Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year! I would love to write a thought provoking blog about my plans for the New Year, but I have not really taken the time to think about it. One of our goals as a family was to get to Japan for a period of time. Well, we made it. Now it is time to see what the next step is, but we will probably not think about that until summer of this year. For now, we will enjoy where God has us in Tokyo.

A friend from our Friday play group hosted a New Year's Eve kid-friendly open house from 3-7 yesterday. So, we enjoyed hanging out with adult friends and also watching the kids run wild. They all seemed to have a good time and in general got along so that was fun to watch. We came home, put Miyako to bed, and then made soba noodles. It is tradition here in Japan to have soba noodles on New Year's Eve, so Kan fixed some for us. Then, we watched some Friends episodes. We are on Season 9! Around 11:45 we turned on the Japanese TV to see what kind of countdown they have here in Tokyo. It was not much to be quite honest. We did get to see some of the different temples around Japan which was pretty cool. But then we saw "Johnny's Countdown" and could not stop laughing. It was so ridiculous - in a very bad way. I think they started counting at 5 and it really was not very good at all. :) The boats on the bay did give off large sounds at midnight which we heard and Tokyo tower had Happy 2011 on it and was blinking, which was pretty fun, but after the countdown I looked at Kan and said, "so, more Friends?" and we watched another episode before I fell asleep on the couch.

Today has been fairly lazy. Miyako is taking a long nap and I am catching up on the blog...while we watch Friends. We are going to eat some more traditional Japanese dishes for tonight that was sent to us by Kan's mom in Kyoto. The highlight of my day was watching the ball drop in NYC via Sling box. Seriously, thank God for giving the creators of Sling a brain because the Sling box is a life saver for us. It was so fun to watch the countdown in the US, and to be honest, I even teared up a bit. It is not that I wanted to be in Times Square with the millions of people, but it just was a reminder of home. We have spent the past several New Year's Eves with our special friends the Alvarez family. It was a bit weird not to be with them this year, but we are thankful for our memories with them. Again, I am just glad God has given us means to keep connected to home in ways I never thought we could. The city here is deserted. There is nobody walking around and it is very quiet...almost eerie. But it is nice to have some down time and enjoy the quietness of such a normally busy city.

Disney Sea

Our friend from Nagoya came to visit the Monday after Christmas until Wednesday. On Tuesday we all went to Disney Sea. Mr.N, Minnie, and her family also joined us. It was a bit chilly but we had a lot of fun. The crowds were not too bad yet as most people were still working. Miyako enjoyed herself as usual, but kept asking for the neigh ride, boat ride and Pooh Hunny Pot ride. Fortunately Disney Sea also has a "boat ride." It is not "Small World" but it does the trick. They also had a merry-go-round. However, there was not a Pooh Hunny Pot ride. She did though get to ride the tea cups with daddy so that made up for it. She loves "Minnie's house" and talks about it all the time. We will try to go back in the spring as a last family of three outing before the baby comes. When we came home that night, we saw a beautiful sunset and a view of Mt. Fuji from our balcony.

Merry Christmas

We started our long Christmas break with a day off for the Emperor's birthday on December 23rd. Our church had a kids Christmas party and we took Miyako. We were blessed with two of her little friends also coming. It was a lot of fun. The kids played games and heard the Christmas story in Japanese. Miyako enjoyed simply running around the room and the rice crackers.

On Christmas Eve, Kan took Miyako on a date. They went to lunch at McD's and then did Christmas shopping for mama. I enjoyed the break as I was busy in the kitchen all day preparing for our Christmas dinner. It brought back fond memories as my dad and I did the same thing when I was a little girl. I hope it can become a tradition for Kan and our kids.

Christmas was a rather interesting day for us. Rather than being with at least 9 other people and opening gifts as an all day affair, it was just the three of us. We had a very lazy morning. Miyako slept until 9AM, due to a late night and no nap on Christmas Eve, and she wanted to play in her bed until 10AM. We finally ate breakfast around 10ish. I had made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and we lit a candle in one and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. We also brought out the baby Jesus from our Little People manger scene. After breakfast we let Miyako find her gifts. She saw the new table from Ikea, the Anpanman toy, and the Little People farmhouse, all of which were unwrapped as they were too big to wrap, and said, "What is this?" She got so enthralled in these gifts that we did not open anything else that day but her stocking. We kept asking her if she wanted to open more gifts and she said no. So, we let it go.

