May and June Baby Birthday part

Where are you going? It ‘s time to take a picture!
Every parents try to put their babies in the area so then we can take a picture or two… but you just don’t care and just smiling at some adults…
Ellis and Luca. Ellis was one of the few babies who already knows how to walk.

Luca: 12 months old and 1 week

Parents I know from mommy and me class at Pump Station Santa Monica invited us for May and June Baby Birthday party at Douglas Park on Memorial Day. I was looking forward to seeing every moms and their babies how they are now. I expected to see those babies are already walking but they were still at crawling stage although every babies are different. I still thought if Luca meets other babies, he would get excited and play with them. 

When I put Luca in the babies’ circle, it was completely different from my expectations. Luca took a glance at babies and just walked away. 1 year old babies don’t really play each other? Or it’s just Luca that he thought it wasn’t his crowd? I am not sure but he didn’t seem to be interested. As you can see at the 1st pic, he didn’t want to be in a circle. Lol Oh well, he got some free spirits, I guess. That’s ok too. 

I was just happy that I got to see other moms and catch up a little. Some of the moms who has a boy goes through same thing as I do: boy throwing a tantrum, being aggressive when he is upset… When I see his anger, I tend to think, is it my fault? Did I or Papa show our anger at some point and he learned from us? The moms think same way as I do and I was glad to share that thought. I wasn’t alone I thought. 

I hope Luca and I can see them more often… 

Happy Birthday Luca! Part 2

Happy Birthday, Luca! I made banana pancake for your birthday! (it is a lot on plate but you and I shared)
As always… you want to grab my phone!
This sunglasses was a part of birthday gifts you received at the party. You don’t like anything on your face or head right now but hopefully you will get used to it.
Papa and I wanted to take you to the aquarium in Long Beach so here we are but we had to put something in our stomach! We were hungry and so were you! lol
With Papa
This is when the servers were singing a happy birthday song for you. You love people and you love to smile at them! That’s my boy! 😄 This world needs a lot of smiles and love, not hate!
I love this photo that you are looking up to your Papa❤️
This is my pork chop. Their stuffed pork chopped is the best!! At At Last Cafe in Long Beach
with love❤️

Bread pudding bite! We gave you such a small bite… Sorry but we didn’t want to give you too much sugar…
How was it??
Finally, we are at the aquarium! This is so pretty!
What do you see, Luca?
One of my favorites, jelly fish. So mesmerizing…

Luca: 12 months old

Solid food: almost anything! And cow milk!

I thought it was a long journey to reach this point for both of us, Mama and Papa. However, time goes really fast and the “tough” time that we didn’t know what we were doing at the beginning and thought it was tough seems to be such a long time ago and I almost forgot how tough it was. It was just a few seconds that it lasted. That’s how I feel like now. Because your smile, your hug, everything that you do with me or us is so rewarding and I love what I do for you so it doesn’t matter what it used to be now. 

I am so happy and so lucky to have you as our child. I am thanking God that he sent you to us and you are a gift and “miracle” for us. 

I love you always.
Your Mama

1st birthday party! Part 1

Happy Birthday, big boy! You looooove Thomas and Friends so the party theme is Thomas and Friends! 😄
This is my best friends, Luca! Vic, Oyie and Tim!
And Melaina! She and I work together and she is a good friend of mine also! 😄
Uhh look at the yummy cake! With Papa!
I wanted to put a birthday hat on you but apparently you didn’t like it… lol
With Mamiko and Ferdi. Ferdi and your birthdays are only 3 days apart!
You were helping me to put the bag away! You are always helpful for me, my love! 😘
Yum yum fruit cake from Angel Maid Bakery!
Your aunt and cousins were with you too.
Biiiiiiig baloons! I love these balloons. It is always to have fun, colorful balloons. And again, red, blue and navy… Thomas’s theme…

Japan Trip Day 8-9 and the End

At Negishi Shinrin Park in Yokohama. There are a lot of foreigners live in this neighborhood and it is influenced by their culture that the houses’ style is very westernized. Fancy area. This park is also influenced by the western culture. It is very wide open and you can enjoy with a lot of activities.
  
After the visit at the park, we stopped by a supermarket. Luca enjoys the escalotor ride!
 
 
My friend’s sons took care of Luca so well and they all enjoyed their companies!
 
 
Aww Luca! What are you doing in my suitcase?? lol
 

My friend took us to Shichirigahama Beach. It was warm and humid. We had some pancakes that are supposed to be popular. Mmm.. the taste was so-so. Maybe I am used to the american pancake??
  
I think my son is in love with my friend. lol Luca cries everytime when someone wants to hold him but he didn’t when she held him.
 
Well, I guess not this time. He felt the sand on his feet for the first time. I can tell he felt something he was not used to. And he didn’t like it. Come on Luca, you are growing up in beach town, Santa Monica! You should love the beach!
  

