Monday, February 29, 2016

Little By Little

"Little and often fills the purse."

"Little and often makes much."

These are two idioms that are ignored by many, however, today we were reminded of the truth in these sayings.

This doesn't look like much.

To be honest, it isn't.  Seven yen or six cents.  However, when you don't spend these, but rather throw all of them into a jar, they add up.  A couple years ago we cashed in our jar to have a little "mad money" when we went on a family trip.  We have been slowly refilling the jar back up and today I took it to the bank.  There was ¥4,167 ($37.03) in the jar.  Yes, it took 22 months to collect that.  No it is not a lot in the whole scheme of things. BUT... it was money we truly did not miss. AND it was enough to pay for a cheap lunch date!  Plus there is enough left over for another treat or two.

Now our jar is all but empty.  Wonder how long it will take to fill it this time?

We have also started another new jar with ten yen coins.  (Roughly equal to a US dime.)


Ten yen coins are a little harder to save.  They make a slightly bigger dent in our tight budget, so instead of keeping all the ten yen coins we get back in change, I am just tossing them into a jar at the end of the month when I update the budget envelopes.  After just 2 months we have a fair start!

Little and often may not fill the purse, when you are using pennies, nickels, & dimes, but it is fun to save them.  It is also a challenge, as in, how fast can we fill the jar?  And in the end we have some "mad money" to put toward something extra!

What "Little and often" things do you do?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Then & Now

Memory posts pop up on a regular basis on Facebook.  Sometimes all I can think is WOW!

3 years ago - the day braces went on...


Nearly 7 years of retainers, head gear, & braces those teeth that were attempting to come in all clumped together are now in their proper places... WHEW!

4 years ago, while still an inpatient at the Niigata Cancer Center...

A couple months ago at school...

The little boy who couldn't go a week between blood transfusions, is now transfusion free & starting to wean off the immune suppression drug.  The boy who was only allowed out of his room on rare occasions, is now back to school   He is also getting to be so tall that he needed a new gait trainer & wheelchair!!

Almost 13 years ago...

This past fall...


The oldest is now a mom with 3 kids of her own.  The 2nd oldest is now living in American.  The 3rd one will soon be in high school.  The youngest traded his baby carrier for a wheelchair and is constantly in need of a shave & a haircut.  


Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Milestones happen.  Milestones are good.  Milestones can also bring out rebellion in a mama's heart.  This past month or so I have discovered a fine line between rejoicing in milestones & denial that milestones are a natural part of life.  
(The rebellion & denial are part of the reason I haven't blogged... if you blog it, it has happened!)

February has brought 2 big milestones into our lives.  

Milestone #1 - Kei had her high school entrance examination (2/5).  In Japan, entrance exams are B.I.G.  They are stress filled.  They are practiced for & rehearsed & practiced for yet again.  All this pomp & circumstance left this mama struggling to find balance and peace.  Kei couldn't sleep from the stress.  She was a nervous wreck worried that she wouldn't pass.  (Her school has a guaranteed pass because it is a special needs school, but I couldn't tell her this.)  Add to the test stress, Kei also needed to have formal attire to wear for the test (and the dress rehearsals) - a.k.a - black suit, white shirt.  My tomboy, who will only wear a skirt under duress, must dress up.  Thankfully, we found a 3 piece suit at a reasonable price that included a pants option (anyone need a suit skirt - I'm sure the one that came with the suit will only collect dust at our house!)  She does clean up nicely and now that she has it she isn't complaining too much about needing to wear it.

Test day, I needed to be at school all day, also in formal attire. The rebellious part of we wanted to show up in my p.j's with my coffee, but I behaved!

Now that the test is behind us - yes she passed ;) - it is on to graduation practice.  He suit is now staying at school because of the many graduation practices she will be having between now and March 4th - graduation day!

Milestone #2 - Bekah headed to the states (2/11), all by herself.  She is staying with Hannah, so she is not totally on her own, but... it is still a huge step!  Bekah will be helping Hannah with the kids, learning to drive...learning to DRIVE!  She'll also get her GED, maybe take some college classes.  She'll be looking for a part-time job.  All those things one does when they grow into adults.


The idea is she will be in the U.S.A. until next March or April, however, only God knows if she will ever come home to live again.  Much can happen in a year.  

Time to take a deep breath and adjust to the new things milestones bring to life.