Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sometimes I wonder...

Why do we put off doing certain things?

We've been married for ten years and we never had what I call a tooshy squirter. In Japan they are called a shower toilets. Basically it is a toilet seat that can spray your tooshy after you finish your business. To some people this sounds horrifying. I have to admit when I first heard of it, I was shocked and disgusted. But there is one thing about living in another culture, in broadens your horizons! Try it once, and you will never want to go back again! The first house we lived in already had a tooshy squirter and when we moved out of there we had to leave it behind. I thought for some reason that they are REALLY expensive, like over $1,000. So I always told Rocky that I could live without. Come to find out, they start at around $150 or so. Needless to say, we finally got one recently. And now I am asking myself, WHY did we ever go without!? And this thing is awesome too, it has a sensor that detects when you walk in the room and it warms the seat for you before you sit down! Now that is fast! It also has an etiquette target light for men, so they know where to aim! LOL, that totally cracks me up. It also heats the water as it is being used instead of keeping it hot all the time. It doesn't waste extra energy and it makes life nicer! I like things like that!

The next thing we have gone without for so long, is this...

A nose washer! When we go to the ear nose and throat doctor in Japan, they usually wash out your nose if you have a nasal infection. Again this sounds awful, but it is actually wonderful. It's a saline solution and the water is warm. It doesn't hurt at all, and you can not imagine how wonderful it feels to get all that gunk out. Blowing your nose can't come anywhere near doing what a nasal lavage does! It rocks. I have been too busy this week to get to the ear nose and throat doctor for a sinus infection I have so I broke down and bought one! Heavenly! Too wonderful for words.

My only regret. After buying it at the drug store, I found it online for much cheaper than what I bought it for. Oh well... at least I have the luxury of doing that at home when I need to. It's going to be great for prevention of nose problems too. And I can't wait to see if it helps with allergies too.

I feel so refreshed these days! It's the little things in life sometimes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This time of year always makes me nostalgic. *sigh* Thanksgiving and Christmas. If they didn't fall so close together it would sure be easier. But my family in the states have all been together in these last few days and will get together again soon in just four more weeks. Usually NOTHING makes me wish I were back in America. Well, maybe every once in a while visions of a juicy steak at Cagle's Steak house have me hankering for a trip home. Or the idea of walking into Target, Walmart, Gap, Old Navy, or any of those kind of places and being able to find clothes that really fit me (i.e. pant legs are long enough and sleeves are long enough) at such amazing prices, have me forgetting what it would be like to travel on three planes for over 24 hours with two little ones. Or when I think about hugging my Momma's neck, or playing with my sweet nephews and letting my brother cook something good for me, or... well you get the picture, only every once in a while for a minute or two I think, "Oh that would be nice right about now." But the holidays sometimes get to me.

Especially this year. Much of our "family" here in Japan are gone. Two missionary couples who were serving in our church are no longer here as of this year or last. And of course missionary families from years past have been gone for a while. It seems our little group gets smaller and smaller all the time. Then this week both the kiddos had the H1N1 flu. We were scheduled to get together with a couple of international couples on Monday, which is a Japanese holiday, but for some reason they didn't want to come over to our house... imagine that!? ;) just kiddin', I don't blame 'em.

So I got no turkey this week. Didn't get anything remotely resembling dressing or mashed potatoes. There weren't no pie 'round these parts this week.(can you tell how nostalgic I'm getting, I'm even starting to sound like all the folks back home)

But don't think this is some sob story for this little missionary, who is sacrificing so much to serve God in Japan. NOPE! I'm not sacrificing anything. I have mountains of blessings right at my feet. (And the fact that I didn't get anything Thanksgiving-like this week is my own fault, I was too lazy to make it even for our own little clan).

It just makes me nostalgic. I rarely get this way. I don't usually get a hankerin' for home, so I just thought I would record my sentimental mood while it lasts.

I guess another thing that brought it on was a sweet conversation I had with my sweet little daughter this week. Every once in a while, in conversation, it comes up that "Bam" (her grandpa, my mom's husband, my second Dad - I don't know a better way to describe who he is since I hate the words step Dad and "new" Dad sounds so morbid, he is worthy of a name that evokes more "love" in it when you read the words so until someone comes up with a better term I guess second Dad it is, anyways I digress) was not the Daddy that I grew up with. A man that, this is so strange to me, she doesn't even know, was my Daddy when I was a "yiyle giwl" (as Hana would say). On the way home in the car the other day I said something my Dad always used to say and Rocky and I got to talking about how funny he was. That started Hana to asking questions.

"Mommy, Bam wasn't your Daddy when you was yiyle giwl?"
No sweety, Grandpa Marlow was, but he died.
"Mommy, why did he die?"
Well, he had a bad disease, one that we couldn't make better, so he died.
"How was he sick?"
Well, he had a disease that made him get sicker and sicker all the time.
"Did he have a wheel chair? Could he talk? etc."
"Did you cry a whole lot Mommy?"
Yes, sweety, I did cry, a whole bunch.
"Were you sad and cried in your bed at night?"
Yes, I did that many times when he was sick and after he died too, I miss him a lot.
"Did you cry with Gaga's?" (Gaga's is my Mom)
Yes, we both cried.

And her questions go on and on.

The other night as we had this conversation the last bit on the drive home, and as we pulled up in front of the house she unbuckled her seat belt and leaned into the front seat area and asked for a kiss as I was waiting for the garage door to go up. She kept her face close to mine and said, "I'm sorry you were so sad Mommy. I'm sorry your Daddy died."

What a sweet heart.

So all at the same time, that conversation made me homesick and nostalgic but yet, so thankful for the family that God has given me today. So thankful that He called me to this country where I would meet Rocky and marry him and these two precious babies would become my children. Sometimes a woman's heart is more complicated than words. Two totally opposite emotions running rampant in my heart these past few days. Joy and sadness, enthusiasm for where I am and nostalgia for the past, resentment for the distance between here and there and thankfulness and contentment in the family I have here. No wonder we women are so hard for our menfolk to figure out most of the time ;o)

So even though Thanksgiving day rolled by hardly unnoticed for me this year, tonight I am so thankful to be the daughter of three Daddies (my Heavenly Father, my father in heaven, and my earthy father), the daughter of one amazing Mommy, the Mommy to two amazing and precious children, and the wife to one awesome and loving man of God! Every part of my life is something I never dreamed it would be. In ever way it is better than I ever could have dreamed it would be. Minus turkey with all the fixin's...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home school update, starting to read!!!

*once again, this is a repeat from Hana's blog*

This week in home school, the curriculum started teaching her to blend consonants and vowels together. I literally saw the moment she made the connection with the sounds these letters make and then putting it all together in a word. It is like she is off to the races and I can't stop her. The curriculum wanted her to only read two letter syllables the first day but she was making up words and begging me to spell them out for her. If we were learning the blend "sa" she would start saying, "sa, sa, sad! Mommy spell sad, let's read it!" Or if we were reading "la" she goes, "la, la, laugh! Mommy make laugh!" (of course she would pick a hard word like that one!) It was crazy to watch. For months I have been pointing to words as I read them, trying to get her to sound out short simple words, but she just didn't seem to really get it. This week, I think she got it!

