The Jon

In a Magazine Again

Me and Leah are in this month’s Baby-mo. We had this picture taken in Omotesando Hills on my lunch break back in late November!

Leah was a bit scared of the camera man, and started to cry a lot. She usually loves to get pictures taken, but I guess he was a bit scary looking for her. So she didn’t have her best smile… oh well, next time she will ;)

Here is the picture:

On the magazine again!! Yay!

Paternity Leave

I meant to write this post ages ago, but just hadn’t found the time. So here I am over a month since I went back to work.

In case some of you didn’t know, I took off 3 months of work as paternity leave. And I am so glad that I was given an opportunity to do so. With the commute to and from work, I am gone about 12 hours a day. Sometimes there would be a day that I wouldn’t get to see my daughter at all because she would be asleep when I went to work and be in bed for the night when I get home. Those days always make me a bit sad.

So I decided that something needed to change, and I filled out the form to take 3 months of paternity leave, got my boss to sign it (actually stamp it, signatures aren’t used in Japan) and took it down to HR.

Shortly after that I found myself waking up on a Wednesday morning and didn’t have anything to do, so I spent extra time playing with Leah that morning. From then on, I would get to spend the time I wanted to with her and it was great — she is such an angel, in case you didn’t realize that ;)

Now with all that spare time, I did get to spend some of it on a new venture. I really wanted to spend more time with Yukari and Leah, but felt that I had a good opportunity to create some passive income which would allow more freedom in the future. That is still ongoing, but looks to be promising.

In those 3 months we went to America for nearly 1 month. We actually traveled so much in that short time period. Since it was our first trip on an airplane with Leah we were a bit nervous about how she would handle the flight. It turned out that she slept almost the entire way! First we flew into San Francisco and stayed there for 3 nights. In San Francisco we got to go to many popular areas: Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, Napa Valley, and downtown SF. There were more places I wanted to go, but we didn’t have enough time… So perhaps next time! Oh, and we also swung by Yahoo! and Leah was a big hit there!

After that we flew into Minneapolis to visit with my cousin Chanda and her family. They have a nice sized house and let us spend the night in their spare bedroom. She also got all the baby things ready for us like car seat, baby bath, crib, toys and just helped out so much to make Yukari feel relaxed and safe for her first trip abroad with Leah. The next day my aunt and uncle drove over and we went to the mall of america for a little bit, then it was off to Wisconsin.

Staying at their new house on the lake was so nice, albeit the weather was a bit colder than we expected. We stayed there for a few days and got to see my grandmother and show her Leah for the first time. Leah had lots of fun while there, she got to play with a dog for the first time and thought it was so cool. Before we knew it, it was time to drive to Indiana for my dad’s wedding. My aunt was very kind to lend us her car for the rest of the time we were in the US, so we borrowed her car and left early on a Friday morning.

In Indiana my dad got to see Leah and he was very happy to see his granddaughter. He was a bit busy with the wedding, so we didn’t get to spend much time together. Travis was there and it was good to see him, since we didn’t get a chance to meet up the last time I was there. Of course he also enjoyed Leah. After a spending a few more days there after the wedding, we drove to see my mom and my uncle and his family in Ohio. We spent one night there and the next day we decided on the spur of the moment to drive out to Niagara Falls. I had never been there so it was something new for all 3 of us! We drove to the Canadian side and it was worth it! The next day we drove back to Ohio and spent some time with my mom and her boyfriend at the zoo and then we all went to my uncle’s house.

The next day, we were back on the road back to Indiana. We spent some time with my dad and had fun there. One day we drove down to Indianapolis and went to the zoo there with Travis and his girlfriend. Then Travis “took” us out for dinner. By the time we got to my dad’s house it was around midnight. By then I was getting pretty tired of driving. We spent a couple nights there and then we drive back to Wisconsin for a few more days. Then finally gave the car back to my aunt and my cousin drove us back to Minneapolis. After a night at her house, we were on the flight back to Japan.

It was great to be able to visit the US for so long and see all of family, even though they are spread out pretty far. Overall we stayed in 5 states, visited 2 countries and spent more than 50 hours in the car. And Leah was sooooo good the entire time! Of course she would cry at times, but it was much easier an either of us imagined.

The rest of my paternity leave was spent in Japan, just staying in the area and getting some rest after that long trip. The only regret I have is that I didn’t take 6 months off instead!

Photos of US trip

Rolling Over

This will be a nice and short post. Leah rolled over for the first time! And 2nd, and 3rd… here is the video :D Looks like a lot of hard work just to roll over, and she was surprised and enjoyed it! Recently she loves to play on her tummy, I guess she will be doing a lot more of that now.

Leah Growing Up

It has been awhile since I wrote anything here it seems. Since Leah was born, only one blog post! Yukari has been taking so many pictures, I spend most of my time getting them up, so I don’t have time to write a blog post or anything. But figured I was overdue for one, so I will write this short one.

I went through some of our older pictures and put together these 3 below. Leah in the bath at 0 months, 1 month and 2 months old. You can see how much bigger she has gotten over time. Now she takes a bath in the big bath tub with me.

Leah in her bath at 0, 1 and 2 months old

Well, this was short :) But just wanted to share this picture since it is such a good comparison of how she is growing up. I’ll post a few videos that are good ones next time.

Becoming a Father

Since it has been a little more than 2 months since Leah was born, I figured it was time to write an update. I never did actually get around to making a post about Leah’s birth, so I think that will be a good place to start. Even though more than 2 months has passed, I still remember everything about that day as if it were yesterday, so I’ll make a cup of hot cocoa and type this up.

[ad#wide-banner]

On November 19th, I went to work and like every other day for the past few weeks, was ready to go back home the instant Yukari called to tell me the contractions started. I was sitting in a meeting talking with some people around 10:30am and saw that Yukari e-mailed me telling me that her mucous plug came out, so I was getting all excited! Later on she felt a bit different so she was gonna go to the hospital and get looked at. Around 4 in the afternoon she e-mailed me and said she was gonna stay in the hospital. Of course by then I was trying to get her to tell me if I should leave work or not, but her replies were slow. I guess she was talking with the doctor or something. Finally I got a hold of her on the phone and she said I can come, but nothing was gonna happen until the next morning most likely.

So I left work around 6pm and got to her hospital an hour or so before visiting hours was up. She seemed to be doing fine… just like any other day. She was eating her dinner and talking like normal. I got a few last pics of her being pregnant, here is one of them:

I had contracions already, but it wasn't too bad at all. I even had dinner.

As you can see, she is being her silly self. Visiting hours were ending, and they said I could stay if I want, but it would most likely be an uneventful night. If something happened, they had my cell phone number and would call me. So I headed back home and got some dinner. I had a bit trouble sleeping, but ended up falling asleep around 11 or so. I put my phone next to me and made sure the ringer was turned up, so I wouldn’t sleep through it.

While I was asleep, Yukari sent me a few e-mails, which I did sleep through. Around 12:50am her water broke and around 3:00am her contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. I think I woke up around 2am and saw the water broke message, so posted an excited message on twitter/facebook and then dozed back off because her next email said she was gonna sleep so don’t e-mail please.

I was woken up by the noise of my cell phone ringing around 4:15am and Yukari was on the phone. She sounded like she was in a bit of pain and having some trouble breathing. She said I should come to the hospital now. So I jumped out of bed, threw some clothes on, put my contacts in and left the house in a total of 10 minutes. The street was quite empty, and I was excited, so I was probably driving a lil bit over the speed limit. I made it to he hospital by 4:35am, so a total of 10 min. Along the way, I kept thinking that I was going to the hospital to watch the birth of my daughter. Quite exciting thoughts!

I pulled into the hospital and went to the back door entrance and had to get buzzed in. Since it was so early, the hospital was rather dark and quiet. I walked up to the second floor and a nurse took me to where Yukari was. When I saw Yukari, she was laying in bed and wasn’t looking like she was just 8 hours before. She was having some painful contractions, so I held her hand and helped her breath through the contractions like I learned in the class we went to. They also had a monitor setup to monitor Leah’s heart rate to make sure she wasn’t in any duress.

After only what felt like a short time, the nurse said it was time to go to the labor room. From there it would probably take a few hours, so it was looking like it was gonna be a bit before Leah made her appearance. While we were walking to the labor room, Yukari had a contraction and had to stop walking and grab an armrail to support her. I was worried about her falling over, but the nurse was on one side and the wall on the other, so it was ok. When we got to the labor room, the nurse told me to wait while they get her ready.

So I waited outside, and it was taking a bit more than I thought it would. I think I pulled out my cell phone and was gonna make a pot on my twitter. I wasn’t sure what to write, so I just put my phone back in my pocket and paced in front of the door waiting for them to let me in. When the nurse finally appeared, she told me to put on a gown and we’ll go into the delivery room! I was a bit surprised because I was expecting to spend a few hours in the labor room. So I put on my gown, and went into the delivery room to see Yukari laying down and 2 nurses and the doctor getting ready. It was time for Leah to start her journey out into the world!

After all the preparations  were done, the nurse told Yukari to get ready to start pushing. The only thing I was there for was to support Yukari, so I did the only thing I could do. Grab her hand, and put it on the handles and when she started to push, I made sure her head was pointed downwards. That was what I was taught to do, and I think I did a good job at it. After one push, the doctor said the baby was coming out. It didn’t quite dawn on me that the head was coming out, but that is what he meant. The nurse was telling Yukari to open her eyes, but she wasn’t in the mood, so I helped her open her eyes with my hand!

And it was a good thing I did, because the next thing I knew was that Leah’s head was sticking out! Only from the neck up was out, and the doctor was holding her head, which seemed rather limp. It was also gray colored, which surprised me a bit. Yukari still hadn’t realized that Leah was coming out, and she pushed once more… it was a bit longer than the first push, but with the second push Leah came completely out at 5:33am. The doctor was busy getting the umbilical cord cut and Yukari was asking about if it was a girl, while I was waiting to her here make her first cry. Time seemed to have stopped, and it was forever before she cried… but in reality it was probably less than 5 seconds.

