Sunday, August 17, 2014

call-

this week has finally felt 'normal'.  I'm not sure if that's great, though- because it didn't feel like vacation anymore ;)  I think the biggest factor in the week was that Kent was on call for 7 days.  He'll be taking a week long call once every 3 weeks and he can't be more than 20 minutes from the hospital in case he has to go in. It precluded us from doing any grand adventuring far away.
  He has semi normal clinic hours but then has the pager for the rest of the time at home.  He has to go in for urgent care visits where they want a pediatric consult or for any/all deliveries.  I think he had to get up for a couple of hours during the night 3 or 4 times this week to run over.

It also rained about half the week and we spent more time indoors.

For playgroup we went to a crazy mall playland.  These kids are having so much fun being kids and acting like wild animals on toys that would be illegal stateside!!  I'm impressed with how much fun the japanese have- but also with how well behaved they are.  I have a lot to learn from the Japanese!

all of these strange balls are connected to big 'trees' that rotate and swing.

Here's Ike after he plummeted off one of the hanging/swinging/rotating giant balls.  They played SO HARD.
 Metta just took off when we arrived.  She is such a social happy kid.
 this giant wheel was a hamster ball that turned automatically.  It was pretty slow but the kids love it!

 there's also a giant bouncy room filled with balloons and a huge fan to blow the balloons all about.  Metta was in heaven.
 this contraption was a giant corkscrew that just turned and turned.  and the kiddos climbed and fell and twisted upside down and laughed.

 The Japanese LOVE their shopping malls!  the food courts are astounding.  there are hundreds of fun strollers with thomas, minnie mouse, and hello kitty adorning them all.  Metta wanted to try every last one!
 This week we also went to a neighbors birthday party at the Natatorium on base.  It's a free pool a couple blocks from our house.  And for birthday parties you can rent these GIANT water obstacle courses!  It was pretty fabulous.



Otherwise- we had a pretty mellow but great week.  A domino's pizza opened up 1/4 mile from our place! we went on the 2nd day it opened.  It was delicious.  

Zeb spotted this store on our way home from the mall. He was laughing SO hard when he read it.  We still can't figure out what the name could possibly mean!!  any ideas?!  Hair Bum's a bet??
Metta still craves the binky during the day around nap time and this is her face every time I tell her 'no'.  

today at church I discovered THIS under her dress.  4 pair of angry birds undies over her diaper.  
we are talking all about potty training- but haven't started yet because her baby toilet has yet to arrive! I guess she's pretty excited.

Speaking of our stuff- we got word it's going to be late. It was supposed to arrive august 25. now it's pushed back a couple or so more weeks. and honestly- I am TOTALLY fine with that.  I really am almost perfectly happy as we are now.  I REALLY miss our beaters, our vacuum, and kitchenware- but otherwise we are all perfectly content.  the boys will definitely need a pair of new shoes for school (they each only have 2 right now!  flip flops and keens) and kent could really use some more church clothes! but that's about it.  

Yesterday there were lots more planes on my run!  this picture can't do justice to the enormity and closeness and deafening loudness of these planes!  it's astounding.


It's our last week of summer before school begins- so I am hoping for some grand adventures this week!!

and I just HAVE to add these pictures of metta.  she's so pleasant and happy and fun to be around.

she's got this funny thing where she rubs satiny fabrics on the palms of her hands and the bottoms of her feet.  you can see it in the next two pics.

 she loves pink and her 'really really big pink puppy backpack' so much still.


Monday, August 11, 2014

a day in our lives...

Just so everybody back home doesn't think my life is ALL fabulous adventure- here's a blog post (filled entirely with cell phone pics) of my regular day to day activities so you can see how we really live.    Although- I will admit that for now every day is still an adventure as we navigate the wrong side of the road and try to learn japanese :) You know they say the happiest people don't have the most of everything- they just MAKE the most of everything. 