Tonight as we were reading a story she kept stopping me and asking me to let her read. Or I would read a sentence until I got to a word I knew she could sound out and let her read THAT word, she was LOVING it! by the end of the book, she was reading the word kitchen, sat, cake, go, and more that I can't remember. After reading a page she would go back and search for the words she could recognize. Then a few pages over she would ask to go back to the previous page and find the word again! She's got great learning skills, she WANTS to do these things herself. It is so fun to watch her doing this. I don't think it is going to be long before she just takes off reading all by herself.

Teaching your child is soooooooooo addictive! I can't get enough of how fun it is to watch her learning and growing. This is Sunday and she BEGGED to do home school this afternoon, so we did home school on a Sunday! AWESOME!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Struggles and Triumphs...

I was looking through my blog tonight and realized it has been a while since I did a "me" update! Ha, imagine that...

It is not necessarily because of lack of time, although there seems to be very little of that these days. It is mostly because I've struggled with what to share. THIS has been a crazy year!

A surprise baby (phone call and two days later, hello newborn) is a HUGE blessing. I LOVE surprises, so it really is fun for me in a way that we got both our children in such a unique exciting way (we had only 4 days notice with Hana). Yet, it also comes with its draw backs.

Hana was just beginning to get pretty independent. I was really starting to enjoy some me time. I was thinking about picking back up a few old hobbies that had totally died in the wake of Mommy-hood. I was beginning to see some of the positives to having an only child and actually appreciate them and be thankful, rather than cry and moan about not having the "quiver full" that I had dreamed of. I was... settling in I guess you'd say. Rocky and I had JUST had a conversation about how it had been two years since we had asked for a second baby and we guessed it was time to let it go and move on, we probably weren't getting another one. We are surrounded by others who are on the waiting list too, most waiting for #1 so we figured surely we had little chance of a second child. I was really actually beginning to embrace it.

You can not imagine my joy and complete disbelief when we got the call about Kai! I was overjoyed and so thankful. So amazed that we get another baby, a newborn! A baby boy! Just couldn't believe it.

But practically overnight I went from having quite a bit more time for me for the first time in years to giving 150% of me 24/7. Not only is a newborn demanding, but I was adoptive breastfeeding which adds even more. Nursing takes time with a newborn (8-10 feedings a day, at LEAST 30 minutes per feeding but usually more), and then I had the added task of cleaning and sterilizing not only bottles for each feeding but bags and tubes from the nursing supplementer. This on top of our already busy ministry lifestyle and a house and family to take care of proved to be quite a lot on my plate. I became emotionally, physically, mentally, culturally and did I mention physically? exhausted!

I'll admit that I've wallered (that's a word folks, I promise) in self pity a time or too in the past months. You know if there is one thing motherhood teaches you, it is how selfish you really are. Seriously! Any selfish people around here? *raising my hand*!

I feel like I am finally getting my head above water in the past weeks. I finally feel like I've struck a balance again. and I am finally feeling like myself again. Brace yourself though, God likes to keep me on my toes! ;o) What will He send our way next!? As Steven Curtis Chapmen says in one of his songs... "Bring it on!"

The Lord has taught me YET AGAIN that He is sufficient for me. He is enough. You know I often read the Old Testament and wonder how God had so much patience with those finicky, impatient and ungrateful Israelites!!! oh... wait a minute... I am exactly like them. I think all human beings must be exactly the same. He doesn't have extra patience for the Israelites or for me, He just IS patient. Can I get an AMEN? When will I get it through my thick skull that I can't get what I need from anywhere else? Thank you for loving me Lord, I don't know why you do.

And so oddly enough, things on the inside start to fall into place again, and things on the outside do too. Interesting how that happens. I suddenly feel like and want to eat healthy again and work out again. I suddenly want to spend more time in worship and prayer, read the Bible. I suddenly have more patience for my children and spouse, more energy to do what needs to be done. Gee, wonder where that came from!? duh!

So I'm struggling through this Mommy thing, this wife thing, this ministry thing. I'm still learning along the way. It is suddenly hitting me, we never EVER stop learning! I'm struggling. And the Lord is blessing me with little triumphs here and there. He winks at me periodically throughout the day, when Hana breaks out into a verse of a praise song and we get to singing it together. Or when I watch her reciting her memory verses while she plays. Or when I watch her and Kai play chase or peek-a-boo. And when my honey comes back from a meeting or something and we get o share how we saw God working while we were apart. When he is playing with the kiddos while I cook dinner. When we spoon and fall asleep at night laughing about something silly we said or did and talking about the day.

God winks at me all the time and suddenly I have eyes to see it again. His gentle love and abounding grace for me will never cease to amaze me. Finicky little ol' me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home school update, November 09

*If you follow both mine and Hana's blog then this is a repeat from what already appeared on her blog*

Home schooling is going so well. She really loves it and she is learning so much! She has THREE memory verses that she can easily recite now and we start a new one tomorrow. She has the days of the week and the months of the year totally memorized. This has REALLY helped her with understanding time like today, tomorrow, next week, next month. She is very excited about January coming because it is Kai's birthday AND she can start chewing gum again (she got gum in her hair once and then spit it directly at me once all within a couple days, and is now grounded from gum until January). So she often talks about how this is November and next month is December and then comes January!

Learning to write has been our biggest challenge. She is ready for it and wants to do it but sometimes gets very frustrated with it. I am trying to figure out if she is a perfectionist or just lazy. When she can't write one correctly, she quickly gets very upset. Sometimes she gets upset before even TRYING to write it. Before we left for Hokkaido she knew how to write 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10. She LOVED writing these numbers. As we fill in her calendar each day she would proudly write these without wanting any help from me. After we got back from Hokkaido, the first day back in home school she had to write a 3 and she just dug her heels in the ground and refused to even try. For at least 20 minutes she would NOT try it. She wanted me to write it first and let her trace it. So I would do that and then tell her she had to write on herself and she would get livid. It was a major stand off. I knew she could do it and was determined to make her. She insisted she could not. Then she began to cry and wail about how she had forgotten it. I am still trying to figure out if she was embarrassed because she HAD forgotten or if that was an excuse or what. But after an hour of letting her trace it after I wrote it. Guiding her hand while she wrote it. Making her draw one in the air for me (which she could do with no problem). Making her trace it with her finger. She still insisted she could not do it without help and WOULD not write a three all by herself. I think the entire stand off lasted almost 2 hours. For the last hour she would draw the top of the three and then just let her pencil drag down the paper in a line or make the lower part of the three the opposite way (making a backwards s). It was crazy because I knew she knew HOW to do it, she just WOULDN'T. We had to quit because it was dinner time by then, but I told her the very first thing she would have to do the next day is write a 3. The next day it was about a 30 minute stand off but she finally wrote one. Then after that for about 3 days every time writing a number came up, she would fall apart again. But I kept talking to her about how we don't just give up because something is hard and we don't quit. She was doing this happily and without any problems just a few weeks before. It was really throwing me for a loop, WHY was she doing this all of the sudden.

And now, just a week later, she is happily bringing me papers all day long proudly showing me how she can write the number 3. The first day that she did this so proudly all on her own during play time, she came to me so excited and showed me and then said, "Mommy, I'm sorry." I asked her why she was sorry and she said she was sorry that she cried about writing the number 3.

