Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What is on the nightstand

I realize that this blog is mostly about the kids, what we do, and all the fun we have. Now, I also know for most people who blog you do not put the ugly stuff of life up there for the friends and family to see. Every day is not an adventure just because we live in Tokyo and life is not always fun. So I do want to use the blog to be real about life and also remember things in my own life that I was doing when my kids were young. I thought today I would tell about the books I am currently reading. I normally can only read one book at a time, but our friends from Oz move back in early December and I love their library so I am reading several books at one time. I have 3 more from them I need to finish in two months! We will see if I get through it or if I will be mailing some books down to Melbourne in February! Currently on my night stand are the following books: Blue Like Jazz, Third Cultured Kids, Enjoying the Little Years, Fukushima by Mark Willacy, and Escape from Camp 14. So, I am reading about a man's authentic relationship with Christ and his struggles and doubts with faith, children who live outside their passport culture during their formative years of ages 1-18 (I started this to better understand my own children but as I am reading it I am learning a lot about my husband), little nuggets of encouragement for mamas with small kiddos, the 3/11 earthquake and following the stories of a few people affected by the disaster, and the story of a man born into a North Korean prison camp and how he escaped. Pretty wide range of reading huh? This is why my paper scrapbooking left off at Miss M, age 9 months, and why my needlepoint stocking I bought last winter is nowhere near finished...I love to read and my only time to do it is at night, post bedtime. Well, time to get the kids up and head to Asobono...more to come on mama's life regarding home school and the lessons I have learned in just 5 weeks.

Re-Do on Scrapbook Page for September

So, when I wrote the post for our scrapbook page for September, we had not uploaded a lot of recent pics and my pics were pretty shabby as they did not give the full scope of our kids and how much they are growing. We are having a lot of fun, as usual, because that is what you are supposed to do when you are 4 and 2. So, here are some fun pics from this month. One night, we got a little crazy with the camera and had a blast! These are the pictures of the kids in their pjs. One day a typhoon came so we got out the trains and played inside. One day this month we took the kids shopping for fall clothes. Goodness, Miss M has an opinion at age 4. I think papa will be taking her shopping when she is 14. I cannot handle it now, so I know when she is a teenager I will either need to take a drug before we go shopping or just not go at all! We did a little fashion show for daddy of the outfit she "didn't like and will not wear" while Mama was enjoying Chicago style pizza with her friends. Needless to say during dinner I received a text with pictures of the said fashion show and with comments about how awesome daddy is for not only bathing both kids but getting Miss M to enjoy her new snazzy outfit. We have been to the gas museum, again. We are taking Japanese lessons and Miss M wrote Mama a note in Japanese...yes, I am proud. Lots and lots of fun, because that is what you do when you are 4 and 2.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Scrapbook Day September 13, 2013

This month the scrapbook day fell on Friday the 13th! Scary, huh?! For three Fridays out of the month, the K Man has music class in Toyosu. Also, our school day is short on Fridays that we can typically finish it over breakfast. On this particular Friday, we did school while eating breakfast and then headed to music class. While the K Man is in music class, Miss M is in Japanese lesson. She loves the Friday lesson because the teacher alternates between library/reading time and "mall" time. They will meet at Starbucks in the mall and work on writing a letter or something of this nature, then they will go explore in the furniture/home decor stores and play house. Miss M loves the role playing this provides and has so much fun. The K Man is really enjoying the music class. It is the same one Miss M was in when she was his age. Miss M is so excited to watch him in the recital this year and "help" him get to the stage. After music class, went to our favorite little bakery in Toyosu and had lunch. From there, we went to the Gas Museum. It is a fabulous museum and free! The kids love it! From here, we went home, relaxed in the afternoon with some tv while I prepared dinner, then we met Daddy and did a kid swap so I could go to yoga. For a little over a year now I have been doing Bikram hot yoga. I LOVE it. I wish I could do yoga 3 times a week and run 3 times a week, but it is a 90 minute class. By the time you travel there, do the class, shower, and travel home you have been gone about 3 hours. I do not have this kind of time 3 times a week, but I can do it once a week. If you have ever considered going, GO! You will not regret it. After yoga, I dropped in my favorite noodle shop, by myself, for Chinese noddles. I used to feel funny eating by myself, but not anymore. I rather enjoy it. I have posted two pictures from our August community group meeting. We are really enjoying our family community group that meets on Saturdays. I have a lot more pictures to show you but we have not downloaded them so you will have to wait and I will try to upload the blog with more fun details of more current pictures over the weekend. Until then, enjoy!

Home School, Pre-K for Miss M

You may have noticed the blog has been a bit MIA lately. There is a very good reason for this...I have started homeschooling Miss M this year for Pre-K. Today we started our fourth week. Am I crazy? Some may think so. Is it challenging? More than I ever thought it would be. Is it worth it? YES! Our decision to home school right now in our lives comes from many different thoughts. First and foremost, we think she is still a bit young to be away from Mama all day. She still wants to run and play and be outside and we want to give her that freedom while at the same time starting to teach her appropriate developmental milestones. We believe this is the best for our family at this point and this is where God wants us so we are giving it a go. I never really thought I would home school my kids so it is all fairly new to me in terms of thought processes, but I am finding that God is using it richly to grow me and challenge me as much as He is for Miss M. We are using a curriculum called Sonlight for Pre-K. It is reading based, which I love, and it is fun to read to her while at the park or at home leisurely. However, the Pre-K program did not have a math or handwriting, and since Miss M is already writing me notes in Japanese, I thought I should start teaching her how to write in English. So, I ordered Saxon Math for Kindy and Handwriting Without Tears for her handwriting. I have not received all of the handwriting materials so we have not started that, but we have started the math. The first week was a huge adjustment for all of us. I found myself being a bit too rigid and not having fun with it, which took the fun out for Miss M. Over the last two weeks I have been more relaxed which has helped. There have been times she has told me it is boring. I try not to take it personally and use it as a teaching lesson - life is not always fun, but you have to persevere and get through the boring parts. The only other school she has known is Japanese yochien, which is all PLAY within order and discipline, so she thinks we are supposed to play all the time. She does not understand there is a curriculum I am using and certain objectives I would like to meet. But, she is still just 4.5 so we are still doing lots of play. Our days also can look a bit inconsistent. I try to do school first thing after breakfast. But today I had to run an errand in the morning so we did school in the afternoon while the K Man napped. We can do that! The flexibility is beautiful. On Tuesdays I have my babysitter so after I come home from leadership meetings with BSF we do school in the park behind our building while the sitter is with the K Man at home. I have not done any "field trips" for the first few weeks as I want to set up a school pattern for us, but I look forward to exploring some new places that are more "educational" for her. This city has so much to offer for people who home school. I think our first adventure will be a butterfly museum. Miss M LOVES butterflies and our babysitter told her about a butterfly museum so now she is asking to go. I am not sure how long I will do this, but for now, it is working for our family, and really that is what you have to do...what is best for your family. I will keep you posted as the year progresses. I am thankful to my friends who home school back in the US and who have given me a lot of support from afar these first couple of weeks - reminding me to have fun and to be thankful for the cuddles in the morning rather than having to rush out the door.