Sunday, December 07, 2014

Little Lola is Four!

We've had an action packed day that started with family gifts  - continued with a party with her friends - and is ending with a smorgasboard of leftovers and a playing with all of her new toys.

It was a great day and she's really gotten so big.  I still remember being in Rokko Island Hospital like it was yesterday.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Maximo's First Presentation - Family Book

Maximo has a presentation tomorrow.  He brought his notes home to practice this weekend.  I think this may be the first oral presentation he has ever really done... and it's in Japanese.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

7-5-3 Ceremony

Shichi-go-san: 7-5-3

This year, we went to the Ikuta Shrine for the 7-5-3 Ceremony.  七五三 is a traditional rite of passage in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children. (Source: Wikipedia).  Read more about the history here.

We tried to do this our second fall here, but 3 year old Maximo would not cooperate.  We even resorted to bribery with lollipops, but he wouldn't even put the kimono on.  It was beautiful with a big dragon on the back... after about 45 minutes of begging, we finally looked at each other and figured the distress was not worth it and left to find a taxi home.  I was 7 1/2 month pregnant with Lola, so it was a fairly easy decision, as I was not really supposed to be moving around tons.

I was scarred by this event, so we stayed away from the ceremony when Maximo was 5, but figured this year would be perfect since Maximo was 7 and Lola was 3 for a few more months.

It was a beautiful fall day.  The kids were great, especially with the amount of sitting around time between the "dressing" and the actual ceremony.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Maximo is 7!

Maximo's Birthday dinner at the sushi go round.

We've had a busy 3 weeks back in Japan.

The first week was spent getting over jetlag.

The second week was spent going back to work.

This week was the first full week we had with students... and Maximo's 7th birthday.

Maximo's First Day of 1st Grade & Lola's first day of Pre-K3.

Here are pictures of his birthday party at the bowling alley...  and I've started a new album on the right - our autumn folder.

Maximo is 7 - Birthday Bowling Bash

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June in Lola's Notes

We're getting ready to fly to Savannah in a few hours.  As always, the end of the year has been crazy.  Here's our June through Lola's notes from her daycare.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Fun Videos

It's that time of year, full of events, meetings, writing comments and trying to get outside because it's beautiful!

We are counting down (4 weeks!) until we fly to SAV.

Here are two videos.

The first one of Lola singing her Onigiri (Japanese rice ball and her favorite lunch) Song.

The second one is the 7 inning stretch at a Hanshin Tigers Baseball game!  So much fun.  Lola was a bit sad about not getting her balloon back, though.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Living in Japan: The Sun

This weekend it seems like we jumped through Spring and started Summer in Kobe.

 The sky is bright blue, the sun is out and it's about 20C (about 70 degrees F).

Yesterday, I went out for my run on the Greenbelt, happy that I didn't have to put on a ton of layers and wanting a little color on my pasty skin.  I put on a tanktop and no sunscreen, knowing I was just going out for a 30 minute run.

I've lived here long enough and have become a bit more modest in my dress, especially in my workout clothes (maybe it's me getting older too), but I was, by far, the most under-dressed person on the Greenbelt (a 5K loop around the residential area of our island).

Yesterday was probably the start for most Japanese people to get out the sun protection gear - enlarged visors, UV sleeves and umbrellas.

While I was soaking up the warmth of the sun (and hopefully a bit of color), everyone else I ran past was totally covered up.

Now, if you've been to Japan, you'll realize that this protection from the sun bodes well for Japanese people.  I have seen octogenarians without a wrinkle on their face.  Frequently, I cannot guess the age of friends, because, well, they just look so young and healthy.

I wish I could have taken photos to really show the contrast between me in my flesh-flashing outfit (which really was just exposing my face and arms) compared to my walking and running compadres on the Greenbelt.  Unfortunately, I couldn't capture this as it would have been disrespectful to take photos of others walking/running by...

I've included some images of the lengths taken to make sure skin is protected in Japan (and these are very common accessories that are frequently seen from now until November).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Kids

Another lazy post... but we're trying to take more videos of the kids because we don't want to forget these little voices and these cute little personalities.

