Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monkeying Around

After missing yesterday's Halloween celebration at Max's daycare, we made up for it today. We had a slow morning around the house, then I went out grocery shopping so we could actually eat something for lunch. On the way back from the grocery store, I saw witches, ninjas, Spidermans and pumpkins flooding the island for the Halloween Festival they have on Rokko Island. I didn't want my monkey to miss out, so I rushed home, convinced him to throw on his costume, and went back to the River Mall to meander around a bit before lunch/naptime.

Max enjoyed the music and looking at all the kids. There was a huge line for a kids' parade, but we decided to by-pass this since we only had a little time before Maximo's nap and his costume is made out of polar fleece-like material and it was a balmy 75 degrees out today.

We climbed around a bit, ate delicious meat on a stick, then boarded the bike for home.Later, we went to the faculty housing on campus for the teachers' kids Halloween party. First we stuffed a little pasta dinner down the kids' throats before they went around to the houses to trick-or-treat. Max wore regular clothes to the party because it was hot and he was going to eat spaghetti, and I soon realized this was a mistake. Maximo refused to put on his costume for a while and I thought that he may just run around in his diaper the whole night. But, before the trick-or-treating began, I coaxed him into it.He figured out the custom of saying "Trick or Treat" and "Thank You" quite quickly and really enjoyed himself. Afterwards he had a couple of M&Ms and a lollipop and was happy as a clam.Now he's gone to bed so John and I can ransack his booty and take out all the good stuff.

R&R on the Flip Side

We played at the beach
We swam in the pool
We danced after dinner
We got massages
We drank fresh mango and pineapple juice everyday
We sometimes ordered from the bar at 10:30 - which is midday if you're up at 5:30-6:00 am
We almost missed a plane
We almost missed a bus
We ran on both travel days
We went shopping in town
We took naps everyday
We were in bed every night by 9:00 pm, okay maybe 8:30
We read books
We all got tans
We rejuvenated ourselves for our next haul until Winter Break
We had a perfect vacation
Da moon, Da moon

Maximo and Daddy on lifeguard duty


Maximo's first boat ride - he loved it!

It was truly the perfect vacation for where we are right now... A manageable travel day followed by sun, water and sand. The resort was also perfect for us. The staff was wonderful and knew the boys by name. It wasn't super busy so their splashing in the pool didn't disrupt anyone's romantic getaway. The bungalows were separated enough that we didn't bother anyone either and were pretty sound proof so we didn't bother each other.

Home Again Home Again

We had a wonderful week in the Philippines. I'll try to post about our week and post pictures sometime today (or tomorrow). Right now we're swimming in laundry, looking at an empty 'fridge and gearing up for a big trick and treat tonight!
The pool...
The perfect toddler beach...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Funny POTW

Funny Picture of the Week

Having iPhones allows us to quickly snap a shot as we're out and about. Living in a foreign country, life is full of lots of funnies - normally you're laughing at yourself for making a social faux-pas or using toilet cleaner on your hair or laughing so you don't cry because it sometimes can take A LOT more time to do a simple task, especially when you're not fluent in the language.

So, I've already taken a few pics, and want to share, so I will TRY (not promising) to post one a week.

This week's is:

You may have to blow it up to see it, but the third line says, "Please avoid having snakes inside."

Sometimes, there's just a funny (Babelfish) translation where most of the words are correct, but they are out of order or the context is humorous. I'm really not sure what this one means. We were in an indoor play area for kids - there were no snake-like toys anywhere and I have yet to see a Japanese walking around with a pet snake (pet turtle on the other hand, yes), so I'm at a loss here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family Tradition

As we visited the US before we moved to Japan, I made sure (Thanks, Mom!) that our bags were packed with all sorts of holiday paraphernalia - plastic Easter eggs, St. Patty's beads, Halloween costumes... Maximo is now more aware of the holidays around him and it's fun starting our own family traditions in our home. I was worried that we may not be able to get US holiday glam here, but I've learned quickly, that really, you can get anything you want here, but you have to pay the price.

Fortunately, a grocery store here that specializes in foreign imported goods had pumpkins, so we carved our first pumpkin. For the first week, it just sported some black duct tape. This past Wednesday we carved it and have religiously lit it every night, but tonight may have been the last because it's teeming with mold and today Max dropped it, so it's head is all mashed in.
The fangs broke off while I was cutting it. And I cut the top too small so I couldn't dig anything out, so we had to make the hole bigger... then the lid didn't fit.
Being a mom takes practice in all areas - like being crafty and holiday-ready!

When we light it, Max starts singing (his version) of Happy Birthday, mostly just saying "To You", then I am like an octopus trying to get him to stop sticking his fingers into the flame, then he blows it out - full nightly ritual: approximately two minutes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Break

One week from now, we'll be at the airport, heading here.... Oh, I can't wait. Please typhoons (and all other natural and unnatural disasters) stay away!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Sports Day!

Update: This is a little late, but here's the photo gallery of Sports Day at CA. It was a great day shared by students, their families and CA staff. We can't wait until we can watch Maximo run around at Sports Day!

Today is Sports Day - a national holiday here in Japan. Businesses are closed and most families accompany their children to school so they can watch and participate in what we would recognize as a field day.

After doing a bit of research, this national holiday started after the Olympics were hosted in Tokyo in 1964, so it's to commemorate this event and to promote a healthy lifestyle. It is held on the second Monday of October.

As I write this, I have yet to experience Sports Day, so energy and time permitting, I may update this post. The kids are coming to school for a half day of events and parents are welcome to join.

