Saturday, June 29, 2013

Climb A Mountain

She said, "Let's climb a mountain!" 
She said,"It will be fun!!"  

She is C~R~A~Z~Y!
*Please don't remind me that the "she" was me!

Jerry & I headed off right after Joshua's morning meds.  Trusting the kids on their own for the day.  We reached Mt. Yahiko at 10:30.
We parked by the red arrow at the bottom & climbed up to the yellowish building at the top of the picture!
 View of the mountain from near the parking area.

Yahiko is 634 meters tall, the same height was Sky Tree in Tokyo.

We made it to the trail head by 10:45.

We climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more.

 My friend, the rock!
 Only 2.3 km to go, but please say we have come more than an 8th of a km...pant, pant, wheeze!

 Jerry waited patiently for me to catch up, take pictures, catch my breath! (Taking pictures was a really good excuse to stop and breath!!)

We made it to the top by 12:30.  We then made our way to the observation building & had lunch.

 view of the from the restaurant

After lunch, we hiked along the ridge to a shrine, finding interesting things along the way.

By this time I was done in & Jerry wasn't moving quite as fast either, so we took the cable car down.

Once we made it off the mountain, we hiked through the temple grounds on our way back to the parking area.

It WAS fun, in an exhausting sort of way.  I am very, very thankful that there were a few benches and rocks along the way where we could stop to catch our breath (well, at least where I could catch my breath!)  I am also truly thankful for the cable car ride down!!   All of this in mind, it is something we will likely do again, but not until fall at least.

For now I am simply thrilled that I actually DID it!  I climbed a 634 meter (2080 foot) mountain and lived to tell the tale!

BTW ~ according to my fitbit, I walked over 12,000 steps and climbed 189 floors.  The floor count will be better next time because I won't have to stop & rest as much - at least that is my goal. 

Friday, June 28, 2013


What am I becoming?

In May, I willingly participated in a 12k walk.  I even paid good hard earned money to do it!

In June, I ordered exercise tops!  I have even worn them several times - as in - they are not simply hanging in my closet!!  <Until recently, the only exercise clothes I have ever had were hand me downs that mostly took up closet space & collected dust.>

This month, I also learned about a 2 day, 20k walk on Sado Island Oct. 19~20.  AND I am attempting to work out the details so that I can walk in it!!

Today, I found out about am 8k walk on Nov. 2nd in the mountains at the far edge of Niigata prefecture, between here & Tokyo.  <Every time we drive to Tokyo, I think about stopping and exploring along the river.>   I am ready to sign up!  Only this time, I want to drag the family along!

Today, after enduring aches all day from walking Josh to the hospital for his dental appointment wearing my flip flops, I ordered walking sandals.

Tomorrow Jerry & I are going to climb a mountain!  AND, if it goes well, I am thinking about climbing Mt. Fuji sometime...


I think maybe I am becoming addicted to exercise!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Plan

I came up with a plan that will not only get both children to the dentist, at same time in opposite directions, but will also get everyone in the family involved!  AND include exercise!!!!  I am well on my way to earning the Mean Mom award!!

  1. Bekah will bike with Kei to her dentist appointment.  Jerry, who will get back from his out of town class right about appointment time, will bike directly from the station to the dentist to be with Kei.  Bekah can bike home anytime after Jerry gets there.
  2. I will walk Josh to his dentist appointment.  Getting my walk in & Josh some sunshine & fresh air.
  3. Bekah, and possibly Jerry, should be home in time to watch Josh after his appointment while I head to ECS for my private lesson.
  4. Kei can bike directly to swimming.
Now to see if it works!

Cross Eyed

It is only Wednesday ~ HOW can it only be Wednesday?

