Friday, October 31, 2008


My nana passed away last weekend. She has not been strong for the last year or so. When we were home in August she fell at her home and hit her head and although the injury wasn't that bad, from that day on she was just not the same and eventually had to move to a nursing home. I knew when I saw her before we left that it would probably be the last time but that doesn't mean her passing hasn't taken me by surprise.

So I will go home for a week to attend her funeral. My husband is letting me go by myself so maybe you could all say a prayer for him this week as he watches the girls.

I'm wondering when it will hit me that she is actually gone. I'm dreading that moment.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I have some catching up to do...

Back in September (hangs head in shame) I attended the swimming open house at Emi and Misaki's school. They are both swiming so well, actually that was one of the things that really surprised me during our summer vacation. Misaki spent more time under the water than on top of it!

All the first graders performed a song in the water. Misaki's in the middle there somewhere.

In between I went to the gym and checked out all the things that kids had made during their summer vacation. I had forgotten to take a pictures of Emi & Misaki's crafts so I was glad I had my camera with me.
Emi made this marble maze from a kit. It was a little complicated and about halfway through she had wanted to give up but she persevered and it turned out to be a really fun toy.

Misaki made this stage with paper dolls in it. We cut out clothes from leftover material I had lying around and glued them onthe paper dolls. We also glued the curtains and stage lights on, too. It was a lot of fun.

Then it was Emi's turn.

In these next pictures she was trying to pass to the next level. She had to swim 7m without stopping.

She made it to the 5m mark. She was supposed to swim all the way to the teacher. She was disappointed but I think she passed four levels this year so she was proud of that.

I'm so proud of my girlies!

Friday, October 24, 2008

a birthday flashback

Today I turn a year older and since birthdays can cause one to reminisce, I thought I would share a few memories (flashbacks, if you will) from birthdays past.

a year ago...

I was halfway through the busiest year of my entire life. But I made it!

two years ago...

I had given birth to Natsuki, our fourth little girl, two months earlier and she was finally sleeping through the night. Yeah for me!

three years ago...

Chikara and I had decided that we were finished having babies. Little did we know...

four years ago...

We had finally settled into our new house and Sakura was our little baby. I turned 30 that year and although I wasn't really thrilled about turning 30 in the few months leading up to this birthday, the day after I was totally at peace with it. Weird.

five years ago...

I had just found out I was pregnant with Sakura and I was potty-training Emi. This was also the year that I started to feel more confident with my Japanese.

ten years ago...

I had been married for almost a whole year. Although we fought a lot that year, we also learned a lot about each other in the process. The second year was a lot more fun!

fifteen years ago...

I was studying piano at Portland State University and dating my high school sweetheart. Both didn't last very long. Not completing my degree is my one regret.

twenty years ago...

We had moved to the States from Canada a few months before and I was NOT thrilled about it at all. I spent that whole year trying to be the biggest pain the ass so my parents would send me back. They never did and eventually I got over it.

twenty-five years ago...

I was nine and in fourth grade. We lived in a small coastal town and my parents started a Christian school that my brother and I attended. That following Valentine's Day I received my first ever heart-shaped box of chocolates from a boy.

thirty years ago...

My nickname was Sarah Elisabeth Bunny-Rabbit Shinness.

*I saw this at Small Notebook and I knew right away that I would use it here for my Flashback Friday that also happened to be my birthday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Natsuki's latest phrase

I have so many things that I want to write about but I just can't seem to get to the computer long enough to actually post anything. Hopefully soon...

In other news, the other day when I got Sakura and Natsuki up in the morning, Natsuki was all genki-genki but Sakura still wasn't quite awake. We went in to wake up Daddy and Natsuki cuddled right up to him and was talking away in her own special language that no one understands. I was holding Sakura and she was whining at me and I was thinking that it was going to be a long day. After a minute of this I realized that Natsuki was saying something over and over but I couldn't figure it out so I asked her.

Natsuki: ah, ah, ehhhhh. ah, ah, ehhhh.

Me: Natsuki, what are you saying?

Sakura: (taking a break from the whining) She's saying "What The Heck". (resumes whining)

Natsuki: wa, ah, ehhhhck. wa, ah, ehhhhck.

Oh my goodness. I know she learned this from Misaki who picked it up when we went home this summer. Fortunately no one here knows what she's saying so I don't have to worry about offending anyone. Although later in the evening when I asked Natsuki to repeat it for Chikara, he was a little offended. It's pretty cute, though.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Today I had to take Sakura for a "test" at the preschool she's going to go to in April. The test is really simple and is mostly to see if they can understand questions asked and then answer them and basic words. I was worried that she would be too shy or burst into tears but she was very calm and focused (unusual for her!).

I have to share one cute moment from her test.

referring to a page of fruit...
Teacher: ringo wa dore? (where are the apples?)
Sakura: ...
Teacher: ringo wa?
Sakura: ... apple!
Teacher: suteki (that's cool) said with a little awe in her voice

Yes, for the first part she kept answering the questions in English. The teachers (and other moms in the room) were totally impressed with her pronunciation. Eventually she realized the teacher was looking for her answers in Japanese so she switched over but it was pretty cute!

Friday, October 17, 2008

a Misaki flashback

This is Misaki on her first day of preschool. She had just turned 4 two months earlier and I was so nervous. I had no idea how she would do. Would she pay attention to the teacher? Would she follow instructions? Would she make friends? Would she enjoy herself? Would she be able to tell me what she did all day? Of course all my worrying was a complete waste of time. She did great all through those two years of preschool and she's turned into a spectacular first grader.

Basically this is how Misaki handles life: Nonchalantly with the occasional outburst of emotion.

PS Can you see Sakura to the left of Misaki? She was almost 2 at the time. What a cutie-pie!

Friday, October 10, 2008

our wedding day

Yes, it's Flashback Friday again. This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding. A friend took it while we were watching some of our guests sing and dance for us (seriously!).

Anyways, this picture reminds me of how perfect our wedding day was and how happy I am that I married Chikara.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

darn the rain

Emi and Misaki's sports day got rained out this morning. Poo.

Friday, October 03, 2008

first grade

Another flashback! This time to my first grade class picture. Can you guess which is me?

That's right, front row, far right. The only little girl with one knee up. The day we received our pictures, a few other girls in my class took the picture and somehow marked an indentation of a check over all the girls except me. Over my head was an "X". They said they had gotten "this" picture directly from the photographer and he had marked it himself. "Didn't I feel bad that I had wrecked the picture?" They actually said that to me. Amazingly, this is not a sad story for me. I just shrugged my shoulders and walked away thinking, "Girls are dumb". I didn't even hate them or feel sad that they did that. I think this was an early indicator of my ability to block stupid people and their stupid comments out of my life! I wonder if I ever told my parents about that day?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

my vacation is officially over

The cool weather has finally pushed me out of vacation mode. Actually I feel like for the last few months I've been on an "idea-search" trying to find answers to different changes we want to make in our lives. Kind of like being in a cocoon (mentally at least), preparing for what kind of butterfly I want to become. But a lot of these ideas have come together and Chikara and I have started talking through some of them so I feel like I'm starting to break out of that cocoon and will soon be able to take action.

As part of the "taking action", Sakura and I sat down today and made a few more videos for her blog. We posted the first one today and the other two are scheduled to appear over the next weeks. It's amazing how many hits her blog gets every week, even during the two months we didn't post anything new. I guess her fan base is pretty solid!!! Thank you!