Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Scarlett's 9 Photos

Scarlett is nine years old now so we hopped outside on our back porch before some home church last Sunday for a few photos before she gets any bigger.
She is practically the same size as Penelope and growing fast.  I think her short hair makes her seem older and it suits her perfectly.  After last summer she did want to grow it out but that didn't last long.  She was begging me to cut it again.  She really doesn't like combing or even doing her hair and so this is much easier for her.  She also doesn't like it on her back when she is hot so this hair cut is great.  It accentuates her vibrant personality.
Scarlett seems to feel everything a little more deeply then the other kids.  What could seem like a small accidental bump to most she might take as a purposeful and painful shove.  I can't really say what she is feeling and what she is faking but she does seem to think things hurt more then everyone else.  On the flip side she the the happiest when something good happens to her.  
She is also very sensitive and does seem to struggle more then some kids.  School and traditional learning doesn't come easy for her.  She also is just a little slower when it comes to things like racing.  She doesn't enjoy games like tag or running around very much, I really don't know if she doesn't like it because she is slightly slower or if she is a little slower because she doesn't like it.  Honestly she is barely any slower, but just slow enough that it is really hard for her to tag someone when she is it.  I really hope that these things that are challenging for her now will help her to grow up to be stronger and have more character then she would other wise. 

She does have a strong personality and is not the type of person to just go along with whatever her friends or siblings are doing.  She has no problem sitting out because she doesn't want to do what the others are doing.
Scarlett is very caring.  If someone is upset she will try to please them.  She is the first one to help with a crying baby or toddler.  In fact she is amazing with them.  Scarlett told me one time that if she has a toy that Penelope really wants that Penelope will just ask her to have it over and over again and then she will say yes.  It was funny to me how she said it in some sort of resigned tone like she couldn't control it and just tell Penelope no.  The point is she cares about others feelings to the point of sometimes putting them before her own.
Scarlett is very motivated by prizes or food.  I mentioned earlier that she doesn't like schoolwork, well she has worked so hard to learn her multiplication facts because her teachers promised her ice cream.  She hated all the practice, but she kept talking about how she really wanted ice cream so she had to do it.  I'm not sure how she is going to get the ice cream now that everyone is home for the virus but her teachers can figure that one out.  Scarlett has mixed feelings about not being at school.  She misses her friends and her teachers but she also is happy to have more free time and not be rushed all the time.  She does not want to go to public school again next year.

I love Scarlett and am excited to see who she turns into as an adult.

Friday, May 22, 2020


We got take out at one of our favorite restaurants.  It is on the bottom floor of this building.  It honestly wasn't the same.  Good, but a little cold by the time we got home to eat it.  It was supposed to be our date night so we sat outside and ate but the kids kept coming and trying to talk to us and Beatrix needed to be out with us trying to sit on my lap and eat my food.  It will be nice when we can go out and actually go somewhere again.
 I spend a lot of time with Beatrix on the floor.  If I ever sit on the couch she wants me to hold her.  That lasts for about five seconds and then she starts crawling all over the edge of the couch.  It is terrifying because she has fallen off a few times before and has no regard for the edge.  If I sit on a chair and the table she will not stop trying to climb on the table and we have a similar situation.  So I've learned to just sit or lay on the floor.
 The kids all had fun with their mattresses on the ground for a few days.
 Calista's mood swings can be dramatic.
Literally five minutes later.  She was bawling because she wanted to do her "math."  She sees all her older siblings doing their schoolwork and math.  So one time when Bob was here he put her on the computer and gave her a pink font on a google doc and told her it was her math.  She happily hit the keys for a few minutes.  I couldn't produce the exact right font or color and she was pretty mad about the whole thing.
And this next one was not the same day.  But it was pretty cute.  She keeps posing with her baby and asking me to take pictures.
The kids have opened up shops for the family.  They do massage and also hair.  Bob and I pay them a penny a minute (to be shared between two people).
They love it and the massages are really hilarious.  Most of the kids are so soft you can barely feel them, but Leon pushes so hard.  It feels like some sort of painful CPR on my back.
I miss social interaction so much!  But I also really love staying home and not running/driving everyone around everywhere.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Neighborhood Fun

Bob's week off work coincided with beautiful weather so we got to have some fun in our neighborhood. 
I love our neighborhood and their parks.  We live like 5 or 6 depending which ones you are counting as in our neighborhood but all are close enough for the kids to walk to.  None of them have fancy toys, but they do have space to run around and to be imaginative.  They also have friends.  We don't have big yards to play in so all the kids go to the park and you see the same kids everyday and make friends that way.