I don't know if I will ever understand what that was all about. And I am still wondering if I handled it the right way or not since I don't know exactly where those actions were coming from. I am sure every teacher out there reading this is shaking their head at me. I bet that most instruction on teaching would totally tear my actions to shreds and have all kinds of research to show me that it was wrong to MAKE her do something. But I feel like she was testing me, to see if I would let her off the hook and not make her do something she just didn't WANT to do. Up until this point in home schooling I have babied her a little. I learned early on that to push her too much resulted in a fit that would promptly end our day of school. SHE learned that too. The only thing is I knew she COULD do what I was asking her to do this time. And I also knew that if I set up a standard for backing down when she doesn't want to do something, she will use that to her advantage in the future. She'll use that little tactic when something is a little challenging, when she just doesn't FEEL like doing something, or when she just wants to see who is in control. I think she was already using that little tactic some of the time. I am still learning what she does and doesn't know and what she can and can not do, so I was letting her get away with it so far. But I decided it was time to draw the line on being lazy and not trying! So far, we are doing MUCH better in the writing department. I think that the fact she is doing well now means I did the right thing.

What is awesome though is that through all that, she still WANTED to do home school everyday and she still loves it. Writing all that out like that makes it seems like it was a big HUGE deal, but it was only one day that the huge stand off occurred. and all other areas of home school were greeted with lots of enthusiasm and fun. It really is amazing.

So here you can see Hana's writing! (Kai's name I wrote first and she traced it, and same with "Rocky" and "Marla" too) but the rest she wrote all by herself! And the drawing is of Kai!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

New most embarrassing moments...

Right here, for your very much blog reading enjoyment, Marla's new most embarrassing moment...

So we were at church all day Friday. Finally got home, packed to leave on Saturday and crashed because Hana's preschool had sports day the next morning. Sports day was scheduled to end around 12:00 and we had to catch a train at 12:55. Our travel would take about 6 hours to get to Kouchi for a Saturday evening concert and Sunday morning concert, after which we would turn around and come back home (yes, we sign up for this kind of craziness). Sports day went very smoothly and finished early. We actually got to sit down in a restaurant to have lunch. I was beginning to think this crazy trip might not be so bad.

We boarded a train to the main station in town, and then hopped on a bullet train. Kai slept a good part of the way, all was going well. UNTIL we were pulling in to our stop to get off the bullet train. Hana just casually says, "I think I'll go to the bathroom after we get off the train." and I say, "Okay, sure we can do that." I'm holding Kai (still asleep) and Rocky disappears to throw some trash away when I notice a panicked look on Hana's face. And she says, "Mooooommmmy, I am peeing in my pants." I'm like, "Oh my gosh Hana, STOP, wait!" But I look down and her shoes are filling with pee, beginning to overflow and a huge puddle is forming on the floor beneath her. Have I mentioned that this child has been totally potty trained for more than 3 years and never had an accident after about the first month or two after potty training was done?

You must keep in mind, a bullet train stops at a station for like a minute, and we were slowing down for our stop. If we miss this stop we will have to ride another long ways to the next stop get off and come back (we are on the Nozomi super express which doesn't stop very often) and that will make us late for our concert engagement. I'm holding sleeping Kai and can do nothing like pull a diaper or something out of my bag to start soaking up teetee and there is no train staff person in sight.

At this point I'm standing still in a panic having no idea what to do. I must have looked like a flamingo, motionless and doing nothing, only I had both legs on the ground. Rocky appears again and I tell him to do something but he can't find anything to clean it up and we are like seconds from stopping. I look back and a long line of pee is slowly making it's way down the aisle of the train and people are starting to look back to see what is this liquid running down the aisle beside them.

Finally I see a train staff person coming towards me and tell her what happened. She grabs some paper towels and starts to clean it up and all I can do is apologize and bow profusely, stating that we must get off the train at this stop. All the while row by row, train passengers are looking back and I can see the realization come across their face as to what is this mysterious river running down the aisle. The foreigner stands there apologizing and bobbing her head like a duck fishing in the pond as a little girl stands beside her with her legs spread apart in an uncomfortable stance and little wet footprints are following her.

At this point the train staffer begins to ignore my constant apology as I can see this look of total resentment begins to spread across her face. I know she's thinking, "Why did I have to be the one who came walking through this car at this moment? This is not a part of my job description, cleaning up pee!"

By this time the train is stopping and my last glimpse of the car we were riding in, was the passengers in aisle 2,3,4,5 and 6 staring back at us with disdain, several passengers scrambling to get their bags up off the floor, a line of papers towels following the river of pee and the crumpled nose of the train staffer as she is frantically dropping paper towels and whipping up pee.

We exited the train and Rocky and I both just sighed. At moments like these, you can comfort yourself with two thoughts... (or maybe three)

1. I will never see any of those people again in my entire life (or at least I hope I won't. won't it be hilarious when someone comes up to me after a concert some day and tells me where they've seen me before --- but I choose not to think of that right now)
2. I am a foreigner here and can be forgiven instantly for almost any social faux pas, as I am not supposed to "know better". (ya think that works here? am I not supposed to know better than to stand motionless doing nothing while my daughters pee runs down a train aisle and then just walk off the train as someone else cleans it up? Yea sure, that works for me...)
3. And lastly, no one ever has to know about this cause I won't ever see those people again in my life (only I am sharing about this on my BLOG where hundreds of people might read it)

Yea, I feel comforted...

Okay, so I get Hana changed and even washed her up in the huge sink I found in the handicap bathroom at the station. We rush to catch our connecting train. At this point Hana is barefoot and everyone is staring at that now. But at least they're smiling at how cute she looks happily tagging along her Dora backpack, carefree and barefoot on a trip with Mommy and Daddy (if they only knew)!

The next train however, for some reason begins to rock and sway. I could have sworn we took a train, not a boat. It is almost impossible to stand up and walk on this train. hmmmm, interesting. Trying to keep Hana entertained since we can't get up and walk around, I start playing games with her and then reading her books. Along about the end of the second book I start to notice a very familiar feeling. Yep, motion sickness coming on fast.

I proceed to turn increasingly bright shades of green as my body temperature decides to sky rocket, and my stomach begins whisper unpleasant things in my ear. I make a couple trips to the area between cars where the bathrooms are, to be on standby (just in case). All the while, my stomach stops whispering and begins to speak louder and louder. Several times I actually go inside the bathroom but nothing is happening. Well except for all the moaning I'm doing and praying to Jesus, "Just let me throw up, let me get it over with. Cast these demons out of my tummy Please Jesus, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!"

I returned to my seat for a moment because I can hear Kai fussing about Mommy being gone (both of my children seem to know when Mommy isn't feeling well, Hana once had a screaming fit when I was motion sick and had to leave her to go be sick). I tried to hold and comfort Kai, but at this point I think the moment is approaching. I turn Kai back over to Daddy and head back for the rest room at which point the sign on the door says "occupied"! For the last 30 minutes no one has been anywhere near this restroom. NOW they choose to occupy it! UGH! I rush back to grab a plastic bag we had full of snacks and have to huddle in the corner for the Lord to bring about the answer to my prayers.

Yes, not 10 seconds later I hear the person exit the toilet and at that point it was all over. UGH!

Even getting that over with didn't make things better and the last hour on that train I was pretty miserable. We arrived at our destination and about one hour later launched into a one and half hour concert where I had to give my testimony in Japanese. All the while Kai is screaming in the baby room because it is past his bed time, and I could clearly hear him.

