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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Fall is Complete

So, my fall is usually complete when Kan and I have attended one night game at Neyland Stadium for the year and when I have been to a pumpkin patch. This year, I do not think I will make a night game at Neyland stadium (nor do I want to with the way the VOLS are doing this year and the CATS, well, we do not even talk about their football anymore), but I did find a Pumpkin Patch in Tokyo!! Now, it was not what we in the US consider a pumpkin patch with THOUSANDS of pumpkins to choose from, apple cider to sip on, and a petting zoo. But, for my little girl who LOVES the Great Pumpkin and has been asking to go to a pumpkin patch like Lynus and wait for the Great Pumpkin, it was perfect. Plus, she does not know any different since she was only 1 years old for her US pumpkin patch experience. She would not sit still to eat lunch. She was running from pumpkin to pumpkin and quoting Charlie Brown the entire time. It was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed ourselves. The pumpkin patch was at a green house and inside they had some Halloween decor set up with costumes that kids could put on and take pictures with. Miyako kept trying to roll the pumpkins like Lynus does in The Great Pumpkin. It was really cute and it made my fall a bit more complete. I simply was so encouraged that I got to expose her to something I thought she would only be able to experience in the US. Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011

It is the monthly scrapbook day! Seriously, where has this year gone? It has FLOWN by. Yesterday was a national holiday (sports day) and after running in the local 10K (see previous post) we had some family fun together. We went to Arisgawa park in Hiroo and played. From there we took the train to Ginza and did some shopping for Miyako and had a nice afternoon snack at a cute little kid friendly restaurant. The little girl for the mascot of the restaurant is called Pecochan. From Ginza, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and walked home. All of us were pretty tired so today was a laid back day. Tuesdays is the one day out of the week where we typically do not have anything we have to be at so I like to stay local and relax. We went to our neighborhood park with a friend and spent the afternoon in our snoopy pjs. We needed a down day today...if for any other reason, mama could barely walk after running my race.

The kids are just so stinking cute. They got some fun Snoopy pjs from Grandma and last week I took their pictures in them. Miyako thought it was hilarious when the K Man would tilt and roll over on the couch. Then he got tickled listening to her laugh and they would both be laughing. It was hilarious. He observes and watches EVERYTHING she does. Right now it looks like he worships her and adores her. I am sure in a couple of years that might change. :) Miyako loves getting him toys to play with. Today she was giving me fake water and having me "spill" it on Kei. Then she would take his burp cloth and "wipe" him off - but it was more like attack of the burp cloth. He didn't seem to mind and would just laugh. Because that is what he does best...laughs and smiles...all the time. Saturday he was a bit under the weather and you could instantly tell because he cried. Seriously, he rarely cries so when he does you know something is wrong.

Don't you love lazy pj days. I know I do...especially with these two cuties.

Run Forest Run

So, yesterday was a holiday (surprise surprise) - it was sports day! Not sure exactly what that means, but I figure since it was sports day I would do something sporty and run in a local 10K. It was my first race in I do not know how long. It felt good to be back in the race element and my time was not too shabby considering I did not really train (54 minutes). However, I was OUT OF SHAPE! I was trying to keep up with all of these athletic, skinny, fast Japanese people and I was huffing and puffing 90 percent of the time. We did one loop and ran it twice for the 10K distance. On the second lap, you had to wear a red sash around your body which was pretty annoying. I think I was the only person listening to OAR, Beastie Boys and Black Eyed Peas on my Ipod shuffle. The cheering section was quite different than what you see in the US. In the races I have run in the US, I would encounter live bands, loud Boom Boxes, people handing out doughnuts, and sheer entertainment along the way as people dressed up in Elvis costumes would run past you. In Tokyo, these little old men would shout "Hai" (means "Yes") as I ran by, almost like military style, which I guess was supposed to spur me on. The only person dressed up was a man in his 50's wearing Minnie Mouse ears...hmmm...I will let you sit on that one. I imagine the cheering experience would be quite different if it had been a bigger race. Here are some other fun noteworthy differences... The race started promptly at 9AM. However, at 8:20 the bells at the local school rang to start the ceremony of sorts. Three or four people from our ward spoke. Then, two girls in cheerleader costumes and one guy came to the stage and led us in organized stretching. I kid you not! And because we all follow the rules in Japan, EVERYONE was doing the organized stretching. I had to chuckle to myself. Speaking of following the rules, in my race packet I was given a T-shirt along with this large piece of plastic with my race number on it. I had no idea what to use it for so I took it back up to my apartment (the start was literally behind my apartment building - definitely a nice perk of the "local" aspect of the race). When I came back down to listen to the speeches (which I had to because you do not break the rules in Japan, even if you only understand .2 % of what is being said) I noticed everyone had put their large pieces of plastic on the ground. Then, they put their belongings on top of the plastic. Then they went and ran the race. Did you put it together? They leave their belongings on the mat, go run for a hour or so, come back and their belongings are still there. Nobody steals here, or worries about it. It is against the rules so you simply do not do it. It is amazing. You really have to be here to see it, but you will see women at parks leaving their purses open on the bench and chasing after the kids, and nobody will touch their belongings. Another fun thing is that I messed up at the start of the race. I think I was the only gaijin (foreigner) in the race. My friend's husband was running as well so we were talking as they lined us up at the start. Before I knew it, not only was I the only gaijin in line, I was the only FEMALE in line. First they lined up the men, and then they lined up the women. Oops. Oh well. I moved myself over to the right a few steps and was suddenly in line with the women.

