Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Cafe/Play Area

On Friday, our friend from BSF introduced us to a very cool play area. You need to make reservations, but it was so fun. It had loads of toy and was a "cafe." They served you lunch as well and the kids could just play while the mama's ate lunch. Miss M LOVED the doll house. It gave us some good ideas for either a birthday or Christmas gift. She also LOVED the really large magician Mickey and carried him everywhere. The K Man had a great time too. He enjoyed opening the kitchen oven door and closing it continuously. He also liked the two large train tables to play at.
He was so tired that as soon as we got to our building, around 1:00, his head fell forward in the stroller and he fell asleep. When we got inside, I changed his diaper, as he still slept, and moved him to his bed where he slept until 4:15. It was a very successful Friday. I love finding new spots to go with great elevator access and kid friendly toys. Thank you to our friends who introduced us to this place.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Scrapbook Day, August 2012

I realize I did not post a scrapbook day for July 2012 this year. I think I did plenty of posting of our fun with cousin Shelbs so I am not going to go back in time on that day. Come to think of it, it was the day AFTER we hiked fuji-san. I spent the day complaining of how sore I was and talking about how amazing the climb was. So, there you go...onto August 12, 2012. It was Sunday and Papa had translation for church, so I thought I would help him out and get the kids out of the house while he worked on the translation. We went to a local park and it was a bit overcast, but I did not take the rain gear. I was not in the best mood - tired from the day before - and God has a funny sense of humor - as it rained, downpour, for about 10 minutes while we were at the park. We got soaked! We walked home wet, stopped at the grocery, and when we left for church at 3 the sun was brightly shining. Oh well. We had curry for dinner that night as friends from church came over afterwards. We lit some small sparklers from the 100 yen shop. And after getting the kids in bed, and a nice chat on the balcony, hubby and I tuned into season one of Lost and finished it. Any Lost fans out there? We just finished Season 1 and I am still skeptical. As you can see, August 12th was just a typical day. But the day before was full of buzz around our apartment. Legoland opened at Odaiba so we went there in the afternoon. I typically do not like to do these type of things on a Saturday due to the crowds, but it is the only time we have to do them with daddy, so we went. It was crowded, but both kids had loads of fun. I loved the little mini-Tokyo they built out of legos. It was quite amazing. My favorite part was the sumo stadium. You could push buttons to make the sumo wrestlers actually wrestle. Saturday evening was the special Hanabi fireworks on the Tokyo Bay. They did not have them last year due to the earthquake so it was a big deal this year. Thankfully we can see most of them from our apartment, which means no fighting crowds, and watching them from inside with air con, food, and a bathroom at our convenience. Plus, it is not too loud for the kids. We had some people over and really had a fabulous evening. When I say these fireworks are big, they are HUGE! All the people walking on the streets below looked like little ants. There were so many! And the firework show lasted about 75 minutes, non-stop. By far the biggest fireworks I have ever seen. One thing I have been thinking a lot about lately is friendships. If you were ever in girl scouts you probably sang the song that goes like this: Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. I am not sure why friendships have been on my mind. Maybe it is because a friend came to visit this summer for a short time and I did not know her super well back in the US, but I am so grateful she came to tour Japan and visit us, because she has become a dear friend to me. Maybe it is because in trying to count my blessings here in Tokyo, most of them center around friends - my life has been enriched deeply by the friends I have made here. My kids' lives have also been enriched by the friends we have made here. I see that when miss M loves on my running partner with big hugs, or jokes and speaks Japanese with our Japanese friends. And then I remember my friends from the US - some of them call me weekly just to catch up and I do not think they realize HOW much that means to me. Others, well, we do not talk as much as we would both like, but when we do talk or email, we pick up right where we left off. And then I think of the hubs, my best friend of all. Man, has he enriched my life in ways I would have never imagined or expected. Our marriage, our friendship, has definitely deepened by being here in Tokyo, away from all of the familiar, forcing us to depend solely on each other. I am sure it would have deepened in the US, at least I hope it would, but God has used being here to deepen it in ways beyond my expectations. Isn't God good to us - to give us people to do life with? Friends, family, spouses, kids...whether near or far, it is good to have community, to keep community, and to make community wherever you go. For the longest time living here, I did not want to build community. I tried to keep living life in the US from 7000 miles away. Then I realized that is too hard. I can't do that. And it is a good thing I came to that realization because we thought we would only be here 2 years and God has some different time tables for us and we are still here nearly 3 years later. Imagine how miserable I would be if I had not made this my home and was still trying to live in the US? I have come to the point where I truly am happy here, home here. It does not mean I want to stay here forever, but I have community here, friends here. And I have friends and family back in the US who will always be my family and friends. And when I leave Tokyo, I will still keep these friends through technology and skype. And it just amazes me because my life has been enriched so much by all of these people from all over the world who I have had the opportunity to meet. Not sure why I wrote this, but it has been on my mind a lot lately - I am just thankful for the people in my life. I am blessed.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Festival Season

