Archive for June, 2008

Tess can hear!

In : El Peru, General, Posted by on Jun.06, 2008

Well, we went to the doctor.  After too much explaining about the test, he said that hears in normal range.  Since the end of May, she has made progress in her speaking and understanding, so we are going to sit tight for the summer and hope that she keeps making more and more progress.  When she turns two in September, we will talk to the pediatrician again.

It’s is a gorgeous afternoon here, so I am off to back our swimming bag, and we are off to the river.  Hopefully, we will remember to take the camera and take some pictures.

More Pictures

In : El Japan, General, Kiddo, Picture Pages, Posted by on Jun.06, 2008

Todd and I were recently interviewed for a video that our school is putting together.  The person making that video also wanted some footage (video and photos) of a staff apartment.  School had already let out, so most people had left the city, if not the country.  We offered our place.  It was incredibly stupid of us as we had just given up full time nanny/cleaning help.  So we madly cleaned, and here are the photos of our place.  It is shocking small, but at the same time, we love its coziness and love how much freedom the girls have in the house.

Also, here are some photos of the girls playing around the house and around the island.  They especially love their new couch, which was a generous gift from Lucas who happened to be moving to Spain and could not take it with him.  Thanks, Laura.

You can tell from the photos that Tess really needs a haircut, but Riley still hasn’t had one, but she still barely has any hair.  I think they will definitely both get a haircut sometime this summer, but I am going to give it a little more time to really get shaggy (Tess) and to cover her scalp (Riley).

My computer died

In : General, Posted by on Jun.06, 2008

Our summer has officially started because today was the last day of summer school.  Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, my (less than a year old) MacBook was completely dead.  Luckily, our computer god, Sonny, was still at school, and he was able to give me an old iBook G4 to last me through the summer.  I will hopefully get something new when the school year starts.

Todd had all of the photos, so I will be able to get those up soon.

Ok, photos are back online.

In : El Japan, General, Kiddo, Picture Pages, Posted by on Jun.06, 2008

I feed a toucan who was perched on my arm!  It was so cool!  And a little scary.Wow!  I cannot tell you how close I came to shutting down the website.  When Todd was trying to move our photos over to our new site, he encountered many problems.   At one point it looked like we would have to reupload all of our photos, which I was not willing to do. Today, after many attempts, our gallery works, and I didn’t have to reupload any photos.  So please go see these cute photos of the girls when we went to visit Kachoen, a bird and plant sanctuary, on a nearby island.

I am going to upload more photos of the girls around the house soon.

**Note: Most photos have captions, but they don’t show in the thumbnail view (for now).  So you have to click on the thumbnail to see the bigger image and the caption.

It has been so long since we last…talked?

In : El Japan, Kiddo, Posted by on Jun.06, 2008

After talking with Todd, I have begun to realize that our new site is really only half constructed.  He still has a lot of tweaking to do, and our gallery photo albums are not yet linked to our website.  There are there in the background waiting to be linked to, or so Todd promises.  As soon as they are up and going, I have photos from a botanical garden we visited and lots of pictures of girls playing around the house.

Todd and I finished the year with an explosion of activity on Friday, June 13, and then we both started teaching summer school on Monday, June 16.

Really, life as we have known it for the last 3.5 years ended for us on the 13th of June.  That was our last day in nannydom.  It was sad, but not too sad.  We are having them come in and clean for a couple of hours a week, but for the most part, Todd and I are doing a fantastic job of keeping the place in order.

As far as the kiddos are concerned, Todd and I are in heaven.  Todd teaches the morning summer school session from 9am to 11:30am while I watch the girls.  Then we have lunch together as a family, which is always a blast.  From 12:30 to 3pm Todd takes over with the girls while I teach my afternoon summer school session of middle school math.  We both get to spend time with the girls, and we both get to work a little at relatively stress free jobs.  We are both trying to figure out how we can swing this into a full time job with benefits.

On top of this, the girls go to preschool twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays.  So twice a week, Todd and I both have 1.5 hours off to do what we want.  Todd has been trying to finish distributing yearbooks while I went and had a 30 minute back massage today.

