Posted on Saturday, July 31, 2010 | 0 comments

                  Natsubate basically means 'summer lethargy/fatigue' in Japanese. It comes from 'natsu' (summer) and 'bateru' (exhausted), and is a collective term used to describe symptoms such as: lack of appetite; feeling tired or without energy,  and/or having occasional headaches, constipation, diarrhea, or dizziness. It's thought to be brought on by factors including sharp climate changes, extreme heat, or by the abrupt changes in temperature one experiences here when going from an air-conditioned room into an un-air-conditioned one.
  And..I'm pretty sure that Wasabi has it! At first we were really concerned that she'd picked something up while being boarded a few weekends ago, since she pretty much stopped eating directly after arriving home. However, we neglected to consider other factors, such as the sudden rise in temperature around that time. I still would have no idea what the problem was, except for the fact that Thursday was rainy and much cooler than usual...and Wasabi ate like her usual porky self! Friday? Hot, and the eating decreased again.
  If only I had figured this out BEFORE the trip to the vet...the trip that involved her shivering with fear in her cage before going into the exam room, then throwing an utter fit: growling, attempting to bite, REFUSING to have her temperature taken (but I can't blame her for not wanting a rectal thermometer anywhere near her behind) and finally peeing all over the table upon receiving a shot to stimulate her appetite. Poor baby!
  Next month, it's time for annual vaccines...can't wait to see what she does then!

                         Wasabi and Sushi relaxing in the (air-conditioned) living room

                                My little poker making herself comfortable on the table

                        No matter how many times I squirt her, she keeps getting back up. The spray bottle and the Windex bottle are getting used way too frequently!

                                     I have no idea how she even fit in there

6.5 months...and Cankles!

Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 | 0 comments

Be forewarned: this post includes foot pictures. If you don't like feet, especially ugly red swollen feet, stop now! 

Yesterday was 26 weeks! Sigourney is getting bigger by the second, as are my ankles and lower legs. We start off ok in the mornings after lying down all night, but by evening....ugh. They're swollen up like little pork sausages. See for yourself. If may not look all that bad to the untrained eye, since I've realized that I have incredibly small ankles to start with, but I can definitely tell the difference. I will admit that I've definitely seen worse on other pregnant women, so I can't complain TOO much...although it's rather disturbing to see the cat's paw prints in your leg after she sits there for 2 minutes!

                                             Morning, before it all builds up I said, doesn't appear too swollen...until...

     notice the impressions in my leg from resting it against the chair rungs! AHHH! Also, please note that my ankles are rather non-existent by this point...CANKLES!

    Ending on a happy note: the 6.5 month belly pic

Abekawa Hanabi

Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 0 comments

   The Abekawa (Abe River) fireworks were this past Saturday, so we braved the heat and humidity to go see them. I was smart enough NOT to wear a yukata to the event this year, though! (Yukata + pregnancy + heat = very bad combination).

                              Some of the crowd heading to find seats

                             Look closely: it's an umbrella!

                               We ran into a dinosaur on the way back to the train station

Blueberry Picking

Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 | 0 comments

   I went blueberry picking on Friday with some friends at a local berry patch. One of the ladies has a cousin who farms just about anything and everything, so not only were we able to pick blueberries, we also got a bunch of raspberries, too. And all for the price of 500 yen per person! (About 5 USD). Considering the cost of fruit in this country, let alone berries, be impressed. Very impressed.
 Adding to that, the berry patch is located right next to some tiny old shrine that's been there since the 800's. Unfortunately, I can't remember the historical significance of it, but it definitely made for my most memorable blueberry picking experience to date.

                             Ancient plaque inside the shrine. The writing is so old that ladies I was with couldn't even understand it all.

                           Surrounding neighborhood

                                     Berry patch (that's not the shrine, however)

                              Berry smoothie that replaced Yuki's usual beer on Friday night

New Kit Kats

Posted on Friday, July 23, 2010 | 0 comments

   Fresh on the market, a new 2 flavor pack of Kit Kats: Cola Kit Kats and Lemon Skash Kit Kats ('Skash' is Japanese English, maybe? I have no idea what skash/skosh is, or else maybe I'm just not getting the katakana??). Whatever the case, I would highly recommend the lemon. We gave it an 8.5 out of 10, tasted kind of like lemon cheesecake, mmm. The cola really wasn't bad either, however I deducted points for its gross grayish-brown poop-like color. Sorry, but that's really the only way to describe it. Still, it even had a nice sort of soda-y sour 'pop' at the end, pretty good. 7.5 for that one. After eating them, we read on the back of the package that they recommend you refrigerate these puppies before I may just have to buy another box and re-evaluate them!

6 Months, and Then Some

Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010 | 2 comments

   I've been meaning to post some more belly shots for a while, but along with traveling back to Japan, jet lag, and starting work again, time has once again gotten away from me. But, at long last, here are the 6 month and 25 week pics, along with a few from my baby shower on the 11th.
  As for the baby shower, Sigourney made out like a bandit! She got so many little outfits and toys that I had to leave a suitcase full for my family to bring when they come visit in November, and I sent another suitcase down to Indianapolis with a friend for Yuki to pick up when he arrives there on business next week.
Even so, one of my suitcases was at 51 lbs and one was 52.5 lbs upon check-in, oops. Word to the wise: if your luggage is potentially overweight, try your best to stay away from any and all grumpy-looking women at the O'Hare United baggage check counter. This woman did finally let me pass, but not without much grumbling, a few dirty looks, eye rolls, and making me remove 1.5 lbs. Oh well, I'm still thankful to her for the 2 that she gave me! Now, if someone could just talk to United about some of their rude flight attendants....since when did it become 'against policy' to help a pregnant woman lift her bag into the overhead compartment??