I am trying to reestablish my routine from Ohio- and for the most part- things are plopping into place.  I knew my hardest adjustment would be my gym time. and it is.  I go the base gym where there's a room where I can put my kiddos in the corner while I run on the treadmill in front of them!  a major downgrade from the YMCA childwatch :) but- my kiddos are super good while we are there and besides being a little boring- it works.  Other mornings I get out and run before Kent heads to work.  This past Saturday morning I went on a run across the flight line (runway) without realizing there were flight exercises happening that morning.  Giant planes were taking off and landing right in front of me!  it was pretty cool.  Half way through my run- the typhoon that hit this weekend set in a couple hours early and the rains and wind DRENCHED me.  It was a lovely run- with the exception of running past the line of Japanese photographers :)  On busy flight days they line up at the fences with their giant lenses to take pictures!  I'm sure they got plenty of great pictures of the crazy sopping wet pregnant lady who ran no more than ten feet in front of them.  they love to take pictures.    


We've got the regular playgroups and library storytimes to keep us busy, too.  
Just last thursday we went to the end of summer reading program party and it was pretty fancy!  we only participated a few weeks but got lots of great prizes and free dinner!?  it was catered with all sorts of fruits and food! 

For playgroup last week we went to a local Japanese swimming pool.  It was a mini adventure for sure.  Japanese roads and parking lots are SO SKINNY and SMALL!   and then the pool itself had all sorts of crazy rules!!  
1. no sunscreen allowed (we had to apply it outside the gates!)
2. no life jackets (you could use cheap floaties, though!)
3. no sunglasses
4. no shoes at all allowed anywhere (had to bag them up in lockers)
5. no swim diapers (or regular diapers for that matter) allowed. I was so worried metta was going to poo!!
A lot of Japanese people wore hats and long sleeves and hoods and jackets swimming, too.  so strange!  but all of the kids had a blast.  there was a lazy river and great shallow kiddie pools.

A great thing about Japan is the necessity to shop around for stuff.  I love going to the store- so it's perfect for me!  I buy regular groceries at the commissary on base- but get veggies and fruits at fruit stands and local grocery stores.  That means we go to 3-4 places a week to shop.  and I love it.

here's one of the great local produce markets. It's called F1.  they name their stores strange things.  There's a great place to get socks called 'Sexy Miser'?!  
this giant pickachu is at another of our favorite local stores- the 'daiei'.


We go over to the hospital a lot. and metta likes to eat the tissue paper there.  she's so weird.

 we visit kent. or pick him up for work.  I'm helping decorate the peds office to make it a little more friendly. I've also been trying to get OB stuff and blood work done.  getting in to the OB was a little ridiculous here.  they told me I needed to take a pregnancy test and get a referral from family medicine.  umm. I'm 7 months pregnant.  It took forever- but I'm set up now.  More importantly I spoke with anesthesia and they know the only important item in my birth plan is an epidural :)

Oh yeah- and we still visit the 'daiso' regularly.  It's the 100 yen store.  they are everywhere so we like to visit new ones every time.  this one pictured is two stories!  we could have stayed all day :)  the boys keep begging to do chores just so we can go shopping at the daiso.





One night I went to this creepy old hotel and we (friends from church and the base) rented out a room and did karaoke!  it was nuts. Karaoke is one of those things that I enjoy watching- but not participating in :)  I think if I could have a few alcoholic drinks- it would loosen me up- but since I don't drink alcohol- I'll never know :)
this week we also found the japanese 2nd hand store (named 'Hard Off"??!) and bought a few toys to keep the kiddos semi entertained! the boys chose legos.

