Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

It is hard to believe it is December 31st here in Tokyo. I have a post I want to dedicate to recapping the year, but for now, let's talk about Christmas. Boy, is it fun with little ones! Last year Miyako was not to into Christmas. She only opened a couple of gifts and was done for the day. What a difference a year makes! The girl opened EVERYONE's presents! We let her because, well, it was cute and she was having fun, and isn't that what it is all about? I am sure next year though we will have to do some prep work as the K Man might be interested in his gifts as well. We had a lazy morning with a big breakfast. As soon as Miyako was excused from the table, she RAN to her stocking and dove right in, never looking back. Sheer joy and delight. So fun. We bought the K Man an exersaucer. Yes, it is big and takes up WAY too much space, but I was so tired of him just being plopped on the ground and rolling his body half way under the couch or TV stand. And I feel for him, knowing all of the fun goodies Miyako had has a baby and he does not have near like she did. Not that she really remembers, but I sure do. So, I wanted him to have something fun to do, to help him sit upright and see all that is going on. As you can see from the pictures, he likes it. Sure, he gets bored in it after awhile, but it is fun entertainment for him for a little bit and he has a different view and can see what all is going on. Miyako's BIG gift was her piano. It is not a "big girl piano" but it looks like Schroeder's piano. You should see her - she puts her head down like Schroeder when she plays and she wants me to lean up against it like Lucy does in the Charlie Brown videos. Hilarious. After opening presents and talking to family back home, we headed to church for a beautiful Christmas service. They sang lots of traditional Christmas hymns and had the translation posted in English, which made my day. We came home to plenty of turkey leftovers and concluded Christmas 2011.

Kan is now off work for the New Year holiday. We are trying to make the most of his time off, going to fun parks or indoor play areas that are a bit hard to do for mama by herself. Yesterday we went to the 100 yen park before going to friends' for dinner. Miyako loved taking daddy there. Right now they are on a lunch date and I cleaned out her clothes while she was gone. The girl keeps wearing summer pjs or clothes that are too small because they are her favorites. Now they are in a storage bag. In Japan you are supposed to clean during the New Year, so that is what I am trying to do. Before Kan has to go back to work, our big storage closet will be organized, so help me. It is driving me nuts. We plan to ring in the New Year eating soba noodles and preparing for some traditional Japanese New Year's Day foods tomorrow. More holiday posts to come along with some thoughts on 2011. For now, I will treasure the peace in our home and read a bit before the K Man wakes up and Miyako barges back in.

Christmas Eve Dinner

We celebrated Christmas Eve dinner with two other families from church. I was preparing the turkey, some traditional southern side dishes, and my new Christmas Crack dessert, passed to me by a friend. Christmas Eve with my American in-laws is one of my favorite times of the year. We always go to the candlelight Christmas Eve service, come home to a small dinner like soup or a crock pot meal, and then enjoy reading from Luke together and singing Christmas songs. Inevitably one of our nieces or newphews is taking piano lessons and they play the piano with songs they know. I love how we sing "Deck the Halls" and everyone teases my husband for saying "Fararararara" instead of "Falalalalalala." It is really one of Kan and I's favorite nights of the year and I am not sure if they know how much we love it. Last year when we were away at Christmas, we said "Never again." We committed to going back to the US for Christmas this year. But circumstances change and God reminds us His plans are better than our plans, and we found ourselves in Tokyo again this Christmas. We decided to continue the Maulden/Fox Advent tradition and bring it to Tokyo. After a large turkey dinner and great fellowship with friends, we sat around and read from Luke 2 and sang Christmas carols together. It was much better singing with other families than just Kan and myself last year. It did not replace our family back home, but it was a sweet time with our family away from home. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful we are to have such good friends here in Tokyo and have the community we have in our church. God is so good to us. Without these folks, we may not have lasted 6 months here! They are precious people and truly are like family to us here in Tokyo.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas "Illumination"

