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January 31, 2015

Wrapping up January 2015

Life, Reflections

Can you believe that the first month of 2015 is coming to an end already?

This will feel like such a boring post for most people to read but I just want to document what our life is like right now. It may seem boring and uneventful now but years down the road when our memories are beginning to fail us, I’d like to look back and read posts like these and remember what our lives were like…

This month has been a busy month as we returned from the US and had to reacclimate to life in Tokyo again. We were gone for almost a whole month and it feels weird (but good) to be back in our own space again. As much as I love going back to California to see family, I just don’t feel like I am truly home since we don’t have a place of our own in LA.

School for E has been busy as usual. It’s much colder now than when we left in early December and the cold is making it hard for her to wake up and go to school. She’s made a new friend and it’s great since both girls share the same age and birthdates. It’s too bad that E will be leaving her current school in a few months since she really likes the new student.

She also went on a school field trip (with a little encouragement from her new friend). There’s a post in the works about that coming soon.

E is starting to realize how little time she has left at her school now and has cried a few times while telling me how much she really doesn’t want to start at a new school and make new friends. My heart breaks for her but at the same time, it’s an inevitable change. Her current school only goes up to kindergarten and after that, the kids all go to elementary schools in their neighborhood or other international schools. She does have a few friends attending the same elementary but the thought of having to start from scratch in a new environment scares her. I don’t blame her since I’m a little worried myself since I also have to make new mom friends. It’s intimidating for the both of us to go from an all English environment into a mostly Japanese one.

We’ll see how things go when we attend the parents info session next month…

These days, K is a crazy little monkey. She knows a lot of words but doesn’t make any sentences. She babbles and yet we understand her. She is expressive, fearless, and full of crazy ideas. It’s fun watching her grow up and tiring at the same time because you can never tell what she’s thinking until she takes action.

She still goes to daycare 2-3 days a week. I think the introduction of 2 new foreign teachers and a few new students helped her become a more social child.

She’s still nursing a few times a day but mostly for comfort since she eats well most of the time. I’ve been trying to night wean her since I haven’t had a good nights rest in a long time but it’s a long battle with her. I’m sure I’ll miss nursing her when it’s truly over.

Jason and I are pretty much the same as always. I think after a certain age, life gets pretty monotonous for a while but for us, that’s fine. We don’t need unnecessary drama in our lives and we like having an easy-going life.

This month, we’ve had a variety of other events that I may or may not post (all depends on time). There was a mochitsuki (mochi pounding) event at E’s school. I had a girl’s night out weekend; one with some of the other moms I met through facebook and one with moms I’ve become friends with through E’s school. We also had a house guest who was technically a stranger (friend of a friend) and it’s been great having her here with us. There was also a playdate at our house on a no-school day. It may or may not have been a bit too crazy (like all the other playdates) but the kids and the parents had fun.

So yea, our January has been a busy and cold one…

January 26, 2015

Embrace

Life, Reflections

embrace
[em-breys]

verb (used with object), embraced, embracing.
1.to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
2.to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly
3.to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.
4.to take in with the eye or the mind.

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This year, I had contemplated on skipping resolutions, goals and the whole one-little-word thing. It’s been a hard few months on me with everything that had gone on with my grandmother and her death. To be honest, I was feeling a mixture of sadness, guilt and regret for not being there for her when she most needed her family around and it was eating me to the point where I was depressed without even realizing it.

I wasn’t in a good place and therefore didn’t really care about accomplishing anything other than what is necessary for our day-to-day life. I was ready to say that my word for the year was “defeat”, “rest”, or even “whatever” because my heart just wasn’t into anything this year.

I’ve spent this month just contemplating things and on occasion, reading blog posts in my rss feed. At some point, something clicked in me. I think it was a few posts that spoke to me and made me realize that even though I am not feeling my best right now, that there’s a lot I would miss out if I stay in that funky place I was in.

A part of me also feels like maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I push myself too much and I’m feeling a little tired because of it. I try to carry too many burdens on my shoulder and never ask for help from others because I don’t want to burden them.

This all brings me to the word that spoke to me when I was reading other people’s thoughts and words. Embrace. This year, rather than let myself be defeated by my own inner demons, I’m going to embrace life. All the little imperfections, all the changes, all the fears. The good stuff and the bad stuff. I don’t really know what to do with my word or even where it will lead me but I do know that I’m don’t want to wallow in self-pity and depression.

If there is anything that I learned from my grandmother’s death, it’s that she didn’t let her brain cancer keep her from living her life to the fullest.

December 31, 2014

Wrapping up 2014

Family, Life, Reflections, Updates

This year has been quite the roller coaster year. I definitely didn’t see the year coming to an end on the down side though. Here’s a quick recap of how our year went…

January started off with a lot of festivities with friends from E’s school. We enjoyed a Japanese New Years dinner followed by a Epiphany celebration a few days later.

