Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Humans & the Cosmic Pondering

Today, Hopper said to me, "Mama, I don't think humans come from Earth."

"So do you think they come from somewhere else?"

"Yeah, people live here but I don't think they're from here."

"Well, there are other people who think the same thing, and wonder a lot about humans and whether or not there are people on other planets and if they came here. Do you think humans come from another planet?"

"Yeah. I look up at the sky and I think that. Sometimes when I look at the sky I like to think about things like that... Mama, do you like to think about things like that when you look at the sky?"

"Yeah. I love to look at the sky and think about Earth and people and other planets and what other life looks like on other planets. Some day we'll find it, don't you think?"

"Yeah. I think so. That's really exciting isn't it Mama?"

I LOVE this boy to my absolute core. Every cell of my body was singing. It was a casual day, getting on the bike to go swimming with our friends at the pool. Just, you know, casual. My little 4 year old thinker.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hopper is 4!!!!

Sunday was Hopper's 4th birthday so we threw him a party in the afternoon. I always wanted a summer birthday as a kid, swimming, playing tag, general outdoor merriment, but I'm realizing now that it will always be Hopper's curse that most of his friends will be on vacation for his birthday. However, with that in mind, it was spectacular to see so many people jammed in our house, eating, drinking, having a great time. And the kids were loving it. Especially Hopper. He loved playing with all the kids, getting presents, tucking in to the most fancy chocolate cake a 4 year has ever had, and most of all, feeling a little special.

It's quite unbelievable that I suddenly have this boy in my life. No more toddler, certainly nothing babyish left. His face and body are all leaned out, he runs like the wind, likes to play rough and tumble, and says things like "Mama, all the people on Earth (quizzical look), how did all the people get onto our planet? Did they come on a rocketship?"

And yet, I know there is a part of him that mourns getting older, it's that little forlorn flash in his eyes, and he lets me tickle him like a baby, and smooch him all over, and coo and rub and sniff his head. And then I know, that I will never really have to say good bye to my baby, he will always want a little bit of that from me, whether it's now at the cafe or in 10 years in the deepest privacy of our home, he will always want me to be mama. And I love that.

So I tell him, I know you're a big boy now but you will always be my Tiny Pie, and he snuggles a little closer.

Happy birthday, to the love of my life, the flutter in my chest, my sweet boy Hopper.

*Thanks everyone for all the lovely presents. He loved everything. But also especially for coming and helping to make his day special so he felt celebrated and loved. It means everything to me that he was so happy and excited and, at the end of the day, full of contentment. Thank you from the entirety of my bosom.

last night being 3

Good Morning Birthday Boy!

Nankai Express train

like daddy like son

family shenanigans

the Spidey suit on the left was a dud, refuses to wear it, BUT the bike was an amazing find, pimped out by daddy, now if only he were a bit taller!
putting together the goody bags

the arts table/the party has begun!!!

Hopper & Ophelia hiding from the bum monster

Gabrielle checking out the new animals book with the boys

Gorgeous ladies Gabrielle, Jill & Samira and S's kids Raya and Ramzy

That's right, everyone can have a go!
Samira, i need to see your photos!

so many lovely people came with presents and good cheer

Uncle Glen and cousin Jill (on right)

gift opening is serious business (with Zack and Jill)

the fanciest 4 year old's birthday cake ever, what a delicious experience

back away from Nik's ginormous knife

and the room fell silent

Happy Birthday Dear Hopper!!

yummy concentration, that dude INHALED it!

oh hi Axel

our bed is always an epicenter of explosive energy

the final result

What started as a very rainy day, turned lovely and sunny so after cake (during the sugar buzzzzz) we headed to the park. And no sand pit this time for Mr 4 Year Old, the kids played soccer and ran around in the grass field.

sometimes in opposite directions. sometimes not at all.

and then there's the inevitable shake down, the wrestling to the ground, and theft of a ball. the horror! and the tears.

