One step at a time

Creating an enjoyable journey for myself and my family.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quality Time with Kids

In one of my recent blogs I mentioned that I think it's very important to spend quality time with kids. I've been making this a priority during my stay in Seattle as much as possible. My 3 brothers live in Seattle with their families, so Mia and Teryn have been spending time with their cousins and I get to be auntie Lindsey. I've been loving it.

So far we've included the kids in a movie night, made blackberry pies, played princesses, gone shopping and had several dinners. I love to see the funny things they do, like Mia for example, starts dancing ballet moves from Swan Lake in stores. The kids also say adorable things, just the other day Mia's cousin said, "I dream about meatballs." LOL. I picked one of the cousins up for a special date the other night and when she got in my car she said, "Aunt Lindsey, this is going to be the best day ever!" We had a great time together and I felt like a million bucks just watching her smile. I love my kids, but my brothers' kids come in a close second.

So. Why do I think spending quality time with kids is so important?
1. It teaches them a million things just to watch you.
2. It teaches you a million things just to watch them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jet Lag

My entire family has a really bad case of jet lag. It's 4 AM and all 4 of us are wide awake. It's been brutal for us and everyone that wants to spend time with us. Just in case you have never experienced the effects of jet lag here is what you've been missing:

Impaired Coordination

Dealing with these effects has caused us to:

be impatient
be late for appointments
miss appointments and/or activities altogether
seem tired instead of fresh throughout the day

We have tried all the tips and tricks to mitigate our jet lag and so far we have received no benefits. We've been here less than a week but already these effects have given people the impression that we are: lazy, recluses, terrible parents, unreliable, self-involved and annoying in general.

In case you are feeling any of the above please let me assure you we are not purposely any of those things: We are tired. TIRED.




Sorry, I nodded off there for a second. Oh wait, no I didn't. I'm still wide awake and still TIRED.


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Help

I went and saw, The Help, with my Mom tonight. I have really missed my Mom and this movie was just what we needed. We laughed, we cried, we were reminded of the unbreakable bond between women. My Mom is the kind of Mom I wish everyone had. My Mom was always an individual, she was a wife, a mother of 5, but she was pretty good at just being Cathy. She liked to sew, bake bread, garden, read lots of books, take walks and visit friends and family. Somehow she seemed to have time to tend to all of our needs too; she would help my brothers deliver papers for their paper routes, assist in my girl scout troop, have dinner on the table by 5:30 every night and have brown bag lunches ready on the counter for all 5 kids by 7:00 AM. What a woman!

My Mom has always been great with kids. All 5 of her kids are married and she has 11 grandkids to play far. My Mom teaches kindergarten at Benson Hill Elementary School in Renton, WA. She was honored last year by a local TV station for being an outstanding teacher. She knows more silly songs and children's books than Mr. Rogers. When Mia asked her for some chips tonight she turned the conversation into a math problem involving adding and subtracting chips. My Mom is a cool grandma.

In the movie, The Help, one of the main characters is a 29 year-old writer, and her Mom kind of blew it as her mother from time to time. All Moms kind of blow being a good mom from time to time. Lord knows I blow it. There is power in the truth. My Mom is not perfect, never was, never will be...but I love her for giving her imperfect self to the task of being my Mom, then, now and always.

My Mom turns 60 in November and as I sat in the movie theater tonight noticing her grey hair out of the corner of my eye and holding her soft, thin hand I thought about what she means to me and how much I love her. Motherhood can feel like a pretty thankless job sometimes. I am fortunate and thankful to have a Mom like mine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Now that I'm back in Seattle I've been thinking a lot about Japan. I love Japan. In only 2 1/2 months I have learned many valuable lessons just from being there and observing life and people. Here are some of the lessons in bullet-point form. (I'm boiling it down for all you Americans with your short attention spans. :) haha

1. Kids are valuable. Your time with them is precious. Make it count and then let them go.
2. You do not need very much food and water to survive, just eat less.
3. Pay cash for everything, it just makes life more simple and pain-free.
4. If you're going to indulge in eating ice cream eat the good stuff.
5. Your community is very important, give and take. Make a contribution with your presence.
6. Take your shoes off at the door, cleaning the floor every day is such a pain.
7. Don't waste electricity, in fact use it as little as possible, it can be fun.
8. Respect your elders.
9. Try to visit your hometown a least once a year.
10. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and challenges.
11. If you have a problem that is making your life miserable change yourself or your life or both.
12. You don't need more than 6 outfits. Use them up. Wear them out. Then buy new things as needed.
13. Ridding yourself of excess is just as easy as saying, "No, thank you." Say, "No, thank you" more often.
14. Spend more time outside.
15. Make more friends, you can never have too many.

Adam and I will be returning to Japan as soon as our new visas have been processed. We will be staying with my parents in the meantime. Mia and Teryn were angels on the 15+ hours of travel time from Japan to Seattle. We may be here anywhere from 1-8 weeks. There is no way of knowing how long it will take. While we're here I have a small wishlist of American things to buy or do. I really want to eat pizza (A large pizza costs about $35 in Japan!!). We want to see movies in a theater (In Japan they cost $20 a ticket and the closest theater to us is an hour away!) We want to buy shoes that fit us (In Japan my feet are size XXXL!!! Otherwise known as size 10 here,) We're going to IKEA to pick up some organizational items. (Helpful in a 500 sq. ft. apartment!) We'll also be stopping by Costco to pick up some maple syrup, peanut butter and M&M's.