So, yesterday we celebrated the emperor's birthday by checking out some Christmas "Illumination" in Midtown and Roppongi Hills. I still find it crazy that Kan gets a holiday for the emperor's birthday, but if Christmas was on Monday he would have to take a vacation day. Anyways, I LOVE looking at Christmas lights. In the US, we lived in a fabulous neighborhood that really outdid themselves for Christmas lights - houses were given ribbons for best door, best lawn, etc. We always put in the Charlie Brown Christmas CD (yes, we liked it before we had Miyako) and would drive around and look at lights. Now that Miyako is a bit older and enjoying Christmas, we decided to help her enjoy Christmas lights as well, even though we are missing a car and neighborhood. We thought we would venture to Midtown and see the lights then enjoy dinner out since I had been in the kitchen all day preparing for a large Christmas Eve dinner with friends. We got to Midtown and discovered the rest of Tokyo decided to do the same thing. There were loads of people, walking in organized fashion, only as they do in Japan, to look at the lights. Rather than following the line like we were supposed to, I played the gaijin card and went the back way. We saw the lights for about 30 seconds and Miyako said she wanted to go inside because she was cold. Joke was completely on me. Note to self - next year check out the "Illumination" in the beginning of December. We ventured to dinner at Outback Steakhouse, very kid friendly, and enjoyed a Blooming Onion and steak salads. While at dinner, Kei dropped his spoon. The waiter saw it and offered to wash it for me! Would that ever happen in the US? And he does not get a tip mind you. We were talking a lot last night simply about the differences here in Japan. Some things drive you crazy, like the line to see the lights and how they would not let me go a different way, but I did anyways. Yet, this large city runs so smoothly and systematically you have to love it as well. And they offered to wash my kids' spoon! Sometimes I have a love/hate relationship with this country!

It is Christmas Eve here. We are a bit sad to not be in the US with our families, but we are making up for it with a large turkey dinner tonight with dear friends from church. And I tried a new recipe for dessert called "Christmas Crack" from a friend of mine. Let me tell you, there is a reason she calls it "crack." Let me know if you want the recipe. But do not hate me once you get it, eat it, and become addicted to it. Miyako is enjoying a date out with daddy right now. We tried to get her Nutcracker tickets but they were sold out (mental note #2 - get those earlier next year). They are currently at a LARGE indoor play area, having lunch, and buying a Christmas gift for Kei and her friend who is coming over tonight. When I told her she needed to buy Kei a gift, her response was, "But Kei already has something." :) We are working on this love relationship with her brother. Speaking of the K Man, I decided last night to give up the dream feed and see how he does. The little man slept from 8PM-7AM. God has blessed me with good sleepers. I was really proud of him.

Well, I need to go straighten up before the company comes. Pics of Christmas Eve and Christmas to come! Merry Christmas to all. May the Lord bless you during this time of celebrating his birth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Christmas Fun - Tokyo Disney and Gingerbread Houses

Yesterday daddy took a half day off work and we ventured to Tokyo Disney to enjoy Christmas festivities, lights, parades, food and people! It was 50 degrees and sunny, a bit windy and chilly, but we bundled up and had a magical day. I LOVE being 30 minutes from Disney. I contemplated getting season passes but decided against it. I think we would use them, but I like keeping it somewhat of a novelty even though we live so close. I have been to Disneyland 4 times now and Disney Sea twice. I never leave disappointed, and yesterday was no exception.

We woke up and told Miyako at breakfast we were going to Disneyland for the afternoon and evening. Her response was, "Well, I have not been there in awhile." (Hence, trying to keep it a novelty and avoiding spending 10,000 yen every week at Disney!) Because we live so close and can go anytime, I do not feel this pressure to spend morning to night there and get my money's worth. I can go according to my kids' needs and what is best for them. It was perfect for us getting there at 1PM. We had lunch at home and Kei got his morning nap. We walked in just in time for the regular Jubilation parade. Right after the parade, Mickey was in the front entrance getting pictures, so we stood in line and got a family portrait (the one we paid for was much better as it did not have my hair in my face). Miyako chased down the 20 year old Japanese girls hogging Daisy Duck and finally, after about 20 minutes, got a picture with Daisy. Only in Japan would a 3 year old have to compete with 15 twenty-something girls dressed like Minnie Mouse for a picture with Daisy. But we got it! From there, we went riding...

