February 15, 2008

Pink Pancakes and Black Pasta

After Jacob's attempted sleepover the other night, we realized that we're not quite ready for him to have sleepovers. We really missed him and it was very strange (though remarkably quiet) seeing his empty bed. Picking him up at 9:30 was just fine by us.

After school Wednesday, Jacob again headed to soccer class. Once we managed to get the info sheets from his coaches translated, we learned that his coaches are some very skilled soccer players. They both formerly played with some of the best teams in Japan. One of them even played in Brazil. So go Jacob! Dribble away! GOAL!!!!

As we had discussed before, Valentine's Day in Japan is a little different than back home. Here the women buy "obligatory chocolate" for the men. Then on March 14th, it's payback time and the men buy for the women. Mike scored some nice truffles at work from some of his co-worker's and brought them home to share with the family.

In addition, Jacob started his morning at school with a pink pancake breakfast. Ilena went in to help out and joined lots of other parents to make hundreds of pancakes for some very hungry kindergarten kids and their fourth grade buddy classes. Jacob repeatedly announced, "my mom makes the best pancakes in the world". Amazing what you can do with a powder mix and some pink food coloring all supplied by the school. There was no stopping Jacob and his pancakes - he ate every fourth grader under the table and consumed no less than 6 or 7 pancakes with a big grin on his face after every one.

Jacob and Lauren, all decked out in their Valentine red, both came home from school with all sorts of goodies given to them by their teachers and fellow students. These kids sure have received a lot of love considering they've only been in school for 3 weeks.

After school, it was scooter time. We ventured out to the playground and went up and down the countless ramps (over and over and over again). It's the simple things in life that we all take for granted, really! Lauren was ready to go home and warm up, but Jacob wasn't. So he came home, got his bike and headed out to a different playground all by himself. He rides around with a new-found confidence while wearing his watch to keep track of time and always seems to return home right on time. We had a few tough "listening days" last week, but he's been an angel this week. We had the cutest little Valentine kids in Asia by far!

Another surprise this week was the mail. Not for Ilena or Mike, but for Jacob. On Tuesday, he received a big envelope from Beth El Preschool (where he did Kinder-Enrichment) with pictures, notes and Valentines from all his little friends back home. His face lit up with every one he opened. If that wasn't enough, on Thursday another big envelope came for Jacob. This time it was from The Clinton School K-Kids and Ms. Cosmas, the crew from Jacob's public school back in Maplewood. He was so excited to receive special mail and Valentines - and they arrived exactly on Valentine's Day. The class even included a couple of special notes and Valentines for Lauren which put a big smile on her sweet face.

We decided to go out to our favorite little pseudo-Italian restaurant for a family dinner. Ilena and the kids met up with Mike near the train station and headed to eat. Continuing our day of colorful foods, Lauren decided that she wanted the squid-ink pasta (she picked it from the menu, though we didn't tell her what it was). Her black lips and tongue were a delight to watch as she gobbled up her dinner.

Mike and Ilena have been taking full advantage of the great gym just a few minutes from the apartment. While they are really enjoying every minute of the swimming and exercising, they definitely miss a few things from home. The first is their trainer - we tried to convince him to come with us to Japan, but were unsuccessful. The second is their protein shakes - it became part of the family routine almost every morning to have protein smoothies (which the kids loved too). Since we can't get the protein powder here, we've discovered a way to improvise and have started adding tofu to our smoothies. It really works - tastes great and seems to fool the kids.

One last note, we finally figured out how to download our favorite show Lost and have now been catching up on the beginning of the 4th season. It is awesome so far. We thought we would either have to read along on this great Lost blog (but reading it is not the same), get someone to burn and send us DVDs, or (gasp!) wait until we come back to the U.S. Now, thanks to $1.99 downloads from iTunes, we can watch it here.

That's all for now - more on the weekend!

1 comment:

Paul R. La Monica said...

Hey guys. I'm very happy to hear that iTunes works for you in Japan and that you've been able to stay current with Lost! These first three episodes have been crazy! And now that the writers' strike is over, word is that they are going to finish 5 more episodes to air this spring. So we won't be getting the full 16 episodes season that was originally planned but I'm glad it will be 13 instead of only 8!

Also, that's really cool that Jacob's school in Maplewood sent that care package. And I love that Lauren is adventurous enough to eat squid-ink pasta!

Miss you guys. Hope all is well. Talk to you soon.