You want to know the best part of the race? Coming up on lap two and seeing my sweet little Miyako-chan on Daddy's shoulders waving at Mama, with the K Man chilling in the stroller...and seeing the bright smiling face of my Dutch friend and her son cheering me on. Such an encouragement to me. I do not know how many races I have run while Kan and I have been together and have begged him to come watch. I even finished across Neyland Stadium for a half marathon one year and he came to see me, but missed me finish by about 10 minutes. :( I had low expectations of seeing him this time around even though it was literally in our backyard. He is not a morning person and getting up to watch the kids was asking a lot. But I think having the kids with him is what got him to the race - he was probably looking to do anything to get outside of our apartment with the two of them and was probably tired of answering "Where's mama?" :) It was really sweet to see my precious family cheering me on. Love them!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Anpanman Fun

At the mall next door to us this weekend they had a festival, including an Anpanman show! Needless to say, we had to go with one of our friends from music class and her family. Miyako loved it. She even colored Anpanman a coloring sheet from her Anpanman coloring book to give to him. I am not sure what the deal is with Anpanman, but kids here love him. After the show we stood in line to get our picture taken with him. Miyako was a bit shy about going in the photo by herself, hence mama in the picture, but she loved it and asked if we were going to see him again today. Sorry sweet pea, maybe next year.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

If I were being graded, I would get a F

So, it is October 2nd which means my so called facebook fast is over. Well, let's just say if I were being graded on this fast, I would get a big fat F. I really had a hard time staying away! I did not post a whole lot, except to let people know we were safe from the typhoon, but I only had a few days during the month where I actually did not check it. I checked it most often in that early morning feed with Kei, when the rest of the house was quiet, and I just was curious what my friends were up to on the other side of the world before heading to bed while I was just getting ready to start my day. I think it just helps me stay connected. Which is not a bad thing. I learned though that it becomes a bad thing when you are checking it nonstop throughout the day and it takes you away from your primary responsibilities, which for me are two precious little gifts God has blessed us with. It also becomes a bad thing when you find your satisfaction, needs, whatever you want to call it, being met through facebook. As a friend posted on my blog when I first tried to do this, we are not defined by our facebook status updates. Facebook did make some changes during my so called fast and I did not really like them, so I resorted to just checking it on my phone. Rumor has it they are about to make more, and I do not really see myself having the time or energy to get to know the new facebook. So, chances are I will stick to my morning checks via the I phone and go on with my day. Continue to check the blog for more detailed updates on our adventures here in Tokyo.

I also got a big fat F in the Insanity program. My friend and I decided to both do Insanity together, her in Florida and me in Tokyo, and hold each other accountable. It is an 8 week INSANE exercise program - all cardio - and hard! I wanted to jump back into getting in shape. It is made by the same people who did P90X, beachbody.com, and is a pretty good program. I stayed with it for a good 6.5 weeks, but towards the end I was simply tired and bored with the program. I lost five pounds which is great! I still have a long way to go - my goal is to lose 20 more pounds by Kei's first birthday, so I have exactly 7 months! But I am trying to do it slowly and realistically. I could give up carbs for 2 weeks and lose a lot of weight but I would inevitably put it back on after those two weeks. I could give up sweets for a month, but the exact same thing would happen. I love food, sweets especially, so what I am trying to do is limit my carbs at night, allow myself one or two treats per week, and eat more fruits and veggies. It may take longer, but the reality is I like food and I am not going to starve myself, but I do want to lose weight and make healthier choices for our family. That box of milk duds Kan brought me back from the US - well - I ate one, and the other is in the cabinet waiting to be opened. I told myself I can open it when I lose my next five pounds! But back to Insanity - it is good and I will probably do it again in January or February when it is too cold to run outside, but it is a bit boring towards the end. Now I am just mixing it up - two days a week of Insanity, two days of P90X weights, and one run day.

It is not like me to not complete projects like these. I am usually much more disciplined and stubborn in terms of doing EXACTLY what I said I would do. But I do not feel guilty about it like I thought I would. I just will move on to the next project and keep working. Grace abounds my friends...grace abounds.