Now, I expected loads of people, but it actually was not too crowded yet. We did Small World, or "the boat ride" first as this is Miyako's favorite and we walked on in about 15 minutes. From there, we rode a merry-go-round and the tea cups (this was done with Daddy and Miyako because Mama does not like going in fast circles). Then we ventured back to our bench for the Christmas parade and a snack. After the Christmas parade, we did more rides - new ones? No, the same three we did previously. I really wanted to take Miyako on Peter Pan, Pinnochio, and Mickey's Philharmagic, as the longest line was only 30 minutes for Peter Pan, but she insisted on riding her favorites. And really, it is about her enjoying her day at Disney. We had supper at The Queen of Hearts. By this time, it was 6:45 when we finished eating. The Electrical Light Parade was at 7:30. We debated staying, but decided to go on and leave before everyone else and avoided screaming children and the crowded train. Again, this is where my selfish desire to see the parade verses the "what is best for my kids" personality did a little battle, but it was better to not push our limits. Today I am paying for just the afternoon at Disney with a tired cranky toddler, and I am sure it would have only been worse if we had stayed for the parade. Living in Tokyo, there will be more days at Disney and when my kids are a bit older, more electrical parades. For Miyako, and the rest of us, it was a perfect day. We had a fantastic time as a family and forgot about the stresses of life for 6 hours in the park.

Today we have relaxed at home. Miyako's best little friend came over to make gingerbread houses. I forgot to get a picture of them together with their houses, but here is Miyako and her little house. It was a fun little Christmas activity.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Fun

We had some Christmas fun on Saturday. It was a really fabulous day. Kan stayed home with the K Man most of the day and Miyako-chan and I came in and out to feed him. We started with our church's Christmas party for kids. Miyako's best little friend came with us to the party. From there, we came home for a quick lunch and some singing with starfall (Mel, you should see these two sing to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and the color "red"). After feeding the K Man, the ladies headed back out to a puppet show at our local play area and a snack at our favorite bakery. We came back home and Mama went for a 40 minute run along the river and then got ready for our December Girls Night Out. We went to a really cool area of town known as the French Quarter. It was really nice with cobblestone streets. Our meal was fabulous (for those of you local here in Tokyo, check out the review at this site - and the atmosphere was perfect. We were in our own private little room and sat on these comfy couches, low to the ground. The food was delicious - we tried a bit of everything from sashimi, to minced pork, grilled fish and a very smooth sake. After dinner, we enjoyed some wine and cheese at a small little wine bar, one of many in this part of town. Not only were we celebrating Christmas, but also my friend's birthday (see picture). E has become a dear friend of mine here in Tokyo. Our families get along fabulously (except for when her little boy is trying to hug Miyako and she does not want to be TOUCHED!) and I am so grateful for her friendship. We both moved here around the same time and met at a local park, hitting it off from the beginning. It is nice to have friends you can be at home with and I so enjoyed helping her celebrate her birthday. Not a bad Saturday at all huh?

We are gearing up for Christmas - did the online shopping last night at We plan to have a low key holiday with a nice Christmas Eve dinner with friends here at the apartment and church on Sunday after the festivities of a big family breakfast, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus with birthday muffins, and opening presents. Miyako is really into Christmas this year and LOVES the decorations. Hopefully this year she will actually open her gifts - last year she opened like two and we were still using some as potty training toys in November of this year! Work for the hubby slows down a bit at Christmas so it will be nice to have him home after the holiday for a staycation.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I am a day late for my scrapbook day, but better late than never. December 11th was Sunday and we had our normal routine - lazy morning in our pjs and then church in the afternoon. I have been trying to be better about preparing dinner before we go to church as we always get home and are hungry, tired, and it is dinner time. Normally we just pick up bentos at the grocery on the way home, but I felt like I need to be more productive in the morning so we can have a good meal when we get home. Yesterday I fancied a new recipe from a book my American sister-in-law gave me from her square dancing network. It was a chicken and rice casserole and turned out really well. I tweaked it a bit and added broccoli to try to get some veggies in it. Low and behold, Miyako ate two servings and did not complain one time about the broccoli. Here is my version of the recipe -

First, sit out a few pieces of bread to dry.
Boil two chicken breasts and shred
Steam broccoli
Combine above chicken and broccoli with 3/4 cups mayo, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 2 c. cooked rice and 1/4 c water in a large mixing bowl.
Spread in baking dish.
Top with dried out pieces of bread for topping.
Bake on 375 F, 190 C, for 30 minutes.

I baked mine before we went to church and warmed it when we got home for dinner and it was not dry at all. I think next time I will add carrots for an orange veggie and maybe some shredded cheddar cheese. Thanks Aunt Kim for the cookbook - everything I have tried from this book has been a success.

