Thursday, August 18, 2022

Yochein

After much thought we decided to take Calista out of her Japanese school and enroll her into kindergarten on base.  When we originally signed her up for Japanese school we considered keeping her in another year and then enrolling her in 1st grade on base.  We decided to switch now instead.  She isn't really getting an education at the yochein and I'm not concerned about her missing out on kindergarten because I know I can teach her the letters and numbers at home.  The problem is she needs to go to speech therapy and that is definitely not something the Japanese school is going to teach her.  She also wants to switch schools.  While she likes her teacher and her class and the other kids.  She really has no idea what is going on all day.  She just sits there not understanding what is going on until someone helps her.  I couldn't imagine what that would be like every day all day.  She also doesn't like the school lunch.  The school makes them lunch four days a week and they make her eat it.  She doesn't like it and they sit there and try to make her eat it, to the point of daily tears.  I've talked to other parents and it is pretty normal practice for Japanese kids.  They have to eat their lunch at school and if they try not to the teachers will make them.  Beatrix likes the school lunches and doesn't have any problems with it.  Beatrix will continue to go the the Japanese school.

Below are a couple of pictures and videos of the girls with their classes.







Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Dragon's Head

Friends showed us a beautiful waterfall about an hour from our house where we can swim and play.
Bob had to work the first time we went and the water was deeper than I expected so I almost had a mini heart attack keeping track of Calista and Beatrix.  Lots of the area was only ankle deep, but it did just drop off super deep so I was stressed the whole time.
This place actually has two water falls.  and the second one has a rope swing right next to it.
It was scary but after watching several people do it I gave it a try.  The water was freezing, but the rope swing was so fun.

Tucker really wanted to go on the rope swing.  I think he normally would have been really scared but he is so social that after his friends were all doing it he really wanted to (not sure that is a good thing).  He barely hesitated even though he has never jumped off anything like this into the water before.
We went out for lunch afterwards.
The next time we went I was sure to bring life jackets.  In fact I went to the store the night before and bought four just for this occasion.  It was so worth it.  Way less stressful.  Even some of my bigger kids wanted to wear them.  They prefer to float around instead of the effort of having to swim.
We got completely soaked walking through the woods to the waterfall.  It was raining so hard and there was lightning and thunder.  Beatrix was crying and our clothes socks and shoes were soaked through.  It started raining about a minute after we left the car.  I wouldn't have even gotten out of the car if it started raining a minute earlier.  I honestly would have turned back but Tucker was so far ahead that he never would have heard me shouting for him to come back.  I decided we needed to walk all the way to the waterfall so I could meet up with him and then we could go back.  But once we got there we all decided to wait and see if the rain stopped.  After about 20 minutes we were good to go.  
We had a good time.  And this time we not only did the rope swing but jumped off an even higher rock.  Penelope and Leon were even convinced to do the rope swing.  Check out the videos.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Summer Fun

This summer went by way too quickly.  I'll start this post with a picture of the kids on their last day of school.  Calista and Beatrix actually went for about another month, but it was the older four's last day.
With Bob, Tucker, and I working we didn't go on any trips.  The kids had lots of time to be at home and use their imaginations and just play.  I did have a list of things they had to do each day, 1hr outside, 1hr reading, 15 minutes, math facts, and 15 minutes typing.  If they finished what they needed to do and the house was clean then they could each choose one show to watch.  
I was feeling guilty for working while the kids were home.  This is my first summer working during the days but it was totally fine.  During June I worked 9-5 so I was home in the mornings with them.  Then July and August I went to part time when I usually worked 11-3 or 4.  The kids didn't seem to mind at all that I was gone.  In the mornings I would try to hang out with them before work and often they just wanted to read and not really interested in playing with me.  
Everyone likes out cat Mochi, even Tucker who claims he doesn't.  I see him petting and holding Mochi all the time.  He is the only one of the kids brave enough to pick him up.  Mochi has never hurt anyone but I couple times he has swiped at people who were getting in his face or picking him up from his belly.  One time he bit Scarlett but he didn't break skin.  He is really a good cat and loves people.  Just don't get his belly and you will be fine.  But he has the kids scared to pick him up.

While Tucker was gone at camp Leon was determined to keep his room spotless in order to prove that it is Tucker's fault the room is always messy.  I will say that Leon kept the room really clean that week.
Scarlett got a couple of blueberries on her plant.  She is hoping to get more next year.
The kids practiced their baking skills and made several desserts.  Penelope even copied down about 30 recipes and made her own recipe book.  Below is a meringue with whipped cream and kiwi on top.  It was really good.

