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!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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

Got Me Some New Dawgs

It was time...

These have had a long, full life. I could not tell you the year in which I got my first pair of Chaco's, but they were still made in Colorado (this will mean something to some of you...). Eric is likely to remember when I bought them, definitely WHERE, exactly how much I paid and even what their manufacturing date was. He is much like his father!

My one, and ONLY complaint of my Chaco's was that the arch was too high. I used to tear out the arches in my basketball shoes - it is not a new complaint!

I apparently waited long enough and now Chaco makes a sandal with a lower arch - for we Neanderthal-ish folks. We flat-foots are grateful!

Thank you, Chaco, for making the shoe of my dreams - I may buy another pair before the decade is over!

In the meantime, I shall be putting my old standbys out to pasture. The soles have worn through and the straps are nearing their breaking point.  The old dawgs have done me good.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sayonara, Miss Jessica!

We have had the privilege of having, perhaps, the best swimming instructor.  EVER!  But, like all things military, she and her hubby will be moving on.  We had our last, bittersweet, lesson with Miss Jessica last Friday.

Why do we love Miss Jessica?!?

It may have something to do with her uber-cool R2D2 swimsuit...  

Because she was the instructor that Ian finally stopped being hysterical with when joining group lessons...  And now he swims.  He doesn't breathe, but that, too, shall come!

Because she taught Stefan, the duck-footed fish, how to stay at the surface of the water and not sink to the bottom with every stroke.  He loves swim team and the meets - a pure joy to watch!

Because she put up with our cat-in-the-water swimmer, Dougie AND taught him to actually swim.  He still looks like a feline that got dropped over-board, but he has managed to pass the swim test and is having a blast in swim camp.  We both have high-hopes for him in water polo...

Because she showed up for the swim meet on Saturday after Stefan invited her to come and watch...

Regardless, she has singularly made the largest impact on our kids in that pool and given them all a love of the water.  She did not put up with their silliness and distractibility, but instead drove them to perform by being silly with them!  Her expectations were high and those boys strove to meet them and then some.

Eric and I appreciated that she dared to raise the bar.  Everyone we know that has had any interaction with Miss Jessica will say the same, "She is the BEST!"

We couldn't agree more!

Thank you, Miss Jessica!  You will be sorely missed.  San Diego is gaining a rare gem.  We hope to see you next summer!

Gan Batte!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Keep Your Eye on THIS!

The Mabori crew went for a ride to the Misaki Fish Market this morning.  This is the first smile John Henry cracked.  That may be because it was 0500 on Sunday morning.  It may be that he is a 14 year old BOY.  It may be that a picture was being taken and he is, really, a great kid.  Or, perhaps, it was because this will be his last ride with the geriatric ward until next summer.  Eileen is taking him to Vermont next week to start school where his sister, Mikaela, just graduated from - Vermont Academy.  He will be missed - not just on these rides, or as the boys FAVORITE babysitter...  He will be missed just because he is a great kid.  Do well, John Henry!

While the rest of us sported our Nihon jerseys, Alex one-upped us with her custom-made, uber-cute, citrus jersey that Eileen made for her.  Just a little envious on all fronts!

Carol joined us - Dwayne was missed.  Alex rode out with everyone while Eileen and I woke the rest of the sleepy crew and drove the people-mover out to Misaki.  And by "woke" - I mean out of a dead sleep!  Of course, they will wake at 5:30 tomorrow morning for no reason at all!

One of my favorite things to do is watch the fish mongers.  They are barking out their fish and prices - all while holding a ciggie in their lips.  It's just so un-American.  I LOVE IT!!!

They also sell flowers, pastries, knives, tofu of all kinds, produce and soba/udon/tuna-jaw soup.  It is awesome!  Even the kids love it.  The pics below are from a couple of weeks ago - when you did not spontaneously combust while outside...

It is clearly wasabi season, as I have seen it at the market twice now!  Two weeks ago, it was ¥300/basket:

This week it was ¥200/basket.  I could not resist!

Had to get some tuna to go with it :)  Being that Misaki is, in fact, a major tuna port, it is reasonable that they have fresh tuna.  The Japanese do not let any of the fish go to waste (Tuna-jaw soup...).  You can find the pieces and parts to plop into your stockpot and have a great fish broth in no time.  Or, if you keep your eye out, you will find the best cartilage and skin repair system:

Or so I have heard...  The collagen in the eyeballs is very good for you...  I will take their word...  I'll just keep eyeing it...

Carmen Miranda has nothing on the Misaki Market.  I actually thought these were plastic...

Alex and I traded places and we started our return trip home, via Kannonzaki.

It was not as hot as yesterday, but still plenty warm:

Stopping was REALLY HOT!  As long as we kept moving, things were alright.  By the time we got home, at 9:30, we were still heating up.

At lunchtime, it is 101˚F with a heat index of 122˚F

It is time for a nap and then a fresh fish dinner with Carol.  All in all - a great day!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Swim Meet 08.10.2013 Green Beach

Dedication: happily cheering on your child on the pool deck while the heat index rises to 122˙F and not being able to get into the cool water yourself...

That was how today was spent!

This swim meet was at the Main Base pool - Green Beach.  A great 50 meter pool vice the usual 25...

Stefan was excited before the meet and still excited after.  This is a big step in the Anthony Kingdom!

He had invited Miss Jessica to come and watch.  She has been his swimming instructor this year and it is she we have to thank for what he is accomplishing!  Jessica came and brought Jean with her - a really fun surprise!

At one point, he and Matthew had another visitor


He improved his backstroke and actually finished...

on his BACK this time (woot-woot!  Thanks Jessica!)

He signed up for a "new" event this time:  Breast stroke

 And he did very respectably!  Eric and I were impressed.

Along with how well he has been doing and responding to this, we are really pleased to see how he encourages others...  What I thought, from the poolside, was a double-barreled-finger-pistol, was, in fact

A dual THUMBS UP!!!  That's my boy!!!