in line behind us, she even insisted upon using the toilet in the train car which rocked at every single curve. She came home in the same pull ups she left the house in.

I say almost because she can only pee in the toilet. She won't poop. No matter what the threat or bribe, she won't sit on the toilet when she gets such an urge. She'll take off her floral print jersey trousers and her Hello Kitty big girl pants, open the closet door, grab a pair of Mickey Mouse pull ups, put them on, grab hold of a table or chair for support, bear down, and holler "Okaasan! Deta!" ("Mommy! It's out!")

At least she's figured out she needs to be wearing pull ups. When we first started big girl, yeah. Exactly.

The purpose of the Shinjuku trip was to pick out (or rather, finalize our choice of) a new dining table, the one that will seat us when the Pumpkin Prince and Princess bring their kids with them for the holidays. It's a white glass top table with stainless steel legs. It's apparently a special order, so it won't be here until Christmas, if then, but I'm in no hurry. I'd rather wait four months for a table I like well enough to use the rest of my life than make do with something I'll hate in a couple years.

Gotta find chairs I like, though. I'd originally thought of having the white table with brightly colored chairs in different colors like blue and orange and purple, but with the economic recession, the furniture company discontinued all but a few colors, so I'm back where I started. Suggestions welcome, but they have to ship to Japan.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gotta be fashionable!

Oshare shinakucha!

I have a love/ hate relationship with fashion, especially shoes. I go through phases in which I decide I need to look like the professional I am, go out and buy cute shoes with heels higher than an inch, wear them, decide they are uncomfortable, go buy "sensible" shoes, wear them, decide they don't make me look like the professional I am, go out and buy cute shoes (or, if the cycle is short enough for the previous cute shoes to still be acceptable, dust off and shine old ones), decide they are uncomfortable...

So I decided I needed to look like the professional I am, and bought a pair of beige sandals to wear with my light colored skirts and pants. They were on sale, so I didn't really scrutinize them for comfort. I wore them to work today. I only walked from the parking lot and back, but I got blisters. I think I will go back to being sensible tomorrow.

My current "sensible" shoes aren't too bad as far as sensible shoes go, I think.

They're a lot like these, but with coin-like objects stitched on the strap for decoration, and have velcro closures. I bought them while pregnant with the Pumpkin Prince. They're more comfortable than sneakers (trainers to my Brit friends!) and marginally professional looking. Maybe I'll just go out and buy another pair of these in a different color...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So it's been one week with two parents working full time. So far, no tempers have been lost in the Pumpkin Palace and everyone is (reasonably) happy and healthy. This has more to do with luck than any meticulous planning or enormous sacrifice on anyone's part (except for the grandparents, that is. They picked up the Pumpkin Prince and Princess from day care every day, and fed and bathed them almost every day).

Monday, I had an outside gig away from the usual workplace. I finished way earlier than usual, so I took the time to make a quick trip home and do laundry, dust, swiff and grab some lunch. I was going to go back to the workplace and finish early, but I found out that one of the bosses had lost his dad and would be gone for the week for funeral arrangements and whatnot, so I had to stick around to help cover for him. The Pumpkin Granny picked the Pumpkin Princess and Prince from day care and took care of them until I finished.

Tuesday, the Pumpkin Daddy made it home by 6:30, and the Prince and Princess had their baths with him. I defrosted a lasagna (made a while back from tomatoes from the garden) and cut up some cucumbers and tomatos and called it a salad.

Wednesday, I was lucky enough to get home by six. I got laundry and dinner (spaghetti with packaged tomato sauce, corn chowder, and salad) started. The Pumpkin Daddy called and said he was on his way home, so I asked him to pick up the Prince and Princess at Granny's so they could have their bath and dinner at home. The Princess had other plans. She refused to come home with Daddy and had dinner with Granny and Grandpa.

Thursday, I was told that Grandpa had been very upset and lost his temper that I hadn't come to pick up the Prince and Princess sooner. The Pumpkin Daddy did the laundry.

Friday, the Pumpkin Daddy had a summer festival at work and didn't come home until very late. The Prince and Princess had already been bathed and fed when I got to the Granny's. I brought them home, did laundry, and put them to bed, and fell asleep in the process. It was 11 p.m. when the Pumpkin Daddy got home and woke me, but I managed to hang the laundry to dry and shower before going to bed proper.

Saturday, the Pumpkin Daddy was hung over and didn't do much other than keep the Pumpkin Princess entertained (which did, I admit, help). I did the laundry, cleaned a bit, made lunch, put the bedding for day care together, cleaned some more, threw together dinner from stuff in the fridge and garden (frozen fish filets, pre-seasoned and breaded, tofu and scallion miso soup, frozen spinach sauteed in butter, and tomatoes), bathed, and put the Pumpkin Princess to bed. Not much, but acceptable level of activity for a family with a 3 year-old and 4 month-old.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How have you been these days?

Saikin dou?

I just realized that since I posted about fried rice last week, I haven't had a Pumpkin Clan update post in over two weeks. Let's see. Last week, the Pumpkin Daycare had a "natsumatsuri" or "summer carnival" in which the kids danced, P7250704
toted around a portable shrine,P7250706
whacked open and ate watermelon, and played games.

The Pumpkin Princess, (pleased to be wearing a Hello Kitty yukata (cotton summer kimono), got two goldfish, so the Pumpkin Daddy bought a small aquarium, complete with filter and air pump, and spent the afternoon setting it up. He made the mistake of feeding the fish after he finished, and when the Pumpkin Princess woke from her nap and was told the fish had already been fed, she threw a temper tantrum. She was pacified with sparklers.


The next morning (Sunday), the Pumpkin Princess got up before her mommy and daddy. She climbed on a chair in the kitchen to get the box of Cocoa Crispies, poured some of it into a bowl (and some of it on a floor), and had a makeshift breakfast (I should be grateful no milk was involved). Then she dragged the same chair to the aquarium and proceeded to give the goldfish breakfast.

I came downstairs to find a 1/4 inch thick layer of fish food floating on the top of the aquarium water, and screamed (it was a reflex of sorts, I couldn't help it). I managed to scoop most of it out before it sank to the bottom. We spent the workweek wincing at the fact that this was the Pumpkin Daddy's last week of paternity leave. He's done a great job, and I am going to miss coming home to a clean house and happy children.

Friday night, the Pumpkin Princess demanded to sleep at the Pumpkin Granny's. Granny was OK with it, so the Pumpkin Mommy and Daddy got to sleep in. The Pumpkin Granny did not fare as well, since the Pumpkin Princess got up no less than three times during the night, and woke up and got out of bed at 5:30 a.m.

The Pumpkin Parents woke to find a goldfish floating belly up.

After the Princess was brought home (not without much protest), fish funeral services were held and lunch was eaten, we headed out to a "matsuri" in the next city. It was raining. What do you do with the "dashi" (float) when it rains? Apparently, exactly the same you do to a Pumpkin Princess,


which is dress it in a raincoat...

The rain toned itself down just enough to allow the fireworks to happen.

Sunday was spent wincing at the arrival of the workweek and cleaning and playing with Legos and gardening. Someone needs to explain to me how on earth I can acquire nine mosquito bites in 15 minutes.


Another mystery of the Pumpkin Palace grounds: why we get beautiful tomatos every year, but can't seem to harvest a single zucchini (courgettes to my Brit friends). These are cooking tomatoes with thick skin, and made a lovely lasagna. Actually, they made two. One was eaten soon after it came out of the oven. The other will be eaten tomorrow as a workweek dinner.

And that's it for now. We'll see what and when I can post next...