Friday, July 29, 2011

Photo Shoot

Yesterday before we left for the morning, we had a little photo shoot with the kiddos. I do not have many pictures of the kids together or with me, and well - the K Man had on a cute outfit, I had not been outside yet so my hair still looked somewhat normal and not matted to my head due to sweat, and Miyako was well, Miyako - in her Schroeder shirt and pink skirt (our favorite outfit currently). So, Daddy was home and took a few photos for us.

Mama Wanna Be

Miyako is into pretend play, repeating everything I say or do (which is not always a good thing), and just being her adorable self trying to find new ways procrastinating bed time. So, the other night, she could not go to bed because she had to feed and burp her baby...with her cover on...and using the boppy. And she kept wanting me to take her picture as she thought it was HILARIOUS!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pool Redemption

Today I had Nena for two hours and had huge plans to hit a coffee shop with a good book or Ginza to find some new sunglasses. Well, I did neither. I went to answer the door and when I came back to the living room with Nena, I found Miyako with some big ole crocodile tears. Those tears got the best of me and my two hours of free time became two hours of Miyako and Mama special time. We went to this new indoor play area that is a climbing area for kids, something that would be harder to do with Kei strapped to my chest and climbing in confined spaces trying to help Miyako. At this climbing area they had a small wading pool that kids could go in. Miyako was more interested in that than the climbing facility so after about 30 minutes we went to get in. I did not have a swim suit for her, but two other children were running around in their underwear so I figured I would just take her clothes off and let her run wild in her diaper. Y'all, I wish I had taken a picture of this "pool." It was maybe about ankle deep for kids and was the size of a large hot tub...not too big if you get my drift.

Well, as they were explaining the rules to me, they asked if Miyako wore diapers. I said "yes, she is not potty trained." The response was "I'm sorry. She cannot go in." Well, try telling that to a little girl who has been staring at the said pool for the last 20 of the 30 minutes we were inside the climbing area. I understand they do not want kids to pee in the pool. I get it. But do they not understand that some 4 year olds who are potty trained sometimes pee in the pool? Ha, I know some tipsy adults in their prime who may have gone wee wee in the ocean a time or two. And this pool, well, it was not really a pool. It was literally ankle deep and just a place to splash and run around. I told Miyako she could not go in but she could color on the wall they had set up for coloring. Well, that lasted about 20 seconds. Then she said she wanted to leave and she asked if she could just feel the water. All the girl wanted to do was feel the water y'all. Did they let her? No!

At this point I was so mad at this rule following culture. I know everybody has rules, but she just wanted to put her hand in the water. Her hand would not go wee wee in the water, I promise! I told her she could not feel the water and to be honest, I left in a huff. We were not inconveniencing the other two kids in the pool by putting our hands in it, but a big whatever. We left.

On our way out, the mother of the other two children stopped us and told me there was another new splash pool just across the street at the other new apartment building and you could wear diapers. So, I decided to check it out hoping and praying that this would not be a huge disappointment as well.


This pool was MUCH better, bigger, deeper with water coming out from everywhere. You are supposed to have a swim suit but we were not prepared. Miyako had bloomers on under her dress so I just acted as if this was her swimsuit. I only got in trouble by the 70 year old security guard for not parking my stroller in the right spot. :) And he simply showed me where to put it. Miyako had a ball. I had a ball. Pool Redemption! And, a lady gave us a small towel when she saw me taking Miyako to the stroller all wet. She said you can buy them for 100 yen and I offered to pay but she told me not to worry about it. Thank you nice lady.

So, my alone time was not so much what I thought it would be, but it was fun and we found a new place to cool off close to our apartment. And for kicks, the photos are of the K Man doing some tummy time this afternoon. If I do not use the boppy pillow for tummy time he simply lays his head down in sleeping position. Yes, he sleeps on his tummy...not real SIDS cautious but it gets me 12 hours of sleep at night from the little guy. What a cutie.

I feel the shakes...

So, ever since the earthquake, I often feel like we are "shaking." This usually happens when I have fallen asleep on the couch watching, you guessed it - Seinfeld, and I sit up and say to Kan, "Are we shaking?" He shakes his head, says no, and points to his brain letting me know he thinks it is all in my head. :) I respond with, "Are you sure?" And he says, "yes I am sure - look at the string hanging from the ceiling light - it is not moving. That is how you know if we are having an earthquake." He is usually right - the string is still - and I get up, feed Kei in my sleep and head to bed.

