Monday, April 27, 2015

Mack the Dragon.

I haven't pulled out my picture taking props since we moved here- but decided that Mack's 6th month of life deserved them.  So- ignore the bends in the backdrop and the fur pieces in macks's mouth :)- I used a cardboard box to hold stuff up- and he really liked the rug.

I think this kid looks like Ike.  He definitely has Ike's mouth/lips.  And we love this pic because it looks like he's stuck in a sea of fur :)  His legs are actually behind him.
 Mack is pretty cool.   Definitely a 4th child.  relaxed.  Easy to please.  But still vomits. a lot. Only now it's full of sweet peas and summer squash.  Our carpets need majoor cleaning- but I won't do it until I'm sure his up-chucks are over.

 I can't believe how much he loves to eat food. He is SO good at it.   No tongue forcing food back out- no gagging when it reaches his throat.  He slurps it all up.   We haven't given him any fruits yet - just veggies. But he seems pretty happy with vegetables.

 He has two teeth on the bottom- but they are just barely poking through.  The last few weeks with Kent gone were full of LONG nights.  He simultaneously sprouted teeth and hit a growth spurt. I think he gained 5 pounds with Kent away. Of course- with his dad home- he's already back to almost normal sleep habits.
I've heard people say that the more kids you have- the less attention they get.  I find the very opposite to be true.  there is ALWAYS somebody trying to make this lucky rugrat smile.  Somebody always wants to play with him or help him eat.  He does not want for attention. In fact- when people babysit him I ask them to try not to hold him too much- and to not look him in the eyes too often.  I think he's getting spoiled.
I have no idea what color his hair is going to be.  I've lost hope that it's red. But it's much lighter than our other boys.  Am I really going to have a blonde haired blue eyed kid??
He makes pretty good faces and his big blue eyes stand out in the family sea of brown!  he has the perfect little round head.  My children's heads are very well shaped.  It must be due to their fabulous brains.
I call him fatso and chubba wubba.  my kids aren't all that big- but I think he's my biggest 6 month old yet. He has his well child check this week- so we'll see just how much this chunk weighs.
also- while kent was away- he turned into mr. grabsy.  Last week he grabbed my entire plate of dinner food and threw it onto the ground.   His days of being held tableside are over.  He is getting pretty good at grabbing things on the floor, too.  He can't crawl- but he can roll, squiggle, and pivot.  And plank.  He's mastered the plank.  Metta tells people: "Mack is a wiggle worm".  She couldn't be more right.
And finally- he just entered that phase where he likes to hear himself screech.  It's loud. and obnoxious.  but sometimes, if it's just a soft coo, it's adorable.

Our little dragon is pretty awesome.  He's a lot of work- but is earning his keep.

Friday, April 10, 2015

our last few days...

Our last couple of days in Kyoto were great.   I thought our kids would be crazy grumpy and so sick of shrines.  they were only moderately grumpy and could still be bribed with McDonalds to go semi willingly to see what we wanted to see!

we planned an excursion out to Nara at the end of our trip because we knew it would be a little more exciting for everybody.  It's a city near Kyoto that is completely deer infested!!!  the animals in Japan are my favorite.  I think the only place we haven't seen now is the rabbit infested island!!

metta had no idea this was a deer standing behind her!! it tried to nibble on her and she shrieked and ran.  It was funny.
the deer are regarded as sacred so they don't do much to get rid of them.   And they are so used to people and being fed- that they can get a little too up close and personal! 
 it was all fun and games until one tried to eat Mack! and my bum.  For real- they bite at your bum.  You have to run to get away!!
they've always got their tongues out looking for food, too.

some older women selling deer snacks snatched mack out of my hands while we played with the deer. he loved the attention.
the little new ones were the cutest and tamest.  Some of the older bigger ones looked pretty ratty.
metta stopped enjoying it once they wanted her piggies and her fingers!

this wooden shrine is HUMONGOUS. the picture makes it seem smaller than it really is!  It houses two HUGE statues.  A buddha- and another one.
poor little Ike's facial wounds.  the japanese were overly concerned about it EVERYwhere we went!!
My peace sign had either just disappeared or was about to happen.  that's why it looks like I'm fist bumping the air :)
In the rear of the big shrine is a huge wooden beam with a small hole cut out the bottom.  It's said that if you squeeze through- you'll bring yourself and family good luck and health. Our kids will live forever thanks to all of this good luck and health we've been getting in japan!!
this is as far as Kent got! One arm and half his chest.  the japanese giggled! of course :) they love to giggle.

most of the big sites in Nara are all in a huge city wide park.  there are trails and spots to eat and places to buy souvenirs.  We walked a lot!
here's another deer tongue
Have I mentioned that the deer were EVERYwhere??

we saw this dad with his two boys in nara.  They are the Japanese version of Zeb and Ike!  star wars shirts and check out their hats! "UTAR SALT FLATS".  The misspelled words and funny translations  here are fabulous!  

we think this sign was about deer getting run over. they line some of the areas with roads.  the poor deer who lose their friends!!
After our return trip 'home' to our apt from Nara- we went to a night illumination at the castle in Kyoto.  It was awesome.  they light up the inside walls of the castle with movies and light shows that play with music.  It was pretty magical!