I hear it's a true cultural experience to watch a "real" Japanese school on Sports Day. There's a large Japanese school across the street from Canadian Academy and it's been intriguing to watch the coaches and school workers come out to prepare the fields this past week and on Friday, while I was outside with my students, we watched them practice a choreographed opening ceremony of about 300 students.

At this point, Sports Day doesn't mean a whole lot to Max, except the fact that he doesn't go to Yume Club, because it's closed due to the national holiday. So, he'll come to CA and stay at the Peter Pan daycare on campus until I can go home at 12:15... John will soon follow at 1:00. It'll be fun once he does go to school at CA and one of us can participate in events with him!

Possibly more later!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I, Spy

Right now one of Maximo's favorite games is "I Spy". He will incessantly say, "More, more" as soon as he spied something to continue play. We started playing, I think, in an airport somewhere this summer and it has gotten us out of some fussy times. It's been fun expanding Maximo's world with this game as we try to find new and interesting things on our walks and bike rides.

A couple of weeks ago, the school was inspecting our apartment and they, along with John, discovered a sunken table (kotatsu) in our tatami room. I've been pining for one (okay that may be a bit strong) since I saw one in our headmaster's house. And one day... there it was. Last weekend we cleaned it all up and this week was our trial week to see if it's something we want to use full-time in our home or not. I was a bit concerned with keeping Maximo "put" during meal time and also concerned with keeping the tatami clean. We've been putting Max in his portable booster seat and putting a towel on the floor and it seems to be working.

I only wish we had discovered this before we bought a rug, 2 tables and chairs from IKEA, but hopefully we'll be able to find homes for them.

I did a little research - and here's the simplified wiki version explaining our tatami room.

I think we're turning Japanese, I think we're turning Japanese, I really think so...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ode to a Typhoon

Thank you Melor for giving us the day off of school.
Thank you Melor for not destroying our home.

What I won't thank you for is your howling winds that kept me up all night and woke Maximo up at 3:00 am. We've both been up for the day since 5:00 am and now I'm counting down the minutes until Maximo takes his nap (so I can too).

Sunday, October 04, 2009


In the wake of the Harvest Moon, I just spent the past hour trying to give the blog a little Halloween flare and all I ended up with is dark colors and BOO! Not very spooky, but I had to draw the line at an hour of jumping between programs finding backgrounds and adapting the banner to fit.

Last night, Celia, Jenny and I took Denis, Allie and Max to Chinatown for the Harvest Moon Festival celebrating the full moon. We enjoyed delicious food on sticks and the ambience until two of the three ended up in tears due to the gongs and masked characters. We ended up hanging out outside the Motomachi train station dancing to the Andean musician. Nothing like hearing Condor Pasa on the pan flute IN THE MIDDLE OF JAPAN!

Since I'm trying to get back on track with posts and photos, I've created a new Picasa folder for the month of October and I'll continue to post pics this month (in theory) and of our fall break vacation (IN THE PHILIPPINES!).

October Photos

Saturday, October 03, 2009

He is So Good To Us... Most of the Time

As I sit here writing, after a rejuvenating hour nap, as Max is turning the two-plus hours of napping, this is what I think "he is so good to us". Today (so far) has been one of those great family-Saturdays.

We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast, cleaned and played around the house this morning, then we went shopping.
We found that we have a sunken table in our tatami room
(with a heater underneath the table).
I'm sure there's a pretty Japanese term for this,
but I don't know what it is and you wouldn't understand it anyways.

He loves to vacuum! Hopefully he has all of his dad's cleaning tendencies!
After meandering around a bit and buying a toothbrush holder (we're exciting folks!), Max played at the softplay area - which is pretty cool and since we're in Japan, and it feels like it has a whole lot less microbes climbing all over the toys.

Then we went to Wendy's where we sat as a family and Max ate all of his chicken and didn't just gorge on french fries... not a piece of food was slung on the floor, we all ate and had a merry time. We went to the grocery store on the way home and still were without tantrum or fuss, then we came home and he had some milk and then Maximo whispered those magic words, "cuna" (crib).

When he's not throwing a full fledged tantrum or begging to watch "movie" (Cars) or "choo-choo" (Thomas the Tank Engine) for the fiftieth thousandth time, he's been really great lately. He's talking up a storm and has FINALLY started putting phrases together, like:
"Sit down" (He doesn't like to watch his shows by himself, he likes to cuddle with his nearest and dearest).
"Kiss it" (For owwies)
"Cheerios, please"

Yes, they are commands. BUT! He can ask us what he wants! AND, he can do it nicely (sometimes). It's so nice when a lot of the guesswork is gone.

We can almost reason with him.

In other Maximo news, daycare is going well (it's so good to finally be able to say that). He now runs to see his senseis and is speaking a bit of Japanese, but understanding a lot of what his senseis are telling him. He's really eating well and is doing it so much more neatly, which we are attributing to the fact that all the kids sit down to eat together at daycare and then clean up their area when they're done. He's actually getting most of his soup from the bowl to his mouth and insists on drinking with a real cup and doesn't spill.

Maximo is really into his books lately and will disappear into his room for a half hour at a time to read his books. It's cute to overhear him read the stories or point out different objects from the pages. He's never been the best independent-play kiddo in the world. This is has been for two reasons - we had a nanny in Peru and a maid who doted on his every breath AND he has no fear and seems to be a danger magnet, so I don't like leaving him alone for too long. But, it's so nice when he's playing by himself - pretending, talking, problem-solving... until he gets frustrated and flings himself into his next tantrum, ha.