Well, Sunday night I woke up at 4AM because I thought we were "shaking." But in my delirious state, I told myself it was all in my mind, and I went back to sleep. Monday morning I asked Kan if he felt anything and he said no. I then went to Miyako's sports class. The teacher knows we live on the 48th floor and she asked me if I felt the earthquake last night. HA - I knew it. Sure enough it was at 4AM and was a level 6 up north. I am not sure what it was in Tokyo. We do still have small earthquakes, but hopefully nothing ever as bad as what we experienced on March 11th. All of this to say, Kan, it is not always in my mind. :) Although, 90 percent of the time I think it is.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Love this Boy

How could you not fall in love with the K Man. Yes, he has many nicknames - Snoopy or "Snoop T" but I have been referring to him as the K Man. I think I have been watching too much Seinfeld. He laughs...and laughs...and smiles...and laughs. He is such a happy baby. And for his 12 week birthday he has been giving me consistent night time sleep. Good boy! For the last several days I will feed him around 10/11 at night before I head to bed, and the big boy sleeps until 7-8 AM! I would like to think I had a hand in training him how to sleep, but I think it is all of those fat rolls keeping him tied over through the night. I do love this boy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mr. N and Miyako

So, yesterday was a holiday. My friend wished me a Happy "Ocean Day" as she saw it was a Japanese holiday yesterday. Do not ask me what we were supposed to be celebrating. All I know it was a day off for Kan and we had some family fun with my friend Minnie and her crew. We went to this show in Ginza that was free and it said we would see giraffes in Ginza. Well, we did see a giraffe, but it was a fake one. Oh well. Not quite what we thought it would be, but it was free and we scored some treats from Krispy Kreme. The show was "baby disco" and Miyako, well, she HATED it. I think the man in the afro scared her, but Minnie's kiddos loved it. We came back to our place and played a bit and then walked to a nearby mall on the water for dinner and more fun - train rides and an indoor play area. So far Miyako is not sick from the play area but it is probably only a matter of time. :) It was a pretty crazy day. We had kids everywhere...slings, strollers, running crazy. K Man even got a stroller ride in Minnie's stroller. We wore them out! Mr. N fell asleep at the dinner table. It was hilarious. One minute he was eating and the next minute he fell over into mama's lap. Miyako was asleep in the stroller, which she RARELY does, before we got out of the mall.

K Man's Baptism

This past Sunday we had Kei baptized at our church. It was such a special event for our family, marking him by God's grace before the body of Christ. The baptism was done both in Japanese and English and was a special day for us. We enjoyed fellowship after church with dear friends here in Tokyo and Domino's pizza. God is so good to us. I know I go on and on about how blessed we are to have found a church home here, but it is true. When you think about how few Christians there are in Japan, for us to find a church where we feel comfortable in so quickly is only God's grace on our lives. He knew we needed the community of Christ when we moved here to sustain us and He provided it in plenty.

K Man, we love you and pray for you often. We pray that you would know the love of Christ intimately and grow into a man of integrity and strength that comes from no other power but His. Somehow through all of our mistakes, we trust that God will show Himself to you and draw you into His covenant family that we are trying to teach to you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just Because, She's Cute Like That...

Fun pics of Miyako - flying like Anpanman on our couch and using her leap frog microphone from Nana to sing with her Letter Factory DVD. She is a keeper.

Swim Lessons

So, believe it or not, today was our FIRST time in the pool this summer. Hard to believe it is mid-July and we are just now going to the pool. Let me explain - our apartment building does not come with pool and gym access. And, Tokyo does not have the mantra of public pools we are accustomed to in the US. So, how did we get invited to swim lessons? My dear friend, who is Australian, organized a group swim lesson for mamas/papas and tots at the US embassy compound. Since we still pay money to Old Sam we thought we should enjoy the US embassy pool, and we signed up for the lessons. We walked in and guess what we smelled...charcoal! Y'all may laugh, but it made our day. We were hoping the dogs, brats and burgers would be cooking when we left, but they were just getting the charcoal started. Maybe next week we will be invited to a cook out. Miyako and I had a blast. The teacher had them go under on the first lesson. I do not think Miyako knew what hit her, which is probably a good thing, but she did it. Of course, the rest of the day she kept saying, "I don't want my face to get wet next week." I was really proud of her. We had loads of fun being outside in the pool. Kan hung out with happy K Man. Boy, he is such a happy baby. Love him. Even when he is soaking in sweat, he stayed happy. I am really grateful to my friend for organizing and inviting as we just do not have many pool opportunities here and I did not want Miyako to be afraid of water or swimming. The teacher did a great job. We sang lots of kiddie songs and splashed around the kiddie pool. It is a fun family Saturday activity for us.