I feel like a hamster in a ball, running hither & yon this week!  Today has been exceptionally so.  
  • Took Kei to the doctor this morning- she is recovering nicely & now has permission to go out in public.  
  • Home to attempt to catch up on homeschool thus & such, while trying to sort some details for upcoming events.
  • Preschool classes this afternoon, with preschoolers who could careless about English.  They would rather pick on each other, poke each other in the butt, go through my bag, or climb on the play equipment in the room I have been given to use for class.
  • Finished classes, ran home, picked up Josh & high tailed it to the hospital for therapy/orthics appointment.  Wednesday afternoon is the ONLY time the orthics guy comes.  Josh NEEDS foot support orthics.  (Jerry is covering 2 of my classes so that I could take Josh.)  The orthics guy is writing an estimate which will then be turned in to the doctor to sign.  LORD willing we will get this letter + the 3 letters for wheelchair, stander, & gait trainer next week.  Then I can turn them in at the city office to start the next step in the process.
  • Discover, while at the hospital that I managed to reschedule Kei's dental appointment for the same exact time as Joshua's dentist appointment.  Both tomorrow.  Both at different hospitals.  Both at a time when Jerry is not home to take one of them.
  • ALSO realized that next week's short stay (respite) happens to also be a Josh check up day... it is still doable, but won't be a restful because I will still have to be at the hospital a good part of the afternoon - oh well.  We might actually get to go OUT for dinner!
  • I still need to head to ECS to teach my last 2 classes.  I am just home dropping off Josh and waiting for chef Bekah to finish dinner.
As crazy as the day has been a couple good things have emerged.
  1. Jerry & I are going to attempt to go on a the 2 of us!!  If the weather is cooperative, we will go climb a mountain.  YES, it was my idea (I might be feverish!).  It is an easy beginner mountain to climb AND if I die on the way up, there is a cable car that we can take down.  I have also been told that there is ice cream & onion rings at the top.  I may need that "carrot" to get me there!!
  2. I made reservations for a cabin in Karuizawa.  We couldn't get the same cabin we had before, but the cabin we are getting is still in the same missionary "village".  We will go July 20~22.  Jerry wants to climb Mt Asama with a friend.  The kids & I well do some hiking, chilling near the cabin.  It is a much needed change of pace get-a-way to look forward to!!
And now, it is time to grab some dinner before I dash off to ECS.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Should Be Thrilled

After a year & a half of treatment for Very Severe Aplastic Anemia today the doctor finally said Joshua's levels seem to be leveling out.  This is exciting & we are thankful, but I had really hoped they would level out at a higher level.  
As of today:
WBC's were 1,700 (normal 3,500~8,500)
RBC's were 278 (normal 400~550)
Hemoglobin was 9.6 (normal 13.0~16.5)
Platelets were 36,000 (normal 150,000~500,000)

(Josh's 1 year graph)

I am hoping that they will stay level and start to climb.  Will they? I don't know.  How long will it take?  Haven't a clue.  Will he still need transfusions?  Only the LORD knows.   I am also praying that we will be able to stop the nasty immune suppression medication.  When?  No idea!   The doctor did say that, if levels are still holding steady at our next check up in 2 weeks, that we might be able to go to an every 3 week or maybe even a monthly check up schedule!!!

I was a bit bummed that levels hadn't climbed today.  However, I was thrilled that his CRP, infection indicator, was picture perfect.  That was a huge relief.  There is no guarantee he would still pick up Kei's bug, but so far so good.

On a side note... Josh is was scheduled for a practice short stay tomorrow.  Our caseworker just called, because Kei is ill, Josh can't go tomorrow.  I think we have a schedule worked out for next week, but getting all the hoops jumped through before camp in - GASP - 2 weeks, is cutting it SHORT!

Monday, June 24, 2013


I am feeling like a boat set adrift.  I don't feel anchored.
Since I started blogging in Dec. '06, I have blogged nearly every day.  It has been a place for me to unwind, to relax, to process.  The uncertainty of xanga right now leaves me feeling unsettled.  I have a blog on blogger, but the only reason I had it was so I could comment on a friend's blog.  I have tried blogging over there these past couple weeks, but it just doesn't feel the same.  Then again, xanga doesn't feel the same.  Xanga is so quiet & subdued, at least in the circle I seem to fit in.   I am having a hard time wanting to blog, which makes me sad.

I am also feeling some what adrift in my walk with the LORD.  I feel a bit like an outsider peeking in the window.  These past 19 months of Josh's struggle with Aplastic Anemia has brought changes to each and ever aspect of our lives.  Simple things like going to a restaurant is not yet possible.  Even going to church is a new experience & then only with extra care can it happen.  Nothing is the same...maybe that is what makes it feel so odd, so "outsider looking in".  My faith is still there, in some ways it is stronger, but in others ways it is struggling like a newborn baby, abandoned.

