Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Clara's 3rd Birthday

Last week our spunky little princess turned 3!  Right now, Clara is really into Honey Lemon (from Big Hero 6) and, since Bennett got a Rody for his birthday a month ago, she has been obsessed with that too!  Since then, she has been talking nonstop about her Honey Lemon birthday party and the pink Rody that she hoped to get.  So, for her birthday, we celebrated by making sure she'd get and do all of her favorite things!

We started out the day by letting her open presents.  Needless to say, she was ecstatic about her new pink Rody!  I also made her a Honey Lemon purse (complete with chem balls inside of it), and she got a new dollhouse, some Big Hero 6 figurines, a Frozen keyboard, nightgown, and books.

Then, later that day, the festivities really began!  Clara LOVES the mall.  If you ever ask her what she wants to do, or where she wants to go eat, she will always say the mall!  So, that's where we went for her special day!  First, we got lunch at the food court, and Clara ordered her favorite: ramen.  Then, we went and let the kids play at the super fun play place, and then I took Clara down to a salon and she had her very first mani/pedi!  It was so cute watching her get her nails done!  She absolutely loved it!!!

After the mall, we came home and ate cake (which is supposed to look like Honey Lemon's purse) and ice cream.  It was such a fun day!  Happy Birthday to my girl who is full of personality!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hamura Tulip Festival

Springtime in Japan is so beautiful!  Not only are the cherry blossoms so fun to see, but there are other flowers blooming all over the place!  And, not too far from the base are these incredible tulip fields!  They're right in the middle of a bunch of homes and farms--when we went to see them, I felt as though we'd left Japan and were in Holland or something!  It was crazy.  

Will was totally into taking pictures of the flowers.  It was so funny.  And, afterward, he told Peter that that was really fun, even though he didn't think it would be :)

GPS Coordinates:  35.759410, 139.303065

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cherry Blossoms Part 3

Of all the sakura spots we've visited this season, my favorite has been to Inokashira Park in Kichijoji. Even the walk down to the park is super fun and full of cute little shops and restaurants.  The park itself has a bunch of open space for picnics with many large sakura trees.  The star of the park, though, is a large lake where you can rent canoes, regular paddle boats, or swan boats!  Going out on the lake is the perfect way to view the sakura, as the branches hang beautifully over the shores.  

We rented a couple of swan boats and paddled our way around the lake.  It was super crowded, so we had a few laughs as we'd bump into other boats, and the kids had fun steering us around.  I loved being with all of the locals (most of whom looked to be college-aged and were there having picnics with friends), especially the darling old couple in the photo at the top of the page!

After Peter and I got a decent quad workout from paddling around the lake, we got out and walked around, being sure to stop and get some ice cream cones, onigiris, karage, and other little Japanese snacks.  It was such a fun day, and this park will definitely become a tradition for us to visit each year that we're here!

GPS Coordinates for Inokashira Park: 
35.699805, 139.576975

The easiest way to get to this park is to take the Chuo Line JR train to Kichijoji Station and just walk a few blocks down to the park.

Cherry Blossoms Part 2

Since Ueno Park is the mecca for hanami, or sakura viewing, it was number one on my list of places to visit.  So, last week we headed into Tokyo to experience Ueno Park and all of its crowds and cherry blossom glory.  And it did not disappoint!  We ate snacks and wandered around under the main sakura tree-lined path of the park, enjoyed being surrounded by people doing the same, and took lots and lots of pictures . . . 

After walking through the main part of the park, we went down to the lake where all of the festival food vendors were set up and we bought lots of yummy food like cotton candy, pancakes shaped like Doraemon and Hello Kitty, yakitori, yakisoba, and some more chocolate-dipped pancakes on a stick.  We ate them as we looked over the lake with the cherry blossoms picturesquely hanging over the edges.

And then, right as we were leaving, all of the lanterns were turned on amidst the sakura, making it the perfect ending to our visit to Ueno Park!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bennett's 1st Birthday!

Almost a month ago, my baby turned 1!  And, while I feel like it has gone quickly, I also feel like he's always been around, so it seems weird to me that he's only 1.  Does that make sense???  Probably not.  But, anyway, to celebrate, we had a Doraemon birthday party!  Doraemon is a cute, little, popular, Japanese character whom we have collectively decided that Bennett should like :)  So, we (and by that I mean Peter) made a Doraemon cake and we decorated with Doraemon toys and balloons.  Then we ate some cake, and tada!  Easiest party ever!  Happy birthday to my lovable little Benny-boy!