End of Year Sing-a-Long

 Every year (after the last day of school), Mia’s school has a sing-a-long and watermelon party. Usually it is at the outdoor theater, but this year it was raining like crazy. So, on May 18, we all made our way in the rain to the picnic pavilion to watch the sing-a-long.

Can you spot Mia?

  

There she is. Pink lady bug raincoat and red Ninjago t-shirt.


The kids went through their song list…which included a song about wooly underwear, the school anthem, and several more.  

After the singing, we headed out into the rain and walked to Mia’s classroom for some playtime and a watermelon party. Unfortunately, the class mom forgot to bring the watermelon. It’s kind of been like that all year with this class mom. It actually wasn’t surprising but definitely disappointing for the kids. Next year, hopefully, we will have a rock star class mom. We have kind of struck out the past two years.
    
  

After the kids got their certificates, we were officially done for the school year.  No more spending hours driving back and forth to this school for the summer!

Below is a small clip from our day.

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Summer Adventures: Maritime Aquarium

 Emi has been asking to visit the aquarium on a weekly basis. She loves watching the fish, but we rarely make the trip over to the aquarium….for a few different reasons. 1) It is pretty expensive (so we ended up getting the membership this time, so future visits are free). 2)Parking isn’t cheap. 3) I loath aquariums (which is mostly why we haven’t visited).

In fact, we hadn’t visited this aquarium since October 2015. My grandma came to visit us and visiting an aquarium was on her bucket list, so of course we decided to take her here for the day. She LOVED it. Anyway, so Emi wanted to go…so after Mia’s last day of school we made an impromptu visit. We picked Mia up, swung by Burger King for a quick lunch, and then made our way up to Norwalk to visit The Maritime Aquarium.

When we first entered, we noticed that they had a new coral reef display. There were so many “Dory” fish that it was an instant success.

  

We then walked over to the shipwreck. A giant sea turtle swam right up to the glass and gave Mia a good scare. Emi said, “Dont worry Mia. It’s just a turtle.”  There is something very relaxing about watching giant turtles swimming around. 
  

Next, we saw the octopus. Emi’s FAVORITE! She has been talking about seeing this guy forever. We also enjoyed watching the jelly fish swim around.

Our next stop was the shark tank. 

  
  

Finally we made it to a touch tank. We were able to get our hands on a scallop, crab, snails, and a starfish.

  

Shark divers!

  

We also stopped by to see Toothless. This is a black dragon and the inspiration for the character from “How to Train Your Dragon”‘….supposedly.

  

We also took a peak at the meerkats. It seems so random that an aquarium has these guys. When we have been here in the past, they have always been sleeping. However, on this trip….they were up playing and running about. One was even sitting directly on top of the observation bubble.
  

Next we went over to see the rays and sharks.

  

The pool for the rays.


I should have snapped a picture of the big screen that they have where you can design a sea animal and then let it loose into the picture. Emi took her time coloring and then recoloring a sea turtle.  She named her “Turtle.”  

Mia took her time creating this shark. She chose to name her Mia after herself 🙂
  

Our final stop of the afternoon was the little fishing boat.

  

Oh no! A shark!


After a long day, we went home and the girls were in bed by like 6:00! 

The Matsuri and Birthday-mania continues

 Still catching up on what we did over the weekend. On Sunday (May 21), we went to Norwalk to go to a family friend’s birthday. It was a very low key event, but a private chef did come and cater it. They served the most amazing tea and sandwiches. We also had some really good pasta salad and other picnic foods.

The kids enjoyed snacking on fruit and helping themselves to lots of herbal tea.

  

While the adults chatted, the kids basically had free reign of the house and outside. They were running around every which way just having a great time.

 

 After staying for about two hours, we decided to leave early so that we could go to “The Matsuri” in Harrison, NY. We stayed at the matsuri long enough for the girls to get to play six games each and to cash in their tokens for prizes. 

Emi playing the pitching game (not sure what this game is called). I dont think she could have gotten any closer.

  

Woohoo! She knocked a few off and surprisingly actually missed a few.

  

Mia did an awesome job and won tons of tokens.

  

Here the girls were playing a ball catching game. Apparently, this is where the yo-yo game was…but they ran out of yo-yos before we got there. The girls were pretty disappointed. Crazily enough some families would walk by and have like 10 yo-yos for one kid! We love the yo-yos too, but not sure that much!

