Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Hunter!

I can't believe this little 1-year old just turned 9. I am the first to admit that the first 6 months were really really hard. The doctor is quoted as saying, "wow! look at those shoulders" and the nurses are quoted as saying, "he's what we call a Pirhana baby". It wasn't until around 5 months that Hunter slept for 5 hours in a row. Even though it was so incredibly hard at the time I believe that it made me a better mother. Now with all that a distant memory I do fully appreciate how great and amazing Hunter is. He is truly a nice.. most helpful... kind... friendly... imaginative... son, brother and friend.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The fisherman and farmers of Shuki are blessed with rice fields that sway to a rhythm all their own, bicycles and umbrellas outside every door, hills full of lush green, neighbors friendlier than I've ever had, and a beach full of treasure hidden among the rocks. The villagers of Shuki kept asking me if I was bored. How could I be? There were too many adventures around every corner to ever be bored in Shuki.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

School In Japan

My very first obento for Bryn's school lunch. Complete with hot dog octopus, apple rabbit and Hello Kitty kamaboko.

Hunter off to school with his Japanese backpack.

 Bryn's class in their red swimming caps warming up.

Grayson reading a book in the hallway at school.

Bryn sitting with her classmates.

One of the days I got to spend with the children at the local elementary school.
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Monday, July 23, 2007

Life Goes On...

We're back home and still a little jet lagged. It's been a rough transition home for Bryn and Gray which means a rough transition for me. We spent two nights in a row eating cereal and leftovers at 2:00am in the morning. Despite feeling tired 75% of the time we ended up having a really fun weekend back here in Portland full of activities and great food.

Even though it's all green Sean made us some really yummy pesto with green beans and blue cheese. The basil and green beans came from the Farmer's Market along with $30 worth of fresh berries and cherries. YUM!

After some afternoon Harry Potter reading we headed out to a Luau/Karaoke evening of fun while Hunter was at a Pirate Birthday Party. I'm such a sucker for themed parties. At the Luau we ate Hawaiian food some of which was prepared by one of Saburo's Sushi House's wonderful chefs and were entertained by Hula Dancers young and old from a Hawaiian school in Portland. They were sooo fun to watch. Here are a few of the little ones doing a sit down Hula Dance.
I've done Karaoke with these kids a couple times now and they are a blast to watch. They're even backup dancers for the adults.
On Sunday we headed to the grand re-opening of the Contemporary Craft Museum and had a wonderful afternoon. The kids made Artist Trading Cards at Collage DIY Lounge, Water Bottle Bracelets at Church of Craft, and Shrines with PDX Supercrafty. There was also clay, embroidery, wood working, glass blowing, weaving, spinning, and many more things beautiful amazing craft and guilds.
The museum itself was beautiful but with three kids a stroller and hundreds of people inside it was hard to gauge the depth of it all. I'm hoping to go back with the kids very soon so we can really soak it all in without worrying about bumping into people.

Sunday evening we had a nice relaxing evening with Aunty Lulu and got to share our Japan experiences. It was fun sharing them with someone who has spent so much time in Japan.

Japan pics and recap coming soon....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

the little things in life

What I appreciate after 1 week in Japan... grandma who is always cooking and whom I've never seen outside the kitchen, the fact that more old people ride bicycles then young people, customer service, mister donuts, horned beetles, a warm ocean, straight from the vine watermelon and cantaloupe, Japanese children, vending machines on dark country roads, uniforms for everything, yellow umbrellas, and the snack aisle at the grocery store.

Things that I have not yet learned to appreciate include never ending curvy roads, the smell of fish, tofu, and fuzzy toilet seats.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Yellow Umbrellas

Here are a few pictures of the local kids walking to school together. In the first picture you can see some kids waiting up ahead. They all meet up at specific locations and walk in a single file line on the side of the road together every day. When I saw those yellow umbrellas yesterday I ran for my camera. The local children thought I was crazy following them down the street taking pictures. Just wait until it rains again and I pull out the video camera. These pictures perfectly capture village life here in Shuuki.
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Sunday, July 8, 2007

First Photo From Japan


Here's the first thing we did in Japan. Vending Machines! Hunter chose Fanta Grape (very popular) and Bryn chose Qoo (juice). Everyone was right. Vending machines are everywhere. I was surprised to even see them on the side of country roads. Last night we were at a BBQ and a very nice grandfather was buying the kids anything they wanted out of a vending machine. Gray walked away with two bottles of Fire Coffee.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Why I'm in love with Philip Foster Farms

I have fallen in love with Philip Foster Farms! Here are a few pictures that I took while we were there. I couldn't get my camera off some weird setting so some of the pictures are a little off. I wish I could have captured their true intensity. I have to make a quick comment about the women's clothes picture below because the were just hanging jam-packed in an armoire in the women's bathroom. I just happened to find them because Gray was playing with the armoire door while I was washing my hands. My jaw dropped when the door swung open. The picture does not do it justice. At first I thought they were for us to try on but they are just for volunteers. My only other comment is that even pioneers sacrificed for beauty. One of the last pictures is of a curling iron they used by dipping it in their lanterns. They had to be very careful because it would burn their hair!

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Philip Foster Farms - The Kid Pictures

Nothing better then to celebrate this holiday season with some good Oregon history and an absolute rave about Philip Foster Farms! I was expecting middle of the road family fun but this farm blew me away. Philip Foster an instrumental figure in Oregon's History arrived in Oregon in 1843 and help create what was known to the pioneers as "paradise at last". One of the best surprises of the day is that the farm is now owned by the JZ Historical Society but Philip Foster's great-grandson was there and really working on the farm building a new parking lot. Modern day historical farm needs but none-the-less working on his family farm 160 years later! We spent almost four hours swinging, sawing with a 2 person saw, pulling hay bails 10 feet into the air with pulleys, finding and grinding our own corn, building log cabins with human sized Lincoln Logs, playing in covered wagons, playing checkers at the country store, touring the house and doing laundry. Here are some of the pictures of the kids. Tomorrow I'll post random pictures of farm items that I fell in love with.

"Grayzan" in the trees again.

Hunter and a covered wagon you could play in.

Check out that swing and picket fence.
Can't you hear ma calling from the house?


Gray getting a ride from a farm boy.

Piece of a log Hunter sawed off.


Building our log cabin. Gray is holding the second to smallest Lincoln Log they had. It took two kids to carry some of the logs.

Bryn and the barn.

Hunter spent almost an hour pumping water for his laundry buckets, filling the vintage laundry buckets, using the washer board and the ringer. When I walked up he was running the clothes through the ringer and exclaimed, "Isn't this the most amazing thing ever!" Smile to my face. Must admit that my first thought was, "Just as amazing as a washer that does it all for you!"

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tea Party

Collage inspired by Bryn's love for Alice in Wonderland. At first I framed it for her room but I like it better without a frame. The original will still be displayed in her room but I've decided to also make personal stationary for her out of the image. Some of the images I have been saving for years in an envelope waiting for the right time to use them.

While I'm talking about my envelope of saved pictures I must confess my deep love for cutting up magazines because of all the secret hidden treasures inside. Especially magazines that have been piling up for long periods of time and this even includes publications like Costco Connection. Who knows what cool font or quirky picture they may have used. It is one of the most calming and satisfying things for me to do in the evening after a long day. Inspect each magazine thoroughly for potential good finds. Then and only then can the magazines be officially recycled.
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Monday, July 2, 2007

International Code for Your Cool!

Two new friends we've made this week. One is from Oregon and speaks no Japanese and the other from Japan and speaks very little English. Yet they were inseparable for 5 hours. Playing catch with a football was all they needed.
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