Sunday, November 3, 2013

I wish I...

I wish I had measure the boys a couple of weeks back. I am pretty sure our food is contaminated with fertilizer. These kids are growing. Rapidly!

Last week Ian did not make it home from swimming awake. Not once. Monday he was sound asleep by 5:00. Sadly, he woke at 4:45 the next morning...

Wednesday, he made it a bit longer. But, by 5:15, he looked like this:

He woke up the next morning. At 7:30... And was ready for a nap.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Digging it UP!

Today was the Seika Autumn Field Trip. All the classes, with the exception of the oldest, goes sweet potato digging.

This is the third year in a row I have done this - you would think I have it down pat! But, alas, no...

I still forgot my name badge, did not bring Ian's shoes out to change into, etc. I have, however streamlined some things. Minimizing bags was not one of them! Some of the Japanese moms have a tiny bag. And that is it. They manage boots, gloves, shovels, lunches, drinks, etc. and then they put it all in this microscopic bag. I think I need to find myself one of these bags. It would be like being Mary Poppins!!!

As it was, we got dressed to dig

Boots on bottom, aplons on top (we might call them smocks...).

Gloves went on at the field and the digging commenced.

Once done, the kids all receive a gift from Encho Sensei of a roasted sweet potato.

Turns out, Ian's had a HUGE bite taken out of the top when he got his... OK, I may have taken the bite...

This year we came home with a giant bag of theses huge sweet potatoes. Many people (read: Americans) don't love, or even like, these sweet potatoes. However, we do. So I try to scam other people potatoes!

Once the dig is done, we stash out stash under the bus and head to a nearby park for a "picnic". It's BYOB style (bring your own bento). The kids get to run free for a bit and then they gather up to so some taiso. It's various dances that are just so kawaii! It would be inappropriate to say they are cute - it just doesn't consider it Japanese-ness...

Judge for yourselves.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Friday Field Day

In Japan, physical activity is not only valued, a National Holiday surrounds the idea. All the schools organize a Field Day or "Sports Day" of some sort. Many are quite elaborate. All have various competitor games for the kids and, most often, the adults as well.
They divide the school into two teams - red & white. This is usually accomplished by wearing the student's PE cap on its red side or flipping it inside out and showing the white inside.
At Dougie's first Seika Sports Day, I thought he just was wearing his hat inside-out and was semi-mortified at his behavior!
Seika's Sports Day got moved to Sunday last weekend - the same day as Stefan's swim meet. We divide and conquered. Eric went to Sports Day. I went with Stefan.
This last Friday was Hayama's Field Day - a much less elaborate, but super fun day for the kids and parents. Both Stefan and Dougie were on Team White (of course, the one color school shirt we do NOT own!).
They had silly relays holding paper in arm pits and knees, dribbling a ball through (or past... Whoops!) cones,

sack races,

and three-legged races. Dougie and Katrina paired up - once they got warmed up, those two really motored!!

Katrina's mom and I, on the other hand, provided the entertainment!
There was a scavenger hunt and the kids performed a Taibo dance. It was hilarious and AWESOME!

Neither of these boys are likely to be Fred Astaire, but Stefan may be good at break-dancing! Whodathunk?!?
All the kids got medals - necklaces made of candy and chocolate medallions.

All went home with smiles!

After Field Day, we went straight to the bowling alley for a birthday party. Ian and Io (another 4 year old) had a kick bowling. Ian really loved that he got to eat "in a cave"...

It was a long and super fun day!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Picture Day 10.09.2013

This is how they looked when they left home

I will be very curious how they looked by the time their actual pictures come back!!!

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Monday, August 26, 2013


I asked Ian what he wanted for his birthday.

"A chocolate Percy cake!"

Can do!

He started his birthday afternoon being read to by his Daddy...

The mood was catchy

He woke up, walked to the kitchen, hugged me, I carried him back to Eric so he could "wake up" - NOT!

This is what happens when four-year-olds gather for parties! Isa's birthday is the day before his (his friend from Seika). He and Dougie had stayed the night at Cooper's the night prior (the rest of us went on friends and family cruise on the GW - more later!). Needless to say, he was


Matthew and Alex joined us for a round of

Happy Birthday

And to enjoy some

Chocolate Percy Cake!