John and Maximo went skiing yesterday:

A little bit of Lola:

An (LONG) interview with Max:

And the beginnings of our SPRING Photo Album:

Spring 2014

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Where are you from?

Maximo is learning about Journeys for his Unit of Inquiry at school.  It has been great, because we have been able to participate in this unit quite a bit.  John went into Maximo's class last week to share with the class his journey to Aomori on the 8th grade ski trip.  They've had a lot of guest speakers who have shared their journeys with them, and they also had a travel agent come in as well.

Next week, they have their final "assessment"/action for the unit.  All the students will be travel agents and I get to be a prospective client.  Where do you think I want to go?  Definitely somewhere warm.

This unit has also opened a lot of discussions lately at our dinner table about journeys and why people take them and we've talked about different places around the world.

Today, Maximo started to scratch off places he's been on the map that Nana sent him.

After scratching off countries he's been to, he said, "Mom, I've been to eight places."

"Eight Countries."

"Yeah, eight countries.  I want to go to all the countries in the world.  I want to go to Antarctica and play with penguins and ski EVERYDAY."

"That sounds like fun, Maximo.  We'll go to a lot of countries together."

"Mom, where's Korea?"

"It's right there, Maximo."

"Yoonseo is from Korea."

"That's cool, Maximo."

"Maximo, where are you from?"



"Yes, you were born there, but you aren't Peruvian."

"Are you Japanese?"

"Yes, a little bit."

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Dregs of Winter

It's cold.  We are inundated with work.
Sorry we haven't posted since the first of the year, but I think another (real) post will have to wait a bit longer.

So for now, enjoy snippets of the Little Lemleys.  Lola's getting big so fast, and we haven't been as good at documenting what's going on in her world and Maximo is doing well and becoming more and more independent every day.

We're also regularly posting on Instagram, so can checkout those pictures, too.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy 2014

Hakuba, Japan - In Review

We went to Hakuba (which is part of Nagano Prefecture where Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice) for about a week over break.  While I wasn't begging to go skiing for our winter holiday, the moment the kids stepped into the snow, I knew John had made the right decision.

Growing up in Connecticut, I had always been around snow.  Not big beautiful, mountainous, there-is-snow-on the ground for five months kind of snow, but still, I definitely had many experiences in the snow as a kid.

Maximo in lessons using his "idgy widgy" or "pizza maker"

Lola catching snow on her tongue
We find that beach vacations are really easy with the kids, they love to swim and play all day and all four of us are content.  But, with only a tiny annoyance of having to pull a newly potty trained kid out of all of her ski gear, this ski trip maybe was just as easy.

"This is going to be the best day ever"
We stayed at Alpine Ski Chalet which was great for our family.  We always appreciate a place that we can make simple breakfast and/or snacks and a place that the kids can go to sleep and we are not stuck in the dark at 8 pm.  The owner, Kevin, really helped us out in planning for our trip and recommended that we ski at Iimori and take lessons at Hakuba Snow Sports School.  They had MANY English instructors which was great for us.

Maximo took three mornings of lessons and was skiing semi-independently by the end of the three days, John's skiing level improved greatly over the three days.  After the first day of lessons (and my third time skiing), I decided to not put Lola into daycare again and hang out with her and sled and play in the snow.  I really don't love skiing.  It does not come naturally to me and as an (has -been) athlete, it is frustrating.  I don't love the sensation of going down the hill, although it is beautiful.  So, I'll try again some other time when Lola is older and in her own lessons.

Hakuba, to a foreigner living in Japan, is kind of Bizarroland.  There are SO MANY foreigners, especially Australians.  There are many direct flights from Australia straight to Hakuba and it's definitely a destination vacation.  There were many times we didn't even feel like we were in Japan.  There was English everywhere, even taxi drivers spoke good English, everyone around us could actually understand everything we were saying and I only saw chopsticks at one of the restaurants we went to (or they just automatically offered us forks and knives).
Dinner with the Welbes Family every night.
That being said, it was a great family holiday.  John may even convince me to go on another ski holiday while we are living in Japan.  He is taking my place on the middle school ski trip in a few weeks, and I know he's excited about being able to go skiing again soon.