Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I love the fall. I think the changing colors of the leaves are beautiful, I love the crisp coolness in the air, I love pumpkins and apple cider and everything about fall in general. Its just a beautiful season! I also like to celebrate Halloween, but not in a scary way. I just love having a reason to dress up and hang out and have fun. And I love carving pumpkins! The fall in Japan comes a little later than the fall in Kansas. October's weather is definately cooler, but its still mostly sunny and on the warm side. It begins to get colder in November, which is also when the leaves really change and become beautiful. Something else that is different here is that Japanese people don't really celebrate Halloween. (At least not as big as Americans do). Some little children will dress up, and some high school/college age/young adults may go to some Halloween parties, but thats not the norm. Even though it is different, most of my team here in Japan also enjoys having an excuse to dress up and have a party, so thats what we did! We invited our Japanese friends to come dress up and party with us. About half of the people we invited could not come, but it still ended up being a very full party and we ran out of food! We made chilli and cornbread, cheese dip and a few desserts. It was so much fun! I put together a collage of pics of the party so that I could show more pictures all at once.

Sometimes when little children see Mike, they cling to their mothers and start crying. Mike is a big white guy and they are not used to seeing men like him. So this year, Mike chose to be a bunny, in hopes of not scaring any children at the party. It worked! No children cried, one even sat on his lap. I was a fairy, Cooper was a pumpkin, and Brayden was supposed to be a pumpkin but he never would wear his costume. But he sure did have a wild time playing with the other kids!

Another thing...You cannot find orange pumpkins in Japan. You can only find small green ones, used for cooking, at the grocery store. Well, a few days before Halloween, a friend at the park brought me an orange pumpkin. I couldn't believe she had one...I asked her how in the world did she get it? Her husband is from England, and he teaches at an international school here in Nagoya. They had ordered pumpkins ONLINE! (Isn't that funny? Maybe I will do that next year...) After the school was done using them, they were going to get rid of them, but somehow she ended up with one and brought it to me. I'm a little embarrassed to say that it totally made me giddy like a child. I even got Brayden all giddy'd up about it. He was so excited to carve it. He had said he wanted to put his hand inside and pull out all the slimy stuff, but once I cut it open and he looked inside he changed his mind. I also cooked the pumpkin seeds, too. They were yummy!

One last thing...totally unrelated to Halloween...we found a place to meet for our church! We weren't sure how difficult it would be to find a place, but I think God directed us and provided this place for us. We will be meeting in a sports bar called Strikers, where we will be able to use the second and third floor of the building. It is already equipped with lighting, sound, and projection equipment! Awesome! It has room for about 40 people. Our first service is going to be on Dec. 20th. There are enough musical people on our team to put together a little band for worship. We have already begun practicing our songs in Japanese...its so exciting! Mike is going to give a sermon (using a translator) about how God came to earth to rescue us. He will get to explain some of the gospel to first time hearers. Please pray for the people who will come to that service to have open, fertile hearts and ears to receive the gospel!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


We've been having a beautiful fall so far. The weather is usually sunny and around 70-75 degrees. We try to get outside a little everyday to take advantage of the nice weather before it turns colder. Usually when we go to the park, Cooper sits in his stroller and watches Brayden play, but lately he has been wiggling and fussing to get out and join in. The other day I let him get out and sit in the sand with us. I wanted to see how he would react to it. Here is a picture of him playing:

He loved it! He also tried to eat it...I tried to stop him. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes I wasn't. :) The reason why I was curious to see what he would do is because of this picture of Brayden at the same age:

Brayden hated the sand for a while! Brayden has always been a cautious boy...he always observes new places and situations before jumping right in. But Cooper has so far proven to be opposite. He is so curious about his surrioundings and is already more feisty! Sometimes I'll hear a high pitch scream come out of him that makes me think he's been terribly hurt or something. Then I'll turn around and see that he just dropped his toy and can't reach it. He's also been pulling himself up a lot lately:

And here are the brothers...aren't they so cute?!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Ramblings...

