Sunday, April 29, 2012

House Guest

This weekend we got the privilege of watching our friends' son, Kent.  His mom & dad took some R&R and had an extended weekend in Thailand - ALONE!!!  What a fun adventure for them!  And what an honor and true privilege for us being trusted with the welfare of Kent.  Kent got a taste of having no siblings to having THREE brothers AND sharing a room!  WOW!!!

Japan being, well, Japan...  Kent could not ride our kids bus to/from school, in spite of riding A bus to the same school.  So I got to taxi the kids to & fro.  I was already at school for a parents' meeting on Thursday, so I just brought them home.  Friday I got to take them in.
Kent (Seika), Ian (Seika), Dougie (Seika), Stefan (Hayama)

I managed to have all four in their uniforms, ties tied, bellies full and to their respective bus stops/schools on time.  Only by the grace of God did that happen.  And the fact that two of the four are early risers and we had a little more fudge time for the Seika kids since we were driving in.  

After Stefan had brushed his teeth, he took advantage of that extra time and got to work:

Holey Moley!!!!  Look at that smile!

They also read the new book that Miss Carol brought as a "Thank you".  It is FABULOUS!!!!  An absolute and total hit with the entire fam!:

After dropping all the kids off, I had a nice, quiet, leisurely appointment at the dentists office where they proceeded to scrape off the last years worth of coffee stains...  Thank you, Brandy!!!  With some time to spare, an empty belly and nobody to complain about my choices, I went to MY favorite ramen shop, Yokohama Ra-Men 16 Group.  No idea what the 16 Group bit is...   Caroline took me here when we first got here TDY over two years ago.  It is the first ramen shop I went to here in Japan.  It is still my favorite.  Perhaps it is the slightly bigger, chewy noodles and quail eggs.  Perhaps it is because I have fond memories.  It was worth ruining my fluoride treatment...

They have improved upon perfect and have added an English menu.  Now I can actually VERIFY what I have just purchased my ticket for (another days blog - Restaurant ordering ticket machines!!!)

Ramen was the perfect meal as it was a dreary, rainy spring day.  I brought my umbrellas for the boys to use from the school to the car.  It was such a simple pleasure for them!

When Kent & Dougie were not sharing an umbrella, they were holding hands...  Incredibly heart warming!  And as I look at this picture, I am noticing that Dougie has somehow swindled Kent into carrying his sub bag (tan bag with the orange trim)...  I think he will be selling ice-cubes to Eskimos one day...  Or perhaps a career in politics... 

Ian sported the duck umbrella.  And carried his own sub bag...  right up until he just decided to drop it.  And leave it there on the sidewalk.

When we got home, Dougie got out of the car and squealed, "KENT!!!!  You should see this bug - it is HUUUUUUUUGE!!!!!"  Yes, it was huge.  Not exactly a bug.  But it was a really huge worm!  And so close to having been run over...  The boys were ever in awe. 

And that was just our Friday :-)!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Pedal Up

Tuesday and Thursday are baseball practice evenings.  Tuesday, Eric met us at the field when he got off work. He rode in on his steed while Ian hitched a ride:

Just like the big boys, Ian stood on the pedal while Daddy pushed!

While Stefan was at practice, Ian wanted to swing. One of my least favorite playground activities, yet it gives so much JOY...

Much to my liking, his swinging technique takes little involvement by me...

He figured out the "run to lift off" and...

How to fly!

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What's That SMELL?!?

While walking home on the path behind our house tonight, I caught this smell. It made me stop. It made me turn around!

By the sound of it, you think it would be bad. Like the aroma of raw sewage you sometimes get a whiff of as you walk down the street... Or the seaweed drying in the sun... Or low tide on a hot day...


This was heavenly. Subtle. Sweet... Truly intoxicating without being overwhelming.

Jasmine went through my mind, but I could not find any.

The azalea bushes are starting to bloom, but I have never known them to be aromatic.

And these are not.


A wee bit...

It turns out that these...


I have never noticed the smell during the day. Maybe the breeze is too strong. Maybe the boys I am usually with smell too badly... Perhaps I just have too much going on to "stop and smell the azaleas (sic)".

I am glad I had the moment to take a breath. And that breath was filled with the lovely smell of spring. And I was thankful to the Lord that I had that moment and that breath. And that it does not give me hives or asthma :). Thank you Jesus!!!

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The Zebras Have Escaped!

