Saturday, June 28, 2008

shooting stars

Yesterday on the way home from the mall I had this conversation with Emi:

Emi: Mom, is there really such a thing as nagareboshi (shooting star)?

Me: Yes.

Emi: Really?

Me: Yes.

Emi: When do they come, like Easter or Christmas?

Me: I'm not really sure, I think it's more like during a season like Spring or whatever. (I know, that's a dumb description)

Emi: hmmm.....

(2 minute silence)

Emi: Mom, you know what I would wish for if I saw nagareboshi?

Me: What?

Emi: A skateboard.

Me: Cool.

(five minute silence)

Emi: Mom.

Me: Yeah.

Emi: You know what if I would wish for if I saw another nagareboshi?

Me: What?

Emi: No school!

Monday, June 23, 2008

busy day

Today after the girls came home from school we had three errands to do.

The first was to pick up Misaki's passport from the passport center in downtown Osaka.

The second was to go and visit our friends who just had their second baby this morning. The baby was breach, which they knew beforehand, but their doctor wanted to try a natural birth first instead of going with a C-section and they were happy to go along with it. Their little boy is sooooooooo cute. It almost makes me want to have another one. Almost.

The third was to go over to our other friends house and see if their son could infect Natsuki with chicken pox. Emi, Misaki and Sakura had chicken pox two and a half years ago and although I went back and forth about whether or not this was a good idea, I don't want to be worrying about her getting it once she gets into school. We don't leave for Canada for another month and there's not much going on before that so I figured now is as good a time as any. We'll see if we were successful in two weeks!

We left our house around 3:30pm and we didn't get back home until 9:30pm. That's how long it takes to run those three errands in Osaka, in case you're wondering.

Also... Sakura-isms:

sakana butsuri = sakanatsuri (fishing)
nekk = next as in "Nekk is my turn"

Plus she keeps finishing every sentence with, "because I'm four". Yeah, it's already annoying and she's only been four for a week now!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sakura's 4th Birthday and Father's Day

This last weekend was a very busy weekend for us. I don't remember this happening before but Sakura's birthday (the 14th) and Father's Day were on the same weekend. It kind of felt like Misaki's birthday which is the same day as Valentine's Day. It's hard to celebrate both so VD kind of takes a backseat but Father's Day is very important and we cannot forget to say how much we appreciate our Daddys so we did our best to fit them both in.

Chikara had to stay overnight at the church on Saturday night for a special youth band practice. Usually when we go to drop him off we just grab something to eat at McDonald's but since it was Sakura's birthday and the girls wouldn't see Chikara in the morning, I decided that we should go to sushi instead. We were planning a family birthday party for Sakura on Sunday night but I wanted to give her at least one present on her actual birthday. When we had finished our dinner, I gave Sakura her present to open. For months she has been asking for a pink dress for summer and I found some cute, inexpensive summer dresses for her. Not because I'm cheap but I know that she'll want to wear them outside to play with her friends and they'll get all dirty and I want to be OK with that! She was soooooo excited, as you can see.

I love it when the present we bought turns out to be exactly what they wanted. I told her that she could pick one of her dresses to wear to church the next day, which made her even more excited. A funny note here, there are actually 4 other summer dresses in the closet in her size but NONE of them were pink. Now she literally has a dress for every day of the week!

After Sakura had finished opening her present, Chikara thought that we were ready to go but the girls and I surprised him by giving him his Father's Day gift, too. Basically there was absolutely no time on Sunday to do anything special for him so this was a nice substitute. During the week the girls had made cards for him and then I got him a docking speaker thingy for his iPod (which he loves by the way). He was so surprised by all of it. He knew Father's Day was going to be busy so I think he was expecting nothing. Ha, ha! He should remember that girls are sneaky!

Doesn't he look so proud? After that we took him to the church and hung out for a bit and then the girls and I went home and I put them to bed. My goal for the evening was to tidy up the house, make cupcakes and wrap the rest of Sakura's presents for the next day but I actually only baked the cupcakes and finished watching the first season of 30 Rock that my mom had brought for me when she came in February. I've been saving it for a time when there wasn't anything on TV and Chikara wasn't around (so I can concentrate) and this was perfect. I stayed up way too late but it was a lot of fun. Also, usually I bake a chocolate cake for all the birthdays in our family but I wanted to do something in keeping with our "pink" theme so I made cupcakes from the "Confetti Cake" mix from Betty Crocker and I ordered Strawberry Mist frosting from Expat Express. I thought it would turn it out too sweet or maybe taste really gross but they were awesome. Even Chikara liked them. I might have to try that again sometime!

On Sunday morning I got all the girls up, got ready and went to church. After the service, three of my friends and I went out for lunch together to celebrate two of their birthdays. I haven't been out with friends like that for quite a long time. One of the birthday girls is having her second baby next week so it was perfect timing. We had the waitress take a picture and I am motivated once again to exercise! Now that the weather has heated up, I was wearing a sleeveless top and the sight wasn't very pretty. Yikes! Anyways, all of our husbands watched all of our kids at church during the 3 hours that we were gone (8 kids among 4 husbands) so we really relaxed and just enjoyed the fellowship time. We'll be doing that again very soon!