I've never been so happy to check into a hotel room my entire life. I slept like a rock that night.

Today's trip home... not nearly as eventful. I'm so glad to be home!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blessing this Mommy's heart...

Hana has gone around singing our "Days of the Week" and "Months of the Year" song for several days. She is singing "My Father's World" all the time. She also LOVES to recite her memory verse for this month! video of this coming soon!

I could just sit and cry every time I hear her doing those things. She is learning. She is learning from home school. She is learning at home school from ME! She loves it. I could not have asked for more. I am so blessed. Thank you LORD!!! We praise YOU!!! Because I could not do this by myself. You have given my baby girl a desire to learn, like nothing I have seen before now. I am so amazed and excited and humbled! WOW!!!

Oh and one more thing. Hana has never really wanted me to read books to her. I would say in the last 5 years of her life I have read less than 20 books to her. She wants to look at them alone, but does not want them read to her. Besides Bible stories at bed time, she's never asked for stories. Now, all of the sudden (I know you did this Lord) she wants to read books all day! We read at least two or three at the end of home school and then 3 or 4 more before bed at night. Plus a chapter a day in "The Boxcar Children" which is a chapter book meant for 7 years and up! She is LOVING it! I am so thankful!

I am just beyond overjoyed, can you tell? I never dreamed it would go this well. Have I mentioned she is also wanting to write her letters!? WOW!

But I just can not tell you what a joy it is to hear my daughter speaking God's Word and singing praise songs to Him! Amazing stuff!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I am reading a great book right now. It is called The Survivors Guide to Home Schooling. It has been encouraging, given me lots of ideas, and also given me a realistic outlook on some things that I have yet to face but know I will.

One chapter I read tonight though, was awesome. And interestingly enough it was mostly not about home schooling. It was especially refreshing for me because Kai just turned 8 months old and we are beginning to repeat all of the training that started with Hana at about this age. He is currently into EVERYTHING. And he is not responding to "NO!" as obediently as Hana did. I am seeing first hand that there is a lot less serotonin in that little boy body than in a little girl! LOL (serontonin is a hormone that is believed to cause girls make more rational decisions and be less daring and less wreckless)!

This chapter in the books starts out talking about situations where the parents have major problems home schooling because they haven't disciplined their children according to the Bible! The portion of the chapter that simply talks about what the Bible says about discipline and how/why to discipline your children, is one of the most concise, well thought out echoes of my own beliefs I have ever read. A few quotes...

"Children need to be taken from parent control, to self-control, to God control. This is the big picture that a parent needs to keep in mind."

"Obedience involves doing the will of another who has authority in your life. It means doing what you are told to do instead of what you wanted to do. It is our job to make them obey us (parent control) until they learn to choose to obey us (self-control) and then learn to choose to obey the Lord (God control)."

"An adult who has never learned to obey an authority in his life has a very difficult time learning to obey the Lord. Knowing that obedience to the will of God is what produces real peace and fulfillment, we see how important it is to teach our children to be obedient."

TOO many parents including Christian parents, have fallen into the trap of listening to a purely humanistic philosophy of child raising. It is very appealing because it SEEMS so gentle and loving. I am living in a country right now where these humanistic philosophies of child raising are universally the norm. Some of it is because they purposefully set out to raise their children this way. For others, it is just because it is all they have seen or they are too lazy to discipline or don't even realize they should. Almost no one raises their children with character training and strict discipline here. And overwhelmingly this way of raising kids is a HUGE failure! It just doesn't work. That is the bottom line.

Interestingly enough it is directly and totally the opposite of what the Bible teaches.

It says... Children are born totally innocent and sinless and left to choose they will do what is right.
The Bible says... Children are born with a sinful nature (Jer. 17:9) In the book she makes a profound statement "We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners." So true!

Humanism says... Children are incredibly open, selfless and pure.
The Bible says... Children are foolish and self centered. (Prov. 22:15)
We have some friends, who were raising their child on the humanism philosophy and they believed he knew what was best for hiimself better than they the parents did (because he was without sin and even closer to God than they, the sinful parents were). The last time we were around them a lot, I saw a very self centered, stubborn child who controlled his parents and they could not control him.

Humanism says... While it is true that a parent must protect his/her child from danger, there is some question as to whether one human being has the right to enforce his will upon another. Especially since the child is pure and good and the parent is not.
The Bible says... It is the parents' God-given responsibility to train up their children. (Prov. 29:17, Prov. 22:6, Deut. 6:6,7)

and the list goes on and on.

I see so many parents around me struggling with their children. They are following the humanistic way of thinking in raising their kids or simply not disciplining them at all because they don't know how to or want to. They are miserable and their children are miserable.

I also see older people who were raised this way struggling so much with life. Earlier I wrote how the author talked about children who can't respect authority growing up to struggle with being obedient to God. I have seen this in many people but right now am thinking specifically of a close up experience with a certain person in my life. I have watched this person try to the best of his/her ability to obey God but be totally incapable of doing it. And then run from God, fully aware that they would be happier if they would obey. Then come back and then run again. And the cycle continues.

It is sometimes comical to see the looks on Japanese peoples' faces when Hana obeys us immediately when we tell her to do something. It is expected here that your child won't obey you, and a shock when they do. On occasion a parent will want to know how we got Hana to obey and we will tell them. They smile and nod like, "How nice for you, but that would never work for me." They don't even want to TRY.

It breaks my heart to see so much difficulty that could be prevented. So much heartache that could have been avoided.

I wish I could write like the author of this book I am reading. I wish I could somehow present a different possibility in a way that would motivate even some parents to think differently and put forth some effort. But if there is anything I have learned as a missionary it is that I can't do anything. Only God works in hearts and changes people.

But since we are asked so often about our child raising philosophies, I thought I might share some of it on my blog. I am NOT a perfect parent. BY far, I still have a lot to learn and I still have a lot of progress to make in applying (and applying well) these philosophies I believe in. I am not writing this because I think I have it all together as a Mom. I am writing it because I feel we've formed our philosophies on the ONE true Father who IS perfect and knows exactly how it should be done. And as I learn and understand along the way, I thought I would share some. I am being reminded of so much as we start from scratch with Kai.

Training my children, I feel is the third most important thing I will do on this earth. #1 is serving my God and #2 is being a mate to my Sugarpie!

And so I will pray and maybe sometimes write a little...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Having a good time...

We are having a great time homeschooling! Really, we are! We had a challenging day. I know these are a part of the whole package. I am going to learn as much in this whole process as Hana is. I'm learning so much about being a Mommy! SOOOO much!

But mostly it is all fun. She is almost done with a 10 day unit on creation. I gave her a Bible that I bought for her several years ago in the states. She loves it! We have made a book that she and I illustrated showing each day of creation (you know pictures of that will be coming soon) and she is becoming motivated to try to write. I have not been able to get her to try until now!

Today was especially fun. Each day we have been reviewing the names of upper-case and lower-case letters. I wanted to try to mix it up a little and make it more interesting (it was getting boring even for me), so I lined up the lower case letters on one side of the room and we sat on the other side of the room. I handed her one upper-case card, made her name the letter and then sent her to run and get the lower-case of that same letter as quickly as she could. She LOVED it!