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Then we had snow. Lots and lots of it.

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Oh, and K starts walking!

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In February, we celebrated Chinese New Years with friends. We also celebrated K’s 1st birthday and squeezed in a trip to Tokyo Disney before E turned 5 in early March.

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There was a sports day event followed by a school birthday party where E got a pretty cool My Little Pony cake. We also took part in the science fair at E’s school and then spring break happened.

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My in-laws visited us in April and we got to see cherry blossoms with them. Then K started going to daycare part time so that I could get things done at home. Putting her in daycare was a good idea since we found a new apartment in a different school district and I had to clean and get rid of things before the move.

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I also organized a very big get together with other moms from a facebook group I am a part of. It was pretty epic and something I don’t know if I can pull off again on my own.

June was a big month since it was E’s Kindergarten graduation. Lots of proud moments there. Jason and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary and we tried to make the most of the apartment we lived in before moving to our new place in July.

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July was busy since it was the month of unpacking. E was also home for the summer and we found ourselves getting an annual pass to Legoland and playing at the splash pools nearby.

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I sent E to summer school in August for a little just so I can have some peace and quiet. The summer ended with us being able to invite friends over to our new place for a play date for the first time ever. I love playing hostess :)

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September meant the start of E’s last year of kindy before she starts Japanese elementary in April. We also had to say goodbye to out dear friends who moved to Hong Kong.

Then everything came crashing down at the end of September when I found out that my grandmother was hospitalized and later sent to a nursing home where she went through elderly abuse. A week after she moved to a better nursing home, she went into a comatose state where my family discovered she has had a growing brain tumor on her skull that she hid from the family for the past 3 years. It was because of the swelling caused by the tumor that led to her comatose state.

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I flew back immediately with K to be with my family for most of October. It was heartbreaking to see my grandmother but I got to spend time with her even though she never regained full consciousness again. At least I know she knew I was home because she moaned and cried when she heard me.

The live-in housekeeper that has been with Jason’s family for over a decade also had a sudden decline in health and passed away in October. I was able to attend her funeral while I was home.

Jason and E also made it back to LA to see my grandmother for a week and we flew back to Tokyo together.

We were able to come home and go to E’s school’s Halloween parade and even had a big play date at our home with a bunch of her friends and their parents.

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November was a bit calmer and we were able to host a nice Thanksgiving dinner for our group of friends from E’s school. We also had another farewell party for another family we knew who left for Germany at the end of December.

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December started off with our last Winter Carnival at E’s school (I’ll post up videos later). Then suddenly on the 9th, my grandmother passed away and we found ourselves coming back to LA a few days earlier than planned.

December has been filled with funeral related things since my grandmother’s funeral happened 3 days before Christmas. We’ve been spending time with both sides of our families for the past 2 weeks since then.

And all throughout this year, I’ve had wonderful mama’s night outs with a group of wonderful ladies I’ve had the privilege of knowing and Jason has gone out with several dads a few times too. There were also plenty of play dates at our friends home before they moved too.

So there you have it. My year in a nutshell. I never would have imagined that this December would be so depressing…. I’m truly hoping for a good 2015 for my family after all that we’ve been through the past few months….

I hope everyone has a safe new year!

December 8, 2014

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Family, Life

It’s been several years since Jason and I really celebrated Thanksgiving, even longer since the last time we celebrated with more than just 4 people. It always felt a little sad celebrating it in Tokyo without our entire family since I’ve always celebrated Thanksgiving with a big and loud family get-together and more food than we could eat.

This year, since we’ve moved to a bigger place where we can actually invite guests over, we decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner party at our home and invite a few of the families we’ve come to know really well from E’s school.

And I have to say, it was insane and pretty epic in my book.

When our friends, Sarah-Jane and Frank, still lived in Tokyo, they use to host really nice parties and invited a lot of friends over. It was really great especially for the parents since we all got to talk and get to know one another better than the usual greetings and small talks when we pick up our kids after school. I always enjoyed and appreciated those get-togethers. When we moved to our current home, I wanted to be able to do something similar, especially since our friends moved to another country and most Japanese homes do not have the space to host large gatherings like the one we’re accustomed to at Sarah-Jane’s place.

We held one playdate on a weekend so that dads and our working mom friends could also join. It was madness with the kids running amuck but they had fun and so did all the parents.

That was when Jason and I decided that maybe we should host Thanksgiving dinner and invite everyone over again. Thanksgiving is pretty much just an American holiday and many of our friends have never experienced it before or ever eaten turkey. Once we found a restaurant that sold cooked turkey, we sent out our invitation and pretty much everyone accepted.

