Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flat Juliette - A Travel Log

Dear Jessica,
I've had a really nice time in Japan.  It was a long trip over here (especially jammed in an envelope), but I'm glad that you sent me.  I had a really good time with your aunt, uncle and cousins, Maximo and Lola.  Let me tell you a little bit about what I did with them;

First, it's winter here, so it's pretty cold.  It's almost like Connecticut, but they get almost no snow in Kobe.  I spent the first week in Aunt Julie's classroom where I watched her middle schoolers build and create machines for Design class, but after a while, I got bored sticking out of her pencil holder on her desk.

I was lucky enough to get to go on the 7th grade Ski trip to Shizukuishi Ski Resort in Iwate, Japan.  This is north of Tokyo in Japan.  We flew into Sendai airport, which was demolished last year in the big earthquake, but it had been rebuilt.  Then we took a three hour bus ride into the mountains.  It was a great experience, although I only got out on the ski hills once with Aunt Julie.  It was really cold and I didn't have a proper jacket.

When we got back, I just hung around and got to know your family better!  You REALLY need to convince your mom and dad to let you come visit them!  Japan is cool.  They live on a man-made island and bike to school and to the grocery store or they travel by train, when they leave the island.  The seasons and flower blossoms are especially important in Japan.  The plum blossoms are starting to come out right now, so the first signs of spring are here!

(Strange Colors due to iPhone Camera effects)
The last week, we just did family things.  I got to go to Maximo's first soccer practice, but Lola tried to use me as a shovel on the playground when her mom was trying to take a picture.  (Luckily, Aunt Julie grabbed me and I survived!) 

Then we bought sushi and meat on a stick called yakatori.  It was delicious, and I tried to eat using Maximo's children's chopsticks.

By the time you read this, I will already be in an envelope coming back to you!

Can't wait to see you,


Note: To anyone else reading this besides my brother and niece, Jessica had a "Flat Juliette (Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts) project she sent to us to get a Brownie Badge.  She hung out with us for a couple of weeks to learn about our lives in Japan.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Aquarium Saturday

Sorry for the lack of posts.  It's been a rough few weeks.  The Ski Trip was nice, but then John and Maximo got pretty sick and were out of school almost all week this week.

Yesterday we went to the Suma Aquarium.  It was surprisingly empty and we're glad we got out of the house to do something fun after a rough week!

 Max and John feeding the turtles
 Maximo feeding the Koi.  Trying to distract Lola from swimming with the koi

 Cute girl!

I was going to delete a bunch of these, but they are cute.  It's hard to get both of them smiling and looking in the right direction.  And now, Maximo loves giving "silly faces".

Maximo had a horrible cough this week, so he wore a face mask to school.  In Japan, when one is sick, they usually wear a face mask to not infect others.  He actually kept it on all day.
This is him in my classroom -  his morning ritual of drawing on board for my students.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Words with Family

Maximo used the tiles from our Bananagrams game to write his family.  He did it all by himself with only a few issues with the "h" in John and the "ie" in Julie.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Maximo's School Portfolio

 At Canadian Academy, all students keep a digital portfolio.  It's just like those large portfolios students have been compiling every year and send home to their parents at the end of the year to show their work and growth, but it's keep on a blog.  Students add to it every year they are at CA to show that they are IB students and give examples of how are students are aspiring to our Mission.

Here is Maximo's portfolio, so far, this year. 

October 2011 - Maximo explaining His Family that he created in clay

January 2012 - Explaining one of his art pieces

Last week, Maximo started a new unit at school about Changes.  They have had a LOT of fun hands on activities where they observe changes.   Here are a few:
 Making Obleck

 Making a tie dye shirt with a 6th grader

Making (and eating) pancakes... on Pajama Day

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Jamming Two Weeks into One Post

It has been busy at La Casa de Los Lemleys.  Not necessarily at our house, but work has been a bit rough...   John and I had our semester one grades due last Monday and our student load is huge.  The middle school and high school are on the same schedule, so that made our deadlines exactly the same.  It was challenging balancing school and the kiddos, but we all survived.

It's pretty chilly here as well, which has made for some not-so-fun transports to and from school on our bikes, loaded with kids and bags and groceries.

Lola was home sick for a few days with RSV, the one thing that we didn't want Maximo to get when he was a baby because it could have been fatal for him, and paid for $1000 vaccines for him each month during the winter.  She had a really high fever, but was eating well, so we weren't overly concerned.  She demanded a lot of attention (and TV), but her high fever broke after about 3 days.  Then she had a bad cough and still has a nasty runny nose, which she then loves to rub up into her hair.  But, besides that the kids are great. 

Since Lola and John were feeling under the weather, so they stayed home, while I took Maximo to Nara for the Annual Mountain Burning.  We had a great time.  It was chilly, but we dressed pretty well.  It was a long train ride for the hour and a half that we were there, but he loved the fireworks and we both enjoyed the street food and riding the trains.  He's a great age, where we really don't need to pack too much for him and he loves being on the trains.

I leave on Wednesday to go on the ski trip with the seventh grade class.  I haven't skied since I was in high school, hopefully it'll come back.  It'll be nice, although I don't really love cold weather.  I'll miss John and the babes a lot though.  It'll be rough on John especially getting the chicos to and from school in the morning, especially on one bike in the cold.  And he starts assistant coaching badminton this week as well.

At least our semester is full with events and work, so hopefully it'll go by fast because we can't wait for 1. warmer weather 2. to go home and see our families this summer and 3. to hopefully purchase a house in Savannah while we're home this summer.

And I'll leave you with two Maximo videos.
1. We don't want to forget him saying "Hangurbur" and "Lasterday Night".  Our two favorite Maximo sayings.  We still don't have lasterday night on film, but this will do:

2. He is always singing and sharing his poems from school:  Here is "Under the Spreading Chesnut Tree" in English and (butchered) Japanese: