Little One Loading: 100% Complete

41 Weeks Pregnant

One week after my due date, at exactly 41 weeks pregnant, our little one was finally born! I’m posting this quite a bit later, because as you can imagine I was a tad busy that day and the days after. Actually, I still am and I’m sure he’ll keep me busy forever. As a proud mama, I want to share my beautiful baby with the world, so I have been posting lots of updates and photos on Instagram and Facebook with my iPhone. I don’t really have time to respond to everyone’s individual congratulatory messages and questions yet, so thank goodness for social media keeping everyone up-to-date at once. Baby’s out for a walk in the park now with his oma [Dutch for grandma], oom [Dutch for uncle] Djamo and tante [Dutch for aunt] Yasmin, so I quickly jumped behind my computer to write this last post in the Little One Loading series.

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Wedding Bells after 4.5 Years of Marriage

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary! These years flew by and I have no regrets at all. My husband is my most favorite human being in the world; he’s my best friend, my life support, my partner in crime, father of the baby in my belly, and the love of my life.

Marrying him was the best decision I ever made. Yet our special day wasn’t exactly what I had dreamed of as a little girl. We had to get married in secret. We got married in Osaka, yet the only people in Japan who knew that was happening were my coworkers, two of them signed on our marriage papers as witnesses. The day of our commitment it was just the two of us.

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Ten Years

Ten years ago today, in a different time zone, we shared our first official kiss! In Yasu’s dorm room in Spice House on Emory University’s Frat Row, in Georgia, USA.

Ten years of travels, international moves, and adventures later, we are still sharing kisses.

Long Live King Willem-Alexander

Today I got up at 5:20am. Very early. 
Last night was date night. We went to an evening baseball game. We debated staying until the end of the game, but since we had to get up early today we went home after the 8th inning. That was a good decision because that game ended up lasting a record number of 19 innings! It ended at 1:41am! Less than four hours before I woke up today.
Anyways, so we woke up really early today. Why? 
Well, we had to be at the Dutch Consulate in San Francisco at 7:00am to watch the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the investiture of King Willem-Alexander, of course!
With the new King came a rather nice but controversial King Song, that introduced a new hand gesture for the King. Three fingers in the air to make a W; a W for Willem-Alexander. See us flashing our three fingers at the Consulate:
Even though we are crazy busy this month, we are very happy we made time to attend this event. After all, it is not everyday your country gets a new king! The last Dutch king died in 1890. The ceremonies were very moving and made me realize I’m more nationalistic than I ever thought before. 
I even took some photos of the big screen. See below our King Willem-Alexander and his Queen Maxima on top, and on the bottom our future Queen Amalia and our previous Queen Beatrix.
The Dutch Consul General made a speech and provided the dozens of early-bird Dutchies with a nice breakfast and a piece of a beautiful windmill cake to celebrate this momentous day.
Oh, and this day is very special for another, not so royal but nevertheles grand, reason: today is our 9th anniversary as a couple! 9 years ago, at Emory University, Yasu and I shared our first kiss, never even imagining that we were kissing our future spouses.

Mesmerized

Why did we come to Vegas again? That’s right to use those free hypnosis show tickets we got in June. When were road tripping with the Dutchies we spent a little time in Vegas and Yasu, who’s studying hypnotherapy, really wanted to see a hypnosis show. So we did. While at breakfast, I scored some hypnosis show tickets on my iPhone for all of us for later that night. The show was awesome, and even sceptical Guido could see how well hypnosis works and how hilarious it can be.
We had a great night and my only regret was not volunteering for the show, because I was torn between participating and finally experiencing what it’s like to be hypnotized and laughing till I cried in the audience. I didn’t know that participants get free tickets to see the show again and that they sell DVDs of the show so that you can enjoy your own hypnotized performance.
So when Yasu bought a hypnosis program after the show and also got free tickets for a future show, I promised myself that I would volunteer the next time. And tonight I kept my promise to myself and volunteered without hesitation and to Yasu’s delight became one of the stars of the Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis Show!
Us hypnotized volunteers making ugly faces at the camera
We didn’t take any pictures during the show but Marc Savard’s assistant did take this picture! We are all hypnotized to believe that we have ‘wrong face disease’ when the hypnotist said “smile” and then we all produced the ugliest face we could while posing for the picture.
Of course, I did a lot more embarrassing things while under hypnosis than make an ugly face. I convincingly played air-violin in an orchestra, vigorously played air-guitar in a heavy metal band (even backwards and with my ass), got really hot and really cold (had to hug the guy next to me to keep warm), was a Riverdancer, posed for a sexy photo shoot, was hopelessly attracted to the hypnotist whenever he held my hand, was a participant in a special lollipop sucking contest and ran screaming from a snake that was really a belt. Among other things :)!
With Marc Savard
After the show we got to take pictures with Marc Savard (check out that ‘lollipop’) and when he held my hand again, I was still happily mesmerized by him. He also signed my DVD of the show. I can’t wait to see the DVD when we get home. And I don’t mind sharing the experience with friends and family, as 300 strangers already saw me ‘perform’ on stage, and it was so much fun. But I may change my mind when I actually see it, hehe!
Signed DVD
I’d seen a few other hypnosis shows before the Marc Savard show, and during one of those shows my boyfriend at the time got hypnotized into the star of the show. He did some amazing things while under hypnosis, that show was a lot of fun for me.
The whole process intrigued me and after the show I asked him how or why he did the things he did on stage, his only explanation was “Because the hypnotist told me so.” That answer was really unsatisfactory to me and ever since I have wanted to feel what it was like to be hypnotized. Well, it was very different from what I expected, and now I have to give the same answer to that question.
You do the things you do on stage and act out all the scenarios he’s giving you, just because the hypnotist tells you to and because somehow that seems to be the right thing to do. It doesn’t seem funny or embarrassing when you do it, because the hypnosis takes your inhibitions away. It doesn’t feel like you’re in some zombie trance, it feels like you are super aware and really concentrated.
Earlier, I even wondered whether I had faked it, because I was so conscious of my actions on stage. But as a rather shy, self-conscious, and self-censoring person (I’m even embarrassed to dance in front of friends) I would never have done all the crazy things on stage in the spotlight in front of all those strangers without feeling embarrassed and at least laughing at myself.
I did some online research and found out that’s exactly what hypnosis is supposed to feel like. Everything I experienced is typical of hypnosis. It’s not some mysterious trance in which you have no idea what you are doing. It’s a relaxed feeling of super concentration where you let yourself be guided by the hypnotist without hesitation or regret. I felt great during and now after the show. It is such an awesome, interesting, fun and rewarding experience! This is going to be a great memory for a lifetime.
V Theater
Go to this show and volunteer, you will not regret it! It’s at the V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shopping area of the Planet Hollywood. I got free tickets for another show when I was on stage so we’re going again tomorrow and I’m sure it will be just as much fun as in June, when I laughed and cried till it hurt.

Unfortunately, Yasu doesn’t want to volunteer tomorrow, but I’m sure we’ll find ourselves at another Marc Savard show on a future Vegas trip and maybe by then I will have convinced him to volunteer. If not, I’ll just volunteer again!

Christmassy Vegas

Yasu is a big baseball freak, this is no secret. When he was young he worked very hard to become a professional baseball player, but his slipped disc forced him to give up on his dream shortly before he went to university. He never gave up on his love for baseball though, so he was very excited to see Pete Rose sitting at a signing table somewhere in Vegas today.
Pete Rose
At first he was a bit shy to go and talk to the former Major League Baseball player, but with a little help from the store manager who introduced Yasu to Pete Rose, he got to have a little chat and even a handshake from this legendary player. This made Yasu a very happy man!
It’s almost Christmas and as expected Vegas decorated for the occasion. And I love it!
Vegas Christmas Decorations
The Bellagio Conservatory has the best Christmas display with its penguins and huge polar bears made from flowers. This place has really put me into the Christmas spirit!
Bellagio
The Bellagio is famous for its fountains, but they don’t just have them outside, they have a bunch in the Conservatory too. Some people weren’t convinced it was actually water and had to touch the water stream  to believe it. What they didn’t realize that this made the people behind them, also under the same arch of water, yell out because they got sprayed! That was funny to observe and too much fun for Yasu not to try. But he was nice enough to make sure there was no one behind him to get wet.
Bellagio
Our hotel gave us a coupon for a 2-for-1 deal on the Eiffel Tower Ride at the Paris Casino. So without really knowing what it was about we gave it a shot and it was a good thing we did, because the view from the fake Eiffel Tower’s observatory of the Vegas Strip and the rest of the city is breathtaking. But the ride up in a glass elevator is a bit too exciting for me, it doesn’t matter how often I’ve practised in Japan, it’s still scary. 
Eiffel Tower Ride
It is December and even though it’s pretty warm in the sun during the day, when it’s dark it’s very cold here in Vegas, especially on top of the Eiffel Tower. Still we stayed up there for at least 45 minutes because we wanted to see the Bellagio Fountains dance from above, and we had to wait 30 minutes for the show to start. It was beautiful, but I have may have caught my first cold of the season, let’s hope not.

Second anniversary

Today two years ago we got married in the most unceremonious way in an Osakan city hall in Japan. My mother send us a sweet card with hand sewn felt hearts to congratulate us with our third anniversary, hmm her time moves a lot quicker than ours does! 
2 years
I feel like our two years of marriage flew by, it’s still weird to refer to Yasu as my husband in my native language. I don’t speak enough Dutch these days to get used it, but I have gotten used to doing it in English, so that’s a good sign! Whatever I call him in whatever language, it doesn’t matter, I’m just glad to be with him and to share my life with Yasu every single day. 
It’s amazing we ever found each other, any of so many decisions we made in our lives made differently would have led to us never meeting. And when we did meet, neither of us was impressed by the other… But love grew after that one day at Starbucks in 2004 and survived years of a very-very-long-distance relationship and much more complicated challenges.
Two years ago, we chose to live our lives for ourselves and committed to each other in secret. We became husband and wife and it was the best decision we ever made. Sure we’re not a conventional couple, but what’s good about being ordinary anyway? We’re a pair of colorful oddballs, who have a lot of fun together, much like these amazing Vegas elephants!

LV elephants