We finish with summer school on the 27th of June, and then we have about 10 days where we are both off with the girls.  Then on the 7th of July Todd starts Japanese classes Monday through Friday from 9-12 until August 1st.  Then we have until the 18th of August before we have to return to work.  We have been trying to rent a lake house in Northern Japan, but so far no luck!

The weather here has been amazing.  The temperatures top out between 75 and 80 during the day, and they drop down into the 60s at night.

Last week we swam in the river 4 times, in the morning, after preschool, and once in the evening.  Todd and I even managed to drink a beer and relax a little as well.   Tess is quite a runner, so one of us is usually chasing her.  During all of this chaos, Riley manages to make friends with every Japanese person who passes by.

So far it has been a great summer, but I am sure it will only get better as the school year drifts away into a distant memory, and we get used to napping during the day.  My mom and Maurizio come to visit at the end of July, so we are in the middle of our spending spree, which will then be sent and/or packed and brought to us.  There are goodies for all of us, and the obigatory shipment.  (Have I mentioned that you cannot by medicine over the counter here easily, especially not children’s ibuprofen?  So we have a quite a store of meds on hand if anyone requires a painkiller.)

We bought a Wii, some games – including the Wii Fit and Mario Kart!  That was supposed by my birthday present, and Todd was supposed to get the iphone, which is coming to Japan on July 11th, but now he has decided to NOT get the iphone, and so the Wii is both of our birthday presents now.  I also splurged at Hanna Andersson for the girls and Harold Powell for me.  I bought matching backpack, lunchboxes, and water bottle holders for the girls for when they start school in August.  We also got Riley a new board game, and both of girls will enjoy the Curious George DVDs.  I love having Christmas in July.

Which reminds me… Riley said the most hilarious thing this morning.  For her birthday in December I put up heart balloons for decorations.  Most of them came down that afternoon and soon lost their air and went into the trash.  However, there was one balloon that was tied to our A/C unit above the TV.  It was in such an awkward place that I never bothered to take it down after the air left the balloon, and it has been hanging there since December.  This past weekend Todd finally put it out of its misery and cut it down.  Now the funny part.  Riley is talking to me about something this morning, and then she looks over at the TV, and gasps – loudly.  She asks, “Where is party?  My party is all done until I am 4.”  First of all, she noticed that we cut down the balloon, and secondly, she remembered it was from her birthday.  And finally, she thought that her party had just then ended after six months because we cut down the last balloon.  Todd had already left for work, so I had to call him and tell him.  We both agreed – Riley is crazy.

So we had Tess’s hearing tested in early June, and we will meet with the doctor on the 30th to discuss the results.  She is saying many more words, which means that she might have 10.  You can ask if she wants things, and she will clearly say “NO!”, or if she does want it, she signs the word “please”.  She also signs “more”, but usually uses it to ask for us to read her a story over and over again.  She uses it for more tickles and hugs now that I think of it.  She still isn’t pointing to body parts or pictures in stories, but Todd and I have noticed that she is much more aware of the language that is around her.  Our fingers are crossed that she JUST has a language delay, and that it is just a matter of time before she catches up with her age group.  We will know more after our doctor’s appointment.

I think that is all of the major news for now.  I would love to hear from everybody and see how their summer is going.  Also, we are ready to plan next school year’s trips.  So book now.  Vicky and Dan are thinking about coming for our spring break, but fall break is open (and it is a GORGEOUS time to be in Japan).  We are headed back to the States for 3 weeks at Christmas, but let us know if you have a hankering to see Japan.

Our new look!

In : General, Posted by on Jun.06, 2008

Our subscription with our hosting company,, expired, and Todd decided to switch us to different company.  Unfortunately, this decision coincided with the end of the school year, grades being due, and yearbook distribution.  Wow, that was bad timing! 

Changing hosting company was not enough of a change for Todd, so he decided to move our site from a drupal platform to wordpress, which the site was originally based on back in the day.  But when we switched back to wordpress, we lost our “design scheme.”   So then Todd went to work on creating a new look.  After a lot of back and forth between Todd and I about color and design schemes, I think we have agreed on the current look.  He ended up using the pattern on our ottoman and throw pillows because we had already agreed that we liked them.

I will post more about our life since the end of the May and the girls later on tonight.