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Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome to the Family-Matthew!

Last week we welcomed a new member to our family.  Matthew Yoshiya was born on Thursday morning in Japan.  We were both excited and relieved to see him and to know that he is healthy.  In Japan radiation is a big concern and he has a high risk of being affected by it.  We were told that he might have Down Syndrome or a birth defect during Yumi`s pregnancy according to a test she took.  Also Yumi has been exposed to radioactive water and other contamination after the Fukushima plant melted down in March, but we are yet to see any ill effects in Matthew.  We thank God that he is well and is home with us. 

Matthew now is going to be in the middle of a tug a war of attention.  All three girls want to hold and cuddle him.  We are definitely going to have to keep an eye on him and make sure the girls take good care of him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cana from baby to little girl

Karaoke is something we try to do from time to time.  The girls love it!
It seems like Cana has been the baby for the longest time.  But recently she is becoming more and more like a little girl.  The fact that I can converse with her and have an actual dialogue even though she is still only 2 years old is still something I am trying to fathom. 

She is in a stage of growth, the once angelic persona is often mixed with tantrums and unexplained crying sessions.  Something is definitely going on inside, something is developing within her. Yet I am still amazed that she will heed our words.  She will put up a fight but it appears she thinks it through and eventually returns with affection. 

Describing Cana one thing I have to say is that she pays close attention to those around her.  She often will pick up on non-verbal cues or even on dialogue and respond by helping or being the first to jump in the bath tub, etc.  Most of the time we rarely have to persuade or ask her to do much.  This is something that the other two do not come by naturally.  Seeing the differences and similarities in my children makes me reflect on the fact that part of me is in them too. 

Am I looking at a part of myself when I look at them?...when I look at Cana?  Of course I would like to take the credit for the good behavior and shun the bad, but the truth is probably the opposite.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Things Change...

Picture of our backyard last summer.  We grew quite a few plants in our small plot of land.  The sunflowers got real tall.  Those were happy times.

Looking back at the days gone by and browsing through pictures a smile comes across my face and along with it my eyes become a little watery.  Our life in Japan these days is very different for a lot of reasons.  After the earthquake we were forced to move.  The house that we spent the last couple years raising our three daughters is no longer.

I drove by a few weeks ago and was shocked to see what used to be our home completely gone. It is a complicated feeling looking at such a place.

So far things are going okay, but I say that knowing that perhaps they will soon change again.  We are about to have our fourth child sometime this week.  Again things are always changing.  It is sometimes sad when you think about it never being the same, but also there are good things that may come.  We are believing for the best and trusting God for the rest.

Manna and Cana, the talkers

Manna and Cana sitting together while riding ANPANMAN shopping carts taken in 2010

Most of my posts have focused on Anna, the oldest daughter of ours.  The other two Manna and Cana have the same energetic blood running through their veins but express themselves differently.  While Anna loves to get physical with her energy these two love to talk and talk and talk. A day doesn`t go by when they don`t stop to ask a silly question or make up a silly story.  Manna especially loves silly stories.  For example, she will stop you and ask you to listen and then say that she had a dream (her way of referring to her imagination) of ponies flying and when they landed they all had daddy`s face.  Cana loves to repeat what she hears.  She will sing and dance around repeating what everyone else is saying in the room.  They are precious..up to a point when we have to settle them down or get them to turn down their volume. As you can imagine it is quite a lively scene when I arrive home from work.  All of them talking to me at once, all the while Yumi is trying to give the daily report of the day`s happenings and things needing to be done.

Both Cana and Manna are very good at articulating their feelings and thoughts a big difference from raising Anna. Anna barely spoke a word for years after moving to Japan.  My wife and I both feeling very sorry for her, since it was probably a shock for her to go from aEnglish to a Japanese speaking environment.  Though we tried to keep English as the home language.

So as I spend time with Manna and Cana I realize they respond and act differently using language as a form of play.  It requires me to engage beyond the typical dogpile and wrestling type parenting I am used to. I have to stop and think, and while most of the time it is overwhelming, I cherish it.  There may come a day when they say to me, "Dad I don`t want to talk about it..." or "You never listen to me" So for now I am investing as best as I can while trying to keep my sanity. 

All my girls love to sing and dance. But Manna and Cana will make your ears sore!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


A boy waves the flag for the red team (Anna`s Team), as a girl drums the taikodrum behind him as the runners race around the track at Field Day UNDOU-KAI
A few weeks ago Anna had her first Field Day (UNDOU-KAI) on Saturday.  It is a custom for Elementary schools to hold these events on the weekends so that parents, grandparents and friends can watch the students participate in a variety of competitive games such as tug of war, relay races, dashes, hurdles, ball tossing, and many more.  They even have special dances performed by entire grades.

Anna in her dash was put against the faster runners in her grade and she came out in 1st place.  She also was chosen to run in the relay race but her team finished in 3rd. It was great to see her compete and do her best.  That morning she woke up with great excitement and determination.  It was like she had prepared, worked hard and knew she was going to win.  And just for the record, I am not the type of parent to pump up and train my kids to be super over-achievers.  This was all her! I just told her to go run and have fun today and "You`ll do great Anna!" As you look at the pictures you may wonder why Anna is wearing a mask.  She lost her two front teeth and decided that she should wear it. Here are a few photo highlights from the day.

Anna is wearing the mask and has her hands out in victory after finishing first place in the dash.
The school grounds were filled with about 3,000 people and everybody had their cameras out and the weather was quite warm as well.  It will certainly live on to be a great memory for us and Anna.  She was beaming after she came home that day knowing how well she had done and enjoyed such a time with her classmates and friends.
The children compete by tossing colored balls into a hoop and the team with the most balls wins.  TAMA-IRE

Anna during the Disney Dance.  She loved practicing for this and still does it all the time.

Amidst all the hardship and trials she has been through it brought a little tear to my eye to see her so satisfied and happy...