I think if the weather is nice on Saturday we are going to side walk chalk the letters on the street or wall in front of our house and then "erase" them with a paint roller that is soaked in water! Should be lots of fun!

loving this!!!

This first pic is her new Bible!

Looking up that day's scripture reference for me! She can find Genesis 1 now. When I told her today again that we were reading from Genesis 1 she said, "AGAAAAAAAAIN????" LOL, I think she wants to see a different page!

Working hard!

This is the look I get when she can't answer a question and it usually comes with the statement "I forgot." Which in Hananese means I don't know. She has never used the phrase I don't know, it is always I forgot, even if it information she can't possibly have already know! LOL

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lord, I'm listening...

After a particularly difficult morning with Hana before taking her to preschool, this was waiting in my inbox when I sat down at my desk.

Parenting Tip
September 7, 2009
The Value of Training
Every day you're training your children to become healthy responsible adults. Is it okay to get up and walk away in the middle of a meal? Is it acceptable to leave the table without helping to clean it up? Is it all right to eat without saying thank you to the one who prepared the meal? How will kids learn what's appropriate if you don't train them?

Unfortunately, as parents we get upset when our children need lots of correction or when they can't seem to change right away. It is true that some problems our children have take longer to overcome than others. Our response as parents is important, though. Our exasperation can damage the relationship. Firmness is important but the harshness can do more harm than good.

Kids make mistakes. Whether the errors are deliberate or accidental, children need a godly way to think in order to get back on track. Identify an issue you wish would change in one of your children. It might be arguing whenever you give an instruction or complaining when life doesn't go just right. Break the problem down and think of the alternatives you wish your child could do or think.

Talk about healthy alternatives and look for positive ways to motivate your child to maturity. You may have to use consequences to motivate change but don't neglect the potential of teaching new patterns of thinking, developing new skills, and giving children a vision for doing what's right.

Most of all, be patient. Training takes time and implies lots of work. You're a coach and your children are in training. Give your kids a vision for living life on a different level and they will grow into some great relating patterns.

This idea was taken from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

If this tip was sent to you by a friend and you'd like to continue to receive tips yourself, you can sign up at

Thank you for that gentle correction Lord, I needed it!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I am a home schooling Mom!

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Eph 1:18-19

This is my verse for our home school! Every time I have read this verse over the years I have prayed it for our children. YEARS ago, I marked it in my Bible and wrote "for my children" beside it. Long before I knew who they would be, long before I would hold them or look into their eyes. But that this is my prayer for them hasn't changed, in all these years!

We started today. This is a day I have thought about, prayed about, talked about, doubted about, wondered about, prayed about, doubted about (did I already say that!) and asked a million questions about for the past few years. This day finally arrived. And what did I learn today?

That God totally knows what He is doing! This is going to be sooooooo fun. I thoroughly enjoyed all the preparation leading up to this day and almost wish I still had more prep to do, it has been so fun. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed teaching today. And Hana LOVED it too! She didn't want to stop. She was begging for more. and to think I had doubts as to whether she would want to learn from me?! To think I wondered how our personalities would mesh in the classroom?

I realize that this was only the first day. I know it isn't all smooth sailing. I realize that there will be bumps and turns in the road. I just can't describe the peace that fills my heart today were this is concerned. I pray that continues. It feels so awesome.

Our memory verse right now... Psalm 136:1 "Praise the Lord He is good. God's love never fails" amen, amen and AMEN!!!!!!!

This is going to be sooooooooooo fun (did I already say that?)!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hana is 5!

My dear sweet precious baby girl. Five years ago today, you were born into this world - one of the greatest gifts God would ever give me. He knew you from the moment you were conceived, and He made you with the plan for you to be our daughter in mind. I still am amazed that God chose us. I get the privilege of being your Mommy! YOU are so precious to me.

Every day as I watch you grow, I see a little more of the precious spirit God has gifted you with. You are so caring and sweet. Just tonight on the way home from your birthday party, you were telling KaiKai, "I'm your big sister and if you ever fall, I will be there to help you. When you drop something, I pick it up for you. Because your still little, and you need my help!" WOW! What a blessing that KaiKai gets you as his big sister.

You are so helpful. If you see Mommmy making dinner, you will drop everything you are doing or ignore the movie you were watching and come ask if you can help me! I love the way you always want to eat the carrots and cucumbers I am cutting up. I am so proud of how you can crack eggs and mix up all my ingredients for me. You can almost make French toast all by yourself, you can do everything but cooking it on the fire. You also help put away laundry. You LOVE to help feed and care for you baby brother. You have been given the gift of helping!

You love to learn! Your favorite birthday gift was a learning set of blocks that Mommy and Daddy gave you. You have been wanting them for weeks, since I gave them to Ma-kun as his birthday gift. I was so happy to give them to you and so proud that it was the first thing you wanted to pull out and play with when we got home! You are going to be such a wonderful student in our home school! I look forward to teaching you!

You are so happy and funny! I am so glad that Jesus put so much joy in your heart! I pray you will always be able to find that joy, no matter what happens. It is something that draws other people to you. I don't know if you will ever be able to comprehend just how MANY people adore you. I pray you'll learn to use this gift for God's glory and to share his LOVE and joy with others!

I could spend hours and hours talking about just how special you are. In only five short little years you have made me the happiest Mommy in the world. I really look forward to watching you grow and change.

Mommy loves you more than you could ever imagine. Thank you for being my precious baby girl! Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A few weeks of rest...

and I am a NEW woman! It is amazing how much rest and free time will do for you! I can remember things now. I am sooooooooo much more productive now. I am in a good mood all day everyday! I am soooooo enjoying cooking our own meals, cleaning and organizing, and just getting my life in order again, on the outside as well as the inside.

We have been doing some fun things together too though. We've been on an overnight trip with the whole extended family. We have already spent one day at a water park and will do it again tomorrow (so fun)! We've enjoyed some time shopping and spending time with friends.

I just feel normal again. I feel like myself. I mean, if I think about the last year of our lives, sometimes I wonder how I survived. The end of last year was so busy I don't even want to think about it. Then Kai arrived on top of all our normal busy life. Then I took over the English classes at our church. Did I mention that was in the middle of trying to exclusively adoptive breast feed our newborn! (If you've never heard of adoptive breastfeeding, do an internet search, it is AWESOME, but exhausting, that's the short story of it) I always try to do too much. But the English classes have been a huge blessing. And Kai is just so amazing and wonderful, and God perfectly planned for him to come and the timing of his coming as well! So I am not complaining, just saying it's been busy.

I had to start backing off on how often I nursed Kai at around 4 months cause I just couldn't keep it up anymore. He was down to nursing only one time a day most days and getting a bottle every other feeding by last month. We had a couple busy days at the beginning of this month where I couldn't nurse him all day long and he went to bed without it. After two or three days of that and he wasn't protesting, I decided it was time to let it go. I was protesting but he wasn't so....

I miss it so much. It was probably my last chance to nurse a baby. MAN it goes by so quickly. That time is more precious than anything I could imagine, ESPECIALLY since I didn't get to carry my babies in my womb. It always passes too quickly. Hana quit nursing around 7 months as well. They just grow up way too fast. Okay before I start crying let us move on...

