MY FUNNY VALENTINES

Valentine’s Day at school was always a beacon of light in the middle of a long dreary winter. Winter break had ended long ago and spring break seemed so far away it was pointless to get excited about. We were in the daily doldrums of cold bleak winter weather, battling illness sweeping through the school, and of course, boring school work. Sheets of hand-outs and work-packets, or as my teachers called them; dittos. Dittos for us to complete math problems and practice our perfect cursive handwriting. But for one day, one day in the middle of the darkness, for at least an hour, we had Valentine’s Day.

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AKI MATSURI and MAKING YUKATAS

The kids go to a Japanese immersion school as their primary school. In addition to learning the Japanese language, they also get to participate in cultural events. One of those events is called, “aki matsuri,”or Fall Festival. For half the day, we convert the school into different games popular in Japan during these festivals. At the end of the games, the kids parade around the school with decorative floats, chanting, and dancing. One thing that is very common for people to wear at the fall festival is a yukata. I’ve been told it’s like a casual kimono. The girls really wanted to wear one, but even after all of our trips to Japan, we had never bought them one. The basic garment is constructed similarly to a bathrobe. It looked simple enough, so I decided to make them one. I mean, I made an Elsa dress for Halloween before, I could handle this​, right? In the end, I was right. But getting there, that was the tricky part.

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LET IT GO!

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Ah, Halloween, that time of year when I try to reconstruct my own magical childhood memories and force them on my kids. I’m aware there is a big difference between carrying on traditions and trying to recreate and relive a memory. And I think I’ve been blurring the line between these two ideas. I know, this sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s right; I did this last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Oh, and at Christmas, and birthday parties, and just about any other special event. You think I would learn.

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COSTUMES, NO CANDY

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This time of year, especially Halloween makes me ache for my childhood. I can remember so vividly how excited I was going to school on Halloween for the costume parade and the classroom Halloween party. But I also couldn’t get home quick enough to prepare for the evening. Halloween was a big deal at our house and all I wanted to do was get home from school and help my dad to be a part of it. So it’s no surprise that my expectations for providing a fun-filled Halloween were high as Ellie was getting older. And with these high expectations, I sometimes forget that Ellie is only three and Chloe’s only one.

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