At Shichrigahama Beach, Kamakura
One of the sons loves this comic book ” Yokai Myanko (Monster Kitty Cat)”. He told me he is collecting its medals. I think he got more than hundred medals and he said he lost truck counting… Why do boys love collecting stuffs…
Luca loves any style of “pica boo” game!

 

Time to go home… It was 11 at night. Luca looks so tired in this pic… Thank you everyone for taking care of us!! We will miss you and we will be back!!
 
Luca enjoys Thomas and Friends after his 6 hours of sleep.
  

After 10 hours of flight, we are finally home! Where is Papa??
Phew… still long way to go to get out from this airport!
He loves to be in a suitcase and play around but he doesn’t like to be taken picture of it by ME… I don’t know why. He allowed my friend to take one before!!

We stayed at my best friend from high school’s house until the end of our trip: 2 nights and 3 days. She has two sons: 13 and 7 years old. They both were such nice boys and enjoyed Luca’s company. 
While I stayed there, I learned a lot how to build a good parent-child relationship through my friend. She is a Montessori based pre-school/kindergarten teacher as well as a mother. I know her since our high school and she has never changed how she is: kind, warm hearted, thoughtful, soft spoken person AND she is funny. I always enjoy her company and she is my must person to hang out when I go back to Japan. So this is a great learning opportunity for me to absorb how she deals with her sons especially when the children are cranky, or being forgetful about their homework and working on it a night before the due date when they had 2 weeks to work on. She always tries to understand their mind what they go through in their head even though she has her side to get mad or frustrated. I think it is tough to be like that when the things don’t go the way you were expecting to with your child. But I would like to keep reminding myself to listen my child what he has to say and I want him to know that I am always on his side. 

Anyway, this 10 days trip was really really good trip for me and Luca. All of my family and friends were so happy to meet Luca and he gave a lot of happiness with his smile. 

It didn’t hit me when we left Japan but it hit me hard when I was about to reach to the exit at LAX after the passport control and was about to see Luca’s papa. This great trip with Luca is about to be over! Actually it IS over! 😢😭😢

Well, we always have the next time. Hopefully next year? Hopefully with his Papa? 

I will be always hopeful for Luca. 😄

Great trip, Luca. I don’t expect you to remember all of this trip. This blog has the purpose! You did fantastic and you were a great partner and you always will be! Till next time!! 

Love you very much,
Your mama

Addition: some people in Japan are so thoughtful to a mother and her child. Most of the times, I carried Luca in my carrier in trains or buses. They always offered me a seat. Even though I was tired and really wanted to take the opportunity and sit down, I got so much stuffs with me that I had to reject the offer. I wouldn’t know where to put those stuffs if I sit down!  I felt bad to reject it though. Because I’m pretty sure they needed some guts to ask me. 

Also, I read this somewhere that Japanese culture over all isn’t so friendly to mother and her child. There is no elevator to go upstairs or there is no lamp when you have a stroller. But actually that wasn’t true. The elevator was everywhere, nursing room and diaper change table were everywhere. I even saw the milk bottle warmer machines when they have a nursing room. I was impressed. 

Waste situation in Kamakura

 
 Japan generally concerns environment and they put extra effort to protect the nature what we have left. Individually, they bring their own handkerchief when they go to public bathroom, and they bring their own chopsticks. As a country, they invented a hybrid car to reduce exhaust emission. 
As for trash, generally they started to divided recycled items from burnable trash from years ago and it used to be very simple. Like it was required to separate from glasses, and plastics. 

The city I am from, Kamakura is one of the strict cities when you separate trash. And expensive. 

The photo I added above is the schedule when you can throw what items. The schedule is very detail and confusing. For example, Monday and Thursday: burnable trash such as raw trash like veggie skin, fruits, fish, meat, leather, shoes, stationaries, CD etc. Tuesday: something you can not burn such as can, glass, metal, umbrella, dishes, cups. Once a month And burnable trash separately such as paper, newspapers, books, magazines, fabrics. Once a week. Wednesday: plastic bottles, plants.  Once a week. And it goes on and on. 

The rule: There is a booklet to guide you how to separate trash correctly. You have to buy specific bag to throw the trash and it costs 80 yen (75 cents) on each bag. You have to put your name on the bag so then the patrol can check and return your trash to you if you put something wrong item in it. If the weight of trash bag excesses the limit, you have to wait till the following week. 45 litter per bag. 

The goal: I just made a quick research about the reason behind it. Every year, citizens of Kamakura produces 4 tons of trash every year. Their ultimate goal is “zero waste”. To get to close to the goal, they want to reduce it 1 ton less each year. The city wants every single citizen to be smart about waste and save resources if it’s possible. That’s why they are super strict about it. 

 

This is the booklet about how to separate the wastes. This is “burnable waste” page. And they show you how to tie the bag.
  
This is “plastic” page. And the items in the orange is NOT considered a plastic.
  
How to clean soiled items.
  
This is the booklet. It was about 60 pages.
 

