Monday, August 22, 2016

Grandma Jenny and Papi in Kyoto

My parents came to visit in April, and in addition to watching Will play tee ball and Clara dance, we took them to Kyoto!  We only spent a couple of days there, with the first day being repeats of places that we visited before, so I'll just give a quick recap from our first day.  

First, we went to Fushimi Inari, one of my very favorite places in all of Japan!

Then, of course, we had to show them the Golden Pavilion!

And, then, to finish off our day, we took them to Nijo Castle, or, as we like to call it: Ninja Castle.

The rest of our time in Kyoto was spent going to new places, which I'll post about soon!

Tee Ball and Ballet

April was full of firsts for our family!  William played tee ball and last season and had his first game on the same day as Clara's ballet recital!  Here are a few pics of his game and one of his hits!

Back in the fall, Clara started taking ballet lessons and her first recital was in April.  Her class performed Little Red Riding Hood.  I was so proud of her for remembering all the steps and having such wonderful stage presence!  I love watching my little Clara Bee dance!!!

I had a chance to perform too :)  I took the adult ballet class last year just to keep up my skills and had fun dancing on stage with Clara.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Will's Art Show

One of the best things about our DOD elementary school here is the art program.  William's teacher, Mr. Swigert, is phenomenal.  He teaches the kids tons of different mediums and really makes art a wonderful experience for the.  And, for us, each year he puts on a huge Art Show!  They hang every piece of artwork from the school year and families are invited to come and walk around.  We knew Will loved his art classes, but a surprise to us was that he won 1st place for his age group for his painting of the The Princess and the Pea!  His was prize was that his piece is printed in the Sun 42 book of art (I think it contains prints of all the winners from the Asia North region), and his painting will be framed and remain hung on the walls of the school here forever!  Pretty awesome.  I am so proud of my little artist!

He had several other projects displayed, but these two below were my favorites!

A Day in Yokohama

Last year, we went down to Yokohama to visit the Cup Noodle Museum and also visit Chinatown, but we ended up spending so much time at the museum that we didn't end up having time to walk through Chinatown.  We finally found a spare day (a year later!) to drive down, explore Chinatown, and eat some dim sum.  

After walking around a bit, we found an all-you-can-eat dim sum restaurant and gorged ourselves on delicious Chinese food :)

We explored a bunch more shops in Chinatown and had fun seeing all the unique souvenirs and Chinese grocery stores.

After Chinatown, we walked over to Yamashita Park right along the water.  The kids ran around for a while and then we went and checked out a water safety (we think that's what it was about!) festival!  The kids got to try on coast guard uniforms, sit on a mini police motorcycle, touch and hold sea creatures, and we watched a helicopter water rescue demonstration.  It was pretty cool and quite entertaining for the kids!

We walked down the boardwalk a ways, relaxed on some grass for a while, happened upon an Indian Holi Festival at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, and then walked down to grab some malasadas from Leonard's at World Porters.  It was a packed day full of fun and delicious food!!

GPS Coordinates:
Chinatown:  35.443485, 139.646487
Yamashita Park:  35.445898, 139.649748
Red Brick Warehouse:  35.453239, 139.643139
World Porter's:  35.454264, 139.638782

Moomin Park

Have you ever heard of the Finnish character, Moomin???  Moomins are big, white hippopotamus-type animals.  And, well, before we had moved here, I hadn't ever heard of them either!  But Japanese people love Moomin and so they are everywhere!  In fact, nearby in Saitama, there is even a Moomin Park where the buildings look like the Moomin houses in the Finnish stories.  It's a free park and it is completely charming.  The houses are big with stairs, nooks and crannies for kids to explore.  We went with a bunch of friends and our kids never wanted to leave.  It would be perfect to bring a picnic lunch and a ball to kick around as well.  But, the drive is well worth the outing!

GPS Coordinates:  35.830779, 139.344180

Clara's 4th Birthday

In April, Clara turned 4!  She wanted a Peppa Pig Tea Party, with princess dresses :)  So, that's what we did!  All of her neighborhood friends came over and we ate lunch, played musical "muddy puddles" (brown felt cut out like puddles), freeze dance, pin Peppa's face on her body, and then each of the kids got an umbrella so we had a big parade!  Overall, I think it was a successful party for our 4 year old princess!