That’s when we realized that maybe we were in over our head.

Our home technically isn’t very large. It just looks and feels large because of the layout of the apartment. There are no hallways and the kids room open up into the living room via sliding doors. We have one of those Ikea dining tables that extends but even then, we did not have the number of chairs and tables for everyone to sit down and have a nice dinner.

There was also the thing about cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We had never cooked a real traditional Thanksgiving dinner before since my family always did an international potluck and Jason’s dad cooks everything in their house. So it would be our very first time cooking Thanksgiving for a group of people who were trying Thanksgiving for the first time.

So you can imagine how much planning and stressing I was doing to make sure that this dinner came out well.

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We were lucky since our dinner was held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we had a test run for the dishes on the actual day of Thanksgiving with my boss from my old job. So based on our experience on Thursday, we were able to fine tune things so that everything went smoothly on Saturday.

And I have to say that the results were much better than I had imagined.

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It was definitely a full house that night. We had 15 adults, 10 kids, and 3 toddlers over for dinner.

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It was loud and so much talking and the kids were running amuck everywhere.

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But it was also a lot of fun.

It was the first time in a long time that we’ve had so many people over to celebrate Thanksgiving and it really felt like what Thanksgiving should be, a time to be with people you are thankful to have in your life.

I am truly thankful for the friends I’ve made in Japan. Even though it gets lonely without my family here, I am glad that I have friends who I can talk to and hang out with because it makes living in a foreign country a little easier.

I do have to admit, though, that as much as I enjoyed our “friends”-giving this year, a part of me really misses the Thanksgiving dinners my family use to have. With my grandmother in her current condition, I don’t think I’ll get to celebrate Thanksgiving the same way again.

August 31, 2014

August : Currently

Life, Updates

enjoying a much deserved coffee break (even at 10pm).
watching a really weird tv show with Jason about a real live unsolved crime in Japan.
listening to my kids fighting when they should be going to bed.
making a blog post!
feeling very tired after a very long summer with the kids home from school.
planning on all the projects I can work on now that the school year starts from tomorrow on.
loving the day we had today when we invited a few of our good friends over for a playdate/lunch. It’s always a lot of fun to be with people who are easy to talk to.
going to go crazy if I hear “mommy” one more time before tomorrow.
becoming sleepy.
celebrating back-to-school finally! We’re also happy that our friends have finally found out where they will be moving to! Hong Kong is just a hop, skip and a jump away! Congratulations, you guys!
eating leftovers from lunch. I love pasta salad.
wearing pajamas. I might have to do another clothing purge but I am also running out of clothes to purge.
collecting hexagons. It’s for a planned hexagon quilt I may or may not work on.
working on a friend’s website re-design even though it’s been a while since I’ve done website stuff.
trying to ignore all the screaming and fighting going on in the girls’ room.
wishing our friends didn’t have to leave Tokyo. As the days get shorter before their departure, it’s starting to really sink in how much they will be missed, not just by us but also by many of their other friends. You guys are the best! Hong Kong is lucky to have you there.

July 31, 2014

July : currently

Life

Currently,

enjoying all the space we have in our new apartment. Seriously, it feels a lot more comfortable having space for the kids to run around and still have room for all our stuff.
watching regular Japanese tv. We seem to be having trouble getting our cable set up so I’ve been watching Japanese tv a lot. It’s been interesting since I seem to understand bits and pieces of the news and the shows I watch.
reading Octonaut stories. E is really into Octonauts right now and I bought a few story books to read to the kids. Of course, I seem to fall asleep before actually getting to the reading part but at least they are there for them to look at.
listening to K jibber jabber in her own language. She doesn’t really talk but she’s pretty good at nodding and shaking her head when we ask her questions. At least we’re communicating and figuring out what she wants most of the time.
making some progress with the unpacking. Unpacking is all I ever really do these days when I’m not with the kids.
feeling so hot. It’s the Japanese summer weather. It’s hot and humid and overall unpleasant to be outside during the day.
planning what to make for dinner. Luckily, the kids are more willing to eat what I cook…most of the time.
loving our dining table. It’s my favorite piece of furniture right now especially when we all sit down to eat together.
going to splash pools. The pools here don’t allow babies in diapers so our only relief are the splash pools around Tokyo.
becoming use to the new rhythms and schedules of our family life.
eating lots of ice cream and drinking lots of water and coffee.
wearing shorts! I finally gave in and began wearing shorts again. I always feel a little nervous about it since I don’t want to be bitten all over by mosquitoes but it’s been really hot and unbearable lately.
collecting Legoland badges. E’s idea, not mine.
trying to be patient as much as possible since I’m not use to having both kids home at the same time during the summer.
wishing it was cooler and less humid outside.