19 January 2016

Aila is 2 and a Half

Aila is half way to turning 3! 

She is the most bubbly, cuddly, moody, bossiest girl ever and we love her exactly as she is! Here is her update (in chronological order) for the past 6 months:

She can say her prayers without any help. She can't wait to bless the food that she sometimes says it as she climbs up her highchair.

She has started getting her own water from the water dispenser. Sometimes she makes a big mess but she is getting better at bringing the cup up to the nozzle.

She is always pointing to different parts of her body that are itchy and says "my here!" which is her way of saying that it is itchy over here and she needs some medicine or she wants me to scratch it. She will fall asleep sometimes if I scratch an itchy area lightly.

She has gotten those shape puzzle games down! She can recognize the shape and which hole it goes into.

She has big crying tantrums where she will cry over the smallest thing and then will all of a sudden switch to hysterical laughter.

Her new favourite game is shoving small toys down my top and see how many she can fit inside. If my top is stretchy enough, she will get in too!

She doesn't like to hold hands anymore when we sleep :( She always kicks her blankets off when she sleeps too.

She is sooo clever when it comes to letters and numbers. She is always calling out the things she sees. She must be learning from the iPad apps. She amazes me all the time.

She loves giving high fives and cuddles with a big squeeze!

She is STILL always singing all day long. She always has a tune in her head.

She doesn't understand the concept of being quiet. If I really need her to shush, I'll tell her to be quiet and it's like I'm speaking Chinese to her, she doesn't get it. Or if she thinks she gets it, she will turn the volume down a little but will never completely stop singing or talking.

She bows a complete 90 degrees when saying konichiwa and arigato.

She has learnt not to bring toys into the toilet room and will drop them at the door before she enters.

She likes to play with small dolls and soft toys and will roll-play with them.

She is still afraid of the dinosaurs at the end of the hallway and will close the living room door to keep them out. She says "scary scary!" or "Mummy, kowai!" and will come and hug me.

She gets so upset and discouraged when she gets told off about the smallest thing. For example, if she pinches me out of curiosity and I jump and say "Ow!", she will throw toys, flail her arms, fall to the floor and cry.

She has mastered the alphabet and numbers 1-12 and points them out where ever we go!

She has started calling me Mama instead of Mummy without any kind of prompting. I like it!

She loves wearing dresses so much even in winter and hates it when I make her put on pants. She knows she looks good and doesn't want to kill her "swag" lol

She has a slight lisp now which I noticed one night when she was reciting the alphabet to me. She cannot say words starting with /sn/ without completely omitting the /s/ at the start. So snake becomes nake and snail become nail. I'm sure it's because of tongue placement as the /s/ and /n/ start in the same place for her. I am interested to see how it develops as she gets older.

She still sleeps with her eyes slightly open (like her Daddy!) which is kinda hilarious.

She will talk to me in babble for minutes on end about a story or something she thought was funny. She does this in both her made-up Japanese and made-up English.

She has chipped her front tooth somehow! She is always falling over so I am not surprised but now she will have this chip until her tooth falls out!

She is the CHEEKIEST little girl ever! Always testing my patience and always pushing the boudaries and she does it in her "Aila charm" that I can't always stay mad at her! She's smooth.

She is a Daddy's girl! She loves her Daddy and cries when he leaves for work and jumps up and down when he comes home. 

I cut her fringe and it is very a bit crooked. It took me a while to get used to it but I think her face looks a lot better framed! She looks so cute even if it's a bit choppy!

She can do the peace sign, finally! Sometimes it takes her a while to transition from 3 fingers to just two, but when she gets it, she beams! Her Oma also taught her how to do the thumbs up and she likes to do that and say "good!"

She is always talking. She likes to play restaurant and pretends to take and cook your order.

She likes kissing and will always go for the lips! I try to get her to kiss on the cheek so she doesn't go around kissing people, but alas, she wants the real deal every time. She also doesn't know how long a peck should be and she will lay one on you and stay there for the longest time lol. It can get a little awkward.

Her eczema can get pretty bad sometimes. She gets it mainly behind her neck, behind her knees, her elbows, a little above her armpits and on her cheeks and chin. She scratches all the time, especially at night while she sleeps which can wake her up.

She has now mastered numbers 13-29 and likes to run around the car park finding all the different numbers on the ground marking the car parks.

She still sometimes prefers to play by herself instead of with Reia which can be frustrating for her big sister who is trying to create a big scenario of role play.

If given lollies, she will count them, line them up, and share them with her toys before eating them.

She hates it when anyone joins her in singing along to the "I'm the map" song from Dora the explorer.

She really enunciates her words and if she says it wrong, she will take her time to say it right.

