Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Yochien Time

My babies are officially gone for a good part of the day.  Calista and Beatrix started Yochien which is Japanese preschool/kindergarten.  The bus picks them up right in front of our house at 8:10 and drops them back off around 2:30 five days a week.  It is so weird being in the house alone.  I can't not even think of a time I've been home alone since Tucker was born!  It is so crazy.  I miss the kids a lot.  All of them actually, not just these two.
They are super cute in their uniforms though.

They have tons of stuff they need to bring to school.  I'll take a picture of what is in the bags someday.  But it is mostly their gym clothes, back up clothes, indoor shoes and a ton of lunch supplies including a water bottle, dishes, a placemat and two hand towels.
These are their winter uniforms, in July they start wearing their summer ones.  They are almost exactly the same but short sleeved and the skirt has a faux button on the front.  Oh, and the hat is different.  
The uniforms cost about $470 per child!!!! Not to mention the $100 in supplies we had to buy.  Luckily the school got the idea I did not want to pay that much and found some preowned uniforms I could buy from them for $70 per child.
This next picture is of them in their gym clothes, they have a short sleeve version of these as well.  They have been wearing these to school everyday this week.  But I think later they go in their fancy uniform and then change into the gym clothes at school.  I actually have no idea.  I sent them in their fancy uniform the first day and then saw the bus pull up and all the kids had their gym uniforms on.  So not only do my girls get to go to a school that is %100 in a language they do not understand they have a mother who doesn't understand either and keeps doing things wrong.  I get so many papers and flyers all completely in Japanese it is really hard to figure everything out.  Then on the first day the bus came early so I wasn't waiting at the road and their teacher had to walk them all the way to our door.
They have gone a couple days already and seem to really love it.  They both were happy to go and came home happy.  They say they really like it.  Today and yesterday morning though before getting dressed Beatrix keeps saying she doesn't want to go.  She has some Easter eggs that she wants to play with instead of getting ready for school.  I think she likes school but she doesn't love her reduced play time at home, especially in the mornings.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Leon's 9th Birthday

We had a fun low key birthday for Leon.  We actually celebrated over a week early because Bob was going to be out of town for the big day.  So it was pretty much a regular day when Leon went to school.  Then after Bob got home from work we ate pizza for dinner, Leon's choice, opened presents, and ate cake and ice cream.  He wasn't asking for a friends birthday party so I didn't bring it up.

Leon planned out this cake design and I made it.  I forgot who the guys is supposed to be, I think someone from mincraft.  And then he wanted kitkats on top just so he could eat kitkats.  It was hard for him to plan because he doesn't have anything he is really that into.  No shows or sports or anything specific.  He is pretty easygoing and is usually happy to do whatever. 
Happy Birthday Leon!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Beatrix Third Birthday

Back in February Beatrix had her 3rd birthday!  It was literally two days before we moved into our new how so we were a little bit busy.  Luckily she was easy to please.  We wrapped up some presents and bought a cake from Baskin Robins and she was thrilled!
Beatrix might be the quietest of all my children.  She also likes to sit on my lap and cuddle.  She does not like it when anyone else sits on my lap and she usually isn't up for sharing.  She is so sweet she often tells me that she loves me and she likes to hold my hand.  
Beatrix plays pretty well with her older siblings.  She loves babies and one of her favorite things to do is pretend to be "The Mom" and have Calista or me be the baby.  Anytime she sees a miniature version of something or two of the same items next to each other where one is small and one is large she always calls the small item a baby.  
Her favorite show is Vamparina, but she also likes My Little Pony.  She doesn't like napping, although I still make her, and she is pretty much potty trained.  She will have an accident here or there but she is about 90% good on that end.

We all love her so much and are happy she is part of our family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Sasebo House

We moved into our house over a month ago now and I've been meaning to edit this video to share what our house it like.  I haven't really had time so I'm just uploading it as is.  This is me walking through the house just before/as the movers arrive to bring our stuff in.  Later I'll try to update with our things inside because it is pretty bare.  This is a pretty good look at a traditional Japanese house.  It is very large for Japanese standards at 2500 square feet.  It is the biggest house I've seen in the 4 1/2 years we've been in Japan.  This house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It is also very custom.  This house is not cookie cutter.  I think whomever built it in 1995 had some serious money to spend.  Of course now it is pretty dated and not modern at all, but I would guess that at the time it was built it was pretty fancy.