The pictures of the kids were taken today. We got some fun Christmas pjs in the mail from Grandma and the kids sure do look kawaii in them. They are growing up so fast. Kei kun is still the happiest baby on the block. We were at Starbuck's with friends the other day and I left him to order my coffee. He started crying and both of my girlfriends were shocked as they both said, "This is the first time we've heard him cry." We have introduced all kinds of solids - mushed up that is - sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, zuchinni, peas, apples, pears, bananas, avocado, and pumpkin. He eats it ALL! He is so cute when he sleeps and every now and then you find him sucking his middle and ring fingers. He is definitely a blessing and we are so in love with him. I just want to eat him up. I hope he keeps his easy going personality. Miyako is lively as can be. She finally watched a show other than Charlie Brown...she watched "Frosty the Snowman" and loves it! She likes to watch him ride the train over and over. Maybe that is because we ride trains nearly every day. She loves to sing and dance. The other day I heard her trying to play "Jingle Bells" by herself on her little piano and she played most of the song by herself. I was pretty impressed, and proud. She is starting to speak a little bit more Japanese. Today when our friends left she told them "Sayonara." She also loves to repeat my friend and her little girl when they speak Japanese. She still will not speak it at her sports class or music class, but I can see her understanding more and more. I was glad she spoke it on her own today.

Well, this mama is tired so enough for now. This scrapbook day post will help me to remember how lazy our Sundays are here in Tokyo and how much I like that.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Been Awhile...

So, it has been awhile since I blogged...not sure why...just not much to say I guess. We have been busy and I have been tired at night and not much in the mood to sit at the computer. But this week I did something memorable. I went to see Aerosmith in concert. Yes, you read that correctly! I have the picture in front of Tokyo Dome to prove it. It is not that I am a head banging kind of girl, but I do have Aerosmith on my I-tunes and am a huge fan of Steven Tyler on American Idol. And let's face it...anyone who is 63 and has been performing for 41 years and still going strong is worth seeing.

Let me tell you, they were FANTASTIC! They can perform, that is for sure. My friend and I enjoyed watching the people bee bop to Aerosmith...lots of Japanese men in suits coming straight from work and then the random patches of foreigners, mostly American military men, around the arena. Kan and I love live music. We enjoy more smaller venues and performers like Keb Mo, Harry Connick Jr, or Diana Krall, but we do have a few big name bands we want to see in our lifetime that will only perform at a dome or arena like atmospheres. These bands include U2, Elton John, Black Eyed Peas (more me than Kan, HA!), and Aerosmith. Unfortunately Kan had to work from home, so he did not make it. But I gave him song updates via text while the concert was going on. It was loads of fun, something I will never forget. Now if Bono and Fergie can get the memo and come to Tokyo, I will check more things off my bucket list.

I realized I did not update about Thanksgiving. We celebrated with another Japanese/American family on the Wednesday before since it was a holiday here in Japan and the men were off work. We had all the traditional southern dishes - turkey, sweet potato casserole, broccoli and cheese casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, rice (not so Southern, but Kan loves his rice and gravy at Thanksgiving), rolls, and desserts. No pumpkin pie this year, but instead I did a pumpkin dump cake which was really delicious. My friend brought two fruit based tarts that were also tasty. We missed being with family but we enjoyed celebrating with new friends and family here in Tokyo that the Lord has richly blessed us with. Oh, and to top my weekend off (and I can say this because Kan does not read my blog:) - Kentucky FINALLY beat UT in football!! It has been a long 26 years, and they finally did it! Kan was not too happy about that, but I did a little jig when he was not looking.

Other than that, not much is going on...same old same old. We put our mini Christmas tree up. Miyako LOVES Christmas this year and wants her picture in front of every tree we see. It is fun seeing her excited about it. When we got our tree up, she said, "Mama, this tree is beautiful." I laughed to myself thinking "Sweetie, if you only knew how we decorated in the US." But isn't this how we should be in life? Simple...she is so happy with our little tree. Less is more is what she taught me - try to see the beauty in the little things and quit looking for more. Be content and satisfied with what you have right now. To have the mind of a child - sometimes, is a good thing. And I will leave you with that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


So, I completely forgot my scrapbook day this month! YIKES. How could I forget when it was 11-11-11?! I think that pregnancy forgetfulness has turned into full blown mama forgetfulness and come 8:00PM I am so tired that I do not want to blog, email, facebook, or any of that other stuff. I simply want to sit on the couch and be a vegetable. I used to LOVE to read. Even when we had just Miyako, I was an avid reader. But lately I simply am too tired at night to get through a few pages. I hope that changes as the kids get a bit older as I really do love to read, but I am learning to accept where I am at with this phase in my life and be okay if not everything gets done.

