Although 2012 seemed to be our big year for changes, this was a big one for milestones. Looking back it seems a lot happened in 2003 so we had a lot of 10th anniversaries to celebrate.
All four of us “climbed” Odo Mountain to watch the first sunrise of 2013. I had been doing this for a long time now, and several years ago, I brought DD1 for the first time. This year DH brought DD2 as well. I say we all “climbed” but DD2 mostly rode on Daddy’s back. The kids LOVED the snow at the top.
DD1 turned seven. I remember being seven. It always seemed such a magical age to me.
DD2 wowed us with her dancing in the kindergarten concert. The family and adopted grandma and aunties also came out to see her. She was really good if I do say so myself.
We continued skating and DD2 started to do it with little help. She would just follow her big sister and friend. I found her some great used skates online and she was thrilled.
The dog turned 10 and I turned 29 for the 15th time.
The family cooked me up a heaping helping of my favorites!!! Pizza, and fries and lots of other fried things. Not healthy, I know, but heck, birthdays are for celebrating how for we’ve made it. Besides, I DID eat my salad.
DH turned 50!!! A guess that’s a big milestone. He keeps himself fit and still looks younger than me but he’s a half century old! Since the great earthquake and tsunami fell on his birthday, he feels he should lay low on his birthday these days, so we didn’t give him a huge “Happy 50th Bash”. We had a quiet party at home with the four of us.
DD1 finished first grade and during spring holiday, I took them to see a dear friend in Shiga. We took the night bus home and at this time DD2 (only 4) travelled really well. It wasn’t an easy thing for her to do but she did it. I sensed then, that she was growing up.
DD2 started grade 2. Her homeroom teacher lives just down the road from us. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing.
I had taken the girls to see “Brave” (the movie about the Scottish Princess rides a horse and is a mean archer) and DD1 adored the heroine. She lives for archery and horses now and at times even speaks in a Scottish accent. It’s great for getting her into her Celtic roots but it is hard when she asks constantly for a horse or at least a bow and arrow. We did get her to Tsuwano to watch “Yabusame“. This combines the two and she was enthralled.
I found an old dollhouse on the net. it was a handmade one and based on a Japanese house. I started to work on sprucing it up for the girls. It brought back so many memories of the dollhouse my Dad had made me and the HOURS I’d spent painting and remodeling. I ended up calling it my house and the girls were not allowed to play with it. It is a slow process but I am enjoying fixing this up
Things warmed up fast and I started to look forward to summer. We marked 10 years of living on Harada Hill.
DH did his annual 200km run up and down the mountains of Iwami. The girls and I played on a beach and hung our with friends in town waiting for him to finish. Maybe THAT’S why he looks younger than me.
June always seem to slip by without notice on Harada Hill. hmmm wonder what happened?
The girls (including the biggest one) went off for a camping trip up the coast again to Tottori. This time the goal was to ride a horse at Mt. Daisen. We packed all all our gear but due to rain we could only sleep in the tent for one night! We DID get to ride the horses and DD1 is totally enamoured with them now.
eating dinner and waiting for the clothes to dry at the laundromat. What a great design for a car!
DD2 seemed so grown up after the spring trip? But she really seemed so much bigger during this trip. During my time with her I guess I finally noticed how she is now a little girl and every trace of toddler/ babyness is gone.
Summer holidays and lazy days. I realized that if the girls were not allowed to touch the original dollhouse, I would have to make them one, AND to avoid hair-tearing fights, I would have to make one EACH and so I did.
The summer had been very dry but suddenly in late July and again in August we had floods big enough to make national news. Although we were not personally affected two of my students lost their homes.
Bewildered Daddy (and one child had already gone home)
This month flew by with various events including DD1’s sports day. She tried her best and after the event we all ended up somehow, roasting marshmallows in our back “yard”. Before I knew it we had a gaggle of kids around and by the time it all ended, 3 of them were to stay the night at ours. They played musical beds for quite some time before they all settled in. Everyone had fun but DH seemed rather surprised to have a house suddenly fill up with kids.
Then the next week DD2 had her sports days. I have to admit that a kindergarten sports day is lots of fun. There was lots of dancing and fun events but here she is running as fast as her little legs could carry her. We vetoed any sleepovers this time. Neither I nor DH could handle a house of four and five-year olds.
Puffin (my English School) celebrated it’s 10th anniversary. We made and realized we had grown from just over 30 students to 180 students.
10 years ago today we adopted the dog. She and I had a quiet celebration during her walk one morning.
My cousin and his partner came to visit Japan!!! We hadn’t seen each other in over 20 years so it was quite a treat to see him again.
I got to play guide for a short time in Hiroshima and here in Masuda but they are both seasoned travelers so they were pretty independent otherwise.
It was a fantastic time for me to have them around and for the girls and I to get to know some more of the family. Now, I know, I really must go visit them next time.
Trick or treat! Halloween is a work event for me but the girls get to do it every year and they LOVE it. DD1 was Merida while DD2 was supposedly Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service but she would not wear a black dress nor would she wear the witch’s hat or even hold the broom I’d made for her. We are not really sure what sh actually is, but in her head, she’s dressed for Halloween.
DD1’s 7-5-3 festival. Her last chance to dress up in a kimono and be adored by all until she’s 20. This time the kimono shop asked to take her picture in their kimono so she could be a model for their next flyer. And so her modelling career has begun.
DD1 also had her school concert. She was the narrator for the class play.
At the end of the month my mom sent me an email with a little story she had made up years before for my nephew. It was about a little bird and a horse. She’d forgotten all about it but had found it in her computer files. She asked me to draw a few pictures for it so she could give it to the youngest grandchild. I got so engrossed in the task that we ended up with a small illustrated children’s book, and I got back into drawing, making things and being creative again.
Christmas!!! We got to have 2 Christmasses. We invited family friends to celebrate with us but they had to cancel due to snow. We still had a roasted chicken ordered so I got to have a “dress rehearsal” of the real Christmas.
On Christmas eve we had a family gathering and EVEN went to mass!! I haven’t been to a mass in over 20 years?? DD1 was full of questions. DD2 was full of energy and DH was bored stiff and I sang the hymns in English and spent an hour comparing the Japanese version to the English version (not much different except they bow and say “Peace be with you” instead of shaking hands)
Christmas day was actually a school day here but I took DD1 out of school and had a Christmas with the girls. We opened stockings, presents and took it easy. We had our big Christmas dinner on the 25th and DH and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.
December 30th. DD2 turned 5! She was allowed to invite one friend and she chose to go skating. Her little friend soon took to skating and they had a hoot. We even had a birthday cake at the rink. Then I got a call from DH saying that big bro (my stepson) was home for the holidays so we hurried back to have dinner with the family.
Then I got to work on making traditional Japanese new year’s food. Not an easy task for a Canadian but, for now, I enjoy the challenge.
We ended the year in a hot spring and got the kids in bed and mellowed out with a glass of wine until midnight.
Happy 2014 to everyone and may you have a healthy and happy year