The nurse held Leah up to Yukari and Yukari held Leah’s foot for a little bit while Leah was crying. Then the nurse took Leah off to be under some blankets. I was a bit surprised that they took her away from Yukari and didn’t bring her back. Yukari ended up staying in the delivery room for a few more hours to sleep. Meanwhile I gave Yukari a kiss and said goodbye, and headed out to the hallway. A few minutes later a nurse brought out Leah for me to see her. She wasn’t crying and I held touched her and told her that she was so cute! Then the nurse put her in a bed in the nursery and I took the first picture ever of Leah, exactly 20 minutes after she was born:

Leah Claire Keating : Born Nov 20th, 2009 at 5:33am : 20 minutes old

Shortly after taking this picture, I headed back home and Yukari’s mom greeted me at the door. So I said the good news and she was so happy that she almost cried! And I showed the above picture, because that was all that I had to show. Then I went up to my room and called everyone in my family to tell them the news! Then it was on the computer to write everywhere that I had become a father of the such a cute girl named Leah Claire Keating.

That about sums up the experience of becoming a father. I’ll have some more updates coming, but am a bit tired after typing all this. So, until next time!

1st Anniversary

Exactly one year ago today, Yukari and I went to Hawaii and had our wedding there! It is also a public holiday in Japan, so I had the day off from work and had a lovely day with my wife.

We’ll put the pictures online later this week. We re-watched our DVD of the wedding with her parents and sister. Ahh… it was such great weather and a fun time. I can’t believe that one whole year has passed already. I guess time flies when you are enjoying it!

We thought it would be cool if Leah was born on our anniversary, but alas, she decided not to come out today. Only 11 more days until the due date, so should be anytime soon!

[ad]

Camcorder & Web Camera

A few weeks ago I bought a camcorder so I can take lots of videos and show them to my family. I ended up going with the latest Sony Handycam. It can record in 1080i (wish it was 1080p, would make converting to videos for watching over the net better),  has 32GB internal flash memory, nightvision, 3-way shake canceling (I really need this!), and a GPS receiver so it can be used while traveling as a GPS map, and automatically convert to the local timezone. Here is a picture of what it looks like:

Sony HDR-CX500

I also ordered a web camera, so we can do video chats on the internet. I actually got it for free using some of the points I’ve saved up on Full Tilt Poker (Signed up with Rakeback at Deuces Cracked)

Here is what it looks like!

WebCam

So only a few more weeks until the expected date, but once the baby is born expect lots of videos :D

We Decided the Baby’s Name!

If you have seen my status on my facebook page, then this will be old news to you. But, I just wanted to announce it here as well.

After thinking about it and tossing around many names for a few months, we finally picked one out!

Leah Claire Keating

And in Japanese: 梨愛

That is all for now!

4D Sonogram

I never heard of a 4D sonogram, let alone a 3D sonogram, until Yukari said that she wanted to get one done. In case you haven’t heard of one either, it is a video of a 3D sonogram. We went to a doctor’s office in Tokyo to get it done a few weeks ago, but just got around to putting it up online. In the video you can see the face of the baby, and that is how it will look when it is born. So here is what our baby’s face looks like:

27.png

In the video, you could see her moving around a lot. Sometimes drinking the fluid, sometimes playing with her nose. The doctor was saying that since there isn’t a whole lot to do in there, most babies like to touch their face because it has some bumps (nose, mouth, etc) and that it finds it interesting. So we got to see the baby play with her nose a lot! Then sometimes would just fall asleep. Anyways, here is a short clip. If you want to see the whole video (20 min) send me a note and I’ll e-mail you the link.

And here is the one of her drinking the amino fluids:

By the next time I wrote here, we hope to have the baby’s name decided!

Social Health Care

Since social health care is such a big issue in the states now, I thought I would just weigh in with a few notes.

In Japan we have a form of social health care. We make our monthly payments out of our paycheck, and then when we go to the doctor’s office/hospital and get medicine, we only have to pay 30% of all costs. It would be nice if it was 100%, but it doesn’t work that way…

In the 6 years I have been here, I have gotten a few colds, a broken finger, some migraines, a sharp pain in my back once, and a sharp pain in my chest (ribs?) once. For an MRI, I think I paid around $150, compare that to the price of an MRI in the US ($400 to $3,000). XRays for my broken finger, sore back and chest were around $20 to $30 each I believe. Last week I had a cold, so it was $10 to see the doctor and $6 for a week’s worth of medicine. Plus I get a free complete physical once a year so I can keep track of my own health (I hear every year that I have low cholesterol, both good and bad so I should eat more white fish to get the good cholesterol up, and to lay off the sweets).

So as you can see, I can live without fear of having to pay medical bills as they are fairly cheap. And I’m sure the doctors like it as well, as you never see any poor doctors in Japan.