So, I looked back at our calendar for 11-11-11, and it was just a normal day for us. We had music class and if I remember correctly, it was POURING down rain and COLD. Miyako insisted on walking in her rain boots and carrying her new Hello Kitty pink umbrella that she got as a birthday present from a dear friend. Needless to say, the walk to the bus stop took twice as long, but eventually we made it. We came home straight after class and stayed put for the remainder of the day. It was cold, dreary and one of those days where I was missing my car terribly. I needed comfort food for dinner so I made skyline chili for Kan and I after the kids went to bed. Yum.

We have been doing a Flat Stanley project for a friend in Kentucky. We take Flat Stanley with us and take some fun pictures of him around Tokyo. I need to mail him back by Monday of this week so he gets to Kentucky by December 1. For this post, I included a few photos of Flat Stanley and the kids at Roppongi Hills. The Christmas decorations are out and about in the city, which gets me in the mood for the holidays, and we spotted a pretty tree in Roppongi Hills, across from the really LARGE spider statue.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Potty Training

Tomorrow it will be one week of potty training for our sweet three year old and she is doing great! We came home from her birthday party and she went straight to her bedroom to get big girl panties. She had a few accidents that day, but on Friday she did great. She had one accident at the park on Friday, but from then on she has been accident free. Today we did wear pull-ups to BSF. It is a hour train ride there and back and I was not sure how she would do with someone else taking her to the potty. She did go on the potty break with all the other children, but she told the teacher she would go at home with Mama. I did not want to push her. She has done so well. I told her we would wear pull ups to Bible study for a couple of weeks, but once we run out she has to wear underwear. My only concern potty training here in Japan is getting stuck on a train and she HAVING to go. There are no bathrooms on the subway trains so it makes me nervous. We have stayed pretty close to home the past week and just done local parks and such. We will slowly start to add bigger distances with underwear on - maybe church this Sunday. I am really really proud of her. It has been fairly simple. She knows when she needs to go and goes on her own. I do not have to constantly ask her if she needs to go. She is going poopy and wee wee in the little potty. I will be happy when we switch over to the big potty. I am a bit tired of cleaning the little one. She also goes in the middle of the night. Now, do not get me wrong - I am a bit tired of the middle of the night potty calls and having to put Woodstock stickers on the Snoopy Success chart in my half opened eyes, but I am pretty impressed that she wakes up in the middle of the night to go potty when she just started potty training. My big concern now is when do you stop giving potty treats and stickers?! She is not used to having candy at home so getting a Snoopy gummy fruit snack every time you go potty is a lot of fun for our little girl.

I learned that prepping her verbally really helped. We talked for months about wearing big girl panties when she came home from her third birthday. And she did. Now our next big transition - sharing a room with the K Man. I have started telling her at Thanksgiving she and little brother will share a room. Today I asked her when they would share a room and she said, "At thanksgiving and we can talk to each other at bedtime." Cute huh?!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy 6 Years!

Saturday marked our sixth anniversary. We did not do much in terms of celebrating - a quiet evening at home with Chinese take out after putting the kids to bed is what we both needed. Last year, I wrote about how wonderful my husband is. And he is still wonderful. This year, as we came upon our anniversary, I thought back to our wedding day. I remember waking up and thinking this was going to be the best day of my life. What I did not realize then that I see now, is that the days just get better and better because I am living with God's unique best for me. Is it always easy? No. But it is better, much better, than it was 6 years ago.

Last year when I blogged about our anniversary, a friend commented that she wanted me to share details of that day. So, I thought I would finally honor her request and go back in time a bit. If I have to use one word to describe our wedding, I would call it "FUN!" We wanted it to be fun and it was!

My best friend picked me up that morning in her minivan along with a couple of other bridesmaids and we all went to get our hair done first. My hair dresser at the time had a huge bridal breakfast spread, complete with mimosas, and I partook in one, or two or get the drift. I just needed to relax a bit. From there, we all headed to the church to start getting ready. My bridesmaids did an incredible job of making me feel special that day. We got to church early, so we hung out, laughed, cried a bit, ate some food and then before I knew it, it was time to get ready. My seamstress delivered my dress and I was ready to go!

Kan and I opted for pictures before the wedding (one of the best decisions of the day). Those 20 minutes of just us, getting our pictures made, were the only 20 minutes we had to ourselves until we left the reception. It was sweet and a precious time I will treasure. We did all of our pictures beforehand so it felt like a huge party with family and bridal party members floating in and out of the church. The guys had two TV's in their room and were bringing round the clock football scores to those who were in the church (Tates Creek Presbyterian Church, Lexington, Kentucky). It was very relaxed.