Tomorrow is a big day for us. K Man is being baptized at our church here in Tokyo. I've been thinking a lot about Miyako's baptism and how different our weekend looked with her baptism verses Kei's. For Miyako's baptism, we had loads of family visit and sleep in our house! I spent the Saturday night beforehand at my dear friend's bachelorette party. And we had a huge party afterwards at our house with family and friends - to celebrate Miyako and God's promises to her to bring her into His covenant. This weekend for K Man, it is just the four of us at home (although I know our family far away will be thinking of us on this special day). It is Saturday night, 9PM, and I am in my pjs (not at a dualing piano bar with girlfriends). One thing is the same...we are having a pizza party afterwards with our family here (Our Dutch brothers and sisters and Minnie's clan). Well, let's make that two things that are the same...we will be celebrating God's promises to our sweet Kei to bring him into His covenant. What a joyous day tomorrow will be and I am really looking forward to it.

Stay tuned for pictures of the baptism.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blogged too soon...

So, in continuation of my previous post, I blogged too soon. Miyako woke up from that sweet nap in a FOUL mood. However, I am trying to learn from my mistakes from last night where I lost my cool with her. Right now she is in time out until she can calm down and speak nicely too me. She may go to sleep in her current diaper and Snoopy dress based on the crying coming from her room. My fabulous day quickly changed. And here I am...praying and ceasing, and trusting that this little gift God has given me will one day grow up to a beautiful woman of God. As my best friend's mom used to say when we wore hot pink dresses and matching shoes to prom, "Lord, give me strength." When I have more time, I will process more on the blog these challenges of parenting. But as Kan and I discussed just over the weekend, you simply have to laugh and roll with the punches. If you try to control it (life, children, circumstances) too much, you will miss out and not laugh very often.

Some days are...

horrible. Hence the picture of both kids lying on the bed crying. I had to take a picture to "laugh" it off and remember these days because soon they will be replaced by tears of heartache and hurt feelings.

Other days are pure today - brunch with girlfriends and Kei at a trendy cafe, my first souffle, and both babes sleeping at the same time. Miyako still sometimes needs that nap during rest time. So sweet.

I hear Kei, who needs a little snack, but I managed to document the day in a nutshell. These are the days to remember...

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011

So, I am a day late for my scrapbook day, but that is ok. No harm done. And believe it or not I did not take any pictures on this day to mark the kiddos and their growth. Oops. Mama failed again, but that is ok as well. We live by grace, not by works or scrapbooks. :) Yesterday was not a fun day so maybe that is why I am procrastinating the post. Miyako has come down with some kind of virus. On Sunday she had a fairly high fever and actually took a nap on the couch in the morning while I was skyping with a friend. The last time she took solid naps was when we were in America and it was due to jet lag. So, I knew she was not feeling well. I went to feel her body and heat was radiating from her. Her temperature was 102.8. We immediately gave her medicine and it came down, hovering between 100-101 all Sunday. When she woke up on Monday, July 11 2011, she still had a slight fever at 99, but felt very genki! She was running around like normal except for some droopy eyes due to being tired. I decided to keep her away from sports class as I thought maybe the heat had something to do with her feeling bad and I did not want her to get overheated. Instead, we went to visit with our Dutch friends and had lunch at their house and came home. Again, she was still feeling fine.

We had a normal afternoon. Nothing big, just stayed home and ate leftovers for dinner...see, not a very fun post huh? Before she went to bed, I took her temperature again and it was 100. We gave her more medicine and sent her to bed. She is not sleeping well and waking up early and often through the night. She typically is a 12 hour sleeper so for her to be up at 6AM is very very unusual. We cancelled our play date for this morning at the fountains at Midtown park because I simply did not want to deal with cranky toddler, hot baby, and hot mama. Also, this morning I noticed Miyako had some spots on her legs. They are not chicken pox as they do not itch, but I was not sure what they were. When I called my friend to cancel the play date, I told her Miyako's symptoms. Her daughter had the exact same thing last week. She started with a fever and then two days later developed this rash. The doctor said it is simply a virus and not much you can do about it. So, it has been kind of blah around here. She feels fine and plays with her toys and such, but you can tell she is tired and a bit run down in her little eyes. They are not as big as normal. In fact, she is actually napping now and like I said, she has not napped in a long time. Both kids actually are sleeping at the same time. Can you hear the angels rejoicing? Kan swears her illness is from the indoor play area we went to at the mall on Saturday. Anytime we go to one of those, she gets some kind of illness, but what can you do? It is too hot to go to a park and be outside in the sun and you do not want to stay home all day. Our kids should have some pretty strong immune systems!