One day we saw a crab on our front steps.  He was about three inches wide.  I stepped right over him without noticing, but Scarlett screamed when she saw him.
This next picture is of our gardener.  The come periodically to tend to our trees.  This time they brought a big truck that lifted them up to get the top of the tree.  The girl in the photo has on a jacket with fans on it.  I see Japanese people wearing these all the time during the summer here.  
We made it to paint night.
All the kids had their check ups and we even got caught up on shots and dentist appointments.

We played lots of games.
We went to a Harry Potter party at the USO.

Leon scored some watermelon.
And of course we have been going to church.
I feel like that was a pretty good sum up of our summer.  I have some more specific things I'll post about in coming days.  But just as summer is coming to a close I feel like we were getting into a pretty good routine.  While I am not looking forward to the kids being in school I am looking forward to cooler weather.  Too bad I'll have to wait until at least October for that.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Soccer Season

Tucker is not the only one who plays soccer around here.  Penelope, Scarlett, and Leon all had a great soccer season.  At first they tried to bump Penelope up into an older age bracket.  I had to call and hunt them down to get a hold of them to tell them that she would not be playing in the 13-14 age bracket.  Not only were we all very excited that their ages lined up that she and Scarlett could finally be on the same team but she is definitely not the tallest 12 year old.  Many of the other kids on the 10-12 age bracket were taller than her.  Once I talked to them they agreed to put her back on the 10-12 team.  
I was really happy with the girls coach and Leon's coach this year.  Both of their coaches were really involved and taught them soccer.  Neither coach yelled at the kids and they played the kids all evenly.  They were everything I wanted in a soccer coach.  
I like soccer season.  I like taking the kids to practices and games.  It keeps us busy and outside, which is great.  The girls last game was a double header against the same team.  They play the full field so there is a ton of running.  It was also hot outside.  No one was looking forward to playing the same exact team again after they just finished.  I was honestly surprised they even went through with it.  I'm glad they did though.  Both girls scored their first goals during that game.  It was exciting!
I didn't really take very many pictures this year.  But at least I got a couple.  Leon scored several times throughout the season, he even had a few headers which are always fun.  None of my kids are really soccer stars.  But we have a good time, and there is so much good that comes from playing sports.  The learn about working hard, winning and loosing, and being outside.  


Sunday, August 14, 2022

35th Birthday

I'm 35 years old!  Wahoo!  One year older and one year bolder.  
I definitely have had a lot of personal growth these past couple of years.  I've explored a lot about being myself and who I really want to be verses societal expectations.  I've been questioning many of my own decisions and wonder if I'm making them because I truly want to and think it is best or am I doing it because it is what is expected of me.  I think it is good to periodically take a look at your life and see how things are aligning with your values.  One of those things is bleaching my hair.  Not that I'm expected to do it, but I'm getting a little tired of it.  So I thought I would go bold for a couple months before I go to my natural color.
My birthday was fun.  It was Saturday so I got to sleep in.  Then I went on a jog in some extremely hot and humid weather.  It then started down-pouring.  It so rarely ever rains on my birthday, so that was a change.  That afternoon it cleared up and we met some friends and played kickball and then ate dinner at the food court on base.  It was honestly too hot to play but they were so sweet to come out and try anyway.  We had a good time.
After that we headed home and I opened presents and had cake with the kids.  The stop motion video from Penelope and Tucker was my favorite.  Leon also make me one that was really cute but he doesn't want me to post it.  I attached Penelope's video below.  Tucker did the ending part, he got a bit off track and I'm not sure where Spiderman comes into play but I love the effort they made.  Scarlett painted a picture for me.  I really do love their homemade gifts.

That night we watched Nacho Libre and I almost died laughing.  That movie is hilarious!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

16th Anniversary

Bob and I celebrated our 16th anniversary this year!!  We both worked so we met up after work and went out to eat.  (If you only follow the blog you might be thinking what?  You work? And you have pink hair? I know I promise I will make more summer updates soon, but I want to get this down while it is still fresh in my mind).
We went to a local sushi place where they have a fish tank right in the restaurant with fish so you know it is fresh.  I originally thought they were going to fish it out right in front of us but they didn't.  
Neither of us are huge sushi fans.  But when you live in Japan eating raw fish is just kind of part of life sometimes.
After we ate we walked around the area and did some shopping.  I love to check out the plants.
We did not buy this bear, but for reference it was about 3 feet tall.
Then Bob took me to Seattle!!!  
Just kidding, I wish.  But we saw one of the walls had a Pikes Place market picture on it and so I had to pose and pretend.  After shopping we headed home and gave each other presents.  Mostly just random things we both wanted on our Amazon wish lists.  Bob got me books my friend wrote and I got him a coat rack for his office.
I kind of wanted to take a nice picture together, but it didn't really happen.  Maybe after I touch up my roots, haha.