Around 5ish, three families from our church came over to enjoy Christmas dinner. Everyone brought side dishes and I made the turkey and three other casseroles and dessert. I completely forgot to take pictures of all the food. But it was beautiful and yummy. We had 8 children and 10 adults in our home! It was a bit tight but we had so much fun celebrating together. It was nice to get our minds off of not being at home. We really feel like we made the most of our first Christmas in Tokyo.

After cooking and cleaning I was pretty worn out. The day after Christmas we did nothing. Literally. I did brush my teeth and hair but other than that we stayed in our pj's all day. In fact, we have done quite a bit of that over the Christmas holiday. Kan is off work until Thursday and it has been so nice to have him home. At night when Miyako prays and we ask her what she is thankful for, sometimes she will say, "daddy home now." I think she too is enjoying having daddy around. We are a bit concerned though that we have made her lazy the past few days. Today when I asked her if she wanted to get dressed and go outside, she said, "No, stay in pjs."

I took the Christmas decorations down today. I must say, it was nice getting them down and put away in less than a hour. That is what happens when you have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and not a lot of room. But it was a bit sad as our apartment now seems a bit empty. As I put the decorations away, I also put away about 7 gifts still unopened by Miyako. I have decided to use them for rainy days, airplane or train rides, or just really bad days. Eventually before Christmas 2011 she will hopefully have opened everything.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookie Party

Today we had a Christmas cookie party and invited three friends and their mama's over to decorate Christmas cookies. Miyako was a bit cranky from her long day yesterday, but overall the girls had a great time. I wish I could have taken more pictures but I was busy either cutting the cookies or making sure Miyako did not dump decorating supplies all over the floor. The girls took a break to watch Charlie Brown Christmas while the cookies were baking. I must say, they were pretty delicious. I think next year though it will be a bit easier to do with three year olds verses two year olds. I enjoyed having my friends in our home and sharing out lives with them a bit more.

Tokyo Disney Christmas 2010

On Monday the weather was beautiful - sunshine, blue skies, and a high of 60 degrees. So, Miyako and I ventured to Tokyo Disneyland on our own. It was a big day full of lots of fun. We got there at 11 and took in the Christmas atmosphere - lights, Christmas music, large decorated trees - it was gorgeous. We went straight to Pooh's Hunny Pot to get a fast pass for this ride. Then Miyako asked for the "boat ride." You may know it as "It's A Small World." We rode that and then the horses (merry-go-round) and grabbed some lunch. After lunch we enjoyed Super Duper Jumpin Time with the Disney characters and found a seat for the parade. God blessed us with a bench so I could take a little rest. Miyako wanted to be held quite a bit while standing in lines so my lower back was in need of a rest. The couple we shared the bench with were very nice and the lady bought Miyako a churro which she gobbled up. Miyako loves the parades. Her eyes get huge as she watches the big floats and characters come by. Did I mention I was thankful for the bench?

After the parade we went back to the boats and horses. Can you see a theme here? We rode them each three times, but I did not mind as the lines were not long and she enjoyed it. It is not really about me having fun; it was for her. I wanted to take her on other rides like Peter Pan or Dumbo, but the wait times were about 40 minutes and I just did not have the energy to do those by myself. She kept asking to go on the tea cups, but I told her she would have to do that with Daddy next time - those make Mama a bit sick. We did our fast pass for the Pooh ride which she enjoyed. At times I think she was a bit scared when it got dark but she never cried. Her eyes would just get real big. We were blessed again with seats on the ground, but in the second row, for the Christmas parade. Disney really does everything exceptionally well. After the parade we went back to the boat and horses. At this point it was getting a bit dark. I asked Miyako if she was ready for dinner and she said "No, home." I asked her again if she wanted to stay and she said, "home." So, I thought I would listen to my 2 year old and not push her (even though I really wanted to stay for the electrical parade at 7:30). We headed towards home, and this is when our real adventure begins.

Knowing I would be pushing a stroller, carrying a toddler, and keeping up with our belongings for the entire day, I wanted to try to consolidate as much as possible. I put all of the diapers, emergency clothes, and snacks in a backpack. Tokyo Disney is very safe. You leave your stroller outside a ride and come back and nothing has been touched. So, I decided to keep my phone in my coat pocket and keep my money, ticket, and metro pass around my neck in my little Disney pass holder thingie my friend gave me. Kan walked us out that morning (he always sees us out the door when he is still home and we leave before him) so I had no need to lock the door; thus, no way to realize I left my key in my purse. Yes, I left my key and did not realize it until I was at the grocery at 6:30 with a tired two year old.

