Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stay at Story Inn

Last week, we made a small family trip to celebrate Benjamin's 3-month old birthday (July 17th). We went to Story Inn and stayed there overnight in one of their several cottage houses.

(Please click here for more pictures.  (User Name: guest, Password: shootingstar).  You can also jump to other pages such as Summer Solstice Party, Benjamin's First Play Date,  and Benjamin's 100th day birthday, from there for more photos that I recently added.)

The cottage we chose, the "Carriage House", had a huge hot tub indoor, and we thoroughly enjoyed soaking ourselves in the big hot tub in the night.  (But the only turn off was the smell of chlorine which was used in the tub.  Maybe next time we choose the house with an outdoor tub...  but in any case, the treat of the hot tub bath was certainly worth while of putting up with the smell, after all!)

  Another nice feature of the Carriage House was this swing in front of the house.  We enjoyed swinging together --- all three of us together.  
Benjamin apparently liked it very much.  Look at his smile here ^^ 

 The cutest sailor man-style clothes he is wearing is a gift from Sonia, a friend of mine who lives in Paris.  Thank you, Sonia!  We love this pair of clothes on Benjamin very much ^^

3 months old

On Thursday, July 17th, he turned to 3 months old.  Now he weighs 7.4kg!

His latest developmental milestones:

(1) Started "Hand Regarding"
Since 13th week or so, he started to watch his hands and legs intently, when he is on his bed or bassinet, and left alone to play by himself.
According to some books on babies, this "hand-regarding" indicates that the baby started to recognize their own hands and feet as parts of their own body (i.e. realized that they can move and use their hands and feet at their own will), and therefore it is a very important developmental milestone!

(2) As a consequence of that "hand-regarding", he also started to be able to find his own thumb and put it into his mouth so he can suck it without our help.  He still cannot do it with 100% accuracy and succeeds in finding it in his month only once out of three times or so, but this is a great development for us parents --- for, this means that the day is nearing when he can (hopefully) fall asleep by himself, without our constant assistance!!

  I really wish that the day comes very soon...  (These days, it is getting more and more difficult for me to put him to sleep, especially for naps, as he is so curious about everything around him that he tries to keep his eyes open to see everything even when I am holding, rocking and singing to him in my sling to put him to sleep!

  But when he does find his thumb and falls asleep by himself, he surely looks like an angel (and he certainly is, too!).


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Do we look alike?

Daddy and Son☆
We took this photo last Sunday (July 6th). Benjamin is at the end of his 11th week.
*Please note that Benjamin is wearing a shirt which says "COOL just like DADDY" --- the shirt was a baby gift given by Amar's research group students.  They know what pleases Amar, eh!

☆Daddy, Mommy and Son☆
Each of these were taken within a few days after each one's birth.
Can you tell who's who? :-)

☆Cousins (Benjamin and Yuuto, my sister's boy)☆

Yuuto (or Yuu-chan, as we call him) is now 4.5 months old, whereas Benjamin (or Taku-chan, as I and my Japanese family call him) is almost 3 months old.

Two cuties glancing up at their moms:

Both boys love to perch on their Moms and Dads...

(↑  The two photos above were taken by Yuriko, our youngest sister, with her new digital SLR camera.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Benjamin's photos from his 10th and 11th week

1oth Week - Dad and Son's Sweetest Moment
On a holiday morning, Amar was reading to Benjamin some nursery rhymes from "Mother Goose's Nursery Rhyme Book".
Benjamin was apparently very pleased, and showed quite an interest in the picture book as well as to his Dad's rhythmical voice.
Look at his smile!

It was such a sweet moment, when we saw that Benjamin was really happy being read by Dad.

He is even studying intently the picture on the cover...

And smile again^^

11th week - In his Birth Suits
On his changing table

11th week - Big Smile!

This face (with his puckered lips as if going to kiss) reminds me of someone's face... 
Oh I know! It is my own in my childhood photos!

A handmade mobile

A good old friend of mine from my high school age sent me a baby gift (a CD set of Japanese nursery songs) a while ago.   A charming surprise, she enclosed dozens of paper cranes she made for me (and Benjamin, of course) in the package.

I wanted to keep the cranes in a memorable way, so that I can cherish her thoughts for us as well as the cranes themselves --- and I thought of making a little mobile using them.

And so I went to a handcraft shop one day and got some beads and utensils for beads craft, and started making a mobile.

Amy, who makes jewelry and accessories using stones and beads, happened to come by for lunch when I was just about to start the project, and she gave me some good advice. (That is, putting beads around the ring wire used for hanging cranes, as shown in the center of the picture below.) 

After several days of work, using fleeting moments between frequent nursings of Benjamin, I finally put them together and made them into what barely seems to be like a mobile.
I am not 100% satisfied with the outcome --- perhaps I should have made it with more numbers of shorter trains of cranes. Maybe I can redo it sometime --- when I find my time and inspiration again!

But so far, Benjamin has shown some interest in the mobile --- especially when I let it swing gently.  When I showed it to him at the time he was just about to cry, he stopped crying and was intently looking at it for quite a long time. ^^

A Whole Salmon!

Here in the U.S. we had a long weekend thanks to the 4th of July (the Independence Day).
Amar volunteered to cook dinner during this weekend, provided that the weather is fine enough for him to be able to use the BBQ grill.  Fortunately the weather stayed well on Friday evening.  
And guess what he found at a local supermarket on that morning for an ingredient...

  The WHOLE Salmon!!

He wasn't intending to buy a whole salmon when he left home --- he just ran into this big salmon being brought into the store, to be displayed in the showcase for the Independent Day sale.  It was quite early in the morning (around 9AM), and a sales clerk assured him that it was fresh from the sea that morning and the fish was wild caught (a very important feature for this kind of fish, for both taste and nutritional reasons).

So he decided on the spot to buy the fish, and after excitedly reporting "his rare find" of the day to me on coming home,  he started browsing his favorite cooking book, "Essentials of GRILLING" (published by Williams Sonoma).  

He came across with the recipe for "Grill-smoked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce" in there.  So he went back to the supermarket later that day to get smoking chips and horseradish. (When he puts his mind on BBQ, he doesn't mind making an extra trip to a supermarket --- which is not is the case for most of the time ;-).

Anyways, this is the salmon on the grill --- being smoked for 2 hours.  Amar had marinated the fish for about 6 hours prior to grilling. (But desirably it is to be marinated for more than 12 hours.)

The whole fish fresh from the grill 
It was really, REALLY delicious!!!  It is especially so for us who live in the Midwest U.S., very far away from the sea and therefore cannot eat/afford good quality seafood very often.

Benjamin on that day

He was keeping us a company in the kitchen while we were cooking, when this photo was taken.