Tuesday, October 30, 2012

M-Fest Year 4!

So I guess Miss M is like her mama - she likes to celebrate her birthday for a week. Some friends of Kan from his old work wanted to throw her a small Minnie-chan party. They brought all of the food to our house and gifts - all we had to do was provide the apartment, drinks, and a green salad. To say Miss M was spoiled is a bit of an understatement. Just check out the cake they had made for her with her picture on it. We were really encouraged by their love for our kids. They got on the floor and played with them and showered Miss M with goodies and love for her birthday. It is hard to believe she will be four years old this Saturday. It is a week of milestones - the K Man turns 18 months on Friday, Miss M celebrates age 4 on Saturday, and hubby and I celebrate 7 years of bliss on Monday. We are truly blessed. On a different note, I met a friend for tea on Sunday before she moves back to Australia. One thing about being in a city like this, people come and go. It is very transient, at least among my foreign friends. In some ways, you could get depressed about it because you think just when you get to know someone they leave. But, if you want to see the glass half full rather than half empty, you can consider yourself extremely blessed to have been able to meet so many different people from all over the world. When I go visit Australia one day, because I will one day, I will have lots of friends to stay with and visit! We decided to go out in style and check out a famous French tea shop/restaurant called Mariage Freres. It was so fun! Especially when we took pictures and were told not to, but my friend continued to sneak a few more in there before we left. The dessert was fabulous, the tea divine, and the company terrific. It was definitely a treat and I look forward to trying it again some time.

Trick-or-Treat Fun

Our church put together a small trick-or-treat for the kids this past Friday night. I missed my Bikram yoga, but wouldn't you if you got to hang out with Minnie-chan and Pooh Bear? Are they not the cutest? We started off with a pizza party in the party room of our building. Then we went trick-or-treating. The best part of trick-or-treat here is that we only went to about 7 apartments in three different buildings, which means we do not have 300 pieces of candy for mama to "hide" from the kids and then eat herself after they go to bed. It was a fun night of fellowship with our Grace Kids!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our Seasonal Visit to Tokyo Disneyland - Halloween 2012

This year for Halloween Miss M wants to be "Minnie Mouse" and wear a pink dress with white polka dots, white bloomers, and pink high heels just like Minnie. Thanks to Grandma, we got the costume, and wore it all day on Monday to our seasonal trip to Disneyland to enjoy the fall festivities. The highlight of Miss M's day was meeting Minnie in person and giving her a present, a coloring sheet of Minnie that Miss M colored herself. To see the joy on her face as she RAN to Minnie and hugged her was priceless. The second highlight was staying up late to see the electrical parade. We normally leave before the electrical parade, but ever since watching a video of it on my Iphone from when I went with cousin Shelbs without kids, Miss M has been asking to go. So, this day, I stayed. We went with some friends we met when Miss M was in yochien. It was fun to go with another mom and the kids really enjoyed themselves. We watched the parades, ate junk food and rode rides. I was surprised that the K Man enjoyed the rides too. He kept trying to spin us on the tea cups and Miss M kept reminding him that the tea cups makes mama sick. Kind of wish daddy had been with us to take them on that ride, especially since we rode it 3 times. Miss M went in the Cinderella castle this time, although she thinks it is Mickey and Minnie's castle. She is not really into princesses yet. She loved the castle and was asking if Minnie hung the drawing Miss M gave her on her bedroom wall. We spent 11 hours at the park. Miss M was so tired coming home that she fell asleep. I was afraid she was going to fall face forward out of the stroller. She went strong all day and had a blast. Today at BSF she was telling her teachers about it and her Japanese teacher as well. And the Minnie dress - we wear it every day at some point throughout the day. Once again, Disney did not disappoint us. We had a beautiful day to enjoy the sunshine, being outside, and most importantly one another. Love my sweet kids.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scrapbook Day October 12, 2012