  

Ring toss hosted by Mia and Emi’s current Japanese school. I’m not sure how much longer they will attend this place though. It’s pretty far from our house, and Emi literally breaks out in a rash from the stress of going there. Maybe a private tutor is the way to go?

  

Golf. The guy that ran this game was so super nice! He took quite a bit of time teaching Mia how to hold the gold club. He was so patient and cheerful.

   
 

Me and Emi took a break from the sun under this nice tree.


So, a few things.  The festival this year…..not as good as last. 😦 For example, the Japanese bakery wasn’t there this year. The girls realy wanted to grab a few things…but they were out of luck. Also, the food area was taken up by a giant tent selling Indian food?? I love Indian food, but you kind of want some Japanese food at a matsuri. Indian just felt out of place…..also lots of fusion options….no thanks.

Secondly, when we go to these sort of events….I totally hang out in the background and try to let Ten do his thing with the girls. It’s not because I don’t want to join in….it’s more because Japanese people tend to speak to our kids in English if they see me….but if I’m out of sight….then they use Japanese….so I’m like a creeper in the background at these things….unfortunately.

Anyway, after about an hour and a half, we headed to the grocery store and grabbed a few things for the week. Then we dropped Mia and Ten off at home and headed to our second birthday party of the day.

The second party was held at the Darien Nature Center. It was our first time there, and it was such a great venue for a birthday party. Emi actually said she was too tired to go, but these are pretty good friends…..so off we went.

The party started with a nature walk. Emi was really into trying to complete thr scavenger hunt card.

  

After the walk, we got to go inside and pet lots of critters. Some of them included bunnies, turtles, a hedgehog, snakes, and some lizards. The kids really enjoyed this part.

  
  

Finally, we headed downstairs to the basement where a very cute party room was set up. The theme was a beach party, and the decorations were adorable. Also, the goody bags were little sand buckets filled with things like sunglasses, beach balls, water guns, and more. Very fun.

  

The kids were served pizza, raw carrots, and fresh strawberries. Unfortunately, Emi was way just so overly excited about her noise maker that she forgot to eat. I had to keep going over and remind her to take a bite.

  

Simple theme and cute table.


We sang “Happy birthday,” and then ate the best cake ever. I’m honestly not much of a birthday cake fan, but they asked the adults to please have some as they just had so much left. I had barely eaten, so I took a piece….and omg. It was not overly sweet at all and had only a thin layer of icing. The center had some sort of custard cream in it…..so good. 

After Emi cleaned up her trash, we said our good byes and headed out the door with the rest of the guests. We finally made it back home at nearly six o’clock. It was a jam packed day, so we came home and crashed. I feel like even though there wa a lot going on this day, we managed to handle it in a way that didn’t feel overwhelming. 

Our Container Garden

 On Saturday, we actually had some free time. Mia did have ballet rehearsal in the morning, but after that was finished we popped over to the Home Depot. We decided that we were going to plant veggies. We have always wanted to do this, and it fit well with the books we are doing for Emi’s “homeschooling unit.”

So, we spent a pretty penny (not going to lie), and bought flowers, planters, soil, and veggies. The girls were really happy with their choices. 

Here they are getting ready to transplant some flowers. You can also see our cherry tomato plant.

  
  

We spent a good hour outside planting things. The girls were scooping out everything on their own, so it was a lot messier and took longer than it should have, but the girls were having a great time which was the point.

Ok…so… we have a cherry tomato plant, two streberry plants, Japanese eggplant (which we prefer over those giant styrofoam tasting eggplants here), marigolds, lavendar, and two other types of flowers…which I didn’t bother to check the name. Basically, Mia chose red and Emi chose purple.


  

Very proud of their work and excited to see if we actually grow anything.


  
After working outside a bit (Ten was doing some much neededyard work while we were planting our vegetables), we moved inside to create our stepping stones.

Emi decided to make 2 hand prints, and Mia chose to do one. This project was a lot of work, but the finished project turned out very nicely.

We were all worn out by 5:00 pm. Ten had been at the gym all morning and followed that with tons of outside work. Me and the girls had done rehearsal, a shopping trip, outdoor and indoor activities…so we were ready to kick back and relax.