And last of all, she has stopped taking her afternoon nap! (sigh)

Aila, your cheeky smile and warm cuddles are the best!
We love you!

12 January 2016

Christmas and New Years 2015

After advent calendars, a bit of carolling, scripture reading of Luke 2, and the 12 days of Christmas, the day had finally arrived! Reia was much more aware of what what going on and could not wait for the 25th. She would always run to the calendar and count down the days.
Oma and Opa were with us this year which was extra special. This also meant that the girls got a tonne of presents! There were so many this year that we had to hide most of them when people came over as to not be "showy." Christmas is not really a huge deal in Japan in comparison to Westernized countries, even amongst members in my opinion. But they do have the best Christmas light displays and ice sculptures!

Usually when we do Christmas at home, Pup will pick the presents and have a helper to help give them out. That kind of lasted for a little bit but after a short while, Reia and Aila just started digging into the pile and ripping apart anything that looked like theirs. It became a bit chaotic near the end. 
The girls got so many things. Aila's first present that she opened was Dipsy, the green Teletubby! That was enough for her right from the get-go and she ignored all other presents presented to her and just hung out with her new buddy. Reia got a Ninja Turtle which was somewhat over shadowed by all the joy Aila was having with her Teletubby. However, Reia did really get into the activity books and other little toys she got. The girls also got lots of clothes, books, and DVD's galore. 

We ate our usual platter of food. Big thanks to Pup for bringing over lots of Kiwi goodies and to Mum for being the food presentation wiz! So so full all day and then it was time to prepare dinner. There are 6 missionaries in our ward and we invited them all over for dinner. We had a big turkey from the U.S. Base, a ham from New Zealand that Opa brought with him in his suitcase. We had a lovely evening with the missionaries and shared our favourite Christmas memories. After dessert, which was a Christmassy baumkuchen, we sat in a circle and sang Christmas carols. It was really nice! I haven't sung in 4-part harmony for so long and neither had the missionaries. They said it made their Christmas all the merrier as that it what they do back home. We finished the night with a message from the missionaries by Elder Fenton. It was a nice way to finish the evening :)

My parents both love the Christmas season which means we got to get more out of the season through their enthusiasm and joy. Without sharing the holidays with family, Christmas just doesn't feel the same. I am looking forward to making our own Makise traditions with my kids. Jun is very good at keeping us all grounded and focused on the true meaning of Christmas so we have a good balance of Christmas and traditions between us.

For New Years Eve, Jun's parents also joined us and we had a quiet night at home. We were all still so full from Christmas! We had sinigang soup for dinner, Dutch "oliebollen" donuts for dessert, and when midnight came, a big bowl of soba so that we may live long lives! Ohhh my goodness I was sooooo full. I like watching the funny programs on t.v. during oshougatsu. They only air during New Years so it's a treat to watch. New Years Eve is very different to a Kiwi NYE. I am used to loud music, dancing, partying, food and fireworks (not to mention a New Years kiss!), but in Japan it is very quiet. No fireworks, music or dancing (and especially no kissing). People usually stay at home and welcome the New Year that way. The women usually cook up a storm before-hand so that they don't need to cook from the 1st-3rd. On New Years Day however, everyone goes to the shrine to pray, and that is what we did! With my parents, Jun's parents, and sister and brother-in-law, we all went to the local Yaho Tenman-gu shinto shrine, in Kunitachi. There were so many people lining up to go to the shrine. There was an hour-long wait! We quickly decided to skip that line to the shrine and went straight to the food stalls instead. At this shrine, there wasn't a big selection to choose from. However, the yakiimo (baked sweet potato) and the Hiroshima-yaki were SO GOOD!!! Yakiimo in general is nice, but they slow cooked these ones by hanging them inside large earthenware pots instead of on top of hot coals. So soft and sweet with that caramelized taste. The Hiroshima-yaki was absolutely amazing. It was a little awkward lining up for this and eating it in front of my Osaka family, but it was worth it! The guy making it really put a lot of effort into it and it took a while for him to get them out to us. Oh so gooood. I can't even compare it to Kansai style okonomiyaki. To me, it is a completely different dish! And they are both delicious!

After the eating, we went back to our place and relaxed for a bit, then started on making dinner. We had traditional osecchi ryouri prepared by Jun's Mum and sister, Tsubasa. Mum and I made our traditional NY platter of fruit, chocolate, cheese, crackers, dips and meats. So so full. The girls were given their otoshidama by their Japanese grandparents and Aunty and Uncle. Reia was excited to receive money and a big book of Japanese folklore. Aila on the other hand threw her money on the floor lol. She was not that into it.

That was our end to 2015! We are excited for what 2016 has in store for the Makises's!