                                   6 months!! (And after a large dinner)

                            25 Weeks...I seem to have shrunk since last week

                              The cake itself was devil's food cake

                                       Opening presents

                                 One of the adorable dresses Sigourney received

                                     The aftermath

Buying Beer Was Never So Much Fun!

Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | 0 comments

   This weekend was pretty busy, what with having a wonderful friend in town visiting and then the baby shower, too. And it definitely had its memorable moments.
 On Saturday night, we were out and about while my mom was busy at home, smack in the middle of chopping crudites for the party. Since we were returning soon with a pizza, she called and asked us to pick her up some beer on the way home. In her defense, she swears she completely forgot about how it would look to see a pregnant woman buying Miller High Life.
  Let's just say, that was some fun I wouldn't like to repeat. Not only did the cranky clerk boot my friend out of the store for not having her ID on her (she'd left her purse in the car and apparently we're not up-to-date on Indiana's liquor laws), I also got the pleasure of being escorted out to the car by another clerk, after we had to state the obvious---that I was unable to carry the case of beer since I'm pregant.
In all reality, the clerks didn't seem to care at all and most likely wouldn't have been phased had I popped up a can and chugged it in front of them, but I will admit to being highly embarrassed with the whole scenario. So much so that I even tried to mention to the clerk carrying the beer that it was for my mom, then immediately realized how lame and contrived that sounded.

Note to self: should there ever be another time to buy alcohol while pregnant, come up with a better cover story than the truth!

                                               A Bottle From The Offending Case of Beer

Picnic Lunch

Posted on Friday, July 09, 2010 | 0 comments

  We went for a picnic last week at a park in a nearby town. Zelie was quite happy while devouring her ribs (which, this week she has decided that she hates, FYI), and then we took a walk after eating. Not bad scenery for a little park close to the historic downtown area; it felt quite secluded and traffic noise was at a minimum. It could stand to have some public restrooms though: this pregnant lady had to cut the trip short due to an overactive bladder! Note to self: don't drink so much water when the only toilet around is a bunch of bushes!

                                                    Zelie and the ribs

Taking a walk

Not an outhouse in sight!

This scene reminded me of Japan; perhaps the hanging tree branches?

Belly Pic, Week 23

Posted on Thursday, July 08, 2010 | 0 comments

   I'm pretty sure that my belly has undergone sudden exponential growth...either that or part of the bulge is due to a food baby, but this pic was taken right before lunch!
Excuse the blinding whiteness; I forgot to adjust the ISO setting on the camera before the pic was taken and this computer doesn't have Photoshop.

   While we're mentioning food babies, let's also talk about the fact that I agreed to my mom's suggestion of picking up a Little Caesar's pizza for dinner. I hadn't had any in years and remembered their breadsticks as being amazing. Yeah...ouch. There is apparently not enough room in my body for a large salad, a breadstick, 2 pieces of pizza, and Sigourney Weaver! Oh, and a mango. With a home-made cupcake for dessert. Ok ok, I obviously can't blame all the discomfort on the pizza. But I think that both Sigourney and I have had our fill of carryout for a while...tomorrow it's back to home-made and healthy dinners!

 P.S. Their breadsticks really aren't all that good after sitting under a heating lamp for hours! That logo about 'Fresh out the Oven' is false advertising, in my opinion.

                      For just over $10, you too may have a Meal-Deal chock full of greasy goodness.


Posted on Tuesday, July 06, 2010 | 0 comments

            Last week, we released some butterflies from a kit of Zelie's into the backyard after they hatched out of their cocoons. We would've left them in their little mesh habitat a few days longer, if not for:
1. They didn't seem to be eating much of the recommended sugar water, and 2. The cats were intent on having themselves some young butterfly snacks! The poor little monarchs were knocked over several times before they were put out into 'the wild'. Hopefully they're faring better outside than they were indoors!

                                        Oreo aka 'Lard A$$', begging for some crunchy winged treats

Releasing the butterflies

Preparing for the flight to freedom

Happy Independence Day!

Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010 | 0 comments

   Today was a pretty mild 4th of July at our place, but I did bake some red, white, and blue cupcakes as part of the celebration. We lit a few fireworks but stayed away from the crowds at the town show this year. I actually mostly stayed inside with the frightened dog and watched the mini-display from the comfort of the screened in porch, seeing as Sigourney is now causing some ligaments to stretch in a rather painful manner! Here's hoping that sleep comes easily tonight!

   Strawberry, pineapple, and blueberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting (I went for red, white, and blue both inside and out)

Besides the fireworks, there were also plenty of lightning bugs to catch

The Ever-Growing Bump

Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 | 1 comments

  Ok, here's the 22 week bump pic...along with a few samples of the lovely American food I've been feeding Sigourney lately. It's so nice to have access to a big grill and to not pay a fotune for a salad! Also, Sigourney apparently really likes mangos and Pizza Hut, the crazy girl. Tonight she's really going to live it up with some gyros...we'll see how much she kicks after a taste of those!

                          The ever-expanding bump. My belly button is slowly becoming an outie

Mmmm, spinach salad!

Grilled shrimp...and corn on the cob that cost less than $1 an ear, almost unheard of in Japan

I gave myself a stomachache by eating 2 of these last night...but it was well worth it!

Pizza Hut...which I never used to eat...until I could no longer have it, of course.

22 Weeks Today!

Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 1 comments

   About 18 weeks left to go, and Sigourney Weaver is getting stronger day by day. Or should I say, night by night. She's doing her best to prolong my jet lag by kicking away once I wake up in the middle of the night, thus preventing me from falling back asleep. Kick. Kick. KICK!
 Here's hoping for more than 4 hours' tonight. Belly pic to follow soon; right now I'm too tired to upload it!