Monday, January 30, 2012

Family Picture Day

Sunday my photographer friend was in town from Thailand and we scheduled a photo shoot with her for a professional updated family picture of four! I cannot wait to see the results. I really wanted to focus on Kei and his chubby legs as he has NO professional photos. Maybe it is being the second child or not being near Greer Photography in Lexington, Kentucky, but his book will not be near as complete as Miyako's 3,6,9, and 12 month professional book that I cherish. Oh well. He will still know he is loved...I hope.:)

So, we met our photographer Sunday at a "mansion." I forget that when they use the word "mansion" here, it refers to a large apartment building. This complex had a beautiful bar/restaurant on the top floor overlooking the Tokyo Bay and within this area was a fireplace sitting room turned into a lovely studio. As we waited for her to finish up the previous session, we took some fun pics just sitting around on our camera. It was a great family day and I cannot wait to see the results. Thank you Solveig for documenting our family so beautifully.

The kids are a lot of fun these days. Miyako wanted to take a bath with the K Man on Sunday, so that is our new thing. He thinks she is hilarious. And she loves that he thinks she is hilarious. I pray that they will grow up to be best friends. Miyako is also into wearing her hair in pig tails. She looks adorable in them and I am so glad she is finally letting me fix her hair. Kan thinks she looks like the little girl in that Christmas movie, "Matilda." Another new thing is they are now sleeping in the same room. We do not do it every night, but we have done it the last two nights and nobody woke each other up! Often the K Man is awake before Miyako so I have to sneak in and get him or someone cries in the middle of the night and wakes the other up. When that happens we put K back in the hallway. Last night Miyako said to me, "I want K to sleep with me." I was home alone and did not know how it would be putting them to bed together without Kan to hold one, but it worked well. Last week we had a meeting for yochien. To be honest, I was a bit put out with all of the rules a 3 year old has to have for kindergarten, but it is Japan so I am not too surprised. I could go on and on about that, but reality is we are putting her in it for a few days a week so we will follow the rules. Thank goodness I have Nena to help me put her name on every stinking thing we take to the school. The K Man is ready to eat more solid food rather than pureed. Problem is I cannot remember how I did it with Miyako. I guess it is time to email a few friends about was only 3 years ago but I seriously cannot remember. He is very interested in wanting to eat. I gave him a banana to hold the other day and he went to town on it. But he only has 2 short little stubs for teeth so I am concerned about him chewing.

Well, while I have two kids having room time or napping, I better sign off here and get some BSF homework done. Enjoy the latest pics.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ice Skating in Midtown Park, Roppongi

Miyako has won Kan's heart with her love for snow and ice. Well, she had won his heart a long time ago, but the fact that she loves cold weather activities makes it even better. One day our ski trips will consist of kids in ski school all day, Daddy on the ski slopes all day, and mama by the fire with a nice book...ALL DAY! :)

Saturday we went to Midtown Park for some lunch, ice skating and then hot cocoa. It was cold, wet, with a mixture of snow and rain, but that did not stop us. Miyako LOVED it. She had these cute little ice skates on with double blades. Every time she fell on her rump she just laughed and laughed. When she was finished, her coat and jeans were soaking wet. Good thing I had another pair of jeans in case of an underwear accident. Kan actually is decent on the ice and took her around. He had fun too. So sweet. The pictures say it all.

I topped off my Saturday night with sharing a bottle of wine with a dear friend at the Conrad Hotel bar/restaurant overlooking the city with a beautiful view. It was a fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Since it 2012...