I guess the boring stuff needs to make the scrapbook too huh? Some days are just not that interesting, but that is life. It cannot always be Anpanman museums or Disneyland. :) Kei turned 10 weeks old on the 11th! Hard to believe where the time has gone. He is such a cute little tubbo and is so laid back. He grins a lot and is simply very easy going...must take after his papa. Kan and I feel a bit bad for him as he is often just sitting around while we are off and about taking care of Miyako, working, or doing other things. Every now and then he will just scream out for no reason - I think it is his way of saying "Hey, I am still here. Come talk to me." His sleep is still a bit inconsistent. Boy am I ready for it to be consistent...mainly so I can know if I can get up and exercise before he wakes up without leaving Kan with a hungry baby at 6AM. On Saturday night I fell asleep on the couch and did not wake up until 1AM. I decided not to give him his dream feed and see how long he would sleep. He slept from 8PM to 8AM! So, the next night I decided to try it again and he was up at 4:30 wanting to eat. This morning, he was up at 6:30. I keep reminding myself he is only 10 weeks old. He is doing GREAT! Soon, he will have a normal wake time so I can get back to my own personal routine.

Miyako is doing well. She knows all of her letters thanks to the Letter Factory and She has her good days and bad, like any two year old, and I am trying to be more proactive with her and prepare her for when we go places. For example, "Miyako, we are going to church and there will be other kids there. They may touch you or take a toy you are playing with, but that is ok. The toys are not yours. They belong to the church. And we are to share our toys." If I prepare her a bit more, she seems to be better behaved. She speaks in full sentences and is very very verbal. If she wants something she will ask if you want it. For example, "Mama, do you want some milk?" means "Mama, may I have some milk." She is still crazy about Charlie Brown - in fact we watched the Christmas show today while feeding Kei. And it was 90 degrees out while we watched it. Something is very wrong with that picture. Oh well. She will often be quoting Charlie Brown shows while she plays with her toys. Or you may find her running through the apartment saying, "I'm going to kick that football clear to the moon." Then, she dramatically falls down while she pretends to kick the football and Lucy takes it away (this is from Thanksgiving Charlie Brown - scene 1). She got her first pedicure on Saturday by mama. She loves pink and now has pink toes. She was afraid to take a bath because she did not want her pink toes to go away. She is not going potty anymore like before when we are home. She wants to go in her diaper again. Not quite sure what to do about that. I am afraid I may have lost progress, but am not sure. I am thinking I will just not make a big deal about it and see if she gets interested again. She knows how to go and when she needs to go, but she simply does not want to use it anymore. I am trying to be relaxed about it. When she turns three, if we are still in diapers, I will get a bit more serious about it because I know she KNOWS how to do it. For now, we will sit on it and see what she does with it.

Kan is working hard, as usual, but has a public holiday on Monday so we get a long weekend this weekend. YAY! Miyako loves it when daddy is home. I was refreshed Saturday with two hours at the salon. I got my hair cut and colored and the cut is pretty short. I was tired of wearing a pony tail every single day in this heat so I told her to whack it off for the summer. It is kind of the stack layers in the back and is a cute summer look. I will post a pic sometime when I feel like having myself in the picture. My American mother-in-law just sent me a new book called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. It is a great read and gets to some core heart issues and beliefs about who we really think God is. I've only read one chapter but I can tell it will be a favorite and will challenge me in many ways.

Like I said, this is the mundane of life. It is not all glamorous, but it is our life and deserves to be in the scrapbook, because it is real life - sick kids, lack of sleep, little time to yourself, and escaping in a good read. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Big Trial

So, this week I must say I am glad I am in Tokyo with the whole Casey Anthony trial going on. For those of you who do not know, I get into crime stuff like this back in the US. I remember where I was when the verdict for OJ Simpson was announced - freshman year of college at Furman University in my friends' room, left speechless at the announcement of a non-guilty verdict. Then when Natalie Holloway went missing, I was on vacation with my family. My sister and I were ADDICTED to the news every night. We would play euchere while watching the latest news, which was repeated hourly just by different anchors. Drew Peterson - remember him? My book club friends gave me books before I left for Japan and one of them gave me a book about his case. So, needless to say I get into this kind of stuff.

But this case with Casey Anthony, it hits a different chord in my gut. Maybe it is because I have a 2 and a half year old little girl. I am not writing this post to debate whether or not she killed the little girl. As Kan and I listened to news about the verdict on our sling box, we simply had to turn it off. It just hit too close to the heart with a little one in our home. But I wonder if I had been a juror, if I would have found her not guilty as well. My emotions would have wanted to find her guilty - I mean, what mother in her right mind is out partying while her little girl is missing? But when I look at the evidence and someone's life is in your hands, I wonder where I would have gone. It would have been so hard to be a juror on this case and keep your emotions in tact.