Well now that we have been back for a little over a month, life is looking a little more normal and is developing somewhat of a routine. If the weather is nice and not raining, we try to go to the park every afternoon, (sometimes twice a day!) to get out and let Brayden run around and play baseball a little. He has been very into baseball lately...he asks me to play every hour it seems! We have made a few friends at the park, so we have both liked seeing some familiar faces there. On Tuesdays and Fridays I have started studying Japanese again with the same tutor and friend that I had last year. But this time, she comes to my house...isn't that nice? We study for two hours while Cooper takes his morning nap and Brayden goes to a nearby daycare. So about the is literally 2 minutes walking distance from my house. The main reason we have decided to take him is so that he can begin to learn some Japanese and interact with some other kids/make friends. He goes for about 3.5 hours two times a week. They daycare is very small, its just one large room, but I have learned that all the daycares here in the city are small like that. They do get to go on walks and go to the park occassionally, so thats good! The first few days he went were hard, he did not want to go. But just this week he did not cry when we walked in. Whenever I pick him up he is always so happy and says he had so much fun.
So I know he enjoys it and that it will take him some time to get used to it.

So about half-ish of our team has returned to Japan now. 3 other teammates (one couple and one guy) are settled into their apartments here in Nagoya, and one couple just arrived two days to Okazaki to begin language studying! We went to Okazaki on Tuesday night to get their apartment ready for their move here. It was so fun getting it set up for them to begin their journey here! It was a late night though...we didn't get home until almost 2am. But we were so glad to be able to see them right away. They are still trying to get over jet lag and settle in, AND they start school tomorrow! Wow, they are tough!

The day after we were out so late, we pretty much laid around the house all day. It was rainy ALL day so we couldn't go anywhere anyways, and it was just one of those lazy cozy days. The reason it was so rainy was because a typhoon was on its way. People kept saying it was going to be the worst typhoon Nagoya had had in 10 years. My neighbor even gave me her phone number in case we needed her in the night and drew a map for me explaining that if a window broke, to open an opposite one so that the air could move about without destroying things inside the house. It was supposed to hit at midnight. I was scared and excited! So about 11:30 we fell asleep...and the next thing I knew it was 7am and the rain had stopped. So my whole family and I slept right through it! In the end, the storm didn't turn out to be as bad as they had predicted.

I also celebrated my birthday on Monday! We did some fun things as a family during the day (eating at a little bakery, shopping, starbucks) and then in the evening our teammates, Jay and Caitlin Geer and their cute 5 month old son, Rowen, came over for pizza and cake. I had made pumpkin bread and cider for dessert (because I LOVE fall!) but they ended up bringing a cake. I loved the cake...Jay designed it. It had an army tank with a pink dinosaur coming out of it. And the number 26 was written in a grenade. I have no idea why he drew that, it was just a part of Jay's imagination I guess...but needless to say, it was hillarious and I loved it!

So, I know this post is very random and rambling, but my point in all this was just to share with all you the kinds of things we have been doing here lately. :)

Please pray for our teammates who have just arrived and for God's Spirit to be active through us to bring people to him! We are on the hunt for a good location to begin holding church services...please pray for that as well. We are so excited to have a place to meet!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back in Japan!