I think the government needs to be THIS serious about wastes nowadays considering global warming. At the individual level, you need “motivation” to separate the trash in this much details. If we have this rule in United States or even starting it small, in Los Angeles, can we do this?  There are a lot of people concern the environment so it is possible. However, we do need some “education” to follow this rule and it is a big commitment. 

Japan Trip Day 7

Luca just woke up. He slep really good last night!

   
 This is the breakfast I love! Fish, eggs, rice, miso soup… Perfect combo!

  Today was the last day at Atami. After we checked out from the ryokan inn, as we started to drive, Luca fell in sleep right away. I know he is so tired from all the activities from a day before. I hope he is enjoying it. I am not expecting to remember this trip with your memory since you are too young to remember but I hope this journal brings you back to little piece of memories.   
He slept about 1.5 hours while driving. 
  So much green in this area. Looks old town.  After we drove about 2 hours, finally we see Tokyo.     

 

Hello Tokyo Tower!
 
Now we are going to see Totem by Cirque de Soleil. Are you going to be a good boy, Luca??
  
It seems like it is sold out show. I am excited to see this show.
  
Phew! He WAS a good boy! He didn’t cry at all during the show! I was very impressed and relieved! Good thing they had 30 min intermission too. That was helpful. In the second part, he fell in sleep after he got all excited and expressed himself with “uhhh!”, “ba ba ba!”
   
Aww wow! I was excited to see this as well, life size Gundam statue. I got yo know about it through a tech website and I thought one day I wanted to see this. There were so many people to see this big man.
  
Oh Luca… you are missing out…
  

Gundam Front website
1-1-10 Aomi Koto Tokyo 135-0064

I finally saw some girls who are called “idol”. And one if them is happened to be my niece’s friend. I got excited and took this pic but I was told not to do that by a security. Oops!
  
Again, I was not supposed to take this pic but had to! I didn’t mean to take the woman in the center in my pic. I just wanted to capture those fans behind the gate how much fun they are having with the girls in yellow. They even memorized the choreograph!
  
After we watched the event, we wanted to have some lunch. Mmm, look how big the options are here compared to Los Angeles!! Urgh, I want to take this food court with me back to LA!!
  
 

Time is really moving forward fast! My family road trip is over. Now my family dropped me and Luca off at my best friend’s house. I am friend with her since high school. She has two kids, 13 and 10 years old boys. Luca can have two big brothers for 3 days. Yay!

This will be last segment of Japan trip. In two days, we are going back home to Los Angeles. How sad is this!  However, Luca seems to be sad when I mentioned his papa. We do FaceTime everyday to talk to his papa but in this couple days, he isn’t interested to talk to him. His papa was sad too and I feel really bad about it. I’m pretty sure everything will be all right and I guess it is a good thing time flies and this trip will be over soon. I don’t want you to forget about your papa, Luca! You love him so much!

Love you very much,
Your mama

Japan Trip Day 6

 

Japanese, Futon style! It was so comfy that I fell in sleep right away!
  
You woke up the first at 530 in the morning. I thought you would go back to sleep after the feeding but I guessed wrong! You started talking, walking, playing around ! I was like “shhhh! Everyone else is still sleeping!” So I decided to take you outside for early morning walk.
 
At the beach. You still look tired.
   

It rained hard last night but now I see beautiful blue sky.
   
Oh finally, you started to show your smile when you started walking!
 
This is the Nagahama Ryokan Inn looks like from outside. Pretty old building.
 
    

Since we have a full day to explore city of Atami, we decided to visit the children book museum by an Artist, Koshirou Toda.
 
I love the bold outline with primary colors. However his style reminds me of Dick Bruna, Dutch illustrator who produced also children books.
 
    

    

This museum has a nice backyard that has a ladybug and a warm statues. Luca loves color of red and immediately he was attracted to the ladybug. ❤️

Koshirou Toda Museum website
Address: 1055-30 Kamitaga Atami-shi Shizuoka Prefecture 413-0101

Google Map: Koshirou Toda Museum

I found such a slow pase of life style here. So relaxing, so green that I won’t find similar style in Santa Monica.
  
We are heading to Rose Garden now.
 
Now we are at the Akao Herb & Rose Garden. Apparently, roses aren’t the season. They weren’t bloomed at all unfortunately but we saw a lot of other kinds of flowers. My favorite is Japanese Snowball.
  
This is Japanese Snowball. It looks like mini version of Hydrangea. It’s so cute!
  
Japanese garden. The bonsai in the center is supposed to be the biggest bonsai in the world.
  
The Pacific Ocean
    
    
    
It was colorful and perfect visit for the start of Spring.

   

More flowers…
 
We stayed till the end at 5pm. It was getting chilly…

Akao Herb & Rose Garden 

1027-8 Kamitaga Atami-Shi Shizuoka Prefecture 413-0101

Akao Herb & Rose Garden website
GOOGLE MAP