With August here, it means festival season in Tokyo (matsuri). They are everywhere and there is a spirit of festivity in the air. This weekend our neighborhood was having a huge festival that they only have every 3 years. I was a bit hesitant to try to see it because Miss M does not like the loud drums, but we ventured out this morning and had a good time taking in the sights, colors, smells, and noise. We even went back this evening and enjoyed a snow cone, kids' games, and more drums. Miss M said at dinner she really enjoyed the festival. It is rather amazing - the history behind them, the atmosphere, and all the people that come out for them. I guess in the US we have county fairs, but they do not even come close. We saw a drum today they have been using for 60 years. The shrine that was honored at our neighborhood festival was built in the 1600s. Our neighborhood is divided into sections and each section had a shrine that they carried to the main shrine. Adults carried one, high school students carried a smaller one, and elementary students carried even a smaller one. We enjoyed the experience of it and the snow cones!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Staying Cool in August

So Miss M is out of yochien on summer break and it is HOT. Now, I know all of you in the US say it is hot there too, but I do need to remind you that you have AC cars and drive most places you go. We walk, everywhere, in the heat. So, the goal for this summer has been to find fun things to do that keep us cool. Thankfully there are two splash pools within a short walk or bike ride from our apartment. However, once a week, I am trying to take Miss M to a museum. There are loads of them here in Tokyo and she is at the age where if you find the right one, she will enjoy it. On Friday, we went to the Natural History and Science Museum in Uneo park. We had been there before, but it is such a great museum that we still had fun enjoying the animals, dinosaurs, and hands on things you can do. Afterwards we found a bench under a shaded tree and had a picnic lunch with our friends and a play on the playground before heading home. It was a great day and made the heat seem doable.

15 Month Stats

I took the K Man in for his 15 month check up this week. Here are the stats - Weight - 11.37 kg (25 pounds) - 60th percentile (US) Height - 76.8 cm (30.2 inches) - 10th percentile (US) So, as my husband put it so bluntly, we have a short, chubby boy. Yes we do. And if he really is our child, height is not in his future. I had high hopes for a wide receiver, but we may have to settle for an offensive lineman. He is very healthy. He eats all table foods, drinks milk, and is finally showing a little interest in walking. He can walk along couches when he holds on, but still cannot stand up on his own. We blame that on his chubby legs. He is showing lots of personality - and boy does he have it. He can charm the best of them and has a way with the ladies on the trains. He is starting to wave hello and goodbye and blows kisses. He loves to copy you, so if you cough, he will pretend to cover his mouth and cough. Then he starts laughing at himself. He is not speaking much, just mama. And I have not done sign language with him like I did Miss M - call me lazy. He loves to snuggle and he sleeps with the blue stuffed dolphin big sis picked out for him in Hawaii and his special blankie given to me by my cyberspace friend. She is reading and knows who she is. One day M, we will meet in person. It is so fun to watch the K Man's personality develop and to see how different the kids are from such young ages. At times, when he wrinkles his nose, it reminds me of Miss M when she was a baby. But other than that, I do not see loads of similarities between them. Personality wise they are quite different too. The K Man is much more of a people person and Miss M tends to be more reserved until she gets to know you. K Man, we love you so much. You bring so much joy to our family with your sweet smile, chubby cheeks, and contagious laugh. You brighten up a room wherever you go and I pray the light of Christ will go with you all of your days. Love you sweet boy. Mama.

Cousin Shelbs

We put cousin Shelbs on the plane a week ago from yesterday. It was such a sad day. We had such a fun time with her. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I was a "mom away from home" to a 15 year old young lady who I had not seen in person for over a year and that visit alone was only 24 hours. But the Lord blew me away with his grace and blessings because it was such an encouragement for our family to have her here. She fit right in to our routine and life, and we will treasure our time with cousin Shelbs. On her last night we took her to a Ferris Wheel you can see from our balcony. We were reminded by how amazing this city is, and it was great to share this place with cousin Shelbs. We miss you Shelby!! See you soon.