Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Good, the Bad, the Beautiful

The Good: We already received Chloe's passport and birth certificate in the mail, less than a week after submitting the application! Wow! Bureaucracy is great! :) The Bad: Our bank is just ridiculous (I won't name names, but it starts with a "Hunt" and ends with an "ington"). We were apparently supposed to get new debit/ATM cards way back in October. We never received them and didn't know anything was afoot until they started being refused right around Christmastime. We've been in touch with customer "service" countless times since then trying to resolve this and if they've actually sent the card half as many times as they claim to have then half of West Michigan has a copy by now (Have any of you gotten one of our cards? If so, we'll pay for the postage if you mail it to us!). The latest: our apartment complex has the word "village" in it. Here's a direct quote from customer service personnel: "Is *** Village an apartment complex or an actual village? ... If it is the name of a village we will need to find another way to get your cards to you. This would present a security issue." Gaaakkk... Maybe they could send the company donkey to our little village of TWO MILLION PEOPLE!!! This is wrong in so many ways... The Beautiful: Chloe's always been a good night sleeper, but last night she really outdid herself. I put her down sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. She slept until 6:00 a.m. I don't want to get my hopes up... but is that not beautiful, beautiful, beautiful??

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Busy Week!

Wow, what a week! As you can see above, we had another photo shoot this week, this one for Chloe's passport photo. Picture number one was the winner, but we got lots of fun expressions! I think that this outfit is courtesy of her great-grandma Zoet.
Tuesday promised to be a great day! Mike had an early meeting and was going to pick up breakfast for us at McDonald's before coming home to drop off the car and continue on to the office. I got a call around 11:00 a.m., just when I'd begun to wonder where he was. Unfortunately, he wasn't at the gate... he was still in Toyota City, at a gas station asking if he could eat my breakfast for lunch while he waited for the tow truck. The day lost a bit of its promise right about then. Getting gas in Japan is complicated a bit by the fact that everything is written in Japanese, and we've only recently become bold enough to use self-serve (the vast majority of stations are still full-service, anyway). Mike looked for the cheapest price and concluded that that must be regular and pumped $50 into the car. Turns out it was diesel. Turns out that regular cars don't run on diesel. Ooops. Oh, well, at least it wasn't kerosene, as we thought it might be at first! The engine has been flushed and the car is back in the garage, so no harm is done - and actually, the car runs a lot better now!
On Wednesday, we got up really early after a rough night with Chloe in order to take the shinkansen down to the American Consulate in Osaka to apply for her passport. As we got off the subway in Osaka it occurred to us - it was Vernal Equinox Day, a national holiday in Japan! The consulate was closed. Since Osaka is just an hour but a couple hundred dollars away by bullet train, we decided to get a hotel room and spend the night. After a few minutes of annoyance at the inconvenience, I have to admit I was quite gleeful at this forced vacation day. We had lots of fun hanging out in a department store and rode a ferris wheel that was about thirty stories tall. Wow! We went to the consulate first thing Thursday morning and were in and out in about forty-five minutes, including security clearances.
All in all, a good week! And now... it's time to collapse into bed!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Photo Shoot! Series Two

And some more pictures...
This picture stuff is serious business!

Well, okay, not that serious!

(Do you think she's taking after her Daddy here when he decides Mommy's taken too many pictures of him? Hmmmm...)

Ha ha ha... I like that shiny metal thing Mommy keeps waving in front of me that makes those funny noises!

What do you mean you're done taking pictures of me for today???

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Photo Shoot! Series One

It's been a while since I posted new pics of the little babe, so I did a little moderately successful photo shoot yesterday. Here are some of the results!
Hi camera!

I'm sleepy...

What's going on over there????

Saturday, March 10, 2007

In Other News...

In non-baby news, last night we went to a sayonara party for our neighbors, Steve and Mariko, who are moving back to Michigan next week. We're so sorry to see them go! They've been wonderful neighbors. Here's Mariko, basking in sukiyaki goodness...
Here's a picture of Steve sitting next to Mike. Their little girl, Hanna, is behind him.
And today, our little family went to Denny's today for an afternoon brunch, followed by a visit to the motorcycle shop next door.
Mike liked this one. Rrrrrrrrrmmmmmm, rrrrrrrrrmmmm, rmmrrrrrrmmmm!
On the way out, I helped Mr. California get away with the booty.
And that's all the news from Lake Nagoya! Where all the men are short (except Mike)... all the women are painfully thin (except Meika)... and all the children are above average (well, at least Chloe is!)!

