Our new home!

This week has been a rough one for our family. On Sunday night, Chinami had a runny nose and I had a slightly red right eye before going to bed. Monday morning, I woke up and my eye was bright red and swollen half-shut. I went to Long's and bought some hand sanitizer and some eye patches before going to work. That night, Chinami had a high fever and a nasty cough. Tuesday, we took her to the doctor and she had a cold and ear infection. Wednesday, Yasushi had a fever, headache, and sore throat, and I was starting to have the same symptoms as well by the afternoon, and so he got me some medicine too when he went to the doctor. Thursday, I finally went to the doctor, and he told me my eye (which wasn't red anymore but still swollen half-shut) was not pinkeye, but likely connected to the other symptoms.

After the doctor's appointment, we all went to Shirokiya for a very important event--
the signing of our escrow and loan agreements. It was over an hour of signing things about flood zones, termites, loan rules, paying the loan directly out of the bank account, etc. Since our lender, real estate agent, and the escrow office representative/notary public were all Japanese ladies, the signing was conducted almost entirely in Japanese. (side note:I remember trying to get any kind of Japanese related service in Pennsylvania, what a joke that was! Just one of the many reasons I feel blessed to be able to live in Hawaii.) Chinami was so tired she fell asleep during the meeting. But we plowed through it all, and at the end, handed over a check for almost 125,000, or pretty much our entire life savings, sending our account into a dangerous state until the next paycheck. And from October, we start mortgage payments. But we will have our own home.

If I had to try by myself to purchase my own home in Hawaii, I wouldn't qualify for any kind of loan until at least 2016, and even then, I probably wouldn't be able to qualify for a big enough loan to actually buy anything, not even the 1 bedroom part of this shack we live in now. I have two people to thank for our dream finally coming true.

The first person to thank is Yasushi. In addition to working his fingers to the bone 15+ years to perfect his skill as a Japanese chef, he spent the last 2 years in a truly horrible work environment, and even though I told him to quit several times for the sake of his health, he refuses each time, insisting he would hang on so we could buy a home. I

The other person to thank is my grandfather, Max Kaplan, or "Poppy." He scrimped and saved and stayed frugal his whole life, at times wearing clothes or shoes with holes in them or living on cheap food to accumulate a savings that the unselfishly left behind so "his children and grandchildren could have a good life". When we first saw the condo, we fell in love with it. However, the price was 348,000 and the most we could offer was 320,000. Our offer was, of course, rejected, and I counter-offered with 335,000, adding an extra 15,000 to our downpayment that came from the account my grandfather had made for me. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have been able to make the counter-offer that got us our home. I like to think that this is what he had imagined when he set aside that money...using the money for my education, a permanent home for our family and his only great-grandchild. It's his birthday today, so Happy Birthday, Poppy, and thank you!

The condo itself is a 2 bedroom, in the same neighborhood we live in now, close enough to Waikiki for the 4am bike commute and Yasushi's work as well, a 5 minute walk from Chinami's preschool with elementary, middle, and high schools in close walking distance, it's not a "nice" neighborhood like Manoa or Makiki, but not seedy Waikiki or Ala Moana area either. The condo is 12 floors high and ours is on the 8th floor. We don't have our own washing machine, which was a minus for me until we went to the laundry room on the top floor, you can see the ocean and Diamond Head. There's a park and a pool on the grounds, which is pretty nice since we don't have to clean it ourselves and can use it all year round, and Chinami loves the water.

Since it is a 2 bedroom, renting out 1 bedroom is something we will probably have to do for a while. Since we are in such a good location, close to UH and Waikiki and bus lines, it should be easy to find someone to rent a room to.

More to come!


Chinami will be 2 years old. ちなみ2歳になる!

I can't believe it has already been two years since I carried Chinami in my belly, gave birth to her in this one-bedroom shack, and started my life as a mom.
In just those two years I have watched her amazing growth.
And here's what Chinami does now:
Chinami can run, jump, ride scooters and tricycles, climb up ladders, sofas, and my back. She has no fear and will try and jump off of my shoulders or the play structure. On the rare occasion we have gone to a park with swings, she tries to swing by herself. She also loves Daddy's moped and motorcycle and is not scared of the loud sound at all...if the key is in the ignition she can start the engine and rev it up herself.

