18 August 2012

The Van's in Seattle

We were lucky to get in some nice Seattle summer days after returning from Japan.  P had his first swim and sail. We went sailing during Seafair and got to experience the blue angels. P spent most of the time below deck (not much fun for mommy).  Suprisingly, he slept through much of the airshow and rocky waters of Lake WA. P had a great time with his paternal grandparents and he met his Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Aaron. Thanks for visiting!

07 August 2012

Goodbye Japan

We said goodbye to Japan on Friday July 27th.  We had a great time on our last night in Hachinohe enjoying sushi with all of our friends.  We felt blessed to have a great community of people during our year in Japan.  Thank you for taking care of us and making us feel loved up until our train pulled away.  Sayonara さよなら

23 July 2012

Last days in Hachinohe

Parker and I with the Kocho sensei (principal) and other teachers.
Todd's speech and the Hakusandai JHS English teachers.

Today was my last day of work in Japan.  I am relieved all of the speeches and farewell parties are past. Last week we attended two farewell parties, a ceremony and met with the mayor and superintendent of the city to say goodbye.

Friday was the closing ceremony for the schools and the beginning of the summer break. Todd, Parker and I attended the ceremony at the junior high school where we taught.  Todd and I both gave a speech (his in English and mine in Japanese).  We handed Parker off as we both spoke.  He just stared out at the sea of Japanese students. After our speeches the students sang the school song and gave us flowers.  Parker was so sweet and calm during the ceremony and as many teachers passed him around.  They all asked, "does he ever cry?" 

Friday evening all three of us attended the JHS farewell party.  Parker slept through most of the party, his usual bedtime being around 7-7:30.  We enjoyed good food, conversation and gave more speeches (I gave three speeches to the same group of people?!)

On Saturday we celebrated Lindsay's birthday.  We ate at a nice sushi restaurant. I got the set pictured above with scallops, they were so tender and sweet.  We enjoyed great conversation for the last time with our friends Lindsay and Oliver, Kiri, Simon and Koyuki. Their friendships improved our Hachinohe life.

Parker especially enjoyed seeing his Japanese girlfriend again.  They even played footsies!

We had fun passing around sweet Koyuki.  She has quite the personality with those eye brows!

Finally it is time to pack our bags and clean our apartment.  Sunday I succeeded in organizing some of my stuff and packing a bag with a three month old who loves to be held. For short bursts of time Parker can be found playing in his chair.  His latest obsession is licking anything that comes to his mouth. Today he was really intent on licking his ball and trying to get it into his mouth. 

Tomorrow Todd and I may be tag teaming, one packing and one on Parker duty.  Here is to moving!

15 July 2012

Tatsuki and Tanabata

P embraced his Tatsuki last night for his first Japanese festival, Tanabata. Traditionally,  Japanese people dress in yukata for summer festivals. P. Tatsuki fit right in with his baby yukata.

Totemo kawaii!! He is all ready for the festival but on the way he fell asleep.  He didn't really enjoy the loud drums and bright lights. It interrupted his slumber. A little too young for a festival.  
Tanabata means the "evening of the seventh" and it is the Japanese star festival.  It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.  The date of celebrations in Japan vary but start on July 7 and go through August.  In Hachinohe the festival involves lots of standard summer festival food stalls and drumming. Traditionally people write wishes on paper and hang them on bamboo stalks (see photo below.) 

It was good to get in one last Japanese summer festival.  We enjoyed eating salted cucumbers, miso mochi and okonomiyaki.  We were surprised to hear many "harros" in the crowd from our students. 
A nice summer evening in Japan.

14 July 2012

Saying Sayonara

In Japan saying goodbye means farewell parties and speeches. Last night the Hachinohe Board of Education held an enkai (drinking party) to say farewell to Renae, Joe and I.  I decided to mark the occasion by wearing my yukata, might as well get some more use out of it before it becomes a Halloween costume.

I was given a farewell message from Mike and Paul, two other ALT's. They are both married to Japanese women who had and are expecting a baby.  They both said how much they respected me, being a foreigner and having a baby in Japan.  It was sweet.  Then I gave a speech in Japanese! One speech down two more to go. Next Friday I get to address the mayor.

ALT friends, Lindsay, Renae, and Alyssa. Sayonara Hachinohe (almost). 

01 July 2012

A little dose of P

Lately P will sit in his chair and entertain himself with his hands. He makes a fist with his thumb curled into his palm or sticking out between his fingers. His goal is to get his fist into his mouth.  He usually only makes it twenty five percent of the time but will at least get a little lick in each time.  I can't help but sit and watch him.  And that smile melts my heart!

24 June 2012

Two months old

This month was filled with discovery.  P discovered his hands and his voice.  He met his paternal grandparents, Memere and Papa.  He traveled on a Shinkansen to Aomori and Tokyo, filing all of the necessary paperwork for his visa and passport.  Finally he discovered that spending time with daddy is fun while mommy is at work. 

At two months P spends most of his day eating and sleeping.  He likes to sleep on his tummy and loves a pacifier or fist to soothe himself to sleep.  He also enjoys sleeping in the ergo or moby carrier. Although he would choose to sleep in someone's arms or on mommy and daddy's chest.   

He has spent lots of time moving his arms and hands and finally coordinated them to bring his fist to his mouth.  He is still perfecting the movement and can be seen punching himself in the nose, cheeks and forehead before his fist makes it to his mouth.  Practice makes perfect. 

P is a very good dinner date. We enjoyed okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake made with cabbage and other fixings) while he slept.  Mommy and Memere are good at eating with P in our arms.

Daddy enjoys making P smile and coo.  P says ahh ouu.  Daddy has seen P roll over onto his side and back from his tummy.  He is a proud daddy.

One of P's favorite spots to breastfeed and relax in his chair is under the mobile.  Memere made him a mobile full of colorful circles. He loves to stare up at it.  He is also known to stare up at mommy!