Banshee Baby to Angel Baby OR Kids Need Sleep

So it turns out that babies need to sleep! A couple weeks ago, our little zombie stopped sleeping all day long. In fact, she stopped sleeping during the day AT ALL. Oh, she might've taken a catnap or two on my lap, but nothing much more than a half an hour. Strangely enough, this is also when her little inner banshee made itself known. So I did some research. Is this normal behavior for a (then-)four-week-old baby? I did a Google search to find out. I took some sick comfort in the surprising number of horribly creative headlines of abuse and abandonment I found - she may be driving me nuts, but at least I haven't been tempted to use her as a weapon or put heroin in her milk or abandon her in an office building or. Apparently lots of people are driven nuts by surprisingly little babies. Not really any useful information, though. Last week, we had an awful day on Friday - Chloe screamed quite literally all afternoon. Well, okay, maybe she took a couple brief breaks (to breathe). That evening, we went, with qualms, to a fundraising dinner. She slept through the whole thing, about five hours straight. Then she slept all night, in a couple more four- or five-hour streaks. Saturday, she was in a great mood! Hm. It clicked. The kid's been sleep-deprived. The problem is that the baby books we have (and the on-line searches I've done) all say BLEAH to baby schedules. Instead, let the baby sleep whenver she wants! Let her eat whenever she wants! They don't address babies who don't seem to want to sleep so much. At all. Until last week, I'd put her down to sleep, she'd scream, I'd figure she wasn't tired after all, get tired of listening to her scream, and get her back up (to scream some more). As a result, it looks like her poor little head was spinning... so she screamed. This week has been much better. I've found another source and have been putting her down for naps every three hours or so. She still doesn't always want to nap and often wakes up maybe thirty minutes later, but she's getting much more sleep than she had been and even on her worst days is much more bearable than she had been before. Anyway - as a result of all this learning, we finally have some cute smiley pictures to share! Chloe has just been learning how to smile and has been making her very first almost-coos just in the last couple days. She's also beginning to find her fists to suck on a little more frequently, yay! Awwww... is she smiling at Mommy? Nope - she really likes the CD tower. Awwwww..... is she smiling at Daddy? Um, no... she also has a thing for the coffee table. And, finally, a record of Chloe's first non-breastmilk experience. Mike decided that she needed to experience a Parm bar (delicious, I have to agree) while I stood by squawking, "Aaaaak! You can't feed ice cream to a five-week-old!" and Mike replied, "Why not? It's milk!" Despite my objections, she appears none worse for the wear. :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The First Bottle

I pumped for the first time last night, and this evening Mike gave Chloe her very first bottle after he came home from work. At first she didn't seem quite sure what to think of it, but it didn't take her too long to suck it down! I was surprised that I felt a little twinge watching him give her the bottle - she doesn't need me anymore! - but it was nice to have the break and will be great to be able to go out for dinner someday again. And now, a gratuitous cute baby picture! This seems to be her new preferred sleeping position anytime she's not swaddled (which isn't too often nowadays). Awwwwwww...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, Chloe!

Do you see the family resemblance? :) As you can see, she's been a little fussy lately... maybe it's because we didn't get her a one-month birthday cake! But yes, today is indeed her one-month birthday! We had a doctor appointment this morning and she is perfectly healthy. She now weighs 4,170 grams (around 9.1 pounds, up from 7 lbs. 11 oz. at birth) and is 56.4 cm long (up from 51.5 cm at birth). We really confused the doctor and his staff with our American baby clothes. :) This month has gone really, really quickly - we feel like we're just beginning to figure her out. After a horribly fussy afternoon on Friday (read: several hours of periodic screaming), she finally fell asleep at about 4:00 p.m. ... and didn't wake up for much more than feedings until 10:00 a.m. today! Wow. Apparently she needs a lot of sleep. Happy Birthday, Chloe!