Our last day in Kyoto we spent the morning at Sanjusangendo and Kiyomizu dera.
we loved the grounds of sanjusangendo- but pictures weren't allowed to be taken inside the great hall.
Here's an internet picture of the inside! 1000 golden kannon statues are in the long hall. they went on and on and on! the statues were built in the 12th and 13th centuries! Japan has such an amazing history.   This place was awesome.  I REALLY wanted to to take pictures.  it KILLED me to not!

Our last stop- Kiyomizu dera was up a LONG STEEP road! and then when we got to the top- most of it was covered in scaffolding :(  The giant orange pagoda out front was completely uncovered- and made for the best pictures anyway.

we did get to rinse our hands and mouths with the sacred water here at kiyomizu dera!  this is me trying to make sure the kids don't drop their water reachers down into the pond! zeb almost lost his and caught it at the last moment! it made a loud clang against the stone and all of the people gasped! quickly followed by giggles.  thank heavens for the Japanese giggles. it helps me fit in a little better since I also tend to giggle at inappropriate times and when people do awkward things!!
I forgot to add this picture to our apartment post!  it's on the wall outside the bathroom.  Kent thinks the idea is genius. I disagree.  sitting naked on a stool OUTSIDE of the bathtub is cold and annoying! and I don't really plan on sharing my bathwater with anybody unless I go first!!!

we absolutely LOVED kyoto.  Such an enchanting city!!  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

'Sakura' 桜 and Easter

I can finally take a deep breath and relax.  I saw just about every cherry blossom I wanted to see!  and just in time.  It's starting to look like it's snowing all over Japan.  the petals are falling and covering everything.  It's a pretty intense week when they are in full bloom (for me anyway)!  It's this constant nagging anxiety that I'm not going to see them all- or that I won't get enough pictures of them!  I have the same problem with autumn and the changing leaves. Only this is MUCH worse because the 'sakura' -or cherry blossoms- are so short lived and can disappear with too much of a breeze or any rain.  I'm relieved that it's almost over :) and happy that we ended with such a lovely Easter.

we live near the Tama river- and it's one of the best places for sakura nearby!  I took metta and mack for a walk down the trail one morning and metta insisted on dressing like a pirate!
 she wears this outfit 1-2 a week and tell people she's an 'angry captain hook'.
 lanterns make everything fancier and more japanesey!

 I just had to throw this picture in.  He looks so bright and springy with his blue eyes and pale skin :)

the best spot in the area for cherry blossoms is this road on base right near our house! Even the Japanese locals agree- you can't find a much more impressive site than the road out the East gate!

 I went running under the tunnel of blossoms every single day this week!!  Pictures don't do the sight justice.  It's so magical.
 this is the street that runs along the boys' elementary school! we live in such a beautiful place.

 Saturday we took the train into Kichijoji!  we've been before- but not to see the cherry blossom and ride the paddle swan boats! It was perfect. and so so fun.
and really really crowded! which made it that much more fun! usually big crowds make me a little crazy, but it was actually a lot of fun with so many people on the lake. Japanese people LOVE to giggle. even adults!  there was a lot of bumping into to people and a lot of giggling.  I loved it.
 The kids also had so much fun.  Ike especially loved it. But he loves racing and bumper cars and doing new things.  He laughed the entire time we were on the boats! Mack was the only one not having fun. Kent held him and he screamed until he finally zonked!
kichijoji is one of the really popular spots in tokyo to enjoy spring and the blossoms! people bring tarps and spread them out and eat and drink and picnic for HOURS.  My favorite part of this all is their shoes.  The Japanese are VERY particular about shoes and where they can go.  If you see in this picture- all of the people have removed their shoes to step on their tarps where they eat. It's crazy to me!!  especially since they don't allow shoes in many restaurants but they DO allow smoking!!

before church this morning we stopped to get a family Easter picture under our sakura street!
 the blossoms on the ground look like confetti!! this metta is a riot.  When we picked her up from nursery last week - I asked: "what did you do today in class?" She replied- in a very scary growling voice: "I scratched EVERYone!!!"  Kent held her down after church and clipped every fingernail while she wailed. She's been scratching her brothers lately and we don't know where she gets it!! they don't scratch at all!!
 these brothers are so good to each other. people ask us ALL the time if they are twins.  I can see it a little bit. They are definitely brothers and I love that they have each other.
 this is my favorite picture of the morning.  metta kept complaining that mack stunk.   and I guess he wanted to eat her piggie.
 these kids are awesome.  we don't do the Easter bunny at our house but Ike said that was "okay" because "he's not real anyway".  We did do some parent baskets for them containing new toothbrushes, fuzzy blankets, and a family movie! they were pleased.

And finally- for MY easter present- guess what I got?!?!
Friday night I stayed up camping out ALL night for tickets to THIS  CONCERT!!!  at the tokyo dome!!
WOOHOO!!  it's going to be SO MUCH FUN!  
kent leaves for the states in a few days- and gets home right before the concert!  It will be a much need break!