This next one has been deemed unsafe.  I hope they build something new, but if not the kids still like to go to the park regardless of the toy set.
I just love how the kids get to run around and climb trees and no one bats and eye or looks at me weird for letting my children climb.
There was a new sign put up so I used my handy google translate on my phone to try to read it.  It can be fun to try to interpret google translate.  I can usually get the idea even though it isn't usually dead on for meaning.

 Tucker made a birthday cake for his friend Bryce and gave it to him outside.
 Tucker also has been mowing the neighbors lawn whiles she is away for the summer.
But that was last week.  This week it is cloudy and Bob is working.  I do let the older kids still play outside during the day but I don't get out as much because there is usually a baby that needs watching and a dinner that needs to be made.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Taura Ninja Park

The kids needed some more bamboo for building teepee and such in the backyard so we headed to one of our favorite parks.
 I have a picture like this of the kids just weeks after we arrived in Japan and wanted to recreate it.

This playground is a long line of obstacles that we like to race and time each other on.  I was pretty proud of myself for getting it done in 2 minutes and 19 seconds.  Not bad considering Bob got it in 2:20 and Tucker and 2:18 on their first try.  They were able to beat me on their second attempts.  Penelope was amazing and the the winner of both tries with a time of 1:52.
Leon and Scarlett participated as well and both beat my first time which was 3 minutes and 40 seconds.  Scarlett was pretty particular about making sure that no one knew her time.  I felt bad for her.  She thought she would be the slowest and was worried about people making fun of her.  She was telling me about how she wishes she was faster.  I tried to tell her that it really didn't matter who was the slowest but it is hard for kids to understand that. 

I love it when we have a chance to get outside.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Mother's Day

I feel really lucky to get to be the mom of six awesome children!  Mother's day is way more important to me then my birthday.  I didn't really do anything for my birthday, but I work hard every single day to me a mother.  I'm sure I'm getting better at it each year and I really do enjoy being a mom.  Definitely more than I thought I would.  

It is nice that the kids are now getting to be old enough to somewhat appreciate all the effort I put into being a parent.  They got me the couple of things I asked for this year.

The first thing I didn't really ask for but more of a tradition.  Breakfast in bed.

The first was a picture of all of the kids together with me.  I also requested the girls wear the matching dresses I made for them, and they boys wear blue ties.
I also asked for no presents.  I'm getting really into minimalism and don't really want any more stuff.  So I asked for something consumable like chocolate and they (with Bob) came through.
Being a mom can be challenging.  Some days the children cry and fight and throw tantrums, sometimes I just feel completely isolated from other adults.  I don't really want those reading this post to think I have an easy fun life.  Things can be hard and we have our days, but over all I am really happy with things.

My mom is really great.  Even though we live in different continents we get to talk regularly on the phone or through video chats.  She is an awesome grandma to the kids and we are lucky to have her.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Scarlett's Birthday

Scarlett is now nine years old!  We are pretty much in quarantine so even though it was her year and friends party wasn't an option.  She didn't seem to mind though and just said she will do her friends party next year instead.

Her door opens out so we had to decorate the hallway outside her door instead of putting the streamers right on her doorway like we usually do.
For breakfast she choose giant pancakes, lunch was macaroni and cheese, and dinner was a frozen dinner in a bag thing.  So easy!  

She still had to do her virtual school, but it was fun to watch the 40 kids in her class sing happy birthday to her over zoom.
 Once Bob got home from work she got to open presents.
 Bob and I got her an indoor trampoline.  She was pretty excited, and so were all the other kids.
 She requested a lemon cake and said it was the best tasting cake ever.
Happy Birthday Scarlett!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Taura Torii Gates

We found an awesome shrine in Taura that has a beautiful path leading up to it lined with over 50 Torii gates.  I think it is officially called Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine.  It is just a few minutes from our house and here is the link to the exact location.  For anyone who is interested in checking it out (or me later when I want to look up the directions again).  Just park in any nearby coin lot and follow the link until you see the white flags.  Follow the flags over a small bridge, then stay on the path.  When the path splits, go right.  
We took a short family hike up to the shrine and had a great day.  I was surprised at how really pretty the Torii gates were.

Surprisingly this is not a well known spot for the Americans that live on the base so close to it.  The only people we saw the whole time were a couple farmers working in a nearby field and two guys working at the top near the shrine.
One was an old man who seemed very happy we were there.  He had a log book for us to sign and showed us a website we could use to get English information.  He also had many pictures of the damage that was done to the Torii gates from the two big typhoons we had last summer (2019).  Several trees were down and blocking the path.  I'm not sure but I think he was there on his own accord.

Part of me is thinking this would be a great family photo location.  Or maybe for a senior graduating in Japan.  How cool would that be?  Too bad I didn't know about it when my nephew was here.