Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Akihiro and Tomoki had a wonderful time at the shuyokai--see group picture below.

 Here's Kenji in his clothes that I found while going through my parents stuff.  I'm pretty sure my brothers wore this when they were babies.  The little plaid pants have rubber lining on them.  The two piece thing, though, wasn't nearly as practical as the onesies we have today, I noticed!
 This bouncy seat (below) from Akito and Marie has been wonderful.  Kenji likes to supervise Tomoki playing and follows us all around with his bright little eyes.  He continues to be a very easy baby--Akihiro's mom said he is just like Akihiro was when he was a baby--content as long as he was fed and slept a lot.  Kenji will really "talk" a lot if spoken to and it is so cute.
 Grandpa Ito and Kenji
  My in-laws happened to be at our house close to my birthday and brought me a cake.  It says "Happy Birthday, Carrie" in Japanese.  Tomoki enjoyed the fruit and the frosting, but not the cake!

We enjoyed a visit from Gen Shinozaki and his daughter Momoka--missed you, Eri!  Tomoki warmed up to Momoka pretty well and they played together pretty good.  He is a pretty shy guy and usually won't play with other children, so I was surprised--and pleased!  I've noticed he does better with one other child versus a group.
Momoka loved Kenji.
Tomoki has been a very good big brother.  Once Kenji started being more communicative and "cute", we noticed that he wanted to be held more, fed more, and generally acting like a baby (arrggh!).  He even told me one day that he wanted to be a baby again!  Things are a little better now, but there were a few weeks where my patience was severely tested and most of the time found wanting.  This parenting responsibility, though many times joyful, is not an easy one.  On the joyful side is Tomoki's frequent questions about heaven and God.  The other day when we were working in the garden--he with his road grader (circa Ehnle's children's childhood) and me pulling weeds--he looked up in the sky at a beautiful cloud and said, is that heaven up there?  Other questions include, "Does God and Jesus take ofuro (Japanese bath)"?  He is certain that heaven has a sandbox, puzzles, and toys.  On the lighter side, he likes telling Mama "don't worry, Mama" (usually if he has spilled something on his clothes or something), or if I am frustrated about something not going how I want it to go.  I really do appreciate his advice!  The other thing he says recently is "Mama, say, 'ma, iya'"  I am probably butchering the Japanese of that, but it means, "oh well".  Usually he says this if he wants me to give in and let him do something I have already told him he can't do.  I have said that recently in regards to teeth brushing.  After trying many different things, I have resorted to showing him a short you tube clip of excavators working while I brush his teeth--ma, iya!
My "multi-tasker"--cell phone, eating his snack, and looking at his Shimajiro teethbrushing mirror that says, "Ah, keko ah, ah, ah, ah....shukka, shukka, shukka, ...................." (you get the point).
The toy that comes out everyday, is the "ush".  That is the power shovel.  It can load anything and everything.  Dried kidney beans are a favorite and can be found in any location on the first floor!
Grandma Ito got this cute little "jimbei-san" outfit for Kenji.
Here's a link to a video of our two boys   http://youtu.be/P99_IhP4jLs
In other news, Akihiro got an ukulele for his birthday and has mastered This Little Light of Mine in Japanese!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A long overdue post

Sorry to be so belated to post pictures!  I have tried to make it a habit not to be on the computer while  Tomoki is awake, so it has really cut down my computer time because sleep, housework, and Kenji have taken priority!  Tonight, though, my two biggest boys--Akihiro and Tomoki are at the summer fellowship meeting.  They left this morning and come back tomorrow afternoon.  I had a "power day" getting lots done and making phone calls (those are hard to make too now that I have two little distractions!)  Kenji continues to be a very good baby--sleeps a lot--for which I am very thankful!  So different than Tomoki in the sleep department!  I am kinda trying to follow the Baby Whisperer technique and have found it very helpful.  I don't mean any disrespect to my dear departed grandfather Willis, but Kenji Willis definitely takes after one of his namesakes in the volume of his bodily functions!  Anyway, here are some pics and videos--not always in the greatest order. :)

My boys at the clinic

Leaving the clinic after 8 days.  
Tomoki loves to hold Kenji for about 10 seconds and then says, "all done"

Everyone comments on how well Javon holds Kenji!  It's that pediatric nursing!
Kenji loves his bath!
Yumi-chan, Akihiro's cousin, comes to help me out while Akihiro is gone overnight about 2-3 times a month.  She has taught me a lot of good summer Japanese dishes, plays with Tomoki, and holds Kenji.  What a blessing she has been!
Javon brought us a crab from the Tsukiji fish market.  It was delicious, but we decided it was something we will eat more when the kids are bigger--takes too long to eat :)
Another blessing, Yoshida-san, is a lady from the Silver Center, a group of retired people who can be hired for various jobs.  She comes for two hours twice a week for these next couple months.  

We miss Javon!  She returned back to the US, but as the Lord opens doors, she hopes to return.  We also miss her photography.  Here are some links to posts she did with pictures of our family--mostly Kenji!
Trying for that lovely passport picture!  The pictures don't do him justice, though--he's much cuter in real life!  Here I think his hairline looks like Grandpa Willis!!!!!

