Archive for August, 2008

How do I feel about the kids starting school?

In : General, Posted by on Aug.08, 2008

I love waking up, showering, and getting dressed before the girls wake up.

I hate making their lunches.  Hate it with a passion.

I love that we all walk to school together.

I hate to leave them in the morning.

I love it that when Riley leaves her “real” classroom and heads back to the daycare across the hall, the first thing she screams when she enters the room is “Tessy.”

I hate how much stuff we lug across the road with us: two backpacks, two lunch sacks, two water bottles, two computer bags, two kids and a purse.

I love our commute: 5 minutes from door to door – walking. No strollers.

I hate when Riley sleeps in late because then we have to rush get her ready and stuff food into her before we leave, but more than that I hate to wake Riley up early!

I love that our kids are a 2 minute walk if they need me, which they haven’t yet.

I hate how it must make Tessy feel when Riley leaves the daycare room and goes to her “real” classroom.

I love that they are together for some part of the day.

I love that Riley has had a seamless and cryless transition to school.

I love that Tess waved good-bye to us today and did not cry, but did try to slam the door in our face.

I love that our school created the 2 year program and before and after school care program.  It has changed our lives for the better.

I love that the girls ate Yakitori tonight.   I know this isn’t about school, but it was still cool.


Here are some cute photos of Tessy and a notebook that I had to make for her by hand.  I (really Todd) had to cut the cardboard, attach the fabric, cut out the letters and attach them, and finally cover the edges with ribbon.  This was the most difficult thing I have ever done as a mother.  Actually it was the second most difficult thing, going to buy all of the materials with a monster hangover and two screaming, crying kids was the most difficult thing.  Damn you karaoke, I love you too.

School…Day 1

In : El Peru, General, Posted by on Aug.08, 2008

I don’t know if today could have gone any smoother.

Todd and I debated what time we needed to set our alarm.  First of all, we haven’t set one since Riley was born (that 3 years and 8 months for those that are counting) because a kid always woke us up in plenty of time to get ready for school.  We finally decided on 5:30am.  We both doubled checked to make sure the alarm was set correctly (all of the buttons are in Japanese).  We woke up with no problem, we both showered and got dressed before Tess woke up.  Then Todd made breakfast while I made the kid’s lunches.  Then Todd dressed Tess while I finished packing their backpacks.  Finally, we had to wake Riley up at 7:30 because we had to leave for school at 7:45.  Riley was up and dressed in 10 minutes.  We took some photos, and we were out the of the door at 7:50.

The girls are ready to go.

Our walk to school is ridiculous, we cross the street.  So we crossed the street with two kids, two backpacks, two water bottles, two lunches, two computers, one purse, and a bag full of stuff for school.

We dropped the girls off (and no one cried) in the same room that Tess will have her two year program.  Right now it is technically before the school, so Peter Pan, the company that is running the two year program, is running day care for all kids that need it under the age of 7.

So Riley and Tess went to the same room and played in the same room all day.  They apparently had a great day.  The teachers said that Tess cried twice but for a very short time.   They said that she ate all of her lunch and some of her sister’s.  She also took her nap at the exact time I said she would, 1 pm.  She slept until 3:15. Tess was the youngest one there, and I think the only one to nap, but Jon walked by and saw a bunch of the older girls doing her hair, and she loved it for the most part.

Riley played with play doh, colored and read lots of books.  She said she had a great time with Andrew.  She said they played a lot, but she said she was really tired.  The feedback that we received on Riley is that she is well prepared for school.

So Todd and I are incredibly pleased.  I am eager to see what tomorrow will bring.

In other parenting milestones – Todd and I have given up the late night dinners without the kids.  We have officially started family dinner.  The first family dinner was pasta with red sauce and eggplant parmesan.  Tess ate a ton, and we even convinced Riley to eat the eggplant.  She finally agreed with some help from bribes.  She now thinks eggplant is yummy.

Tonight was family dinner #2.  The girls took a little more work to get them to the table, but the did finally eat the paella.  Todd and I ate directly from the pan, Tess ate the rice willingly, and Riley struggled with it because of the color, but finally she ate some and proclaimed it yummy.  Todd and I are definitely not as relaxed as we used to be eating dinner, but the rule is that we both must have an alcoholic beverage with dinner.  This rule helps us deal with the mess and stress of eating while trying to get your kids to eat.

It is 8:30.  I am beat.  The house is a mess.  I think I am going to vote for bed because Joanne comes tomorrow to clean the house.  Yay!

Tessy Klum

In : General, Posted by on Aug.08, 2008

A very beautiful Tessy!

Tess’s personality has really begun to come out during these last couple of weeks.  My mom calls her Heidi Klum.  She loves to get dressed up, usually in the gold robe that I bought her in Bali.  She loves to watch me put on my lipstick and mascara.  She puts the rubberbands for hair on her fingers like rings.  But the thing she loves best is to wear my shoes.  She prefers my new cream and black ones with a slingback strap and a little kitty heel, the ones that I have yet to wear myself, but any pair that I happen to have out in the entryway will do.