Wowsers! Time to update my blog, wouldn't you say? I'm embarassed I've let it go for so long. Now that we are back in Japan I thought it would be a good time to get it going again. During the last 4 months that I have not written anything, we have been in America. We arrived in America in mid April and returned to Japan last week, on Sept. 1st. I counted the number of planes Cooper has been on since he was born 7 months ago and its 13! Crazy! We have been so many places. For 3 months we were stationed in Kansas City, where we rented a duplex and borrowed furniture from family and friends. Kansas City is where my family is from so thats why we were there for the majority of the time. We made some great memories with the fam while we were there. We also went to Oregon to see Mike's mom, and to attend his 10 year high school reunion. I had such a good time seeing where Mike spent a lot of years growing up and meeting many of his friends. And, Oregon is beautiful! We also went to Arizona and L.A. to visit with friends and supporters. It was quite a long trip back, but it was also fun to see so many people and have good visits with all of them. Now that we are back in Japan, we are staying in our teammates house in Nagoya while they are still doing work for MSGF back in America. It really feels good to be back! I'm going to start studying Japanese again soon, and I'm also looking for a little daycare where Brayden can go a couple days a week to work on his Japanese as well! I'm excited for this phase of our work here in Japan because now we are going to really focus on starting a church. Although we will be continuing to learn about the culture for quite a while, this transition back to Japan has been easier considering all the adjusting and learning we did last year. Here is a pic of us back in Nagoya after eating at a restaurant that is common in America, but never frequented by us: Outback Steakhouse. Its just a fun place for us to go here!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The past two months have flown by, I can't believe it. I feel like I'm always saying that though. Cooper is going to be 9 weeks on Tuesday. So far, adjusting to being a mommy of two has been fun and difficult at the same time. There will be moments of the day when its really hard or crazy, and then there will be many other moments of the day when its very relaxed and quiet. One minute Cooper might be crying to be held or fed, and Brayden might also be crying about something and it will be loud and intense. Another minute they will both be sleeping and it will be so quiet! One thing that is different this time around is that I haven't been able to take as many naps as last time. Most of the time I don't get a nap in, but with Brayden I would usually nap at least once a day. Surprisingly I've been able to function ok without them. Somehow I just keep going on with the day and what I have to do and it works out. I've also been potty training Brayden the past few weeks. I took off his clothes and let him hang out around the house naked for a few days. He had a few accidents on the floor (as I expected-and had planned for), but I think that was a little eye-opening for him of how it felt to need to go. Now he will usually tell me when he needs to go, (or I just take him so he can try to go). I wish I could post a pic of him in his cute dinosaur underwear, but I thought that might be a little weird for anyone who's not us or his grandparents. But trust me, he is cute in them. He's also been loving Cooper and is really sweet to him. He calls him "Baby Super". Not on purpose, thats just how he says it. So cute. :) Here are some of my favorite pics of the past two months:

This is a pic I just had to throw in here although it seems a little out of place. Brayden's daycare had a little party for us and our teamates because we will be moving soon and won't see them anymore. They brought kimonos for us to try on and had a traditional Japanese tea ceremony for us. It was so sweet, and wearing the kimono was so fun!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cooper William Ackerman

I'm finally updating my blog! I thought I could get back on the bandwagon by introducing the newest member of our family, Cooper. Cooper surprised us and came 12 days early. I went to the Dr. for a regular checkup last week, (my 38 week checkup) and he told me I was already 5 centimeters dialated! The night before, I had had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions that were happening every minute for about an hour. I wondered if it meant labor was going to be really soon, but I ended up falling asleep for the night, and when I woke up in the morning, everything seemed normal. I thought it was just a false alarm. So I went to my appointment, and the contractions started again while I was there. My Dr. suggested I either check into the hospital or stay close by (I live an hour away from the hosptial). I chose to check in, and it was a good thing I did because my labor really started to progress that afternoon. Cooper ended up being born that night, Jan. 27th at 7:08pm. He weighed 7lbs. 14oz and was 20.3 inches long. With this birth I did it naturally, which is something I never really thought I could do in this day and age with epidurals, but because they are very uncommonly used here I went without it. I'm so happy to be able to say that I did it, and I didn't die or completely go bizerk (only a little). I thought maybe I would do both! My whole experience of giving birth and recovering here in Japan was a great one. My Dr. and nurses were great, and the facility I stayed in was great. We have been home now for a few days, and Cooper is eating, sleeping and pooping well. :) Brayden is also adjusting well. He likes to hold the baby and is very sweet and gentle with him. He has been acting up a little bit, which I think is his way of dealing with the new addition, but for the most part everything is going great. We could not be happier! Here are some pics:
(Some of the pictures are out of order and turned sideways-I'm sorry, I don't know how to use blogger well enough to know how to fix it!)

This was one of the meals I ate while in the hospital. All of the food was different Japanese dishes and it was so fun to try all of them. I was surprised how delicious it was for being hospital food!

My tutor and her family were so sweet and came to visit.