and Yama brought some presents to help lighten the mood (and some great wine, thanks!)

not certain he wants a repeat of the Axel theft maneuver

COUSINS!!! (broodje Hopper = Hopper sandwich)

some of the park posse

Ophelia came in a Lightening McQueen costume, which of course endeared herself to H in immeasurable ways, then chased him wearing his armor. I think he's in love!

followed by a lovely dinner at Senpachi, Japanese family style restaurant, with Yama and Manus

my beautiful boys

ice cream and smooch

He is my perfect boy

Just look at that happy face. My best moments. To see that face. Happy Birthday Hopper! I love you to the moon!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kochi Is Cosy

After a couple hours visit at the Anpanman Museum, we drove into Kochi city, checked into our hotel, and headed out to see a little bit of town while looking for dinner. And it turns out Kochi is charming, quaint, and home to some serious eats. (famous for fish)

Perhaps our food radar is finely honed, or maybe we're just lucky, or most likely that it's just difficult to find a bad meal in Japan, but we just scored on our choice of dining establishments. We ended up in a cosy izakaya (a kind of informal bar/restaurant) that serves rice bowls with toppings, gyoza, noodle soups, snacky things, etc and smooth cold drinks to wash them down. Hopper gets to eat with his special chopsticks, daddy gets his draft beer, and I get to indulge in new found favorite drink Yuzu Chu-Hi while eating cucumbers with sauce. (It's a bit like a wine cooler, with usually only about 4% alcohol, a total wuss drink.)

But our main goal in Kochi was to stock up on produce to take with us to Shimanto, where we booked a 4 night stay at the beach. The Sunday market is famous and we had been hearing about it for months so decided it was well worth a little peek, especially as there's a castle at the far end where you can climb to the top and fantasize about the samurai warriors that tried to scale the walls and were pelted by stones and fiery tar.

The market certainly didn't disappoint, everything is local and fresh and at times wondrous to behold. The atmosphere is merry and having a small child always breaks the ice, so we get little extras here and there, special smiles, approving nods. It would be nice if he would be extra charming back, but perhaps his shyness is appealing afterall.

After loading our cargo on board, we were off to Shimanto through mountain after mountain after mountain after mountain...

snacks on the bed after a long day

with Sumo on the telly

not sure whose sick idea it is to name a company after a very dangerous creature: Mukade! (but the logo is kinda beautiful) and i will do an upcoming post dedicated solely to these critters

alley street

bigger street, people from a wedding being escorted across the street by event staff

tram spotting

gah! get out of the way mama!

cool tram (minus coke logo) and one of my fave cars: Hustler

family fun at izakaya

Hopper took this photo

we hung out here for a while, such a good vibe, such good food, wish I could remember the name

cutest parking lot EVER (that's a pond back there, with a bench and manicured bushes)

cool whale at covered shopping arcade


yuzu juice and ginger (famous in Kochi)

so many people, so much food

dried fish and such

innately a boy thing: making a gun out of a straw and flower, to "pachoo" me

pickled/fermented things

pretty old trees

knife shop

for your scything needs

Nik loves a good knife ogle

shall we go find the samurai?

spinach and other greens I've never seen before

Samurai! (protecting the entrance to the park around the castle grounds)

mini entrance meltdown

ready with our walking sticks, I mean swords

follow the path..

up there! let's go!

watch your head

the very top

view from the top

how did samurai fighters traverse these stairs wearing armor and fighting to the death?

path to some of the nicest public toilets I've ever seen (reason #n why I love Japan, public toilets are clean and have toilet paper!)

lunch at indoor market food court

many purveyors, many patrons, only one spot interested us...

...quick grilled tuna with sauces and condiments, like nothing else I've eaten

That flame blackens the fish, leaving it with a unique smoke flavor and a rare center. The line stretched around the corner. Totally worth it.
back in the car... to the beach!

you can drive for miles and miles when it all looks like this