We finished the day by watching “The Secret World of Arrietty.” I had surprisingly never seen this movie before. It is loosely based on “The Borrowers.” I honestly remember watching that movie as a kid, but I don’t remember a whole lot about it. We all loved this movie.  Lots of questions left unanswered at the end of the movie, but really good. Also, fyi…we do watch Japanese movies in Japanese…dubbed movies drive me insane…and as three people in the house are Japanese speakers…it would be weird otherwise…of course, I totally use English subtitles 95% of the time.
 

Anyway, that was our day at home this weekend. Productive but mostly fun.

Emi’s first dance performance

 On Friday (May 19), Emi had her first dance “recital.” At least, the school called it a recital. It was basically a parent observation day with a pretty backdrop and matching tutus….more on those later.

She is the cutest thing in pigtails.

  

Doing some ballet stretches before the performance.

    

Standing on her spot. She is seriously adorable.

    
  

The show was basically based on the idea that the girls were stars who liked to dance around a sleeping ballerina. Also, each dancer had the chance to perform a solo. Emi used hers as a chance to break from the group and come and give me a hug. The funny thing is, I whispered to Ten before it started that that would happen. 

At the end of the performance, we gave Emi a small bouquet of flowers. She was so happy to get these.  She has had to watch Mia receive flowers quite a few times, so this was a true special treat.

  
  

Loving her flowers. She held on to these for the entire ride to pick Mia up from school and to go home.

  

Emi did such a great job. She definitely is a hesitant kid when it comes to doing things indepently, so it was a great experience for her.

Now, the tutus….they cost an astounding $45! Ridiculous considering one mom said she had the exact same one….and it cost $12.  Such a ridiculous price that they required us to pay….and fwiw I did tell the owner that I thought it was an excessive amount to pay.

Anyway, here are a few clips from the performance.
    

Summer Adventures: Selleck Woods

 Last summer, Mia ended up doing 6 weeks of full day summer camp. It was intense, and she came home exhausted every day. Emi and I did several mommy and me type of classes, but we had to make sure we were home in plenty of time to have dinner ready and to meet Mia’s bus. It just felt way too busy.

This summer we decided to take a different approach. Mia and Emi will attend one week of half day dance camp at the beginning of summer break and two weeks of half day farm camp at the beginning of August. So, more time together and less time (a lot less) being away from home. So out of 13 weeks, they will only have camp for 3 weeks.

With all of that being said, I want to make sure that we are having lots of adventures. I’m not a huge fan of the whole “bucket list” thing, but I do like the idea of having some different summer adventures.

Today (May 17), the three of us were going to spend the afternoon at the beach. It was going to be really hot, and it would be a perfect first summer beach day (and yes I know it is still spring…but school is out for us next week). However, we got an invite to go trail walking in a nature preserve…after consulting with the girls…we decided a “nature bath” would be a good adventure to take.

So, we packed a gourmet lunch of PBJs, and I sliced up some watermelon for all of the kids….and we hit the road. About 30 minutes later, we were at Selleck’s Woods or Selleck Dunlap Woods. 

My girls were off and running as soon as we arrived. Look at all of that gorgeous greenery.

  

  

Emi and her friend were glued together while we were here. So great to have a playdate with friends who have 2 kids of similar ages.

This place is magical. There are streams, ponds, marshes, butterfly gardens, duck crossings, and more. Also, it is only two miles worth of trails. Very manageable with kids.

 

The girls had a great time running through the woods, imagining they were dinosaurs, smacking trees with sticks, throwing rocks in streams, and just being crazy. They also fell down and got countless scrapes and cuts. Living life to the fullest as preschoolers.

Taking a break after climbing up this rock.

  

The girls loved walking along this ring of stumps. The kids looked so cute in this pic. I did crop out their friends….as their faces were a little too clear in this pic.

After about an hour, we walked back to the cars and brought out a picnic dinner. The kids all enjoyed it and ate tons of watermelon. They finished off dinner with some homemade trail mix, and we then headed back into the woods for another half hour.
 

Finally, the mosquitos were starting to get the best of us, so we called it a night. We loaded back into the car and were able to make it back to our village just in time to meet Ten at the train station. 

We got home and everyone showered. We were covered in dirt and sweat. The shower was awesome. We then did a tick check and found a big splinter on Mia. We took care of that and put medicine on all of their scrapes and cuts. After reading two books all about T-Rex, the girls fell asleep immediately. Exhausted but happy.