I feel adrift in the fact that any small breeze can knock things off course.  Kei had a sore throat last week.  Friday she seemed to be doing better so I didn't take her to the doctor.  Friday evening she started running a low grade fever & her throat was sore again.  It just kept getting worse.  I put off taking her to the ER, waiting rather for regular office hours today.  Verdict - she has strep.  Strep is a nasty bug in any situation, but with an immune suppressed child in the house - arg!  I think the meds are starting to work, she seemed more perky this evening.  Bekah & Josh are on preventative antibiotics.  Praying hard they can avoid the strep bug.  Something as simple as a sort throat has the boat rocking and drifting off course again.

And now I just caught myself drifting through pictures on facebook.  SIGH - adrift, yet again!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Super Moon

The moon was so beautiful it made it hard to focus on the road as I biked home from a dance festival tonight.  

One of my youngest students gave me 2 tickets to her dance recital a few weeks ago.  Last week she brought programs with her name highlighted. It was nice a nice evening.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Clone Me Please

If only clone technology actually existed...
I could use one several!!

I am feeling overwhelmed right now.  So much going on.  So many things that need to be handled.  So much paperwork that needs to be sorted, turned in, processed.  Makes me want to run & hide!

*Paperwork Clone*

One clone could be put in charge of paperwork.  She could cover all this... Yesterday, I managed to check 2 separate letters with our secretary.  I knew the basics, but wanted to double check the specifics.  One was pretty easy, just needed to turn it in at the appropriate office (got that done this afternoon - YEAH).  The 2nd one, was/is more complicated, in fact she isn't even sure about some of it.  I do know which form needs to be give to the hospital to fill out.  I know which paper we have to fill out.  I know I have to get papers from both the tax office & the city office.  Still not 100% sure if there are additional papers from the city office needed or not.  Then once all these papers are gathered then need to be turned in at yet another building.  Thankfully, I have until Aug. to get everything gathered because it could take a few weeks to get the hospital letter.

We are still waiting on paperwork from the local hospital, so that we can turn  it in to get the process moving for Josh's new equipment.  Of course, next week we have an appointment for braces for Josh to wear when walking and that paperwork will need to be processed as well.

I also turned in paperwork at the city office today, but forgot 1 part so need to go back.  It would really be nice if I could combine some of the paperwork runs!

*Care Clone*

Right now I am feeling like I am failing Josh by not working with him enough. Standing practice & walking practice.  Personal care...he really should have his teeth brushed more & have more baths/showers.  Sit & play time.  Record all those meds & seizures & temps & you name it.

*Housework Clone*

Poor Josh us wearing shorts today even though his temp was low this morning because ALL his pants are either in the laundry or have been washed but are not yet dry.  

Then there is the cooking & cleaning.  Yesterday I made bread for the 1st time since Chan left.  I need to make bread on a daily basis.  I have a bread machine, so its not hard - just have to remember to do it!  Cleaning... we won't go there.

*Teacher Clone*

We have 3 possible new classes that could be started.  I have also been ask to go to another preschool to do classes on a regular, but not necessarily weekly, basis.  This is all great!  I am thrilled that things seem to be looking up, but there just are not enough hours in the day.

Even with clones, I could still find enough to keep busy.  There are always newsletters to write, YES, I do know what these are...I just don't get them written in a timely fashion.  Hospital & dental appointments that are happening weekly for at least 2 of the 3 children living under this roof.  Homeschool (might need a clone just for that, too) & teaching.  Making friends and being available to socialize and do friendship evangelism.  Maybe, gasp, time to be a wife to my husband.

I know that life will settle down.  This time of year is always busier than usual.  We are still adjusting to life without Chan.  But in the mean time a clone or 10 would be nice!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Getting Healthy

Three years... I have been working on lifestyle changes for 3 years now.  I still have a way to go and I need to get off my current yo-yo course in order to get there, BUT progress is progress.

