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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Night out

The other day I had the rare opportunity of taking care of the girls, all three of them, by myself.  With only two hands at my disposal watching and cleaning up after them kept me busy. 

But to my surprise it has gotten easier (not easy) these days.

We went shopping at the store in the morning, then to McDonalds and to the park for a few hours in the afternoon and came home and the girls took a nap, after they awoke we went to a family restaurant for dinner.  In Japan family restaurants are a type of restaurant that is usually a franchise.  They are open 24 hours a day and many of them have all you can drink (drink bars in Japanese). We went to Saizeriya. (Italian cuisine, mostly pasta)  The kids ate a lot and I did too.  I posted a video to give you a little idea of what my life is like...enjoy :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Always learning

One thing I can say about children, or at least about my children is that they want answers.  They ask a question and expect an answer, sometimes they are satisfied with mine other times they are surprised or disappointed.  Little children don`t need to use a textbook to learn about the world around them, they need interaction.  They need answers to their questions.

As a parent I have a role in supplying answers to my kids, but even I have a limit.  It is humbling to watch them on their quest to understand life and who they are.  So like them, I also need to be diligent in my attempts to learn, to ask questions, and to listen to those with authentic experience, those I trust.

Finding the right words is the big challenge I think for most parents, when it comes to answering their children`s questions, and for me I have to work on it in two languages. Yikes!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No more Bento

Time goes by so fast when raising children.  We spend so much time and energy trying to get them from stage to stage, watching them grow, surprised when we realize that it`s almost ready for the next stage.  Anna has been going to preschool for three years and it will be just a few more months until she moves on to the next stage.

This last Friday was the last day we will make lunch for her this year.  It`s just one of those reminders about the everyday things you do, the routines you have with your children will come to an end.  It`s a relief but also brings the feeling of sadness.  Our sense of time as parents and their sense of time as children is different, but we both are experiencing these events together going through aches and pains together.  I think that is one of the most important words of family life "together."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just another weekend

On Saturday we were out all day.  We went from place to place, in and out of the car and to stores and ended up at karaoke to finish out the day.  For dinner,karaoke, all you can drink,and eat ice cream it only cost about $30 for the 2 1/2 hours we spent there.  It is fun to watch them sing their hearts out and dance around the room.  It is such a physically demanding time as parents, but still so precious for them.  They can be little girls for only a short time. 

In Japan there is a lot of pressure on little girls at a young age to be a certain way.  Parents can be quite strict with their children`s behavior and I am strict too when it comes to certain disrespect, stubborn, and mean spirited behavior.  However, my philosophy is to enjoy my children first and then as teachable moments arise I try to give them the guidance they need.  I want my children to understand that my love, and my relationship with them is always there for them.  Even if I make them cry...I want them to always be able to return to me with "open arms."

After the rain

The other day it poured rain, of course I had no idea...I was sleeping through the night.  When I awoke the next morning there was lightning, wind, rain, even talk of a Japan??

So the kids` preschool got canceled and we had to go find something to do for the day.  We drove by the park that we often have BBQs and we were surprised to see what we saw.  In my five years of living in Japan I have never seen this before.  We could go swimming at the park for the first time ever!  Not a good idea in December though...

Just one of those sudden surprise of life I guess.  Certainly got the kids excited.  Maybe me too :).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sports` Day

It seems like a really long time since I have posted anything about the kids.  That is not to say things have not all together been crazy.  I can honestly say there is never a dull moment in the Barrett house!

So back to the action! Sports` Day is a major event in Japanese culture.  It is a day when families, even extended relatives gather together to watch their children compete in relays, track and other sporting events at the school grounds.

My two daughters are preschoolers, but even they get to join in the fun!  It was a treat to watch them dash as fast as they can to the finish line and watch the myriad of expressions throughout the day: from bored, to nervous, to excited, to hungry, to hyper, to tired, and eventually a hard night`s sleep.

Most Japanese schools are very serious about this big event day and that puts a lot of pressure on the kids, even little kids,  but not my daughters` preschool.  They make it so much fun, and there are even special needs kids who participate alongside with everyone too, nobody is left out.  The atmosphere is so positive, filled with dancing and music.  It is almost like a little taste of heaven.  After Sports` Day, we always come home saying, "We love Zion Preschool!"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Manna`s birthday!

Well Manna is now four years old.  It seems like a long time, if I sit and think about it.  Four years ago we were in the hospital in Tokyo all together with little baby Manna.

It`s hard to believe how fast they grow...

Anyways onto the celebration.  Manna requested that we take her to the Rainforest Cafe.  It has quite an ambiance, from robotic elephants and gorillas to huge fish tanks, don`t forget the artificial thunderstorm that comes every 10 minutes or so.  I just wish I could say the food was that great, but it`s okay and obviously over priced.  I mean $15 tacos...come on! They also have a giant hamburger for the shocking price of $45...but it does come with fries.

So Manna was super excited and couldn`t stop talking the whole time.  She hardly ate anything because she just had to get up and explore the place.

Overall a memorable experience.  I hope you all enjoy the photos and videos

Monday, July 19, 2010


Today being a holiday for me and of course the girls on their summer vacation, we took off to the park for a few hours.  It was warm but shade and a breeze helped out a lot.

After the park we went to watch a show at a local mall.  PRECURE is the name of the Japanese Animation.  It is a typical heroine type action show.  Of course this was done with real people dressed up dancing, fighting, and doing whatever.  I couldn`t help but laugh at the corniness of it all, but the girls really enjoyed it.

In fact Manna was in tears when the pink one (blossom) left the stage after being attacked by the bad guy.  She thought she must have died or something.  It took a few minutes to assure her it was going to be okay.

So now tomorrow I am back to work, and I guess things will be a little less tiring.  Days off from work don`t necessarily mean a vacation.

Long ,but fun day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pool season starts!

Today was the opening day for the local pool we often go to. The great thing is the pool is relatively close (about 30 minute drive) and it`s FREE!

And to make things better we were able to meet up with some of Anna and Manna`s friends there too. We spent about 3 hours in the sun, going in and out of the pool trying to keep kids from slipping and falling, and to stay happy and hydrated!!

Whew! Feeling the burn....sunburn maybe.

Anyways we have a lot more days of pool fun ahead. Enjoy the pics and videos


Saturday, July 17, 2010


Today after returning home from work we went to the neighborhood matsuri (Japanese festival).
There were a lot of children and people dressed in the traditional Japanese summer attire. Of course we got the girls all dressed up as well. Manna really enjoyed dancing on the stage. We bought Tako yaki, shaved ice, and some toys for the girls. They really enjoyed the atmosphere with the taiko drums and Bon dance. We also ran into a few neighbors and friends.
Before we knew it, it was past eight and time to go.
Except for the sweltering humidity, I really enjoy Japanese summers!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer vacation starts!!

The girls have just finished their first semester of preschool together.

And the early mornings are really warming up.
The garden has really grown the past 3 months
Every morning we are likely to have cucumbers or tomatoes waiting for us

Manna is especially fond of cucumbers.

And Anna loves tomatoes.

We hope to be growing melons soon, hopefully in time for the 90 degree summer heat!!