Sunday, January 19, 2014

Small Train Museum/Kasai station

We enjoyed a field trip/monthly special outing to a small train/subway museum at Kasai staion. I had taken the K Man here before when Miss M and daddy ventured away for the weekend. Miss M had been asking to go see it for awhile, so we went this past Thursday with friends from BSF. The kids as you can see from the pics had a great time. It is a perfect place to go if you want something to do but do not want to travel too far or pay too much. The K Man was free and Miss M and I were 310 yen together. 

January Scrapbook Day 2014, a typical Tuesday

Scrapbook day this month fell on Tuesdays. Tuesdays I have leaders' meeting for BSF so the kids stay home with our sitter. They love our sitter and have so much fun playing, going to the park, and having dance parties. On this particular Tuesday I came home and took Miss M out on a hot chocolate date and worked on her reading lesson. We are going through a book together called "Teach your Child to Read in 100 Lessons." It is so much more fun to learn with hot cocoa. At 4:30 our Tuesday party friends came over for a play until 6. Then it was dinner, clean up, baths and bed so we can get plenty of rest for BSF. Today it hit me just how much Miss M is growing up. She just is blossoming into a beauitiful little girl. The way she was talking today struck me with the face that she is getting older. I am not sure why it hit me today, January 20th, but it did in a way that I cannot explain. She is really growing in her Japanese too. She wrote her daddy a card all on her own wishing him a Happy 39th birthday and telling him that she liked him. I was sitting here today, chatting with her, simply overwhelmed by the person God is creating her to be...simply beautiful. I am hoping to enjoy more hot cocoa dates with her on Tuesdays while the K Man sleeps and our helper cleans a bit. The K Man is all boy...rough, wild, and sneaky. He is very mischevious but oh so cute. 

Ice Skating January 18, 2014

On Saturday the kids and I had dental appointments. It was a family affair and the husband came along to help since it was the first visit taking both children. After healthy check ups for all of us, we ventured over to Midtown Park for some ice skating and hot cocoa. It was such a fun afternoon. The skates for the children were double bladed which helped and it was crowded so that helped as well to keep everyone at a slow pace. Miss M does pretty well on her own so I am hoping to take them back just the three of us during the week for a special outing when it is a bit less crowded. 

Food in Tokyo

So, I will never tire of the food in Tokyo. The quality of the food here is amazing. This is not a food blog but I did take some pictures of a recent meal we had last week. A friend offered to watch the kids for FREE so we took her up on it and had an early birthday dinner for the husband. He really wanted an American version of a Japanese steakhouse where they cook in front of you and do a little show. We always ate at one of these type restaurants for his birthday when we lived in the US. I told him I doubt he would find that here as they would think it is a slap across the face to insult the Japanese food in such a way. However, he found a Benihana restaurant in Nihonbashi. We went on a Thursday night thinking we could walk right in at 7 but they were BOOKED! The husband was pretty disappointed but thinks to google maps and we found another Japanese steakhouse nearby. Benihana was added to our ongoing restaurant list and I am sure we will venture there very soon. However, the other restaurant we found was quite delicious and we did not leave disappointed. Whenever we move back to America, whereever we move, we know our palates will come up a bit disappointed because the food in Tokyo is simply outstanding. There is also a picture of a beautiful sushi plate and osetchi plate we had with friends in our building for our New Years Party. With sharing the cost, it was 2000 yen per family, about $20, so not bad for a nice meal of sushi for all of us. 

It's 2014...Resolutions?

So, it is officially 2014. I have been pretty silent on the blog lately. Not sure why. I usually do resolutions but I decided against it this year. A friend mentioned a blog that asked 20 questions to reflect on in 2013 and 20 questions to answer for 2014. I am still working through those but they have been fun to think through and take my time on. My goal for the year is to slow down and play more. I spend so much of my time being busy, running my kids here and there, thinking I need to be doing all this "stuff" so they can have enriched lives. However, what I saw towards the end of last year is that it was wearing all of us down, all the "stuff." So, we are trying to play more, rest at home, and reserve the fun things like museums and big outings for special days, not weekly. This is a bit against my grain because I can feel closed in our tiny apartment on the days we do not leave in the morning, but I am seeing it is good for my kids. It is a bit out of my control - the house feels like a mess on these days which makes me feel like a mess. But what I am seeing is my kids are loving it. They are playing together, fighting at times, but playing too, and enjoying home. I want my children to like home. I do not want them tired and worn out from the busyness of life. So, I guess you could say this is my New Year's resolution - to slow down, smell the roses, enjoy the picnic, whatever you want to call it. Tuesday and Wednesday we are committed to BSF. Thankfully the kids do not have to go on Tuesday as I have a sitter for my leader's meetings. Friday mornings we typically have music class for the K Man while Miss M does Japanese 3 weeks out of the month. So, I have decided Monday and Thursday mornings we stay at home and do not make any plans. If we do have plans, we invite people to us or stay local in our neighborhood and do a local park or play area. No trains on these days unless it is our monthly special outing. It is very hard for me to do this but I am hoping after a few months it will show benefits in a more energetic mama and well rested children. Here are some fun pics of us just "playing" and smelling the roses.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Post Christmas Fun/New Year's Fun