I knew Kan was expected to have a late night - he said he would be home between 10-11. I first called our Dutch friends and asked if we could come hang out at their house. I needed to make sure I got Miyako somewhere warm and fed before she got really upset. Then I called Kan and by God's grace I caught him before he went into his dinner. He said he would do his best to leave between 8-8:30. Well, he did his best, but with this being an end of the year party, his best got him home around 9:30. Miyako was a trooper though. She played pretty well at our friends' house and did not have her breakdown until I was brushing her teeth. She finally got in bed at 10 and slept until 9 this morning. Poor thing. The benefit - I did get a good nap out of her today for 2.5 hours!

It was such a fun day with my sweet girl. I love being so close to Disneyland. You really do forget about everything when you are there. I had considered getting a year pass this year but now I am glad I waited a bit. It would be hard to do by myself the bigger I get. However, if we are still here when Miyako turns 3, and it looks like we will be here a bit, I think I will invest in it before she is 4 and I have to pay for her a pass too. She really does love going to "Minnie's house." And I love watching her enjoy herself.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

21 weeks

Well, I went for our 21 week appointment today. I will be honest, part of me really wanted to find out the sex of the baby. I even contemplated finding out and not telling Kan since he could not go to the appointment today due to back to back meetings all day. But if you know me, you know that I CANNOT keep a secret, especially from him. If I buy him a Christmas gift early, I will hint at what it is all month because I get so excited about it. Not sure why I get excited since I can never pick him out anything; he is one of the most particular men I know to buy for. Noticed I said "particular" and not "picky." I guess he is particular with women and he chose me so that is a good thing right? But I digressed...back to the appointment.

We got the 3D images today. I love that in Japan you get an ultrasound at every appointment. My doctor measured the abdomen, the head circumference, the arm, the leg, and checked the four chambers of the heart. Not only do you see the baby every month but you get to take it home with you on DVD! So fun. As he was measuring the leg, I did try to take a sneak peak. But who are you kidding - I am not a medical professional and could not tell what he was looking at, so maybe when Kan gets home and we watch the DVD again I might try to look at it a little more closely. Even if for some reason we accidentally find out what this baby is, nobody will know but us. We like it that way.

Miyako was a surprise. In fact, I was convinced I was having a boy. No real reason - just thought it was a boy. So, we had our boy named picked out but had not really decided on a girl name. We took our three baby book names to the hospital with us that night just in case we needed a girl name. Good thing we did because when she graced the world with her presence and Kan said, "It's a girl!" I responded with, "But we do not have a girl name picked out!" I had me some good priorities huh? We liked the idea of a surprise. Plus it is easier that way - nobody hounding you on the name, telling you their opinion of the name, and it really was fun anticipating the moment of Baby K's arrival.

But this time it is a bit different. I have more of a desire to know what the baby is. I guess part of me wants to know for Miyako - will she have a brother or sister to play with? Will they look alike? Will she try to change his or her diaper like it is her own baby? I know I will enjoy having this baby immobile for awhile as Miyako keeps me very much on my toes, but I told Kan I look forward to when they are like 5 and 3 and watching them play together. But alas, we did not find out and once our minds were made up I am okay with it. Let the wagers begin.

Everything else with the appointment went well. They gave me the beloved glucose juice to drink before my next appointment! We are also hoping to take Miyako to that one so she can see the baby on the actual ultrasound. It depends though on Kan's schedule as the station exit for the doctor's office is not so stroller friendly and at 25 weeks I do not want to be picking that stroller up! I am measuring at 21 weeks and have gained 13 pounds from my start date. Not too shabby for half-way. Miyako also made some steps today. I was grateful for our Dutch friends who let me drop Miyako off today while I went to the doctor. Miyako did really well at their home. I told her both last night and this morning she was going to their house to play while Mama went to see the baby. I thought she would be upset when I left as she had never stayed there without me, but she was very happy and content. Such a good thing - she is confident that mama will come back for her and she can enjoy herself anywhere. Sigh though - she is growing up. We are truly blessed to have such dear friends like that close by to help out with things like this. God has provided for us above and beyond anything we could ask for or imagine. To him be the glory for all of these things - friends in Tokyo, a growing little girl, and a healthy new baby to come!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fall Family Portraits

So, for Miyako's second birthday we took some fall family portraits with a fabulous photographer. Nana and Opah were visiting at the time so they got to take part in a few shots as well. Part of our package included a CD of some of our favorite images. This post is dedicated to my favorite people - Kan, Miyako-chan, and little Baby Kawashima on the way. I love our family and am so grateful God has ordained us to experience life on this earth together.