There are so many posts that I have started and never finished in the last two weeks. Also, I have been faithfully reading the blogs of my friends (Cara is back online!) but then I don't have time to leave a comment. I don't know what I'm doing that's keeping me so busy. The girls are doing so well. After that first week, I wasn't sure that we were going to make it but it seems like they made enough mistakes and then consequently learned enough lessons that they've managed to keep out of trouble.
Emi is being faithful to her summer homework program. She does a page of homework each day, waters her morning glory (which is blooming nicely), helping out around the house, being nice to her sisters and in general being a good big sister. This last Sunday, we had a Gospel Concert at our church. Our pastor's wife leads a gospel choir and every few months she arranges a concert/recital for them. She asked me about a month ago if Emi & Misaki would participate in one of the songs (This Little Light Of Mine) with some actions. This is usually the type of thing that Emi hates to do so I sighed inwardly and then began to scheme. Both my husband and I were in children's choirs directed by our mothers when we were young. My family would occasionally travel around to other churches and my siblings and I would sing. I won't go into a lot of detail but we were very adorable. Even though we alternately hated and enjoyed doing this, the experience has given us a confidence to get up and speak or sing in front of people without hesitation so we want our children to benefit from this as well.
Eventually I decided bribing would be the easier way to go. We don't bribe our kids for regular stuff like going to bed or eating dinner but I felt this was the right time to try. I sat Emi & Misaki down and told them about the opportunity and how it wouldn't be just the two of them up there because a few other girls were going to do it, too, and how much fun it would be but there came a point when I felt I was losing them so I said, "And I'll buy you a present". I held my breath as I waited for a response. Emi said, nonchalantly, "okay" and Misaki just nodded. Good enough for me! They practiced faithfully all month and then on Sunday they were total pros and smiled confidently as they did their actions while the choir sang behind them. I was bursting at the seams with pride.
As soon as they were off the stage and we were headed to the back, I felt a tug on the back of my shirt and as I turned around, I heard behind me, in a small whisper, "Where's our present". That girl is on the ball. The thing was, I hadn't actually bought it yet, so I told her I would get it for her soon. Every hour, she would appear beside me and ask if it was time for me to give her the present. I could see that she was beginning to wonder if I was going to keep up my end of the bargain. Fortunately, some friends of ours came over for dinner on Sunday night so she enjoyed that enough to leave me alone but on Monday morning, bright and early, I went to the mall and bought the DVD of High School Musical, their current favorite movie. I brought it home with some intrepidation because you never know what Emi is expecting and I really didn't want her to be disappointed. I needn't have worried, though, because as soon as she saw it, she put her hand up over her heart, as if to calm the wild beating, and gave me a big hug. Phew!
On Monday morning, they had a special event at Emi's school about the dropping of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and while she was gone, I realized that Misaki had a high fever, so she couldn't go to her swimming lessons. It had been a really long week so during the afternoon we all took a nap (except Emi who watched her new DVD) and everyone slept until 5:30pm which is way past the usual 4:00pm. We dragged ourselves out of bed and went downstairs only to find that Emi and Sakura had developed the same fever as well. I sat the three of them down on the couch and took turns taking their temperatures, administering Children's Tylenol and sticking those fever-reducing jelly sheets onto their foreheads. I wanted to take a picture but they were too sad and forlorn so I didn't mess with them.
This morning, typically, Misaki was all better so she went off to her swimming but Emi either sat or laid on the couch almost all day taking only short breaks to come and whine or moan at her father or I. We will be glad when this is over. Sakura was feeling better but she still had a low-grade fever which meant she could play but would burst into tears whenever "it" got to be too much. Poor things. Too bad I had to leave to teach English so that their more compassionate parent could take over!! Honestly Chikara is so much nicer than me.
I figure if we can make it through to the end of this week then Chikara's vacation will start (he has one whole week) for which we have a lot of fun stuff planned which means it will go by quickly. Then there will only be two weeks left until the girls are back on their regular school schedule. Yeah September!
There are other things I should be sharing about last week, like the fact that Chikara and I had to take our kitchen apart on Saturday night and clean even the parts you can't regularly see, because we found cockroaches in our house. To be precise, we found one cockroach on Thursday night and then another on Friday night, both in the exact same place, our little kitchen garbage can, at around the same time. I know that this is a normal part of living in a country with hot and humid summer weather but that knowledge doesn't make me feel better. I did not want to cook so we ate out or Chikara brought home McDonald's for three whole days. Yes, I am pathetic, I'll get over it.
Also, Chikara has finished his "procedure" and we are officially not able to make babies anymore. I know there's not a 100% guarantee or anything but I am feeling greatly relieved. Honestly, we get pregnant so easily. We got pregnant with Misaki when Emi was only 5 months old. I was on birth control and nursing exclusively and I hadn't even started my period since giving birth but there we were holding a little stick with a plus sign on it. We both stood there staring at it and then Chikara said, "How did that happen?". We were one month away from moving to Japan and Emi was only seven months old. Yeah. Think about that for a moment. If there is anyone out there who is having a hard time getting pregnant and you're reading this and starting to feel bitterness towards me, send me your name and I will pray that my fertility works it's way over to you. I am serious. I could never joke about this.
What else? We went to visit Abigail and her son Matthew last Wednesday in Kobe. Abigail's husband, Stephen, works with Chikara and they live near the company so we all went to work with Chikara and he dropped us off at her house around lunchtime (good timing!). Chikara's company is a large house way up on a hill and the owner of the company and his family (The French Family) live across the street. They also have four daughters ages 5-12 so my girls were looking forward to seeing them and swimming together in their pool. Stephen and Abigail invited us to stay with them at a cabin in Awajishima during the summer holidays so although I went over there to make meal plans, I really enjoyed fellowshipping and relaxing. Sometimes I forget how much I miss speaking in English.
Around 2pm, Chikara came down and got Emi & Misaki and they went up to swim in the pool with the French girls. Abigail and I went up after Natsuki finished her nap (Matthew was too excited to sleep). Sakura was determined to go in the water so Abigail set up the small kiddie pool I had brought. We thought it would be nice to splash around with Matthew and Natsuki, but poor Matthew went in the water for about 2 minutes and then he was too cold and wanted to come out and by the time I finished feeding Natsuki her dinner, there was no one outside except Sakura, who was sitting in the kiddie pool all by herself, covered in mosquito bites. She even had a neat row of four bites right across her forehead leading to her left eye. So we called it quits for the day as far as swimming! Stephen and Abigail had to go so we said good-bye and I took all the girls down to the French's house to wait until Chikara finished his work. By the time we got home, everyone was tired out and went right to bed. A lovely end to a lovely day.
I am really looking forward to next week. I probably won't get a chance to post but I will do my best to take lots of pictures and do some catch-up posting later.