While this house did not have many of the things we were looking for we decided to go with it because our options were very very limited.  We were able to took at everything that was available at the time and also that had become available over the past three months and this was the best.  It is big enough for our family and close enough to base that Tucker and Bob can ride their bikes.  It was frustrating because the house cost less than half of our budget but the base housing people refuse to list anything more expensive.  The main cons for the house is that it is not in a neighborhood and there are no Americans around.  It feels very isolating.  The bus stop is also a mile away and the house is at the top of a small windy Japanese hill that only has a sidewalk partway, making a dangerous walk home for the kids.  

I'm sure with time I'll grow to like the house more, but for now it is fulfilling all of our needs and I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hotel Life

It was about a month before we moved out of the Navy Lodge here in Sasebo.  I have a few pictures to share from our time there.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

New Branch

Whenever we move the local ward, or in this case branch, is a big deal.  We spend a lot of time doing things with people from church and so I always hope we can have a good experience with the church people in the area.  So far we have been lucky and have loved all of our wards.  Our building in Yokosuka wasn't great, so I was extra excited when I heard Sasebo has an actual church building.  I had pictured in my mind the type of building we have in America, so I was a little disappointed when I saw the actual building.

While it is a definite step up from what Yokosuka has, it isn't on the same level as the churches in America.  It is small and cold, and the parking is so so.  
I heard the branch was small but I've never been in a branch before and wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I took a picture of everyone before church started on Sunday.  We were in the back so everyone that was there is in the picture.  They said some families were watching on zoom, so maybe in the future it will be more full.  But we have been twice now and both weeks had a similar number of people.
I guess my dream of sitting all together with the eight of us in one row is just a pipe dream.
Beatrix started taking pictures of my phone while I was talking to people.   I also took a picture of the parking lot.  While there is some parking we have to park ferry style to fit.  It is 100x better then no parking at all, which is what we had before, so I shouldn't complain.
While the building was not what I expected the members seem really great.  People have been very welcoming and friendly.  While we don't really know people yet I think it will work out well and we will enjoy being part of the branch here.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Tokyo Kyusyu Ferry

We moved from Yokosuka to Sasebo by boat.  We packed up our car with what we had left (less than one carryon per person, suitcases did not fit in the car with all of us and our computer and backpacks) and drove it onto a ferry that left right in Yokosuka.
The ferry was 21 hours long and we got off about 2 /1/2 hours from the base in Sasebo.  With the boarding and everything the trip took about 26 hours.  

The ferry was nice though.  It was like a mini cruise ship.
We got two rooms.
There was an onsen.
The onsen was really fun.  The outside portion was freezing cold in the open air and hot in the water, which I liked.  But it was too hot/cold for some of the girls.  But the view was amazing.  Just ocean and sky for as far as I could see.
About half the kids felt a little motion sickness.  Bob and I felt totally fine though.  The ship was definitely rocking.
There was a restaurant that we ate our meals at.

Bob ordered the pizza.  Those white things have eyes.  It was kind of funny because Tucker and I knew what it was from the picture but Bob thought it was going to be cheese on top.

They even had a theater room.  We watched Sing 2 with Japanese subtitles.  They were nice and put it in English for us.  We were only about half the people in the room.
The ship was not full at all.  Maybe half capacity?  And out of the people on the ship it was mostly older Japanese people.  No one seemed like they knew English at all.  Except for the one baby I saw during boarding I think our kids were the only ones on the ship.

There was a small exercise room.
There was even a small elevator inside to go between the three floors.  The whole thing was really nice.  But it took a very long time.  The time on the ship went by quickly, but we couldn't board until 11 P.M. and then we got off around 10 P.M. the next night.  So it was close to one A.M. when we made it to our hotel in Sasebo.

The trip was semi-fun.  I'm not convinced it was better than driving but I think many people would like it better.  And I'm happy I got the experience.  We could have made the drive in 15.5 hours without stops and left in the morning and arrived the same night.