Koshin is here for a week of his summer vacation.  He is another blessing to us--Tomoki's best friend.  He wasn't sure about holding Kenji, but he did a good job.  He does better just sitting by him and talking to him.

We enjoyed a visit from Dusan, from Serbia.  We had met him 6 years ago when we visited our sister church there.  It was fun to see him drawing pictures with Koshin--he's a graphic designer and Koshin was enthralled!
An old picture, but a cute one.  Tomoki has had a hard time adjusting to sharing Mama with Kenji, but he really loves his little brother and wants to take him everywhere we go.  If Kenji cries, Tomoki asks him why he is crying and looks so concerned. 
A video of Tomoki eating ice cream   http://youtu.be/Nfx-m-tCf54
A video of a cool bug we found   http://youtu.be/K8FE5_IqCDs
A video of Tomoki telling about his fishing trip with Papa   http://youtu.be/EJ_b8heACMs

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A few more pics of Kenji and our family

 Just born--I think he kinda looks like Grandpa Willis Sauder in this picture a little bit.  Dr. Akihiro attended the c-section, cut the cord, rubbed off Kenji-kun, and counted toes and fingers!  There aren't words to describe the emotions of meeting one's baby the first time!
 So thankful for my Japanese mom next door who brought Grandma Ito and Tomoki to see baby Kenji soon after he was born.

 Tomoki was kinda scared of the baby at first because he was crying, but as soon as Kenji started chugging the bottle and quieted, he wanted to help.  Now we are basically breastfeeding and it was hilarious to see Tomoki immediately pull up his shirt to check out his anatomy!
Kenji seems to be a very easy baby so far and I haven't felt so relaxed and pampered for a long time!  It has been a blessing to spend a quiet Sunday in my room with Kenji and listen to a sermon.

Here's a link to a you tube video of Tomoki helping to feed Kenji.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Announcing Kenji Willis Ito

Dear family and friends,

As I sort through my contacts, it is hard to know who to send our message to, so please excuse me for perhaps over publicizing!

A dear little baby boy, Kenji Willis Ito, was born by c-section today (June 14, 2012) at 14:52.  He weighs 3060g(6lbs12oz) and height 50cm(19.7 inches) .  His name is pronounced like the American name Benji, but with a "k".  There are two Japanese characters (kanji) that make up the name.  The first, "Ken" 賢 is "kashikoi" meaning wisdom (a different kanji, from Tomoki's Tomo, but also in the Bible).  The "Ji" kanji is "naoru"   治 which means "healing".  We hope and pray that little Kenji can be blessed with the wisdom of the Lord and that his presence in the world will be a healing one--not necessarily that he would enter the medical field:), but that 1) others can see in him the spiritual healing that only comes through knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and 2) he can lead others to spiritual healing in Jesus Christ.  His middle name is that of two special people, Willis Ehnle and Wills Sauder.  As many of you know, Willis Ehnle started our church here in Japan and lives a zealous life for the Lord.  Willis Sauder, was my grandfather and he was also a godly man whose motto (even in his old age) was often said to be "you gotta cut new ruts!"--meaning not always take the same road, but learn new and different ways.  God alone knows the future for little Kenji and we trust him to Him!

Tomoki has quickly become Tomo-kun as is the Japanese tradition to shorten the name and add "kun" for boys.  Personally, though, I like Kenji-kun the best, but if it must be shortened, I guess I like Ken-chan better than Ken-kun.  (Chan can be added to Japanese names for children--both boys and girls).

A special thank you to those who lifted us up in prayer!
Carrie and Akihiro

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting for Baby

Now that I'm in the clinic where I am scheduled to have baby boy by c-section tomorrow, my "nesting" has turned to the computer and emails, updates, etc.!

We enjoyed a Japanese BBQ in our "backyard" a couple of weekends ago.  See Javon's blog for some pictures.  http://onegreenbicycle.blogspot.jp/2012/05/barbecues-onsens-and-malaysian-curry.html  We also got to enjoy the yummy malaysian curry she shows--thanks to Biren-san!

Other than that, Akihiro has been busy preparing for the opening of a clinic in Saitama-ken--about an hour from our home.  It is kinda a long story how he got this opportunity, but it has been a good learning experience.  He will work there part time in addition to his other various jobs.  He has always dreamed of opening his own clinic when he retires, so this opportunity is teaching him how to do it--at someone else's investment! It opened this week and everything is going smoothly and we are thankful!

I was nervous how Tomoki would do with me going into the clinic, but my prayers were answered today when he did just fine with Grandma Ito putting him down for his nap and saying goodbye at the clinic today.  He's probably doing better than me about the whole separation thing!  C-section is set for between 2 and 3 PM tomorrow, Thursday.  The staff here is so nice and I ate a wonderful meal tonight.  I am thankful that my Japanese is much better than the last time I was here, but know that under stress, my Japanese tends to fail me pretty quickly.