She can say a handful of words, mostly in English.  She started saying "thank you" around her 1st birthday, which were her first words. Then, she said go, shoes, hello/hi, bye, ball, me,耳 ねんね、いないいないばあ、and recently, Daddy, bus and fish and she meows, barks, and quacks. She understands English and Japanese but if I ask her to say "shoes" or "go" or "thank you" in Japanese, she will reply in English....when I am talking to her or asking her if she understood me, sometimes she nods and goes "un" but I'm actually not sure if she really did understand...
Another thing that started happening a few months ago is I realized she knows most of her ABCs.  I was asking her which page of the ABC book she wanted to color, and I was pointing to the letters, and she named them correctly. I can go through the ABCs in order with her, or in random order, and she can name most of them if she really tries. Numbers, she can say "two" and "go" which is five in Japanese. so counting to 10 might be interesting for her. She also says in sequence if I say a letter of the alphabet, she will say the next one, or sometimes with numbers I say "1" and she says "2", etc. I like to think that she is confused with her languages and wants to learn the foundations before she really begins speaking. She still uses signs to convey "eat" "drink" and will do a "poop" sign or a "help" sign if asked. The help sign is important for her to know when she gets frustrated trying to do things on her own.
Speaking of doing things on her own.....she is starting to be able to put on her shoes and clothes on her own or with a little help. She knows when she goes outside she needs her shoes, and when she comes inside, they come off. She is very good at cleaning up after herself, sometimes it takes a little coaching but when she focuses she will make sure every last toy is in the bin.

Around her 1st birthday, she had just discovered Elmo. She still loves the furry red guy, but she enjoys watching Pocoyo, as well as Frozen, Wreck it Ralph, and she plays/watches Angry Birds on the iPad. We also watch Doraemon, Totoro, Ponyo, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon. She likes the opening song to Sailor Moon. I try and keep the English to a minimum and work on Japanese with her at home, but hiragana is more difficult to remember than the ABCs so it will take a little longer. She likes nursery rhymes in English and Japanese and has remembered little dances to several. She sings the "EIEIO" in "Old Macdonald" and tries to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" and "ABC" but stops after the first couple bars. She still likes Morning Musume and knows several of their newer songs and mimics the dances pretty well. There are a couple songs she likes to try and sing along to as well.

She still breastfeeds about 2-3 times/day and eats a variety of different foods....she likes cookies and ice cream but also stilll loves roasted asparagus, carrot sticks, avocado, and any and all fruit. She eats meat too, especially chicken, likes beans, chili, curry, and of course, rice and noodles. We are working on eating with a fork and spoon, drinking from a cup is no problem. When she is finished she will lift the plate up and delicately place it somewhere else before wrestling out of her chair+tray.

I love her silliness when it's the two of us. She is so sweet and funny and I love to tickle her just to hear that laugh. Sometimes she's mad at me, or wants something she can't have, and that's OK too. Yes, those times are stressful, but she is a person and she feels frustrated and angry at times too, and I need to show her that it's OK to have those feelings sometimes. It's my job as a parent to guide her, teach her, build her up, encourage her, not to hurt her and make her feel bad about herself.

Happy Birthday Chinami! <3 Yasushi and I will keep doing our best for you <3

少ししゃべれます。殆ど英語ですけど。。。初めての言葉は1歳位の時からThank youで、そのあと行こう?をいうとgoと答えたり、くつ?をいうとshoesと言って、くつをはいたりしますね。あと、ball, ミー(me? ちなみの「み」?どうかな。)耳、ねんね、いないいないばあ!,ball,  Daddy, bus (これはバスと言われてバスをいうではなく、Sをわざとはっきりだしてbus), fish, 猫、犬、アヒルの鳴き声のマネっこなど少しの言葉はしゃべれます。2歳児には少ない気がするけど。。。。手話で食べる、飲む、ウンチ、助けて、なども少しできます。日本語でも、英語でも話しかけられたらわかるらしい。特に、私が話かけたり、質問したり、わかった?と尋ねてみたりする時「うん」と一所懸命うなずいて答えることもありますけど。。。そういう時もなんか怪しいね。。。




ちなみ、誕生日おめでとう! 私とやすしはずっとがんばりますよ<3