Scrapbook day will be the 12th of each month. Yes I know today is January 17th and I am a bit behind, but it is my blog and I can do with it whatever I choose. I will probably never get around to making the scrapbook from each post on the 12th of the month, or the 11th of the month, and that is okay too. At least it is here. I have realized I want to be a scrapbooker. I really do. I want to be creative. I want to have the energy to stay up all night and scrapbook until my heart is content because I do believe in preserving the memories. But I just do not have it in me. I would rather pop in a movie with the hubs and fall asleep on the couch at 10. I am a much better mom when I have had my sleep. So in addition to the blog, I decided to simplify my scrapbooking approach. I still do hope to finish the first year of Miyako's little book and do one for the K Man and his first year. But, for the day to day, it will be a picture of the kids on scrapbook day for the blog and my large calendar. My mom sent me a large Snoopy calendar...go figure...and a friend gave us a small Snoopy calendar. So, Miyako gets to use the small one and we do "school" with it and talk about the months, what day it is, what season it is, and on and on. I get the big snoopy one and write in what all we have going in. In addition, I write fun little things, or not so fun things (i.e. the K Man had a fever of 103.5) on this big calendar to pass on to our kids when I am old. It is not fancy. It is not a posh creative scrapbook. But it is our life and mama's handwriting and I hope it will help in a small way preserve memories. So there you have it, me trying to simplify or better yet, just be realistic with myself - it is just not me.

So on the 12th of this month I looked back to my calendar and we had a very relaxed day. It was a Thursday and Nena was still on vacation so I was home with the kids. We went to an indoor play area in the morning nearby with our Dutch friends and relaxed in the afternoon at home. I started doing "Room time" with Miyako on the days we are home. She does not nap anymore but I needed just 45 minutes to breathe a bit during the afternoon. So she did room time in the afternoon. She actually really enjoys it. She goes in her room and plays by herself until I come and get her. She calls me if she needs to go potty but other than that she plays and is very content. Other than that, nothing much happened on this day. I like these days. I like when we stay local, don't take the train, let the K Man get two solid naps in, take baths at 4PM so they are done for the night, and eat in our pjs!

On my big Snoopy calendar, I also made a note on January 11th about Miyako that I consider blog worthy! She went to BSF (one hour commute) and stayed in the nursery with underwear on the entire time and NO ACCIDENTS! Ever since Christmas we have not been wearing pull-ups during the day. I was a bit nervous about how she would do considering we can sometimes be out commuting quite a bit. You cannot just drive into a McD's and take the girl potty. The train does not really stop for that. And even if it did, most train station potties are "squatty" potties and upon seeing one of those for the first time, Miyako said, "That is not a potty mama." I tend to agree. :) Anyways, she is doing GREAT! Not one accident so far. Now, she will hold it for a really long time if she does not want to go in public and she will wait to go until she finally knows it is potty or panties. But I am super proud of her.

To conclude, the picture in this post was taken recently. It is of the kids playing with their toys for Christmas. Miyako loves her "Schroeder" piano even though it is not a "big girl piano." Notice how serious she is - she puts her head down just like Schroeder. Hilarious. And the K Man...just chilling in the background. Love them.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year's Day

Kan fixed us a fabulous New Year's Day dinner with some traditional Japanese New Year's Day foods. He left out the ones he knew I would not like, mainly fish based foods, so we had mostly meat, rice and a fabulous miso based soup. Miyako tried out her Minnie Mouse training chopsticks and did quite well. She was able to pick up a piece of chicken on her first try so we were quite impressed.

I am really behind on the blog, mainly because I have been watching TV or reading books at night rather than sitting in front of the computer. But I reminded myself that more than anything, this blog is for my family to save memories, so I am going to play a little catch up regarding our Christmas/New Year's Eve "stay-cation." As much as I missed being in the US for the holidays this year, there is nothing better than a stay-cation. It was so nice to have Kan home and simply relax. The business side of Japan shuts down over the New Year holiday for several days, so my husband actually did not even check email for a few days. I do not think that has happened since our honeymoon. Seriously.

We went to the 100 yen park. You may remember me posting about this fabulous park and going down a really long slide with Miyako when I was about 6-7 months preggers with the K Man. We took Daddy back there over the holiday and Miyako had a blast showing him the park. Although, she said she does a better job going down the slide with me as opposed to Daddy. :) It was pretty cold the day we went so on our way to a friends' house for dinner we popped in Starbuck's for a hot cocoa. I also bought my New Year's Day mugs (Japan is the only Starbuck's in the world that does a special New Year's mug - when they sell out, there are no more!). Miyako loved sharing her first hot cocoa with daddy.