Finally, 6:00 came and it was time to march in! I remember they lined my bridesmaids up and left me in the bridal room by myself and I started to tear up, so my maid of honor came back and waited with me. It was time. I was excited and so nervous...not about marrying Kan...but just nervous. You think about this day your whole life and then it is finally here and you are like "Oh my goodness. This is it." I walked down the aisle to "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" and as the congregation stood up I simply was overwhelmed with how many people were there. So many people from so many different parts of our lives were there to celebrate us and encourage us. It truly was unbelievable.

Our ceremony was short and sweet - 20 minutes - not kidding. We walked down the aisle and hopped on a trolly and rode with our wedding party to the reception at The Red Mile Clubhouse. I loved the trolly! It was so fun to have everyone on it. We got to the reception and as we walked in to "Rocky Top" (yes, that is how much I love my husband) I knew it was going to be a fun night. We went through the things you have to do pretty quickly - cut the cake, toasts, first dance (Harry Connick's version of "It Had to be You,") dance with Dad (Keb Mo's version of "Isn't She Lovely" - if you have not heard of Keb Mo, go check him out - he is fabulous and Kan introduced me to him on an early date), and the dollar dance. Ok, so you do not have to do the dollar dance, but we did and considered it our receiving line. From there, Kan and I split ways for the evening - he went downstairs and watched football with the guys and I switched from heels to my ballet slippers to enjoy live music with G Funk and the All Stars. I think he came up for one or two dances, but for the most part it was me and whoever else wanted to join me on the dance floor. And, I was totally ok with that. I LOVED our reception. I had so much fun. I danced all night. I did not worry about not talking to every single person. Maybe that is rude, but I had my own personal G Funk party. I was not going to spend 3/4 of it talking. I gave my parents the duty to talk to their friends, and I called it a night! G Funk is my all time favorite band from my college days so needless to say when I found out their costs were within my band budget, I jumped on it. They did take a 10 minute break, long enough for me to play "Brass Monkey" and "Come on Eileen" on a CD, but they played for three hours and it was so so fun.

Last call came and it was time to go. We totally forgot our food they had prepared for us, which I was pretty disappointed in because I did not taste anything and heard it was fabulous. Instead I had a hamburger via room service. Oh well. At least my folks enjoyed it the next day. From there, we ventured off on our honeymoon to Antigua for a week of rest and relaxation. The only detour on our honeymoon was a weather delay on the way, which caused us to spend one night in Puerto Rico on our way. Turns out it was a Monday night, which meant Monday Night Football, and it was on a huge screen in the casino of the Ritz Carlton. It was Kan's lucky night - Peyton Manning and The Colts were playing. I think he knew he married the right girl when I agreed to have beer and wings and watch The Colts while staying in the Ritz.

So, yes, it was a very very good day in my life. However, it was not the BEST day, because the days with my partner in crime simply get better and better with each passing year. Here is to many many more...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Miyako-chan

Our sweet Miyako-chan turned three years old this week. My, how time flies. We had a great birthday with her, starting with a party then heading to the park for lunch with some friends. Then we came home, put on UNDERWEAR, and opened presents from mama, daddy, Nana, Opah, Grandma and Papaw. We had so much fun celebrating Miyako.

Her party was a huge success! We did a "Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" theme birthday party, and had people come in costumes. Miyako was Woodstock and the "K Man" was "Snoopy." Even Mama and Daddy had Charlie Brown T-shirts to support the theme. The only problem is both kids got hot in their costumes so we did not keep them on too long. Lots of friends came to help us celebrate. We had a craft time with foam pumpkins and stickers. We played Pin the Tale on Snoopy, naturally. We ate a pumpkin cake and pumpkin cupcakes! We opened presents. It was so much fun and we felt so blessed to spend the morning with friends. We have truly been blessed with such good friends here in Tokyo and are so very grateful.

From the party, we went to our local park to enjoy a bento lunch with two friends and play at the park. Miyako's best little girlfriend came along with us and she and Miyako had a ball playing together. Miyako even wanted to sleep with her present last night. So sweet. We came home, and put on UNDERWEAR! Remember, at age three, Miyako was going to wear underwear after her birthday party. And she did. We went to the mall next door to hear a concert and she had an accident, but we remained calm, took her home and she simply put on a new pair of underwear. I found that she would go wee wee a little bit in her underwear, stop, and run to the bathroom on the first day, but baby steps is all I was really looking for. The fact that she kept trying and did not go back to diapers encouraged me.