It is such a joy to be a Mommy. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hana and Kai are both so happy and so well adjusted. They both are good sleepers, and are happy expressive children. (well most of the time, Kai was not a happy camper this evening for some reason). I can not tell you how awesome it is to have children who sleep! It is great for the children AND for Mommy and Daddy! We are just so blessed to have these babies!

I'm enjoying working out some. Reading some books. Catching up with friends. My house is fairly clean. I've had plenty of time to talk with my hubby and Hana. I can stop what I am doing and get in the floor and play with Kaikai. I have had a few naps. Okay, so I've taken one almost every afternoon.

but come September all of that ends. Come September I will get to spend every afternoon exploring Our Father's World with my precious daughter! and once or twice a week a special friend of Hana's will be joining us for home school. I am really looking forward to it! It's going to be soooooooooo fun!

Alright, I am going to go crawl in bed and read my book and then get to sleep early. Tomorrow we go to the water park! YIPPEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Middle wife...

Saw this on a friends FB page and just had to share... this is so funny!

The 'Middle Wife' by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.'

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'Middle Wife' comes along.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's 3:51 am, not good...

so someone called the house twice in the middle of the night and let the phone ring only once. The second call I was wide awake and thinking of who might be in America needing to talk to me but chickening out after every time the dialed the phone. So couldn't sleep and came downstairs.

Decided at least to check with Mom, called her and they are fine. Whoever called and woke me up, may their hair turn green, and their eye lashes fall off! UGH! (wow that was incredibly spiteful! this is what 4 am does to me, makes me mean, very very mean)

especially after I had such a wonderful day with my little family. I DID have to go speak at chapel this morning, but after that was over I took a long afternoon nap, while KaiKai was also taking a long afternoon nap. I went to pick up Hana-baby from preschool and we had a fun little shopping trip to get stuff to make dinner. I came home and leisurely made dinner while playing with my kiddos on and off. We had a nice long dinner together, laughing and talking and Rocky and I even enjoyed a cup of tea after dinner. Then I had a fun bath time with both my kiddos. I had a nice long bath myself after they were in bed. Then I read the last of my book and... well let me just say it was a WONDERFUL evening!

I can't tell you how long it has been since we had a normal day like that. Normal, relaxing, being at HOME! I even had time to wash a put away all the dishes. It has been months since we had such a normal evening. Or at least it feels that way.

but it did my heart good. I just really really love my family. I love having the time and energy to cook and clean and play with the kids and enjoy tea and a nice bath!

I need to go back to bed...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I survived!

Wow, what a month we had. But I survived it. Technically it is not over yet, but I can handle what is left of this month. Next week I speak at another chapel and teach some more English/Bible classes. I don't really mind those, especially since they are my last ones this month and we have next month off.

I had to put down all my research and planning for home school for two weeks and now I feel like I have forgotten most of what I wanted to do and get prepared for. I have to get back into the groove of that again.

And I am going to, have to, MUST get back on the wagon with my health and fitness. I am tired of eating junk and not making time for myself to work out! It is time to get back to it. Kai is six months old now, so I think I can make the time again. And I know it will make me feel better when I get going. I was able to workout for a couple days earlier this month and it felt so good. Can't wait to get back to it.

A million other things to do as well, but I don't even feel like thinking about those things tonight. I just wanted to put it down for the record, I am still alive and kicking! God really really blessed us this month, I still can't believe that I get to do what we do!

It is raining like crazy here right now. There have been lots of accidents because of the rain too. It looks like a week of rain for us here, so I am not looking forward to that. Don't know when I'm going to get all this laundry done if I can't hang it out to dry. Our dryer takes way too long and wrinkles the clothes way too much. I just might have to head to the public laundry early next week!

I'm off to be read a book in bed. ahhhhhhhhh, it is such bliss to have to time to read a book. Ever noticed that bliss is just one letter different from bless! God is blessing me with free time! Thank you Lord!

Monday, July 06, 2009

This months is gonna be busy!

This will probably be the only chance I get to blog this month, or at least until the end of the month. We are going to be crazy busy over the next couple of weeks.

CMA comes on Monday, I can't wait! They'll be here for a week. Then we go to Bible camp for several days. All of that including our regular schedule of Bible studies, chapel services, English classes and so forth. I am looking forward to August when we have NOTHING on the schedule. Can you believe that? NOTHING! We're gonna vacation, take it easy, clean house, chill out, plan a birthday party for a precious little girl, clean house (did I already mention that one?);) etc. etc. etc. we so need some down time.

I decided on a kindergarten homeschool curriculum and it has been ordered! I can't wait to get my hands on it. There is so much information on the internet as well though. It really is unbelievable all that is out there! I could create my own curriculum with all that is available, but who has time or energy for that!?

Well I need to get a shower and get ready for bed! Maybe I'll pop in again at some point during the month!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Can I just say there is WAY too much information out there on homeschooling. One word sums it up totally... OVERWHELMING!!!!!!!!!

I could research for a decade and never exhaust all the resources out there. And one could spend a FORTUNE on anything and everything that you can imagine.

So I was pleased yesterday when a friend recommended that I listen to a podcast about developing your own philosophy on education. I loved the speakers four main points...
1. Sit at Jesus' feet and hear what it is that he wants for you and your children!
2. Get His way for you and your children.
3. Get to know your child (style of learning)
4. Get to know yourself (style of teaching, goals, philosophy)

It is going to be quite interesting to see where this road takes us. I feel so scatter-brained and unorganized at the moment. I'm sure I've probably already begun, but I feel like I don't know where to begin. Does that make sense??? LOL

Here goes nothing! (and yet it is everything really)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New computer...

Yipppeee! We decided to use part of our tax return to get me a little netbook computer. These are really inexpensive right now and it is really all I need to do the things I need to do most of the time. Since out notebook crashed last year Rocky and I have been sharing a computer which was/is doable but just means that I get a lot less done. My lack of blogging shows it I think.

Anyways all is well here. Kai is just growing so quickly and developing so much faster than Hana did it seems. He had to have a haircut this week which just amazed me. I've never heard of a 5 month old needing a hair cut. But he was Mr. Shaggy, so we had it cut and he looks so handsome it just melts Mommy's heart!

Hana is growing and changing as well. She is constantly surprising me with her vocabulary and sweet little spirit. I am currently overwhelmed with options on what to do with Kindergarten homeschool this fall. I need to make some decisions soon and I have still a lot to research. But I am looking forward to teaching her on a more structured basis. She is already going through some preschool workbooks with me when we have time to sit down and do some pages. and we are reading through some early reader books I've ordered. she is slowly picking up on sounding out words as we do this. It's so fun to watch them learn, it is addictive!

Our schedule took on a more normal crazy pace in the last few weeks and I have been feeling less frazzled. Maybe it is because Kai is getting older too, but for some reason I feel like myself again. I was able to work out a few nights last week but then lost the motivation and time to do it again this week. But anything is better than nothing!

I am loving teaching English classes at our church. I always said I would NOT be an English teacher, but here I am with a pretty full schedule of English teaching and I am enjoying. When I first came to Japan, I had a couple English classes and I did not enjoy it very much. More than anything the great way to connect with and get to know new people who might become interested in the Bible and God is really motivating!

I hope to be more frequent at blogging now as I need to be better about documenting our kiddos lives. So here's hoping my new little computer whom I have nicknamed Whitey "together"! If only Whitey could also clean and do laundry I'd have it made!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sorry I have been missing in action!