Here's a few pics of the soon to be "big brother" sporting his "safety goggles"--apparently necessary for drinking milk and playing with Papa's remote control helicopter!
 Akihiro wears these when he goes jogging in allergy season--to keep the allergens out of his eyes.
Will post details and hopefully pictures of Baby boy #2 ASAP tomorrow.  Please keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A special date set, potty training, etc.

I went to the doctor and we set a date for the c-section--it seems funny to set the birthday of our child!  June 14th it is--unless he decides to surprise us and come early.  He appears to be a big baby--in the 96th percentile according to sonogram.  My belly size would indicate that this could very well be reality--I am running out of clothes that fit decent!  We've decided on a name--a bit of a challenge to pick a Japanese name that can be pronounced fairly easy by the English speaker.  It is fun, though, to pick out the meaning of the kanji and middle name.

The other big news at our house is in the potty training department!  After a week of seemingly no progress and no awareness that he was going pee, Tomoki suddenly started getting it!  Perhaps it was helped by the fact that one day at the park, there was a big group of kindergarten children playing there.  We had to get in line for the swings, etc.  Tomoki did well getting in line and when they said to line up for the toilet, he wanted to go too.  The new accomplishment has been a big boost to his self esteem and he seems extra happy these days.  The smile he gave me when he could do it made me feel happy to my core!

Otherwise, we have our garden planted.  Tomoki loves digging in the dirt, so I really have to watch him so he stays in the area I gave him instead of digging up my vegetables.  He can dig for hours!   His vocabulary and memorization skills continue to amaze me--both in Japanese and English.  He talks to Akihiro 90 percent Japanese and to me in 95 percent English I would say.  He loves it when I agree with him and when I hesitate, he says, "Mama, say, 'That's right!'"

We have been enjoying having Javon Steffen living down the street in the Klaus's house.  She is studying Japanese and seeing about the possibility of long term service here in Japan.  We've really put her to work with moving things out of Shioda church storage, planting garden, etc, but most of all we have appreciated her spiritual encouragement and inspiration.  She has become friends with Tomoki and has got some pretty good shots of him--you can check out some of them on her blog. My favorite is at the bottom of this post--slurping noodles!  http://onegreenbicycle.blogspot.jp/2012/05/golden-week.html
These two have some cute ones too..http://onegreenbicycle.blogspot.jp/2012/05/tokyo-sunday.html

We had Javon and our neighbor Imada-san for a make your own sushi party this past week and I got some pictures.

We had Javon and our neighbor Imada-san for a make your own sushi party this past week and I got some pictures.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


These pictures aren't in the greatest order, but can tell you a little of what has gone on here recently.  We were honored to have Willis and Lois Ehnle stay with us several nights during their stay in Japan.  It was great to just sit and visit with them very comfortably--just like old times!
 Tomoki helped me make cookies for White Day--the return day of Valentines day here.  On Valentines Day, the girls give to the guys.  Akihiro always gets cookies from the pharmacists at one clinic where he works, so we made cookies for him to give in return.  I had never tried dark chocolate and mint chips, but somebody had brought me some from the US and--ooh, were they yummy!  I was reminded of why I don't make cookies and sweets much--they don't last long--and I am the problem!
 Here's Tomoki and Michitaka-kun, his little cousin.  He is just a little over one year old now and toddling around so cute.
 Here he is building towers with Grandpa Ito's beer cans!  Who needs blocks, anyway!
 We had a great time with  Carol and Michelle and they got one of the greatest views of Mt. Fuji I think I have ever seen.  Here it is from the visitor center.
 Here at Nenba village, they donned kimonos to make for a great shot with Mt. Fuji!
 Tomoki being very patient and sporting his panda backpack from Grandma Ito.  He insisted on carrying it though it was very heavy with his toys!
Koshin came for one week of spring break.  They had a great time together, these little buddies!
While Ehnle's were here, the cherry trees were just beautiful and we had a picnic down by the river near our home with Noriko Mizuno-san and her little girl--friends of the Ehnle's.  There was a lady who saw Tomoki and Noriko's little girl throwing rocks in the river and asked if she could take their picture.  She was really into it and had a nice camera.  I asked her if she liked taking pictures of children and she said she was in a photography club and yes, she loved it!  I have been looking for someone like this!  I asked her if we could hire her to take some pictures of Tomoki at our house or at the park another time--as we didn't really like our studio experience a year and a half ago, and neither Akihiro or I are very good at photography.  She was overjoyed and sent me a CD of some of her shots from that day!  Can't wait to meet her again!
Look at my sticks, Mama!

 Note the beautiful cherry blossoms in the background!
 My Mama's boy!  Sometimes it is a pain, but I keep reminding myself that I'll probably want more attention from him when he gets older and he won't be so snuggly!

We have been battling sickness around here off and on.  I had a cold and thought I was over it, but it came back with a vengeance and now poor Tomoki has it. He's taking an extra long nap now and I can catch up on some computer work while I try to take it easy.