I am not even sure why I am writing this post. Maybe it is because I cannot really talk about the case with loads of my friends here. I do not think many of them follow the Casey Anthony trial out of Orlando, Florida. :) Maybe there is still a part of me that would love to go to law school. Even if I never practice law, I love studying and stuff like this really intrigues me. Or maybe, my heart just hurts for all of those involved...the little girl who is gone and for the mother - as clueless as she may seem, she has to be hurting. Whether the hurt stems from guilt over what she did or simply the fact that her child is gone, she has to hurt too. And although I do have my doubts as to the verdict of the case and was not too pleased with the outcome, I wonder who will show this woman love. Who will reach out to her? I think my heart must be changing somewhat...I would have never written this about OJ or Drew Peterson, but for now this is where my heart is. Maybe it is because I am a mom now, and I cannot imagine losing my child. I also know there are days where I want to pull my hair out, drink a bottle of wine after a long day, or even long for the days when I worked outside of the home and only had to take care of myself. Don't we all? We wouldn't want to trade in our kids by any stretch of the means, but I have days where I wish I was the main bread winner and Kan stayed home with the kids. :) Kan laughs when I tell him this as I could not bare to be away from Miyako for more than three days after having Kei and cried every time they left the hospital. But is hard, being a mom, and I hope that someone will reach out to Miss Anthony and show her a greater love.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

24 Hour Relief Trip

If you recall, I mentioned in a previous post that Kan was heading up north on a 24 hour relief trip. Here are some pictures of what he saw. He said it was a very sobering trip and did not quite have the words to describe what he saw. They loaded trucks late Friday night and drove through the night up north. When they got there early in the morning, they went to a shrine on top of a mountain (I assume it was a mountain or large hill based on the pictures) and looked out onto what used to be the city. As you can see, there is not much left. Although Kan said he was surprised by how much had been cleaned up in just a four months. After taking pictures they went down to serve people, who were already there waiting for whatever the group had to give them. Kan helped put a grill together and they cooked 500 hamburgers donated by a local Japanese fast food chain. He said it was incredibly hot and there was no shade simply due to trees being destroyed. They helped clean a house and Kan said he just observed to see what needed done, and then would go and do it. He did talk to one lady as she ate her hamburger. She was an elderly lady whose daughter drove and got her after the earthquake to escape the tsunami. She said as they were driving up the mountain, they could see the water coming. The daughter who was driving had a two week old baby with her. Can you imagine? I think back to what I was complaining about when Kei was two weeks old, and here this lady was driving a car to outrun a tsunami with a two week old. It puts things in perspective huh? Kan said he tried not to look around a whole lot or take a ton of pictures. Instead he just wanted to focus on helping and doing what he went there for, and then come home. I think overall it is just too sad and too much to take in when you try to look at the amount of destruction. They left around 4PM and arrived back in Tokyo a little after eleven. Needless to say he was exhausted. The next day at church you could tell who went on the trip because they all had some sun burn. Hopefully these pictures give you a glimpse of what life is like there now.

Anpanman Museum

Tuesday Kan took a vacation day and we opted to try out the Anpanman Museum in Yokohama rather than Disney. I LOVE Tokyo Disney, but in this heat with a 14 pound 9 week old strapped to my chest, the indoor museum with AC was a much better option. Miyako never knew the difference and based on the photos you see, she had a fabulous time at Anpanman's house. We will hold off on Disney until the fall when the temps are a bit cooler. For those of you who do not know who Anpanman is, he is a cute little Japanese cartoon character and ALL the tots know him. Every indoor play area you go to will have Anpanman toys. He has a cartoon show that comes on every Friday afternoon. And he has lots of friends - Shokupanman (super bread man), Melonpanna (names after a sweet roll here), Cheese dog (yes, the dog's name is simply "cheese"), Currypanman (named after Japanese curry) and Baikinman who is the bad guy. We left the house around 11, got to the station around 12:15, had lunch and then spent about 2 hours in the museum. We were home by five. Miyako was in heaven. She did not stay still for more than five seconds before she was off to see something else. They had a little show where larger than life Anpanman and Shokupanman came out on stage and did some dancing and singing. Miyako had front row seats in daddy's lap and was singing along to the Anpanman theme song. As we left, we had to buy an Anpanman balloon and a snow cone because how often do you get snow cones over here. It was a very fun day. As we walked back to the station, we were calculating how much we spent between food, train tickets, entrance to the museum, and treasures from the museum. Kan said he felt like we were on a visa commercial where it ends with, "The picture of your child's face...priceless."