Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rainy Season

We left the Rainy Season in Japan, only to bring it with us to Washington...  OK, so the "Rainy Season" is more of a way of life in the Puget Sound - but SPOKANE?!?  So, we have had a few soggy days here.  Which is one of the reasons I have managed to sit down and "talk"!

Internet has been a bit spotty - think 1985...  Starbucks is our most reliable resource :)  I haven't particularly had time to sit and type, but getting things loaded have proven challenging as well...

Today, I have had a little "free time", read: 'Eric is playing Wii-bowling with Stefan & Dougie at his Grandma's assisted living residence while I sit in the room with Ian after he blessed us with a second viewing of his stomach contents'...  yeah!

It allowed Nana & Grandpa to take the older two (three? does Eric count?) to a model train display while I watched Thomas with Ian.  And got anointed...

Model trains are awesome, but kids love to touch.  Especially when they are 3.  Better that Ian did not go anyway...  Apparently this is quite the set-up!  Eric reported that it is a GINORMOUS horseshoe with two levels to it.  Stefan is pretty intrigued by the whole thing.

Last night we went to Auntie Lori & Uncle Gary's house for dinner and play.  (Lori - no comments have come through...  try again!).  Dougie did not recognize Rhett, who has grown a good 18 inches!  Ian, on the other hand, said, "Hi Rhett!  Come on out with me, Rhett!"  Hilarious!  Stefan cleared off Rhett's bookshelves - a gift from his cuz :)  He was one happy boy!

Lori breeds rabbits and they are so HEAVENLY soft!!!  On our way over to Spokane on Saturday, we stopped off in Ellensburg for the State Rabbit Competition.  Lori was there with her brood and even won a Best Opposite Breed (her rabbit, not from her litter)!  Great Job, Auntie Lori!!!

Last night, we got to hold the baby bunnies  - I attempted pictures, but the bunnies move, the boys move...  suffice to say, I got caught up holding these little balls of softness that I had put the camera down and just enjoyed the moment.

Lorianne came and brought her 6-week-old Siberain Husky - very few things are cuter than puppies and bunnies!  The boys played chase, catch, baseball, farmer, cousin, nephew, family - just all together had a really fun time.

We went Downtown Monday with Nana & Grandpa, the boys got to ride the carousel and reach for the rings.  Stefan even got to keep two.  They threw as much trash as they could muster into the garbage goat.  At every mention of Spokane, they always ask if we can go to the garbage goat.  Cracks me up that THIS is what keeps those kids entertained beyond all belief!

Happy Birthday!

Happy 80th Birthday, Bruce!

Part of the "timing" of our trip was to be here for Eric's dad's 80th birthday.  We traveled across the state on June 22nd so we could wish Bruce a happy birthday on the 23rd.  It is hard to believe he is 80 - he doesn't act like it, much less look like it!

The boys had a great time chasing each other on bouncy balls through the backyard - all of it gardened and maintained by our great gardener, Bruce.  His yard is always beautiful and full of flowers.  This year is no exception - little modification necessary to host Mary Ann's wedding this upcoming weekend.

When celebrating Bruce's birthday, we also had a "Happy Birthday" for Eric (I WILL get to his party eventually!)

Earlier that day, we checked in to where we are staying (Eric's grandma's assisted living residence rents out extra rooms!  Brekkies included!!!).  Lo' and behold, what did my ears hear?!?

 The ice-cream truck!!!  The only musical trucks Dougie has ever heard have been the ones selling kerosene or tofu!  What a treat this was for him! (the other two were at Nana & Grandpa's - ssssshhhhhhh!)

Not surprisingly he picked out the Sponge-Bob ice-cream.  A mighty fine ending to SB, if you ask me (hee hee!).  Good thing we only had one kid in tow - the cost has gone WAY UP!!!

We are looking forward to the weather warming up to Eastern Washington summer standards.  Until then, the kids will just keep bouncing!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Ride!