Kai is home! Ummm has been since last Wednesday. Sorry for the lack of communication. When I am home so many other things take over my time!

Kai is all well, and we go back in the morning for a follow up visit. But I do need to let you all know about some developments with his health...

God had a big purpose for it. The first day that Kai was there, they ran a routine urine test and it came back high with white blood cell count, but his blood test did not show elevated levels for fighting infection so they assumed he didn't have a bladder infection and something else must be the source. They ordered an ultrasound on his abdomen and it showed that one kidney was retaining fluid which it is not supposed to do. So they ordered another test which is a series of xrays with contrast dye in his urine. That test showed that the left kidney was very swollen with urine, and the urine was blocked in the ureter (the tube which leads from the kidney to the bladder). So they ran a third test which was a CT scan of his kidney to get data on if the kidney was still functioning and if the ureter was totally blocked or just obstructed. The last test showed that he has a condition known as Hydronephrosis. He was born with an obstruction in the ureter. The obstruction is only partial so the kidney is still functioning and he is totally fine. He is not in any pain, and none of those tests were painful either. In fact he charmed the nurses and technicians at every test and is the talk of the hospital because he is such an easy going baby!

The RSV was a blessing! If it hadn't been caught at this stage we wouldn't have known he had an issue with his kidney until the kidney was completely ruined and he became very sick because of it!!! Praise God for that!

We will watch his growth and development from here. More than likely he will need a small proceedure after he gets over 10 kilo to open up the ureter and that is it.

God has big plans for all of this. Because of his hospitalization, I was able to share our faith and our family with many other mothers whose children were hospitalized and with LOTS of nurses at the same time. We also have three doctors who will likely be joining our English/Bible classes!!! What an opportunity to reach totally unchurched people! It has been amazing.

Kai is in no pain and no physical danger from the condition right now. His kidney just drains slowly and we have to watch for infection but I know it isn't going to be a problem!

Kai also had test for a very slight heart murmur they were hearing, which turns out to be no problem either. It is simply because one artery is a little narrow and this is common in babies and usually corrects itself as they grow! But he will be checked for that in about 6 months as well.

When I think about all that God has done in this baby's little life! We don't know the conditions of his conception or the environment he was in while he was growing in the womb, but God saved his life and brought him to us! We are thanking Him for Kai's life and how he is going to use it for His glory!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hospital Day 4

Kai is MUCH better today! That is his birthday present to Mommy! He is still wheezing but his cough is sounding better and he was his smiley happy self today! Keep praying he will get back to eating normally. blessings everyone and goodnight (^O^)/

Friday, May 08, 2009

Random stuff...

cause Kai is sleeping and I'm bored! There r a couple interesting Engrish signs around the hospital。 The fire escape route is titled "refuge guide" and the hospital rules or signs requesting you comply with certain guidlines is titled "wishing"! just random stuff that catches my eye. OH and on street corner near the store I go get food and stuff at is a place called "Re-BBone、 family relaxation salon" I am not sure if it is a spa、 message or chiropractor!? Whatever it is the name does NOT make me think of relaxation! Especially with the studder on the B... What about you?

Kai in hospital again...

Just FYI、 Kai has a bad respiratory virus and was hospitalized again。 He is slowly improving but we are expected to be here at least a week。 We appreciate your prayers!I am set up to send posts here to blogger by email from my phone so if u are able to view Kai's private blog I will put detailed updates there。 And I'll try to post short updates here when I can!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Sugarpie...

Nine years ago today I married the man of my dreams. It's amazing that it has been 9 years. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago! Time really flies when you are having fun!!!

Tonight we went out to dinner, and left the kiddos at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We didn't watch the clock, we ordered WHATEVER we wanted off the menu and we just enjoyed several hours of sitting and talking about anything and everything. He's still my best friend. He still amazes me with his love for Jesus and his wisdom and patience. He's still one of the funniest people I have ever met! I still can't believe I get to be the one who gets to be married to him!

We told Hana that today is our 9 year wedding anniversary and she didn't really understand. She kept asking this morning before going to preschool if we were getting married today! Then when I picked her up from school she asked if I am married to Daddy now. I explained over and over again that we are already married and today is just remembering and celebrating it kind of like a birthday. So when we picked her up from Baba and Jiji's house she asked if someone sang Happy Birthday to us while we were gone! LOL! Do you know how hard it is to explain that you were married on this day 9 years ago to a four year old. I would say, "We are already married, we got married on this day 9 years ago." And Hana would reply, "So you get married today, now?" The "years ago" part doesn't make sense to her. So in her mind, we left her at Baba and Jiji's house to go get married! Ha! I guess you could say we eloped today!!!

I finish today praying for all the other marriages out there that aren't happy like ours. So many marriages around us struggling and even breaking up. In the midst of my overwhelming joy today, there is a ting of sadness and my heart is crying out to God! I want everyone to know what it can be like to have this kind of love, trust, friendship, passion, partnership and fun in a marriage!

Sugarpie, in the midst of our crazy life right now I don't get to tell you very often but you are an amazing husband. I am so thankful for you! I love you!!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Mommy of two...

I have soooooooooooo much respect for Mommy's of more than one child. I don't know how they get it all done. I have a friend who has four girls, each of them like less than 2 years apart, and she amazes me. She sent me a gift with a homemade card in it. I have only two and I'd be hard pressed to find time to pick out a gift for someone, much less package and address it AND make the card for it. How do they do it?!

Our newest little miracle turns 2 months old in just a few days. I'm sure that is one of the reasons I can't seem to get much done. But oh what fun it is to be the Mommy of a newborn. I LOVE it! He's a good baby too. Started sleeping through the night this week. From about 9 or so, to about 6 am. Hooray! Now if I could just get my toosh in bed earlier, I could enjoy all those hours of sleep too. Gotta work on that. I married a night owl, and it's somehow contageous or something.

I finally cleaned a little bit this week too! It's been all I can do for the past 7 weeks to keep the kitchen clean and laundry done (and that is with Rocky washing and/or putting away the dishes FOR me most of the time). But I keep telling myself that this stage passes soooooooooooooooo quickly, the house can wait and it WILL wait! Have I mentioned how much I love taking care of newborns!?

So that means also the fitness area is totally non-existent for the moment. YEP, I haven't worked out in like exactly two months! I did a Billy's Taebo video like the second night Tiffany was here in early January and that was it! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, I WANT to work out so bed. I look at my gym shoes on the shelf with longing everyday. My big plan is once littlest muchkin makes this sleeping through the night thing REALLY consistent, then I'm gonna try to get up in the morning and do something. TRY being the operative word there. I am so physically tired by the end of the day. But DO NOT want to get out of bed each morning, so it is going to be a challenge. We'll see what I can do. And I REALLY want to cleanse again, but that won't be happening while I am nursing so oh well. But the good news is, NO weight gain. This nursing thing ROCKS! I can eat and eat and eat and don't gain at all. But I am also quite aware that this might catch up to me, so I have got to get with it again with some excercise! Besides I miss it so much. It was my ME time, and I need it! So I am praying I can find the dicsipline to get going again before he turns 2.