Todd and I laughed at my mom when she came up with the supermodel nickname.  But the other night we were all on Riley’s bed, and Tess jumped off of the bed, and as she passed the fan, which was on, she stood in front of it, put her hands behind her head, arched her back, and flipped up her hair as the fan blew on her.  Where did she learn that?

Here are some photos of Tess playing dress up around the house.

Haircuts and Peaches

In : General, Posted by on Aug.08, 2008


Well, we finally did it.  We took the girls in for their first haircuts.  Riley was 3 1/2 and Tess was 23 months old.  The salon had a little car to sit in and a TV, and I got to pick the DVD the girls watched.  Tess loved the car so much that she climbed in first and refused to get out.  We wanted Riley to go first because she was ready for the haircut, and we didn’t want that window to close.  The hair dresser was so nice.  She even braided Tess’s hair when she was finished.


The girls have been having a lot of fun around the house as it is getting too hot to venture outside during the peak daylight hours.  We bought Tess a new bookshelf for her room because she is getting more and more interested in books.  I also bought the girls some cute circle carpet for their room as well.  IKEA is all too convenient and affordable.

Here are some photos of the haircuts and fun around the house.


This past Sunday we did get outside and out of Kobe.  We went to the Flower and Fruit Park with Yuka and Masato and their daughter Miki (who you might remember from Suma and the Gion Matsuri Festival).  We took the train into the mountains to the countryside to a place called Sanda (which Riley pronounced as Santa).  After a short bus ride, we ended up at a really nice place with an amusement park, orchards, a hotel, a swimming pool and outdoor BBQS.  We headed straight for the orchards where we could eat as many peaches as we wanted, and we were only charged for the peaches that we took away with us.  Todd, Tess, and I each ate 1, and then we took a kilo with us.  It was a lot of fun to pick the fruit off of the trees.  Then we headed up for some lunch.  They had a store that sold meat, seafood, and veggies to grill on the BBQs, so we bought a ton of food, and Masato and Todd cooked away while I pushed Tessy around to get her to sleep, and Riley made funny faces.

It was late afternoon by the time we finished, so we headed back to the train station for our 2 hour trip home.  We definitely want to return because in a couple weeks we can go and pick grapes.  We also would like to spend the night at the hotel, so that we can enjoy the place more.

Here are a couple of photos from the day.

Me and the Wii Fit

In : General, Posted by on Aug.08, 2008

pa-wiiThis comic (from Penny Arcade) completely and accurately describes my relationship with the Wii Fit.

Click on the thumbnail for the entire comic.

I know the picture is broken.  Everytime we fix it, it breaks again.  Still click on it and read the comic.  It is hilarious!


In : General, Posted by on Aug.08, 2008

Where did the summer go?  It was just June a few moments ago.

My mom, Maurizio (her boyfriend), Debbie (my friend from work and Todd’s Japanese class buddy), Todd, and I went to the Sake Festival at the Sheraton hotel.  There were only a few foreigners there, and several Japanese tried out their English on us and recommended the best sakes to try.  We were all sufficiently buzzed by the time we left, and Debbie and I were on a mission to buy our favorite sake champagne, which could be bought at Sogo in Sannomiya or at the Sake brewery.

Last Thursday Mom, Maurizio, Todd and I decided to go and visit the Sake brewery where they make the bubbly.  We saw a video on sake making because they aren’t making sake right now (apparently June is sake season).  I was skeptical when I heard that we were going to watch a video, but it was really well done and obviously in English.  Then our English speaking guide took us into a small, well air conditioned room (nice), and served us all way too many kinds of sake.  Then we all proceeded to buy out the shop.  Todd and I picked up 4 darling little sake cups, the most popular sake in Japan, my champagne sake, and a couple of pieces of fabric that you use to wrap gifts.   Then we went to the restaurant on the sake brewery premises and had an amazing 10 course Japanese meal.  Our waiter spoke excellent English and explained everything that we ate, which was all excellent.

Here it is in all of its enormous glory.

It was a great night, and I wanted them experience even more of Japan, so we decided to go to Nara to see the deer and Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden structure in the world.  Riley and I had been earlier with Brian, Melanie, and Zoe, but it was a new experience for Mom, Maurizio, Todd and Tess.  Both train rides were smooth and uneventful, and everyone agreed Todai-ji was spectacular.  Note to self – take the bus directly to the temple from the train station – yes, you miss some deer, but it was quick and air conditioned.

Mom and Maurizio headed back to Florida today, and we are all definitely missing them.  Fortunately, our colleagues and friends are beginning to stream back into Kobe after spending the summer elsewhere.  It will be good to spend some more time with adults.

Todd and I have a list of things to do a mile long that we have been putting off all summer.  We are feeling the crunch because our plan is to return to work next week (a week early) and each work part time while the other watches the kids.  We will see how it works out.   We tried to get the girls’ first hair cuts today, but the salon was closed, so we will try again on Wednesday.  Hopefully, we will get some cute shots.

Here are the photos from Nara and a few photos of the girls around the house.