Happy Fourth Birthday, Ian!!!

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our Son Walks on Water...

Today was the final summer swim meet.  And Stefan truly walks on water...

Whoops!  Funniest moment of the day...  Stefan didn't even jump the gun - he just jumped!  The best part?  He was laughing about being chided - he even ASKED me to post it to Facebook!  Wha?!?!?

I love the way Mattias and Matthew (lanes 5 & 6) are checking out "the competition"!  He still did respectably, even shaved 5.6 seconds off his time from two weeks ago!  Maybe he should jump in more often!

I was checking his arm (where they write what event/lane/stroke/etc.) and discovered he had "fly" written on his forearm...  When I asked if he signed up for Butterfly this morning, he sheepishly replied, "yes!"  He wanted to try something new - and he did great!  A few short months ago, he looked like he was being electrocuted while doing fly...  He has come a loooooong way - THANK YOU, MISS JESSICA!

He was head-checking the last 1/3...  There was no one in the lane next to him - they had finished a good 1/3-length ahead of him.  Social thing - wanted to see if anyone was there...  It apparently wasn't about the "competition"...

His breaststroke is no longer a SCUBA stroke and he is getting a nice glide (albeit, still fully under water!).

His backstroke is still just pretty to watch.  And this week?!?  He got a First Place ribbon for his 50 meter backstroke!  Maybe this will convince him that he has a nice backstroke...  Or, maybe not!

While Stefan swam, Dougie & Ian played with some of the other kids and

read Mr. Popper's Penguins!

I get the dubious title of photog (only b/c I have a looooong lens - does the work for me!).  So, I tried extra hard to keep up with the schedule.  Today, the temp was nearly bearable - and the clouds helped provide some decent cover.  So, it was not so hot today (temp - not performance!)

Stefan and Matthew got to time for the last event.  The did John's time...  I am pretty sure they failed to stop the watch... On purpose...

Things are much more relaxed during summer swimming (see above...).  I can stand at the end of the pool taking pics where the timers are and it is not a problem.  One of the guys commented to me, as Stefan was getting out/walking toward us, "He has got some RIPPED ABS!"  I tried convincing him that it was genetic - and he got them from me.

Trouble is, he stole them and I will never get them back... HA HA HA!!!

As proud as we are of this kids actual performance, we are even more proud of how he is taking all this in.  He is excited, wants to try new things, encourages his teammates and is just simply having a good time.  This year, we are going to attempt try-outs for the "actual" swim team.  And by "WE", I mean Stefan.  Eric and I just provide support...   Keep it up, Stefan!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Week...

While Stefan and Dougie have been attending their hair modification sessions (aka: swim camp), Ian has been going to VBS (BBS, as he calls it...).  

I sneak up every time they sing the songs with hand motions just to watch Ian.  The other two boys RARELY participated in this.  Ian?  Well, he gets into it.  I would try to take a video, but then I would get caught...

He and his friend, Cooper, are in the pews the first day.  Cooper lives up the road and goes to Seika as well.  I have heard reports that our kids have been very well behaved.  I attribute THAT to Japanese Yochien.  Thank you, Seika!

The VBS theme this year is Kingdom Rocks!  Ian had to take his knight's armor just one step cooler...

God is so bright, he has got to wear shades...

New Neighbors in the 'Hood

Kelli & Josh Mintling just moved into their house today.  It is Dwayne's old one - just 7 houses up the road.  They also bought Dwayne's van.  Good thing he backed it into a tree the day before he left and had to have the tailgate replaced - I would have been horribly confused, otherwise!

I took their boys, Caleb (Ian's age) and Josiah (1-1/2) to the pool this afternoon so that mom & dad could have a crack at getting organized.  

We had a good time at the pool.  Eric was there so he watched the 3-year-old crime ring while I maintained the well-balanced toddler with his head above water.  Yes, I know, we did managed to keep our kids alive, but...  You can never explain to another parent that you weren't looking for JUST A FRACTION OF A SECOND!  You could probably never explain that to oneself either...

My kids thought they would protect their privacy when I whipped out the phone for a pic at a red light.

Mintling boys - you excel at cheesy :)

What Swimming Will Do For You