After dinner, which was leftover yakisoba (not a great home cooked meal by mama for her birthday, but she will not remember) we opened presents from family and she loved them all. We got her a Thomas the Train track set and when she saw "Thomas" on the box, she screamed "THOMAS!" Needless to say she was really excited. We had noticed lately that she enjoyed playing with train tracks when we went to friends' homes who had lots of trains, so we thought this would be a good gift, and we were right. I am sure though she will not be happy with it when the K Man is old enough to play with it. :) Sharing is not her favorite thing. She got callico critters from Nana and Opah, and she immediately had to take them out of the box. Grandma and Papaw sent her a V-Tech camera. It is high tech, and for our little photographer, she LOVES it.

It was a fun memorable day. It was so cute - Miyako did not even eat much breakfast because she said she was excited for her party. When we prayed last night, she was thankful for her party. She asked if she would have another one the next day. She also asked if she would be two years old the next day and wear diapers. NO! I have completed the first real day of potty training. We did great in the morning but had an accident at lunch time. We also went to the park behind our building and had a small accident there. But, she kept wearing underwear and did not go back to diapers, so we will keep pursuing this until it is finished. I think running a marathon is easier than potty training, but that is just an opinion. She really is doing GREAT, but it is very exhausting.

As for her third year stats, she is 34 pounds (15kg) and 36 inches (90-91 cm). Last year she was 82.5 cm. tall (32.4 inches) and 12.8 kilos (28 pounds). She is in the 75th percentile for weight and about 40th for height on US growth charts. She loves Charlie Brown, the Letter Factory DVD's, dancing, singing (Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes is a favorite), Anpanman, Disney, and dance parties. We love dance parties. I will say "Hands in the air" and she will scream "Hands in the air" and put her hands up. It is hilarious! She has a gift with music and you can tell she has an ear for it. You will find her tapping her foot to the beat of a song. It really is quite amazing for a three year old. She wants a big dog (because she is a big girl) with a pink tongue and a big girl piano, both of which we told her she cannot get until we have a house in America. She loves going to Robot Park and Midtown Park in Roppongi. She wants to take daddy to all kinds of parks. When we pass stations on the train while traveling, she will tell me what parks or play areas are at the stops. It is amazing to me what she remembers. She is very clever, if I do say so myself. She enjoys the nursery at church and BSF. She is demanding and can be whiny a lot, but she is three so that is to be expected. She talks constantly, and quotes Charlie Brown A LOT! She is picking up more Japanese. I can tell in sports class she seems to understand the teacher a lot better now than what she did when we started in April. However, she still does not speak it in sentences. She simply says words. That is ok though - she will go to yochien in April and I think her speaking of Japanese will develop quickly. At bed time, she wants to sing Christmas songs - we sing the same three songs every night - "Hark the Herald," "Away in a Manger" and "Santa Clause is Coming to Town." I could go on and on, but these are things that come to my head as I type.

Miyako-chan, you are a very sweet girl. Mama and Daddy love you so so very much. Happy third birthday dear. May you know the love of Christ all your days and follow Him with all your heart.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

K Man - Six Months

My sweet little K Man is 6 months old today. I really really cannot believe it. We went to the doctor yesterday and drum roll please...he is a whopping 19 pounds (75th percentile for US standards) and 26 inches long (35-40th percentile). Seriously. I am not kidding. Miyako also had her 3 year check up and was 34 pounds (15 kg) so you do the math - between a stroller and sling I carry around 53 pounds in extra body weight. Why on earth is it taking me so long though to lose this baby weight? Well, we will not go there, but I sure do get my work out with these two.