One of the biggest lifestyle changes I am working on is getting more exercise.        I am trying to get 10,000 steps a day.  In order to do this I have to take an intentional walk because otherwise it just doesn't happen.  *There are days it doesn't happen even when I get a walk in.

Yesterday, I headed off on my park course.  I wasn't sure I would go because it was raining when I woke up, but the rain stopped & I headed out.  It was fun to see how much difference a week makes.

Last week


The pond was beautiful, too

Today, I ended up waking indoors with one of my walking videos because it has been pouring all day.  I haven't done those for awhile - it was a nice change of pace.  I also got to wear my new exercise top.  Who new it was FUN to have new exercise clothes... that you actually USE to exercise in?!?

I made a discovery, new exercise tops will also double as swimsuit tops - WOOT!!

Yes, I still have a way to go, but I am getting there!

Who Am I?

I go through times when I wonder who I am.  Today when I can across this...

I got to thinking.  
I am not the same person I was.

When I was a high school graduate I thought I had things figured out.  Go to Indiana Central to get a 3 year nursing degree, yada yada ya...  I made it half way and then dropped out, sat out a semester, changed schools & degrees.

As a recent college grad & newly wed... work in design, adopt a few kids, live in a nice house, close enough to family to visit fairly often, but not right next door, yada yada ya...

As a new missionary to Japan... be here 5 years, then head back to life in the states ~ that was 22 years ago.

As a mother of 3 beautiful girls - 3 is a good number... enter a son.  A son with special needs.  A son with special needs that now has a rare, chronic illness.

Most days I am not exactly sure who I am.  I struggle with knowing I am not who I should/would like to be.  I grasp at wanting to be more but often come up as less.  I think the biggest lesson I am learning is not to hold on too tightly because as soon as I think I have it figured out, in comes a curve ball. I often don't succeed in this loose hold way of life.  My OCD kicks in & I freak out.  I want a plan.  I want to know what is coming next.

Truth be told, I don't know.


The LORD knows and HE will work things out.

Who am I?  I am a work in progress, as is each and everyone person alive today.  I, & the rest of the world, am a work in progress with the ability to tightly cling to my way or loosen the grip, let go & let God have control.

I may not understand the LORD's plans, but I know that His plans work out much better than mine.  How about you?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Aerobic Activity

There are a few things in life, well at least in my life, that SHOULD be considered an aerobic activity.  However, I have checked and cannot find them listed anywhere - bummer!
1. Hanging すだれ (sudare) bamboo sun shades.  This activity takes not only coordination, but balance & skill as one attempts to hang out of windows while holding the bamboo share AND attempting to hook, in my case, rope to cup hooks that are in the side of the house or the over hang over the window.  Stretching & sweating is also involved.  Sounds like aerobics to me!
2. Giving a hair cut to Joshua.  This is not only aerobic, it is a Family Aerobic activity because it takes 2-3 pairs of hands to hold the boy somewhat still and keep him from attacking the person wielding the clippers.  The person doing the clipping is in constant action trying to anticipate the next move of the boy so that ears & other body parts do not get clipped.  It certainly FEELS like a workout!
Wait... there might be an income opportunity in this - maybe I could sell tickets?!?
Nah, probably not, unless mud or jello were added silly
When a day includes BOTH of these - there SHOULD be a way to count it as an aerobic activity!!
Some day soon we will be adding shaving to Josh's routine...shocked
I feel the need to go for a walk, I have got to be in better shape before attempting this one!! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dumpster Dive

So long till next year ~ Enmaichi is over for another year!

We spent the whole day downtown yesterday.  We bike/wiked to church and directly after, we went to ECS.  After a quick lunch we set up for Open Door.

Festivals will be festivals...


We had several old friends stop by.  We made some new friends.  We were there for a child in need - just as we were getting ready to close things up a mother came asking if there was a toilet her young one could use.  
Open Door was a success!
One mixed result of Open Door - Garbage.  We have a table & stools for people to sit down at.  We also have boxes for garbage & recycling.  Festival goers are not always careful where/what they pitch.  Several times we need to check to make sure trash has been properly disposed of.  When I was doing this, I noticed several of the cute little ice cream bowls in our trash box.  I took them in, washed them up and have given 20 of those poor little orphans a home!
YES - I turned dumpster diver!!