Stefan has been BEGGING for a bike with gears - and a hand brake.  We, of course, ignored the pleas..

A friend that is PCSing out was posting a bunch of stuff on FB for sale.  I happened to be looking for a pic that a different friend had referred me to and "BING" - up pops this awesome Gary Fisher, 20 inch mountain bike.  Huh...  Meant for us?  I certainly think so!

When Eric went to go get it, he was super excited because it is a great bike, it has been well taken care of, it is not made any more (sad!) and it is the perfect fit!

When my friend's husband caught wind of it getting sold, he balked.

Until it was explained that it was going to a good family...  My friends love to ski, bike, try to buy quality over cheap, are silly (and yet a bit too serious?!?), mourn the loss of their kids' bikes...  In other words, they sold the bike to people JUST LIKE THEM!

We surprised Stefan with the bike (not a birthday present since we really got it for all three kids - Stefan just happens to be first in line...):

While Stefan was checking out his new digs - Matthew was attempting to get a new ride himself...  His sister's!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sumo Day 2013

Sumo Day:  One of the funniest experiences I have ever had.  EVER!  Last year, Dougie was in his mawashi, participating in the Sumo warmups with the Oldest Class boys, Ian was with the Pony class, crying at the mere thought of being put into the dojo with the "Big Man"!

As I was getting Ian dressed this morning for Sumo Day, I asked Ian what he would do this year when he got into the ring...

"I"m going to CRY!" (NOT what I had in mind!)

The day started out with blessing the dojo

The Oldest Class boys warmed up with the Sumo:

We were shown some of the "official" Sumo moves:

The "Champions" had their tournament

The classes all go their shot at the Sumo

And Ian stuck to the back...

the Sumo reached out to "include" him...

And, Ian...


He did EXACTLY what he said he would do!

Ian passed up the opportunity for a lift, but Gavin happily took it!

Ian continues to be scared by the "Big Man"

Step out of the ring though and...

Let the Sumo begin!

The dad's participated in the arm wrestling tournament.  Eric "handily" won his first match

Only to turn right around and get immediately schooled!  He got handed his consolation prize: the Loser Towel...

Three of the dad's got to get in the ring - not as entertaining as last year when Eric had his chance at stardom - but awesome, none-the-less!

First match - yup!  The skinny guy who smoked Eric in the arm wrestling tournament!  He has a whole lot of power in those long, lithe limbs!

And a good sense of humor!

Funnier yet - Mr. Giggles!  Who knew tickling was an official Sumo move!

This was not a hug of gratitude or "Good Match" - It was one last bid for survival.  It didn't work...

He had to take his belt off for safety - We all expected both of them to end up in their undergarments!

Tim Hicks was a definite force to be reckoned with.  Eric was thanking his maker last year when he did NOT have to challenge "Chief Hicks" (Senior Chief, I believe...) in arm wrestling.  I think you can see why - He is like a buffalo!

That got taken down...

BUT, he was given a second chance!

A fist to the chest...

And the second chance was soon a mistake - and a victory for Tim!

The Taiso Sensei (PE teacher) got a chance


And a second chance...

Whoah!  Heavyweight!!!

Heavyweight Champion, that is!

These boys are perfecting their Japanese in many ways - not just their perfection of the language.  But, also their seiza: the Japanese way of sitting on their feet.  The way that causes most Americans to cringe!  For them, it's just second nature!

* Disclaimer:  Part of the appeal of Sumo Day last year was Dougie's "exposure" to Sumo.  The other part was with whom I got to share the entire experience.  Dougie's Best Frenemy, Kent, and my partner in Mawashi crime, Kent's mom, Carol, are halfway across the world.  I have never laughed as hard in my life as I did with our experience last year.  Unless we stay to experience Ian in a mawashi, I doubt I will ever laugh as hard again.  Considering how hard I laughed... well, it was an experience like none other and shared with a friend, like none other!  Carol - I missed you!