Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Picnics by the River, Sunbathing on the Balcony, and Gyoza Dinner parties

I just realized it is the end of May. Where does the time go? Seriously, I have no idea. It seems like the days are so long (especially when it is 8PM and I want the children to sleep) but the weeks and years are so fast! It is already humid here in Tokyo which means a very long summer is in store. But thankfully the windows are still open! We have been enjoying our family. One day the kids decided to sunbathe on the balcony (pictures follow). It was very cute. We also ventured out with a friend of Miyako's and her family to a neighborhood grilled meat restaurant. It was delicious and within walking distance. We have been going on lots of picnics before it gets too hot. We love to picnic along the river by our home. Living near the water is such a blessing. I love to run along it early in the morning where it is quiet and you have a bit of serenity within a city of 35 million people. The kids love to picnic along the river and watch boats and throw rocks into the water. We also enjoyed a gyoza dinner party with good friends this past weekend. The kids watched Frozen while we dined over homemade gyoza. They have a fabulous view overlooking the Tokyo Bay and I could not get enough of just sitting on their balcony and relaxing, again with the water nearby. I think our summer is off to a good start. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014, Scrapbook Day

This month, scrapbook day fell on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are always super busy for us as we go to BSF. It is about a hour commute each way so we leave the house by 8:20 and do not get home until about 1:45. Then Miss M had Japanese lesson from 2-3. After that we usually veg in front of the TV and relax the rest of the day. Miss M this week explained that Japanese was challenging. Her teacher is working on teaching her how to do homework because in the fall we will drop her to two lessons each week and let the K Man pick up two lessons. The teacher wants to give Miss M homework. We discussed today making sure she does not get burned out. The teacher explained to me that Miss M is a "perfectionist" and she never wants to make a mistake even though what she is doing is fairly difficult (they are working on a little intro to kanji at this point which is pretty amazing). I am not surprised. If I made a B growing up, it was devastating. My grades came from a lot of hard work and wanting to do everything right! She comes by it honestly. So, the teacher and I are working together to make sure she continues to enjoy the learning and gives herself some grace. I will also need to be aware of this when we start homeschooling kindy in the fall. The K Man moved into Miss M's group at Bible study now that he is 3 years old. They separate older children for the hymn and story time and Miss M was so excited to have him join her. I have been trying to cook new foods and be a bit more healthy. On this Wednesday I made a beef ginger stir fry with carrots and snow peas. It was really yummy. After baths I surprised the kids with a movie night and we finally watched the highly anticipated "Frozen." The kids liked it but I did fast forward through the snow monster scenes. It scared them. Thankfully they have not been bombarded with Frozen everything and are not singing the main song non-stop. The K Man did learn three words : "Let it Go!" and he kept singing it over and over. The kids went to bed fairly easily on Wednesday night and made it the entire night in their bunk beds without needing mama or daddy. YAY! We have two more weeks of BSF and then summer break. I love BSF but I think we are all looking forward to the summer break and not having to rush out the door on Wednesdays. The pictures below are of dinner on scrapbook day, a close up of the K Man on scrapbook day, and a picnic at the 100 yen park with some Australian friends who were here for just ten weeks but we met at church and instantly clicked with them. It was really cold that day even though it was Golden Week. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Daddy watched Miss M at sports class

Daddy took Miss M to sports class the last week in April so he could watch. He really enjoyed it. Here are some fun pics from sports class.

The K Man turns 3!

Our little/big K Man turned three years old last week. We gave him his first official birthday party this year and he loved it. Every day on the week leading up to his birthday he would ask "is today my birthday? Am I big yet?" I did not have the heart to tell him he has been big since birth! :) On his actual birthday both kids were fighting fevers and daddy had the day off. We basically laid on the couch watching movies (Planes and Alice in Wonderland), ordered pizza, and enjoyed a little Planes birthday cake big sis and I made for the little guy (thank you Grandma for sending me the pan). Thankfully the next day the kids woke up and were fever free so we could enjoy the actual birthday party for the K Man. We invited 5 little friends from church and Miss M had a friend come too, who the K Man loves. We can rent basic party rooms in our building for 800 yen for 4 hours which is not bad at all for Tokyo. We did a CARS/PLANES theme party (thank you again Grandma for the fun party supplies) and played "Pin the Headlight on Mater." After playing inside a bit, we took the kids outside for a play in the park behind our building. We came back in for cake and presents and everyone left. It was a very laid back and relaxed party with some of our dearest friends here in Tokyo. I was reminded of the sweet community God has given us here in Tokyo. It should not surprise me since we have been here 4 years now, but it really is very sweet. The longer we live here I just am overwhelmed by God's goodness to us in giving us community and I am convinced that it is in community that we thrive. Some of the friends that were at the party have been our friends since we moved here. Others we just met this year but instantly connected with. And I am sure people who live in the US have the same experience, but in a city of 35 million people, I am just amazed at God blessing us with such fabulous friends. We finished the big day with some of hubby's old colleagues bringing us dinner. It was a very fun filled day with dear friends. Now for a little bragging on the K Man, I feel like I say the same thing every year. He is such a charmer. He watches people and he knows how to win over hearts. He is sweet and yet we see him push buttons, especially with his big sister, and grin afterwards. He is smart with people and you can tell he will have good people skills. We started him in sports class this year in April. It has been fun for me to have a little mama/son time each week for a hour while Miss M takes Japanese. He is quite bigger than the rest of the kids in the class and each week the other moms make a comment about that. We also started him in Japanese lessons once a week now that he is three. I was watching the end of his class on Friday and got tears in my eyes as I watched him answer her questions correctly distinguishing a densha (train), helicopter and hikoki (plane). I was just amazed at how quickly he is picking it up and how he can sit for a hour studying with such enthusiasm. K Man, you literally bring so much joy to our family. I cannot imagine our family without you. Your smile is contagious and you are so playful. You make us laugh and I am so glad God chose me to be your mama. We love you, little guy!

Going Vertical

We went vertical...we got bunk beds! The kids' room looks a lot more spacious now. I have been on an organizing rampage. I realized that part of my anxiety in daily life has been due to my lack of organization in our home. Even if we have no clue where we are going to live in five years, if our home is organized and a safe little haven, these bigger issues are not as stressful. So I have been working hard on the home. If I had known how much better the organization would have made me feel, I would have done this a year ago! The kids room and tatami room now are a bit more organized. Sometimes it still feels cluttered but we are four people in 90 sq. meters so that is bound to happen. However, it is much neater now and each kid has a junk basket to put the endless junk in. I can then clean it out once every couple of weeks rather than the junk accumulating everywhere. Next up on the organization project - the "treasure boxes" of keepsakes the kids have made and our clothes closet. Then I will feel really good! The kids love the bunk beds and we often find that the K Man will climb in bed with his sister after she has fallen asleep. Very sweet. He still comes in our bed in the early morning, usually around 5 when I am getting ready to go for a run, but hopefully this will pass once he gets used to his bunk bed.