Another fun thing we did was go to the Natural Science Museum in Ueno Park. For those of you who live in Tokyo, this is a must do! It is a fabulous museum with really large animals, dinosaurs, and great hands-on things for kids. Just make sure you go in the newer building as opposed to the older one for the better exhibits. The price was right too! You only paid 600 yen per adult and kids under high school are free. We ate lunch there and spent the entire day there. We will definitely go back again.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, but it does not mean we are not having fun. We are back to our regular weekly routine. Monday we have sports class and hang out with Miyako's best little friend; Tuesday is our stay home day; Wednesday is BSF; Thursday is Nena day (aka, Mama Needs a Break Day); Friday is music class and a church Bible study, then the WEEKEND! I like being back in our routine. It helps me keep sane. Today Miyako went to sports class and did a fabulous job. They have been doing these flips on a bar and when they first started she cried every time. Today on the obstacle course, she went without mama as all the moms had to stand on the sidelines, and she did the flip on the bar allowing her teacher to help her. I was so proud of her. Grant it, it took us about 9 months to get there, but she really did a great job. Her teacher was proud of her too. The K Man is still the laid back little man I love to pieces. Both kids had ear infections over the break and he was really sick this past weekend. However, he is much better now. Tonight I let him chew a bit on a mikan (tangerine) and you would have thought I had just given him the world.

As I think about the new year and all the things I want to do, well the list just goes on an on. You know all those resolutions - exercise more, eat less, finish a scrapbook (Miyako's first year so I can actually do one for the K Man), read more, yada, yada and some more yada. This past year was full of lots of trials for our family, starting with the earthquake in March and going down a spiral from there. A lot of the challenges we faced in 2011 are lingering still in 2012. So as a resolution, or a change of attitude, I really want to focus 2012 on being present - being here today, making the best of today, and truly releasing those fears and concerns I have regarding the future. If there is anything God has taught me this year, it is that I am not in control of anything - I try, but I am not. So rather than fighting like a child and throwing a tantrum, which I am fully aware of with a three year old little girl, I want to laugh, live, and enjoy the days because these are the days to remember. (Anyone remember that song by the Cranberries? Now you will be singing it all day.:) Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ear Aches, Prayers and Baby Theo

Last night I got a wake up call from sweet Miyako-chan at 1:00 AM telling me her ear hurt. She moved in bed with me, Daddy moved to the couch, and the K Man slept through all the commotion in the hallway. (We've tried the kids in the same room a couple of times now, but they keep waking each other up with bouts of crying. We will try again this weekend - Miyako really wants to share a room so she has someone to "talk" to.) From 1-7 she would sleep for about 15-30 minutes, and then cry for about 30 minutes to a hour. Not an easy night. My husband knows, I hate when my sleep is interrupted. They always want Mama and I am always irritable being woken up because it takes me forever to go back to sleep. But last night, it was different. I knew when she said her ears hurt, we were in for a rough night. This was her first ear infection, but I have heard horror stories. And there is really nothing you can do until you get to the doctor the next morning (Trust me - I made hubby go google it at 1AM). Last night, I watched my little girl in lots of pain. She would kick her legs and you could see it on her face how much it hurt. And each time I saw her wince or cry out, I thought of sweet baby Theo and prayed for him and his fight with leukemia. I prayed for his mama, watching her baby boy suffer for a long long time and not getting any sleep as she tried to bring him comfort. I thought of another dear friend whose daughter is also fighting this horrible disease. And I prayed fervently for them, especially Theo, knowing he was in a battle for his life and had taken a turn for the worse over the last 48 hours.

Then I woke up this morning and read this - How my heart broke and is still grieving for these friends. Theo went home to be with Jesus at 6:00PM EST. I was praying for him from 11AM-5:00PM while awake with Miyako. God had me up to pray for this sweet family, and used my little girl's ear ache to do so. What an amazing God we serve. I hope the next time I am awake in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, I will use it to quiet myself and pray. Would you continue to pray for this family with me? Thank you.