Once we got back to church, it was time to go home and get ready for Sakura's birthday party! Chikara tidied up the house (thank you sweetie) while I finished wrapping Sakura's presents and iced the cupcakes. We went out to eat dinner with Chikara's parents and then we all came back to our house for cake and presents. Sakura got lots of wonderful girlie pink things including her own high-heel sandals (well a 1/2 inch heel). She ooh'd and aah'd over every gift and actually she's exclaimed over and over since then about how happy she is about all of her gifts. Such a little girlie-girl!

Personally I was most excited about this present for Sakura. I'm always looking for things that I can buy for the girls that can become keepsakes, maybe something they can pass onto their own girls one day. I found this book through Dooce and when I read more about it on Amazon, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. The day we got it in the mail, I sat down and read it to Chikara. About halfway through I stopped because maybe he thought it was silly but he was enjoying it, too. The writing is so creative and a little on the sarcastic side (which the Canadian part of me loves). For example, near the end of the book there's a line where the Prince asks the Princess to marry him and the next sentence is, "And that's the thing about Princes, they always know all the right questions to ask". Writing like that makes me look forward to storytime, too.

It had been a long, wonderful day and everyone was excited to get into bed. Chikara and I, of course, stayed up and watched the end of the Indiana Jones movie on TV. They're showing all three Indiana Jones movies on TV as part of the publicity for the fourth movie which comes out on Saturday. I am desperately trying to figure out how to get some babysitting so Chikara and I can go and see it together.

Two final pictures to end with. Now that Natsuki has figured out how cameras work (first you take the picture, *then* you can see it on the screen), picture-taking has become a near painless experience.

Also, two Dads and the birthday girl.

I should say here that in all of the busyness of the day I didn't get to call my dad. I just felt so awful because I love my Daddy so much but when I called him the next day, he was sweet and told me that he only cried a little bit. I'll see you soon, Daddy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

one of those days

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like your self-confidence is being attacked left and right? Yesterday was like that for me. It wasn't even about the kids or my skills as a mother but more about me, Sarah, the woman. I almost cried even. I just felt awkward in everything I did, especially when speaking Japanese, and I just wanted to throw in the towel and go home, eat chocolate and watch a movie. Which I didn't do since I'm trying to be more careful with what I'm eating. Sigh. Once I got home I realized that I'm probably just experiencing some PMS and that none of the stuff that happened was a big deal except to me so I decided to just let it go. But it sucked.

Actually the story above does show a recent change in my personal life: the ability to think. Or maybe, more precisely, the return of my ability to think since giving birth to Natsuki and all of her sisters. You know when you're pregnant and you forget what you're talking about midstream or after you've given birth and you're just happy that you were able to brush your teeth that day. It seems like I've been in that space of life for a LONG TIME and I enjoyed most of it and I love my kids but the ability to reason again has been wonderful.

I should admit that I've been using most of this reasoning power on problems that are not important to anyone but me. For example, I felt like recently after I do my make-up my eyes looked droopy. Normally I just wouldn't have time to think about this but with my renewed ability to think, I actually took five whole minutes and tried my make-up a few different ways until I figured out that the way I was applying my eyeliner was the problem. So I fixed it! Obviously this is only important to me and nobody noticed and it is a silly problem but I felt so empowered by the fact that I could actually *take* five minutes *and* come up with a solution.

During the last few months I've had this same experience with a lot of trivial things that were constantly plaguing me and it was amazing to be able to solve them quickly. Just imagine how much stuff I'll be able to get done when all the girls are in school. I'm almost giddy just thinking about it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

all she can say

Natsuki's new favorite word: "this"

It's amazing how she can use this word for EVERYTHING. Suddenly we have no idea what she's talking about. Her pronunciation is cute, though, with her little tongue sticking out!

Also, for your viewing pleasure, Natsuki after eating refried beans ALL BY HERSELF!

I am so proud.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

all kinds of new revelations

Conversation with Misaki and Emi:

Misaki: I don't want to get married.

Me: OK. (I'm listening but I'm not sure where she's going with this so I'm being neutral)

Misaki: No, I don't want to get married.

Me: OK.

Misaki: (almost crying) No, I don't want to get maaaaaaarriiiiiiiiiiiiied.

Me: Why not?

Misaki: Because it hurts.

Me: What hurts? (I'm totally confused)

Misaki: I don't want to get married because then I have to have a baby and that hurts.

Me: You know, you don't have to have a baby if you get married.

Misaki: Really?

Emi: YES YOU DO (in her most incredulous voice)

Me: No, you don't. You don't HAVE to. You can decided if you want to or not.

Misaki: OK. Thanks, Mom!

Emi: That's not true. You HAVE to, you HAVE to. Are you sure? Are you teasing me?

Me: No, I'm not teasing you at all.

Emi: hmmm.... I don't know.

So basically I solved one problem and caused another one all in the same conversation. Magic.