Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More photos and updates

  First of all, please let me thank you to all those who sent us warm messages of congratulations to our latest news.  I am sorry for not having been able to reply to most of those messages yet, due to all the hustles and hecticness of our new life as brand-new parents ;-)
  But I am hoping to write back to everyone as soon as our life settles down . 

  On the 21st of April (4 days later the birth of Ben) my parents arrived here in Bloomington. 

Happy family --- new parents and new grandparents, with our precious newborn!

My parents (especially Mom) has been of a great help to us, doing all the house chores from cooking to laundry and to cleaning the house.

Amar is very happy to use the special sling called "Nature's Sway" sent from his Mom in NZ.  
sleeping peacefully in daddy's sling

Our friends James & Jenny kindly offered to my parents a tour to the town and IU campus, as a nice courtesy to my father's giving a tour of Himeji Castle and the city to them when James and Jenny visited Japan last autumn.

My parents have been very lucky during their stay: the weather has been very nice (sunny and pleasant almost everyday so far), and having such nice friends as James and Jenny, and Hiromi, who took them out for exploration of this town and some events around the town. (They could even attend both Hilary Clinton's and Barak Obama's campaign speeches at IU with the help of Hiromi!! As the primary election at the state of Indiana is on May 6th, both Clinton and Obama have been visiting Indiana, including Bloomington.) You can imagine how excited my parents are about this!!

What are you looking at, Benjamin...?

Happy Grandparents

Sheepskin rug given by Amar's Dad and Kerry for our wedding gift --- finally used for the first time!

Big yawn

Big stretch!

And going back to peaceful sleep...

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Morning with Ben at Home

Please click the button to see the video message from the new dad.

I forgot to mention some important information in my previous post, such as his weight and height: Benjamin's weight was 3030g (=6lb. 11oz), his height 50cm (=20in.), and his head measurement was 33cm.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Our Baby Boy Is Born!

On Thursday April 17th, at 5:14 pm, our baby boy Benjamin Takumi Flood came to this world.  (Takumi [=拓海] means "a pioneer of the sea" in Japanese.) We are SO HAPPY, as you can imagine. 

Thankfully, the labor and delivery went well, it was a very efficient, safe and natural one: we went to the hospital at 5:30AM on the 17th, and we were joined by our doula, Susan, around 11AM; my contractions became very strong around 12 noon, and I was dilated to 7cm at 3PM, and the push started at 4:45PM, and surprisingly he was born at as early as 5:14PM!!

The nurses were surprised when they say Ben's head had already crowned at 4:45PM, and that he was born with just a few pushes after the doctor came to the room and started attending us.
All the staff were quite surprised that I went through this delivery without any medication (pain killer, anesthesia, etc.) nor episiotomy. One nurse said, "This is the first birth I've seen in a long time without any medication!"

I was quite proud of myself since I had really wanted my labor and delivery as natural one as possible, and I had been preparing both mentally and physically, reading a lot of books, going to prenatal yoga classes and talking to wonderful, supportive group of people I found at BABS (Bloomington Area Birth Services, the place I had yoga classes).
But I also know that I could make it come true largely thanks to the great help and support by Amar and Susan. Actually, I believe that I wouldn't have been able to do this without their warm, undivided, and effective support.

There are a lot of things we as new parents should learn, but we are looking forward to the long journey and lots of adventures ahead of us with our newborn son Benji (or Taku-chan, as I call him in Japanese).

Our doula, Susan

New Mom and her boy sleeping together

All Blacks hat from the new Grandma in NZ

Happy Dad

We are home!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Surprise Baby Shower at ACC

Yesterday was my last Japanese class at Asian Culture Center. 
It turned out to be a very memorable last class (until the next semester starts in September): my students had secretly planned a surprise baby shower for me, which I found really sweet and heartwarming.  

I'd like to say thank you here again, for all of my students and the staff at ACC, who planned such a wonderful surprise!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Baby Shower

Last Sunday (April 6th) we had our baby shower, with the help of Erika and Simon.

The shower was a great success, largely thanks to Erika and Simon's help and efforts, and it proved to be a very beautiful and memorable day for us.

The top photo is a flower arranged by Erika. 
I love the tiny socks hung from the line ;-)

Close-up of the flowers...:

Close-up further... Hey! There is a little bird perching on a flower and looking up at baby socks :-)

Amar was in charge of making NZ scones. He kicked off at 7:30AM and, before 10AM, he had baked 3 batches of scones (2 batches of plain scones and 1 batch of cheese scones).

I was in charge of baking cookies for "thank-you gifts" for the guests - I made three kinds, ANZAC biscuits (from NZ), chocolate & almond biscottis (from Anneli's recipe), and Earl Grey tea cookies (from a recipe in my Japanese baking cookbook), 6 batches in total. (I had baked them the day before.)

I packed these cookies in small bags and tied curling ribbons:

And I made a little thank-you note to go along with each package, in which I mentioned why I chose to bake ANZAC biscuits: "ANZAC biscuits, which are primarily made of oatmeal, coconuts and golden syrup, were allegedly made by Australian and New Zealander women for the Australian and NZ Army Corps (ANZAC) during WWI. In Australia and NZ, they eat these biscuits on ANZAC Day (April 25th), a day to commemorate the soldiers who fought for the war... And this date just happens to be our baby's due date!"

Erika was in charge of making salad and quiches --- she had prepared the pie dough for 5 quiches the day before, prebaked them on the day's morning, and finished baking the quiches at our place. Simon was in charge of decorating the house --- and so Erika and Simon came to our place around 11AM, and worked all the way through until 3PM, when the guests started to show up.

Everybody loved and complimented on Amar's NZ scones, and Erika's quiches and salad. They were all really delicious!

Portraits of some of the guests:
(We had about 30 guests including children, so the pictures here captured only some of them. But as things turned out, we couldn't take photos of everyone --- so they are all we have.)

After enjoying food and chatting came the time of the party's highlight --- GIFT-OPENING!

There were so many gifts put in front of us, and it was really "as if the birthday and Christmas and the New Year's Day had come all at once" :-)

When I was about to start opening the gifts, Amar stopped me to greet and say thank you to everyone for coming to our baby shower, which I found great and was grateful to him later. My only regret is, however, that I (we) forgot to say thank you to Erika and Simon in front of everyone, mentioning how much time and efforts they have devoted for organizing and preparing for our shower. So, Erika and Simon, let us thank you here at least, so that the guests of the day can see how great you two are and how much we appreciate your friendship.

These two pictures above are from Mayuko

Opening the gifts...  ... and look at this happy smile on my face ;-)

And here are all the gifts collected together on our big dining table --- despite its big size, the table is almost full with so many lovely gifts!

It was really a wonderful day for both of us, and we truly are grateful to all the guests for sharing our joy, anticipation and excitement, as well as their lovely gifts. 
And above all, we want to say thank you again to Erika and Simon for making this happen --- we would have never been able to have such a beautiful and wonderful baby shower without your help!