I love the New Year holiday in Japan. I love having the husband around for an extended period of time and not really having to go anywhere. Every year we have been in Tokyo for Christmas, our friend Darlene comes to visit from Nagoya for a few days. The kids really enjoy Ms. Darlene and I think she watched The Grinch with them about 10 times over the course of four days. We also went to Yokohama one day and had lunch in Chinatown which was a lot of fun and a first for us since we have lived here. Other post Christmas fun has been picnics outside by the river, riding our bikes everywhere and "racing" each other, lazy mornings, playing with our toys and being together as a family. For New Year's Eve we spent just the four of us. The kids ate pizza while the husband and I had traditional soba noodles for New Year's Eve. We did stay up until midnight and listened to the boats blow their horns on the bay and watch Tokyo Tower switch to 2014 but other than that we did not do much. New Year's is always a bit of a disappointment here, especially since we do not drag our kids to the temple at midnight. On New Year's Day we enjoyed lunch with some friends in their home, rode our bikes around town in search of me a New Years mug from Starbucks, and the husband made some traditional foods for dinner that night that we all enjoyed. The kids have loved their toys. The K Man has enjoyed most just laying on the floor pushing a fire truck or Yamanote train around the floor. Miss M has loved her new callico critters and my little ponies. It has been a relaxing holiday and I kind of dread reality coming back on Monday. At least we still have the weekend to enjoy one another. I have more thoughts on the New Year and 2014, but for now I will say goodbye to 2013. I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas and a bright New Year.

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas! For Christmas Eve this year we hosted two families and had a traditional dinner with ham for the main meat and all of the traditional American sides you envision for Christmas dinner. It was a great evening of fellowship and delicious food. On Christmas morning, the kids slept in a bit because they were so tired from the previous night. I made snowman pancakes for breakfast which was a lot of fun. The kids first opened their stockings and played with those things for a bit, we ate breakfast and then we went on to opening presents. We tried to open one or two at a time, encourage them to play with the toys, and then open a few more. It was a leisurely day and the kids really enjoyed all of their stuff. As we were wrapping presents the night before (or pulling them out of the amazon boxes already wrapped), I realized that Santa Clause forgot to order the one thing Miss M wanted from Amazon. She had asked specifically for baby doll clothes for her Mel Chan doll baby. We had to write a note from Santa explaining how much Mrs. Clause loved the cookies and she would be sending Miss M and the K Man a special delivery to say thank you. Miss M was so excited. She checked each day for the delivery and even said, "I bet I am the only one getting another thank you gift from Mrs. Clause." Honey, I think you are right on that one. Parent fail! Needless to say the Mel Chan clothes came in record time from Amazon Japan, and Miss M thought due to the cold box it came all the way from the North Pole. Thankfully Amazon Japan was open on Christmas Day! In the evening we hosted some friends from church for chili who do not have family to spend time with and were not traveling home from Christmas. I was exhausted after all of the hosting and parties from the 23rd to the 25th, but am so glad we did everything we did. It was fun to have a full calendar and lots of people to spend time with over Christmas. We are truly blessed with our life here in Tokyo and the friends who are like family that God has provided for us.

Miss M, Ballet, December 2013

Every quarter we get to watch Miss M do ballet. December was a special treat because it fell on the emperor's birthday, which is a National Holiday, and the husband was off work! We had a full day starting with our Grace Kids Christmas Party which mama helped plan. After attending the party, we all hopped on bikes (husband bought a bike this month with a kids' seat to help share the load and we have been biking a lot together on this holiday break) and headed to ballet. I love watching Miss M. She is so sweet in these pictures and it is really such a cute little class. She has a few friends in the class, but her favorite little friend is Sena-chan. For the skipping part of ballet, the younger ones get to dance with an older child and Miss M and Sena-chan always dance together. They have a very sweet friendship. After ballet, we hopped on the bikes again and went to our larger church Christmas party that evening. Needless to say when we got home we were all pretty exhausted. Enjoy the pictures of ballet and our Grace Kids Christmas party.