Metta chose the 'really really big pink doggy backpack'.  that's what she calls it anyway.  I think it's a rabbit.  the arms and legs attach to each other and she wears it on her back. She LOVES it.  it only cost 100 yen.  that's a dollar.


one of my favorite things to do is walk down the 'treats' aisle at off base grocery stores and choose one new thing to try out.  this was the day I found raspberry kit kats and tim tams. Tim tams are delicious cookies we discovered while in australia a few years ago!  

the grocery stores all have giant fried food sections where the food just sits out all day.  the japanese people love it.  Metta thinks it smells delicious.  kent does, too.  I'm not sure how I feel about fried warm meats sitting out in the open all day.
produce prices still shock me.  I just want a Melon!!  but they are SOOOO expensive!!  14 dollar honeydews?  1500 yen cantalopes? and 18 dollar watermelons?!  ahhhhh!!


there's a giant store called 'joyful honda' just outside of the base gates.  It's NUTSO.  it sells every sibgle thing you could ever imagine.  it's like a lowes/walmart/target/hobbylobby/food court/baby store all in one.  Oh- and it has a giant pet world.  and people carry their dogs in their carts all over the store.  and they pee all over.  Here's a picture a the food court of people with their two dogs in their cart.  metta LOVES going there.  
there's a giant pet grooming place where you can sit and watch.

they've got a ton of places to eat, too.  here's the mcdonalds menu.  I just have to point to pictures and hope I am getting the american equivalent!  a 15 piece nugget pack costs 565 yen. that's $5.65.
so many of their signs are translated into English and they are always a little funny!  they really don't try to proof-read much!  they just do a literal translation with their own spellings!  it keeps kent and I laughing.  my name is a nightmare for them.  leisy miller translates to 'reisy mirrer'.

Overall- the best part about living here so far has been our housing situation.  Even though we do't have any stuff- we live in a little kid paradise.  We live in a 4 unit 'garden home'.  and get this- ALL four units in our building are full of mormons!  not to mention- two of our backyard neighbors! and they all have 3+ kids the ages of our kids.  We have a giant open communal backyard and the kids play back there for HOURS a day.  It's amazing.  there are always friends. and it's safe and protected.  and lots of parents always watching.  I really love that the the kiddos are watching almost NO tv (we don't have one!) and are just adventuring outside all day.

Once we do get our stuff- I'll get some pictures of the inside of our place!  right now it feels spacious- but it's empty :)

Hopefully we'll have more adventure soon and I can post more pics!  kent is on call all week so we can't venture more than 20 minutes from the hospital- but there's still plenty to explore!







Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Tanabata Festival!

every day is an adventure here!

This is how I pictured Japan!!  Brightly colored lanterns hanging in the alleyways, intricately designed kimonos, and crazy anime characters everywhere.  The Fussa Tanabata festival did not disappoint!

the festival was all down the streets alongside the base.  we took our stroller down- but eventually had to ditch it in a bike parking lot because the streets were too crowded to try and maneuver with it!  Kent was worried it would get stolen.  I may be a little naive- but I do know the Japanese have an impressive respect of property that does not belong to them. Crime ON base is MUCH worse than off. Our stroller was untouched at the end of the evening.
  There were so many people everywhere.  it was pretty amazing and a lot of fun.  quite the sensory overload with the smells, food, colors, dancers, music, and lights!


The parade went on for the entire 2.5 hours we were there!  there must have been thousands of dancers!!


 all of the lanterns and hanging displays were so festive.   everything was neon!
 we are pretty lucky we never lost our kids in the chaos!  I never got pictures of our food but we ate the most delicious street meat and snowcones!
 I'm really glad we went out at night time when we could see the lanterns lighting up the streets!!  the kids didn't complain much until the end when they got really tired of walking.  we were out past bedtime and I can imagine it was pretty overwhelming!  Although Ike always gives the death glare when we take his picture.
 we played a few kids games and took home some prizes.
 Metta had the most fun.  She loves all of the excitement.  and is even happy to oblige the Japanese people who stop to touch her hair!  they love it. and they love her!  She already knows how to say and use 'Konichiwa' and 'Arigato' appropriately!
The Japanese love their cats!  and so does metta!

There's a giant friendship festival this upcoming weekend on base where all the people from the surrounding towns to come and are welcome on base to take part!  I'm excited to experience all of these festivals!!