Well I am really procrastinating right now, which is something I have to cut out if I'm gonna get discplined again so I'm signing off. Gotta go sterilize tubes and make milk and fill bags so I can keep up this nursing thing!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Conversation with Hana about Jesus...

This morning on the way to preschool Hana and I had a pretty deep conversation about Jesus, well I guess deep for a 4 year old anyways. Lately she always wants to read the story of his death on the cross and resurrection in her children's Bible. She talks about it often. But for some reason she is a little confused and thinks Mommy is also going to die on the cross someday. I have told her many times that I don't have to do that cause Jesus did it for me. Anyways, today's talk went something like this.

Hana: Mommy, Jesus was on the middle one!
Mommy: Yes he was, he was hung on the cross between two thieves. Do you know what a thief is?
Hana: Yes, that friend of Jesus.
Mommy: No, Jesus friends were his disciples. The two men on each side of him were people who had done something bad. The took something that wasn't theirs, they stole something. They were being punished for doing something bad.
Hana: Jesus wasn't bad, right Momma.
Mommy: No, Jesus did nothing wrong but he had to die on the cross anyways.
Hana: Mommy gonna go on the middle one.
Mommy: No, remember Mommy doesn't have to do that cause Jesus already did it for me.
Hana: Then Jesus came back right. Mommy come back too?
Mommy: Well first of all I'm not going to die on the cross, but when I do die I can't come back. Jesus is the only one whose ever come back after dying.
Hana: Yea, that's cause he is God!

I am amazed at her comprehension of some parts of this. Although, I don't think she fully understands what dying is yet. Once we trapped a mouse and we've seen some dead bugs and that is how she knows the word, but I don't think she gets how final it is. But I was so impressed to hear her say that Jesus came back because he was God! She is absorbing some things from our Bible reading.

So fun to watch her understanding grow and her comprehension develop!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Question...

I really should be sterilizing things and making milk and then getting to bed. But I have to record this evenings exchange with Hana for my own remembering. I finally got the question I've been waiting for tonight.

Kai's coming has really triggered Hana's questions about her adoption, how she came to us, etc. Sometimes when I go upstairs to put Kai in bed after his last feeding, she is still awake and calls on me when I walk down the hall. I go in and crawl in her futon with her and cuddle and talk for a minute. She almost always wants to hear her adoption story. So I tell her all about how anxiously Mommy and Daddy waited for her, about the night we got the phone call and about the day she came home! She loves it. Tonight however, she started the conversation with a different question...

"Mommy, was inside your tummy?"

Wow. I've been waiting for this one. Thinking of how I will answer it for a while. Wondering how it's going to make me feel to hear the question and what her reaction to the answer will be like and how that will make me feel.

I just simply told her that no, Mommy's tummy is broken and can't have a baby inside so she was inside another woman's tummy. So she asked who that lady was. I told her I didn't know her, I'd never met her but that Tsujioka-sensei knows her (that is the director of our adoption agency and the man that brought both Hana and Kai to us, Hana knows him well). At that point I was expecting a string of questions, but she just kinda shrugged her shoulders and asked for the rest of the story.

Hmmmm, that was easy, almost too easy. I expected more. Somehow I'd worked it up in my head that it was going to be a big deal for her to realize that her adoption means that Mommy didn't carry her in my tummy. But to her, I guess so far, it's just the way it is and it's no big deal.

Her reaction being what it was makes facing that question for the first time so much easier on me. But at the same time, she is so much a part of me, so incredibly speacial to me, sooooooooooooooo much my precious daughter, even I can't believe that I really didn't give birth to her myself... I guess I just wish I could have carried her in my tummy. I missed 9 months and 9 days of her precious life (she came to us at 9 days old).

Don't even know really what I'm wanting to or trying to say here. It was just a big thing for me that she finally made that connection tonight and I'm wondering how much more will come in the future. But I'm thankful for the openess that we have established in being able to talk about it and her freely asking questions. Praying that continues!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Kaikai's blog...

We have set Kaikai's blog to private until after his adoption is finalized. If you want to keep up with him, please just drop me an email and let me know you'd like to be added to the list of readers allowed on his blog. email marla at aromaministries dot org letting me know that you want access and I'll add you and send you an invitation!

We are just doing this for privacy and protection until the adoption proceedure is completed! We don't want you to miss out on Kai's growth, so don't hesitate to ask for an invite!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

The ant hill effect...

Rocky and I tend to have what we call "the ant hill effect" often in Japan. It just seems like in so many ways our situation always presents a challenge to officials at government offices, medical facilites and so forth. We walk in, ask a question, and the ant hill comes a live. One employee doesn't know what to do, and he goes to conference with another person and the next thing you know the whole place is gathered around with proceedure manuals, making phone calls, etc trying to figure out what to do with us.

Sometimes we go for a while without having this effect on things, but Kai's arrivals has revived the ant hill effect in full force. Our ward office obviously hasn't had ANY experience with an adoptive placement and they can figure us out! We've been to the ward office three times and each time we've created the ant hill effect. It is actually pretty entertaining to watch!

Maybe one of these days I'll take a hidden camera and catch the ant hill effect for you live!

Monday, January 19, 2009

All about Kai...

What a whirlwind! But a whirlwind of blessing for sure. Amazing! There is just no way to describe what it has been like. I don't even know where to start.

I had really begun to talk myself out of wanting another one. After all these years of infertility, I have learned (to some extent) to pray for the best but not WANT for anything. Becausing wanting brings with it it's friend discontentment and that leads to heartache and grief, which I've had enough of already! So I was putting aside thoughts of another as much as possible, even though we'd told the agency we were ready for another two years ago.

So imagine our shock and suprise when we got the call. It's really a miracle. I can't even begin to describe how in awe I am of God's grace and mercy. The timing, perfect! The baby, perfect! Everything, perfect! Just like Him, to do this in this way. And He knows how much I love suprises!!!

That morning we were doing our thing around the house and Rocky's cell phone rang. I thought nothing of it, until I noticed the person on the other end was asking our ages. It was then that I began to wonder... "maybe it is a church asking about us coming and wanting to know more about our family? maybe it is another tv show wanting to interview us? maybe..." And then suddenly my heart began to pound and I just KNEW it had to be the adoption agency. Nothing about Rocky's conversation that I could hear on this end mentioned a baby or gave any clue as to who it was, but I just KNEW! And I just started to cry.

I was even more shocked to find out it was a boy. For some reason we just thought we'd have all girls. Picking the names was so hard, and we have still yet to choose a middle name. Someday we'll get around to figuring that out.

He's a wonderful baby. Sleeps well at night, wakes up only to eat and goes right back down again. Eats everything 3 hours almost like clock work! We've seen very little crying. And he is soooooooooo patient. It's amazing. Once he knows you are getting ready to feed him or change his diaper he stops crying and waits! I'm so in love!

So, now we are extra busy and I have no idea how much my blog will suffer as a result of it. But I'll try to keep with Hana's and Kai's blogs very everyone to watch them grow!

Love and blessings from the new mommy of TWO!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pictures of Kai...

Check him out!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's a boy!!!!!

We are getting a baby boy. We waited two years, almost to the day. We got the call yesterday, he comes tomorrow. Can you say, "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He's newborn, and his name is Kai which means ocean in Japanese. I have so much to do that I can't even think so I am not going to write a lot tonight. Pictures soon... I promise!

Wow, this is just unbelievable.