Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 2 Fuji and Gavin meets his teacher

Today was Evie's 2nd day at her school. We picked up her little friend, Hailey, and dropped Gavin off at her house to play with her big brother while we were gone. This time, I just needed to drop her off and walk away. It was a little emotional - except for the fact that I had Hailey too and needed to find her classroom as well - so I couldn't dawdle around too much. I gave Evie a hug and kiss (and told her no fighting, no headlocks, and be a good friend and listener) and I was gone. I got a little teary eyed driving out of the parking lot, but then realized I was free to go to Starbucks, the post office and grocery shopping KID-FREE! It was pretty awesome.

I got back just in time for Evie's class to be letting out. She was following in line and sat down with the other kids to get her shoes on (it is customary to take your shoes off before entering every house and school in Japan). She said she was a good listener and did not get in trouble. Her teacher doesn't speak English (she pulls in the secretary if there needs to be translation) so I didn't get a progress check up. I am sure she was fine - or I would've heard...but I am very anxious for Evie to transfer into the class that has a teacher that can speak English. Anyway, Evie said she sang, danced, read a book about turtles, colored a picture for me and played with toys. Sounds like a typical preschool day to me!

Once I picked her up we came home, got Gavin, and ate lunch. Then it was off to Gavin's school. His school is literally across the street from our it was easy!!! Patrick even joined us on his lunch break! We saw his name and teacher's name and location and went to meet her. Gavin was very worried that he would get a man (although I heard the male teacher is awesome) but his teacher is Mrs. Fitzgerald. She is new to the school and seemed super excited to teach! He loved the items in the room (a globe, legos, blocks, etc) and said he was sooooooooo happy! He doesn't start until the 7th - but we have been doing school work to get him in learning mode.

On a side always makes me crack up to see people saluting Patrick. We were in line to find out Gavin's teacher assignment and people were saluting him. When we were done and he was walking back to work, he had to stop 4 times in ONE block to salute. It is just odd to me!!!

PS - I just realized I was at my quota for storage with Google (gmail and picasa). I just upgraded so I should be able to add more pics and video soon. This was the reasoning behind my failed attempts at uploads.

Here are some pics of Evie's school

The kids rushing to see their dad (he has been working so much that they hardly see him right now) and a pic of Patrick being saluted (it's kind of hard to see - but you get the point).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

chopsticks meal

I attempted my first chopsticks meal tonight. I wanted to grill some teriyaki chicken and pineapple but our grill is still not working (or, for that matter, even put together) so I turned it into a baked dish over rice and broke out the chopsticks. Evie was a pro at it. Gavin gave up quickly (also given the fact that he had his normal chicken fingers and not our meal). It was yummy - but even more so because it was fun to eat!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fuji Kids Yochien

So we finally decided on a school for Evelyn. Actually, we kind of let her choose. There were many great options - but this one had horses. And ducks. And slides from the upper roof to the lower playground area. It was a no brainer in the eyes of an almost 4 year old. And for me, I liked the Montessori teaching style. Less aggressive with subjects. More time to help kids learn things themselves. I know she will learn colors and shapes and counting. But having her learn how to help herself set a table, or grow vegetables and crop them and cook them, or how to ride on a train with manners...these are things I would love for her to learn (since I don't have the patience to teach them).

The school makes you label everything. Seriously, everything. Every marker, crayon, clothing item...all has to have her name on it. They keep the kids responsible for every action - even cleaning up after each activity. Forks, was a painful process! She also has to wear uniforms to school. Now through October is a sports-like uniform. T-shirt with the school logo and polyester shorts. In the winter she will have a plaid skirt, sweater, long sleeve polo or button down shirt. She also has a little hat -although I had to get her a large since she wears pigtails a lot. It is just for outside anyway. But she sure did look cute!

I met a woman whose daughter was also just starting Fuji Kids so we drove over together today. We were to stay with them (to help them adjust) from 9-11. The little girl's name is Hailey and she has a big brother (who is 7) that got along great with Gavin. I think they will end up being good buddies. It was just nice to be going through this new process with someone else. We also met 2 dads who brought their kids. One of the kids is in Evie's exact class. His name is Benjamin and they sat together.

Gavin gave Evie a little pep talk about what to do (actually what NOT to do) in class. I taped it for your viewing pleasure.

Although I was a bit hesitant about the language barrier - I quickly realized that kids in preschool don't need to listen a lot. They follow what the teacher does. Dancing to music (check out the video), reading books, playing with toys...don't need words to understand what to do. There was only one incident...Evelyn put some girl in a headlock for taking a toy away from her. It was quickly and quietly broken up, and that was the end of it. They also took the new kids up to the front and introduced them. She did great - and even said Konnichiwa (hello in Japanese). She wears a Japanese name tag too.

Tomorrow I drop her off and leave her from 9-11. I hope she has a good day tomorrow too!

***The videos are not uploading...sorry! I'll keep trying!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

what a difference a day makes!

WOWZA! Today was much hotter and much more crowded at the Friendship Festival. We steered clear if it for most of the day, but Patrick was scheduled to work in the medical tent from 2-7. He texted me when he got there and said it was CRAZY! He said it was sooooo much hotter than saturday, which caused massive amounts of dehydration and heat related illnesses. And he also said it was sooooo much more crowded! Then I remembered (like I stated in a previous post) that the Japanese work 6 days a week - so Sunday is really their only day off.

Since Patrick was working, I decided to take the kids to go see Toy Story 3 (again) at the base theater. It is only 3 blocks from our house (everything is really so close!!!) so we went. I cried (again) and the kids loved it (again). When we walked out, the shuttle bus to go to the festival was right there, so the kids begged me to go over again. I thought it would be fun to see Patrick so I agreed.

This time I made the kids hold hand super tight. There were people was like walking through water. We found the medical tent and luckily Patrick was there and not cruising on the golf carts through the crowds. It was starting to get dark (which in Japan happens very quickly and also means that the bugs are about to come out) so we basically said hi and bye. I think it cheered him up to see it was worth it!

Tomorrow is an exciting day for us! We are taking Evie to sign up for preschool. I had the hardest time deciding which one to choose (there were 2 I really liked) so I let her choose. The one she likes is Montessori based - and a huge school very much like Gavin's was last year. All preschool classes. About 600 kids. There are a few other Yokota kids - and their parents LOVE it. So I feel good about the choice. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tomorrow also starts 72 hours of h-e-double hockey sticks too. They are shutting off our hot water to clean asbestos out of the pipes. Yikes and yikes. I guess we will have to go to the local pool to shower off. Oh well...I shouldn't complain when there are men and women all around that get deployed into the desert. So a few days without hot water can't be too bad, right?