Scrapbook day for October fell on a Friday. Mondays and Fridays are our days where we have nothing planned in the mornings so I try to do a big outing - a big outing constitutes taking the train and not staying local (within walking or a bike ride distance) and usually involves taking a picnic lunch. Fall is finally here in Tokyo. The weather is fabulous - sunny, unless a typhoon is expected, and in highs around 70 degrees. Perfect. So, on October 12th we ventured out to the Ueno zoo. As I traveled to the zoo I was thinking back to my first time ever going to Ueno zoo. We were living in Tokyo for a short four weeks to "test the waters" and it was the one big thing I tried to do by myself. I did not have to change lines so I figured I could do it. Miss M was young, only 11 months old at the time, and I was determined to get back to our apartment for her nap. By the time I found the lift to take me from the station to the ground level, and then walked my way through the gigantic Ueno park to find the zoo, I spent like 40 minutes rushing through the zoo to see everything so I could get back to the apartment for her nap. My main goal in this first trip to the Ueno zoo was to see a panda, but the panda was not there at the time. So I bought a stuff panda and left the zoo. It was funny remembering that story on this adventure to the zoo. We currently live at the same station we lived at for our four week "visit." On that first visit, the train ride felt like an eternity because I did not know where I was going. However, this past Friday, it was old hat for me - only a 15 minute train ride - very doable with two little ones. I knew exactly where to go for the lift because we frequent this park a lot (not only do they have a zoo and great shaded walking areas, but it holds the National Science and History museum which is a hit with our kids), and I was at the zoo within 30 minutes of leaving my apartment. We took our time, saw the panda (because he or she is there now), ate a picnic lunch, played at a park outside the zoo, and made it home just in time for the K Man's nap (he fell asleep as soon as we walked inside our building). It was a fun day. We only went through half of the zoo because the K Man was getting restless in his stroller and there were loads of children around on a field trip so I did not want to take him out of the stroller for fear he would be trampled. But since the zoo is so close, so easy, and relatively inexpensive, I told Miss M we would head back on another Friday and see the animals we missed. While the K Man napped, Miss M and I did some "school time." We worked puzzles and did some coloring. Then she had her Japanese lesson and I was able to catch up on BSF. The late afternoon was filled with a walk outside by the river, throwing leaves in the river, making sure the K Man did not try to climb in the river, and preparing dinner. Our sitter came that night so that I could go to hot yoga and daddy worked late. Thankfully the kids love her so leaving was not an issue. And hot yoga - let me just say - you have to try it. Just once. If I could do it 4 times a week, I would. I love it that much. It is funny how in time our lives just drastically change. When I was here for those short four weeks, each outing seemed so daunting. Just riding the train one stop to the mall was a big deal for me. Now, I ride my bike to Ginza for hot yoga. Who would have thought? Two of my best friends from here and I got together this past weekend for Indian food and a girls night in while a husband was away. All of us came to Tokyo thinking we would only be here 2 years. We have all now been here more than 2 years and are not sure when we are leaving. We were talking about how we have to stop saying "I will wait until I get back" to our home country because we just do not know when that will be. We really need to be present here, in this fabulous city, and enjoy it to the fullest. It is hard to do in the day to day grind, but having people along the way who understand can help encourage you
as we try to do it together.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

I love all things fall - carving pumpkins, apple cider, pumpkin spiced lattes, jumping in piles of leaves, Saturday night football games, Keeneland (must live in Lexington to understand this), tailgating, smores...well, you get the point. I really love pumpkin patches. I used to have visions of our family going to the pumpkin patch every year, doing the hayride, picking out our family pumpkins, and carving them together that night. I say used to because, well, in Tokyo, although they celebrate Halloween and have decorations, you cannot find the pumpkin patch that I know and love. So, you make do with what you have and just be thankful there is a place called a Pumpkin Patch in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world. We decided to start October with a bang and go have a picnic at the pumpkin patch. For those of you in Tokyo, it is a ten minute walk from Shinkiba station. A friend told me about it last year and Miss M at the time was into Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. She LOVED the pumpkin patch last year. In her mind, it is the only pumpkin patch, so it is pretty great. I have to remember to not tell her what pumpkin patches are like in my hometown. This is all she knows, and I love that this is what she knows, so we consider this our new pumpkin patch tradition. You do not take a pumpkin home, but you get to try on costumes and they had a kids singing show on the day we went. Now, we were in shorts and T-shirts because it was HOT (Tokyo has yet to learn that fall starts in September/early October), but we had a blast. Miss M liked having the K Man try on different hats and headbands. And she naturally LOVED getting to wear the Minnie Mouse costume. You know, I am so thankful that God has given us a pumpkin patch here in Tokyo. It is the little things like this He uses to encourage me. It may sounds strange, but it is as if He drops little tokens of love down for me through things like a Pumpkin Patch to make living in a foreign country a bit more like home. We are blessed, blessed indeed. Oh, and the K Man - He's walking!! Can you believe that? Not everywhere, but enough. We were afraid his legs were so big he could not hold himself up, but he finally did it this week. He will walk from Miss M to me and back to Miss M and give us both big hugs. Miss M tries to "help" by pushing him a bit, and he sometimes topples over, but he gets right back up and keeps going. Love my kids. More on that, but for now, enjoy the pics.