Sunday, June 29, 2008

Max's Last Day of School

The end of the school year is here already.  I haven't ever posted any pictures of Max at school so here are a few taken the last day.  He has been attending an international pre-school two mornings a week since April.  Max has three other children in his class and two teachers and Max really loves it.  I have to tear him away when I pick him up.

....So I signed him up for a full week of summer school starting tomorrow.  

Max and Georgi 
Mieko and Max

The View

We have two small balconies that look to the northwest. On a clear day (rare) we can see Mount Fuji.  On most days, we see Tokyo sprawling out as far as the eye can see.  Max is especiallyfond of watching the traffic 10 floors below us.  Rich is especially fond of the "three ladies", a larger than life billboard of three blondes in pink tights.

Looming outside we also see the 43 storey Mori Tower.  Blue lights travel up and down the side of the tower at night which entertains Max. 


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


We had a great trip to Bali, flying out of Tokyo on June 7th direct to Denpasar.  Max was very excited to be going on a "jet" and repeated the word over and over throughout the preparation and duration of our trip.  We stayed at the Westin Resort in Nusa Dua for five nights and then took a car up to Ubud, where I had visited Carrie 11 years ago.  God, that made me feel old.  The Balinese are so nice of course that they tell you you look 20 when you're 40.

As expected, the resort was, well, a resort - a contained world insulated from the outside. With a small child, this was ideal as we could easily wander from our room to the pool to the beach to the restaurants to the playground to the spa and loungy areas. 

The pool was a big hit and Max enjoyed the beach, too. He was particularly taken with what he called the "bells". This was the metal gamelon music, of which we heard a lot of. Every evening there was a traditional procession with music and traditional dress. We also saw lots of dancing. We also took a half-day trip to a safari/zoo where we had our photos taken with an orangutan and baby tiger.

The drive up to Ubud took us to two towns known for their crafts - Celuk for its silver crafts and Mas for wood carvings and masks.  Here's Max in the town of Mas trying out the bamboo gamelon, his new favorite instrument.

Our hotel in Ubud was an oasis from the busy streets, crowded shops and noisy motorcycles. I think we finally mastered the art of relaxing there.

From Ubud, we also took a drive out to see the rice fields and some great views of the surrounding valley.  
Of course traveling with a two-year old isn't a piece of cake but despite a couple of nights of lousy sleep, early morning wake-ups, nervous car rides with him sitting on our laps, mealtime antics, and a very challenging plane ride back, it was definitely worth it. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Max is 2!

Well, the big two year milestone has come and gone. We had a great time celebrating Max's second birthday here in Tokyo with our new friends. While we missed our friends and family from the States, we felt close to them since many called and sent gifts and cards.  

Official birthday celebrations began at school on the 29th.  I made, decorated and brought in cupcakes, recalling that my own Mom had done this for me.  Max's birthday was Friday, the 30th which was spent relatively quietly. We had a music class friends Tamano, Naia and Dylan over in the morning.  Rich came home a little early so we could eat dinner together and have cake.

I cannot recollect what I made for dinner but I prepared a chocolate cake (7 bucks for a box of Duncan Hines mix) and we sang Happy Birthday.  Max enjoyed the cake and then opened up some presents sent from family overseas and from us.  Lastly, he opened the train set and was extremely excited.  Rich and I promptly put it together in his bedroom and he has been playing with it ever since.  He does rip it apart on a daily basis when he gets frustrated so I am getting good at putting it back to together in new and ever-changing track patterns. 

We had a big party for our friends on Sunday morning at the local Gymboree so the kids could tear around on the play equipment with abandon.  It was a good choice.  We brought cheese and crackers and fruit for the adults and had some elaborate cupcakes catered. An excellent event, I
think. It was also such a treat to look around the room and see all the people we had become friends with.  Internationally, we had guests from Australia, Britain, France, Hungary, Ireland, and Japan.  
I have a few pictures of the event and am hoping that some of our friends will share theirs as well.