Birthdays: Chocolate Works and Clubhouse 

Doesn’t it feel like there are about a million birthday parties to attend in the spring? We have already had three this month alone. I typically dread these things because: 1) I’m terrible at choosing gifts. 2) They use up about half a day of our one day off a week. 3) Uncomfortable small talk with people I don’t really know.

However, this year I think I’m finally better at choosing gifts, battling through the social awkwardness, and seeing them as a nice day out.
On Saturday (May 13), we had a scheduling crises. A party for Emi from 11:30-1:30, a party for Mia from 11:00-1:00, and a dance recital at 1:30….all in different towns with one car. It was tough, but we made it work and were able to celebrate with all of our friends.
First, we dropped Ten and Mia off at Chocolate Works. This is the second party that Mia has attended here, and she has loved both of them. The kids basically make and eat sweets. What more can you ask for? Then Emi and I headed over to the clubhouse at her friend’s condo. It was Doc McStuffins themed which was very cute.
Here are a few snaps of each girl enjoying time with their friends.

Emi discovered the balloons, and then it was over. She didn’t want any of the snacks or to even play with anyone else…it was all about the balloons.

  
    
   

Emi had a great time. We basically played with balloons, but she also had fun when the music man arrived to entertain the kids. They also made little musical shakers, and she also made one for Mia. I thought that that was very sweet. We had to leave halfway through, but the hosts packed her a treat bag with goldfish, 4 cupcakes!, and of course some Doc Mcstuffins swag. It was a good chance to chat with some parents from her preschool as well as from her ballet class.

Party Number 2. Mia said she had a lot of fun. She made chocolate and two candy bracelets (one for herself and one for Emi….love that they both thought of each other). She decided to skip both the pizza and the cake though! I think she was a little nervous about the dance recital after.

Here are a few snaps of her day out.

 

Chocolate creation and the candy bracelet she made for herself.

  

Mia and friends watching the chocolate on the conveyor belt. These girls are the sweetest.

    
  

Mia’s chocolate. She chose a video game controller and thought it was the coolest thing. She added lots of decorations after.


Oh and what did we get the birthday girls? 

For the 5 year old: Palace Pets Legos and a bracelet making kit.

For the 3 year old: This Melissa and Doug Sushi Set and this sticker book. 

I actually got everything from Amazon, but for whatever reason…I can’t open the site.

The girls had great times at their own events, so it was worth all the crazy driving.

2017 Dance Recital- “Say Yes to the Dress”

We have officially finished our second season of dance. While we enjoyed it, it’s also nice to have our Saturdays back.  This year Mia once again took “Pre-Dance” with a very sweet teacher named Ms. Jenna, and today (May 13) was the wedding themed recital.

Here the girls are at dress rehearsal on Friday, May 12. I believe practicing the finale.

  
Mia and I have been busy attending all of the rehearsals for the past 3 weeks while Ten has been home taking care of Emi. It really was a family effort. 

We have almost a rule in our house that we try to volunteer at all events that our kids attend. If you have ever been backstage at something, then I’m sure you know why. If a parent is present, you can make sure they are taken care of and not overlooked….which sadly does happen with these sort of events when the adults are just so outnumbered. It also lets us spend more time with the girls and shows them that we really value their activities.

Emi before the show. Love this outfit! Ten actually snapped all of the pics. I didn’t get to see a thing since I was backstage. Looks like she was having fun.

  

Another look at the finale. Loved Mia’s costume this year.

  

Here Mia is after the performance. She loves getting flowers after each show! She was asking if she would get them all week…and I just said…”hmm, maybe.” She knew she would get them, but we let the suspense build.

Mia with the little party favor they gave at the end…and Emi just perfectly sums up how I felt after the recital.

…by the way…rained so hard this day..so the girls were prepared to head out in the puddles.

Team Temmoku. Anothere recital finished. Good job guys! I was still backstage helping kids find their parents.


  
So, the question is…will we continue next year? I’m not sure. Mia is in this “for fun dance school” and a “pre-professional ballet academy.” I kind of think that it is one dance program too many, especially if she wants to try a new activity. I do know that she is interested in hip-hop and martial arts….so we will see.