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Early Potty Training

July 19, 2022

When you talk about early potty training, there are often several negative responses.

You shouldn’t potty train early, you’ll harm your child.

You have to wait until toddlers show “signs of readiness” and are developmentally ready to train.

You can’t train a child before they can talk. Why force your child to potty train early?

There is no rush. It’s not a race to grow up.

And so on..

The truth is that there is NO one way or perfect timeline to potty train a child, and every child (and family) is different.

A child is not “better” or “worse” for starting potty training later or earlier. However, it is also incorrect that early training is harmful, forced, or reflects a parent’s desire to “rush” childhood milestones.

In fact, early potty training can be gentle, relaxed, fun, and have many benefits.

Our son started early potty training in January 2022 at 10 months of age.

Below we share our experiences with early potty training as parents still currently in the thick of raising a toddler: the method we are using, how it’s going so far, and answers to some questions about early training for those who might be interested in trying it with their child.

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Cloth Diapering in Japan

July 18, 2022

Our son has used cloth diapers since about 3 months of age.

We love that cloth diapers can be gentle on baby’s skin, cost-effective (especially for families that hope to have more than one child), leak far less than disposable diapers, make transitioning to toilet training easier, and have the potential to be environmentally friendly, depending on how you launder them.

While cloth diapering is not for everyone, we have had a great experience so far with cloth diapering our son (now 16 months), and are excited to share what we’ve learned!

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We Are Moving!

May 12, 2022

We are moving!!

This meaningful update has been in the works for a while, and a process full of hopeful anticipation and prayer.

We are so excited to finally share the news!!

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Keeping Warm in Rural Japan

January 23, 2022

When I tell people that it snows in Japan, they are often surprised! They seem to imagine that Japan is a warm, tropical island locale full of bamboo and monkeys.

In reality, Japan is geographically diverse, and has four distinct seasons and a multitude of climates. The scenery varies widely, from pristine beaches and fields of lavender to crowded cityscapes and deep forestbamboo and monkeys included!

For example, the area where we live in Hyogo has been said to resemble Germany or Switzerland. The mountains are covered with towering evergreens that are blanketed with snow for much of the winter season.

Yet, unlike 90% of Swiss residential areas, homes in Japan do not normally have central heating, and the walls can be thin and lack insulation. This is perfect for allowing wooden beams to breathe naturally, and has many benefits including decreasing damage during earthquakes, as well as increasing air flow and reducing mold during Japan’s humid summers. However, it can make for some very, very chilly winters indoors!

To learn more about just how cold it gets during the winters in Japan and the traditional (and not so traditional) ways to keep warm in a rural home without central heating, read on!

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Overseas Travel With An Infant

January 13, 2022

Overseas travel looks NOTHING like it did a few years ago. My husband and I are both seasoned travelers, having been to a combined total of more than 10 countries.

However due to the continually changing travel guidelines, under the pandemic that has stretched on for over 2 years, overseas travel has become a completely new experience.

There are still long queues, longer flights, and an array of pre-flight preparations to consider. Add to this extra regulations, unbelievable layovers, and the wildly unexpected, and you have today’s travel experience.

While single or married this might present its challenges, but add to the mix an infant, and everything has the potential to become just a little more overwhelming!

While traveling overseas with a baby does require more careful planning, it is manageable if you are willing to be flexible (and can deal with the possibility of temporary sleep deprivation – which most parents of infants are experts at already!).

Our most recent travels overseas took over 20.5 hours of flights and layovers from Japan to the U.S., and over 34.5 hours on return (that is not counting driving to and from the airports both ways!).

Based on our overseas travel experience, here are our tips for traveling with an infant overseas.

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Our International Love Story

July 31, 2021

In honor of our 5th wedding anniversary on July 30th, it seems like the perfect opportunity to share our love story with our readers!

The post below was originally written in February 2017, and appeared at a previous blog that is no longer in use. The title then was “Raindrops and Shared Umbrellas: On an anniversary and the story of a year’s happiness”.

Now firmly out of “newlywed” territory, I can say that marrying Masashi is something I would choose again and again a thousand times, and all of the challenges we have faced together have made our marriage even stronger and more beautiful than it was in the beginning.

Our love story is no longer just a story of a year’s happiness, but five years of numerous experiences and emotions, sickness and health, grounded firmly in love.

I enjoy revisiting what it was like at the beginning, and am thankful for how God brought us together.

To reminisce with us, please read below!

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Postpartum Essentials

July 9, 2021

During pregnancy, so much focus can be on preparing the baby.. but preparing the mother is important, too!

Especially for new mothers, it can be helpful to know what to expect after giving birth, and how to make the transition to motherhood easier.

Below I share a list of what I found useful during my postpartum recovery, and my thoughts about each item. Or, scroll to the bottom of the post to discover what items were “not worth it”!

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Pregnancy: What to Read

July 8, 2021

Pregnancy can feel overwhelming with all of the preparation involved, and a very real deadline within which to accomplish it all!

In addition to purchasing items for baby, deciding on a place to give birth, and so on, there are also so many resources out there to read written on the subject of pregnancy itself.

Below are a few of the titles that I read prior to my son’s birth, and my thoughts on each resource.

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Baby Stations & Breastfeeding in Japan

June 9, 2021

Our son Jamie is EBF, which means exclusively breastfed.

Although you might not see a lot of people breastfeed publicly in Japan, many public spaces are supportive of breastfeeding. The building where we grocery shop includes a breastfeeding area on the third floor, which can be easily accessed via elevator.

I have taken advantage of a few of these public “baby stations”, and they are very convenient!!

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Giving Birth at a Japanese Clinic

April 14, 2021

Our beautiful rainbow baby arrived to this world on March 11th!

Our birth experience was different from what we expected, but still overall positive. We chose to give birth at a clinic vs. a hospital, run by the doctor who was the care provider during my entire pregnancy.

The following is our birth story, about what it’s like to give birth in Japan and during the COVID pandemic.

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