Every now and again, it is wonderful to leave the house with nobody in single digits or of the opposite sex. Tonight was just that night. I met up with Carlyn (who is going home in two-ish weeks - boo!) and Melissa (happy to say she is staying here).

Apparently, we were all thinking the same thing when we got dressed... African safari or possibly escaped from prison... All three of us were in black-ish/white-ish stripes...

Seriously? Who does that?!?

On my way up the hill, I had to peel off my rain jacket (rain heavily forecasted) because I was SWEATING. I brought an umbrella too, so of course it did not rain. But my purse strap broke :(. Must have been the umbrella...

Good thing I JUST got a new purse! Thank you Carol (Ginko & Sakura) for your sewing skills and your fabric choices. Not only do I LOVE my new purse - it was also very timely!
I know God is a God of timing... And good timing with great taste. Remember the wardrobe coordination? He also has a great sense of humor. Good timing, God! We were in need of it!
We went to Sen since it was nearby and we could spend more time just, well, laughing.

And the laughs kept coming. Mostly over Melissa's reaction to our food...

One sad noodle :(

Infested by fish eggs and seaweed...

Tamago dish (egg)

Contaminated by little fishy (that taste like butter!) If you can get over the eyes. And that they taste like butter... Ahem... You know who you are...

No complaints about the chu-hi! Nor the cooked daikon with sauce - even though cooked daikon smells like old, sweaty, gym socks... 
 Total pit...
Tastes good though!

Melissa & Carlyn - Thank you for the jail break, ladies!!! It is just what the warden needed :)

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Johnny Bench

This weekend was Stefan's season opener for Coach Pitch baseball!  

Coach Armstrong is pitching to Stefan

And he swings...


And then...

He got a hit, ran like the wind and ultimately...

Makes it home!

Coach Armstrong has put Stefan at catcher - a position he complains about ONLY when he has to don the gear.  One would imagine it would be the cup he would complain about...  Nope.  Its the helmet.  Of course...

Stefan makes a great little Johnny Bench.  It is a position that requires attention all the time.  He does not get the opportunity to check out the differing heights of grass blades nor can he talk with his neighbor.

He's got the stance!

Now, to work on catching...

Go Diamondbacks!!!

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T-Ball Season Opener

This spring is Dougie's first time playing a sport on his own!  He is playing t-ball for the "Mighty Dragons" and LOVES IT (emphasis his...)!  

Saturday was his first game.  His BFF, Elly, is on his team...

Elly Sullivan

His other BFF, Opel, is also on the team.  

Opel Bleile
If he wasn't laying on the ground in the outfield with Elly, 

(Dougie sporting his gold cleats, Elly her red - they are quite the fashion statement!)

 He was laughing and smiling from ear to ear...

Can you see a trend here?  Not only does he have many bestest friends, the majority of them are girls.  As you can see, he has very good taste :)

Ellly hits... and scores

Stefan played with Ian and helped Ian perfect the Superman Swing

After the game, they high-fived the other team, then kept high-fiving.  Around and around and around and around and...

Great Game Mighty Dragons!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bear Hugs

Waking Dougie up from a nap is a lot like waking up a bear from torpor.

He may be ravenous and grouchy.

He may be sleepy and dreamy.

He may stay asleep.

He may smile at you but never open his eyes.

He may bare all of his teeth...

He may wrap his arms around your neck and... you for lunch...


...give you a great big bear-hug and say,

"I love you, Mum.  I can't wait for a lovely snack..."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear Lord...

The nursery was full Sunday morning, Eric had to work, so Ian got the privilege of stating in the service with me. We sat with my friend Jenny (mom to Stefan's friend Caleb and Ian's partner in crime, Carter).

The older boys went to Sunday School. Another friend, Jen, came to join us. Although all three of us were husband-less, only Jen was child free (lucky dog got the last spot in the nursery...). I really think she came to revel in her child-less-ness...

Ian and Carter were really well behaved. Okay, Carter was well behaved. Ian sent a couple of things sailing into the pew in front of us. Jenny and I were regularly reminding he boys to whisper as they commentated Chaplin Vaughn's sermon.

I left my bag-o-goodies in the car, counting on nursery (thank you, Murphy...). So I dug. First we had a pencil. That kept everyone entertained for he first half. When the pencil and pad of paper went flying past the man in front of us, I dug again.

"Dear Lord, please let there be more band-aids..."

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