Monday, January 28, 2013

A memorable Autumn

I returned from Portugal as temperatures begun to fall. Most of our family's birthdays & our wedding anniversary fall in this season. Family life has a habit of keeping our free time busy and so there wasn't much time to continue working on the home project before November, but we had fun together.

Our little boy has grown very quickly. He eats a lot and as a result has stamina, strength and needs lots of nappy changes. He crawls, teeth have all come out & I keep being told to enjoy these times and so I do my best to as this innocence won't last forever. Having a 2nd child is definitely harder work than having just one, so I try to give my wife as much help as I can with them. We're both enjoying being parents, but sometimes look back at the luxuries of travelling care-free for weekends away, enjoying evenings out or just spending half a day in bed.
Sacrifices of the heart for love are all worth it.

With the continuing turmoil in the world business has slowed over the last 5 years.
Although thankfully it continues fairly steadily for us, I find as I make less income, the quality of our lives continues to improve inversely proportionally. I find I have more time to think of what we want to do and although there's less money to spend - there's always a way if there's motivation. So I spend some time educating myself on how to do things, observing others and imagining what life can become if we put our minds to it.

Our daughter is now 4 and so we're trying to teach her what we can, whilst always remembering to keep it fun, exciting and challenging.
I drive her to kindergarten each day, to help give our boy more time at home than sitting in the car for up to 2 hours a day for the commute.
As she now speaks English fairly well, I try to teach her a little Portuguese from time to time and vary the conversation.
Sometimes it's about what she wants to talk about, sometimes I share about things she's interested in. Mostly it's important to talk and stimulate her mind & imagination.

We continue to belive that despite the 1 hour commute there & back, plus the amount of extra time mothers need to spend there cooking, organising events and more - our daughter's kindergarten was the right choice for her. In the summer they made some basic swimming pools in the play area outside complete with slide and so the children learnt how not to be afraid of water.
She's learnt to put her head under water and hold her breath and does her best to swim which was a great start, She's become quite creative with drawing & making things and always looks forward to going in the mornings. We feel she really is learnng all sorts of basic things that are important for life, rather than accademic work, although she's showing definite interests in learning to read, which we're figuring out now - in the most fun ways possible of course.
The school had a small festival in the autumn, where the children performed songs, shared activities with parents and watched shows given by tallented mothers.

The children from her school did a singing performance in the park of our local village. In the evening three men climbed to the top of the bamboo & straw tower and threw mochi (Rice cakes) and other snacks to all the crowd, before setting fire to the tower as the sun set. This was a rice festival to bless the next harvest & be thankful for the one they'd just had.

I sometimes joke that as we live in a forest we don't need to travel to go to one, but of course it's good to get away, especially during the colourful season in October.
For our wedding anniversary we did something impulsive and drove 4 hours to get to Kamokochi. Whilst the children slept on a double futon in our van, we sipped Port wine, whilst bathing our feet in the foot spa in the moon light. Next day we took the taxi ride to the national park to walk and enjoy the autumn colours of the mountain range.

Our daughter continues to enjoy dancing, something we'll continue to encourage.

For her birthday, despite a healthy dislike for multinational commercialism - we took her to visit Disneyland. Surprisingly her favourite ride was the merry-go-round.

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