Snoop T (as UT likes to call him) is happy and healthy, so what more could a mama ask for? He is rolling over fairly well. He does not roll across the room per se, but he can get from his back to his tummy fairly easily. He cannot get from his tummy to his back. He laughs and smiles a lot...big fabulous smiles. I pray he always has this joyous disposition that he seems to have had since easy going and laid back. Rarely does the little man cry unless he is getting shots or wants a bit of attention or is tired. Dirty diapers do not even seem to bother him. He simply rolls with the punches. He is babbling a lot these days and giving those little baby shouts that say "Oh, what is this? A voice?" Kan swears when he came in last night from work, the K Man looked up from his pack and play (which is still in the hallway) and said "da da." I am not sure about that one, but I will let him believe it for a little bit of love and encouragement. :) Yes, he is still sleeping in the hallway (Kei, not Kan). My reasoning behind it is he still has his dream feed (which we will stop in about 3 weeks after being on solids) and gets up at 7 where as Miyako gets up at 8 or later some days. I cherish that hour in the morning with just Kei before Big Sister gets rearing to go. I did not want them sharing a room and his schedule disrupting her schedule. I was thinking when we came back from the US at Christmas, and jet lag messed us up, I would put him on the same 8 to 8 schedule as Miyako so bed times would be the same and sharing a room would be a bit easier, but that trip is kind of up in the air now so I am not sure when the transition will take place. Basically I just do not want to have to deal with demanding Big Sister whining about sharing a room...I think I will tackle potty training first!

Speaking of Big Sister, the K Man LOVES her! He laughs at her and watches her all the time. She likes him, for the most part, except when we pray at night and I pray for Kei. Her response is "I do not want to pray for Kei" followed by chuckles. Stinker. Oh and she really does not like him when we skype with Grandma and Papaw or Nana and Opah. She does not want to share Skype - she will even say that - and she wants the people skyping to always look at her. Tomorrow is her 3rd birthday and Saturday is our 6th Anniversary. This is a big week for us!

K Man, you are Mama's sweet baby boy. I am completely smitten with you. Your smiles make the darkest of days light up. I am so grateful God put you in this family. I love you big boy! Mama.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"The Cutest of the Cutes"

In case you did not know, Sally on Charlie Brown refers to Lynus as "the cutest of the cutes" in one of the videos. I think it is the Valentine Charlie Brown, but I could be wrong. When you watch several different episodes each week, they all tend to run together. Anyways, back to the blog - short and sweet - today I went out to a goodbye lunch for two friends. One is headed to Singapore and the other is headed to Sydney. We enjoyed brunch at The French Kitchen in Roppongi Hills. It was sunny and in the lower 70's so we sat outside (I love the seasons in Tokyo - a bit warmer weather than what I am used to). And, I took the K Man. Nena stayed with Miyako and they had a ball shopping at the 100 yen shop buying Anpanman rice crackers and potty stickers and getting their picture made together in front of the Halloween decor. I took the K Man simply because he is so stinking easy and I wanted to take him. You forget how easy it is to travel around the city with just one kiddo. He was a delight all during brunch. He got a bit fussy towards the end, but I just put him in the ergo and he was fast asleep. He is such a cuddly little boy and I am so smitten with him. The other picture of the K Man I took last week - Big sister decided to give him some toys, which was very nice of her. However, I reminded her we needed to make sure he had air holes and could breathe!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Fun

You know, even though I do not "work" outside the home, I still live for Fridays like I did when I was working as a social worker. Why? Because it means Daddy is home, we get to have fun and play, and mama has extra hands to help. We really do love the weekends and have so much fun together as a family. Yesterday we were supposed to go to Odaiba via boat with another family. However, the rain kept us away and we went to a new indoor play area near Tokyo Dome. It was INCREDIBLE! It was huge, and Miyako had a blast. The bottom level had a large yellow bouncy thing and Miyako spent about 30 minutes of our hour session bouncing and bouncing and bouncing. They had one section dedicated to trains. They had a grocery store where you could pretend to grocery shop. In fact, when we got home, we found a pineapple in Kan's pocket. Oops. We will take it back! They even had a section for kids ages two and under where the K Man and I hung out.

After the hour session was up we had some hungry kiddos so we opted for the food court next door with lots of udon and onigiri. From there, we explored the area around Tokyo Dome. The kids enjoyed stripping down to their diapers and splashing in the water. The adults enjoyed people watching - lots of entertainment since they were having a "costume convention." We took LOTS of pictures of the costumes while pretending to take pictures of the kids. Some people would give you the evil eye if you took their picture, but come on...if you dress up as weird as some of these folks, you have to expect and be OK with getting your picture taken. Some pictures we had to avoid and some well...let's just say when I went to powder my nose I did not know if some of the people in there were supposed to be in the ladies room. From there, we rode a merry-go-round, had a crepe and headed home. Miyako was so exhausted she slept until 9 this morning!

Today we had some friends over for lunch and I tried two new recipes - an oatmeal bake and a bacon, egg and cheese casserole. They were both delicious. I had to take a picture! And my homemade coffee creamer made it even that much better!

Happy is a shame it is almost over...five more days..."I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."