Saturday, June 16, 2018

Penelope's 7 Video

I finally finished Penelope's video compilation from when she was seven!  Check it out.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tsukushino course

Japan has the coolest parks!  They really don't seem to care about safety at all at their parks.  I'm surprised I haven't seen a child seriously injured at a park yet.  Because they aren't worried about getting sued by someone whose child got hurt they can make really fun and scary parks.

We found a new favorite park!  It is called Tskushino Course in Yokohama.  This place was so awesome!  I already want to go back.  For those looking to go I recommend just driving it.  The tolls weren't bad and we were able to park right in front for free.  Riding the trains there would have been more expensive for our family and more than twice as long.  Here is the google link,139.4844393,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x1ed7eaa80ffdfc55!8m2!3d35.5207!4d139.486628?hl=en
This place had over 50 obstacles for everyone to run wild and enjoy. 

We probably spent the most time in the water area.

These were no joke.  I saw a few kids fall in the water.  I did not try this one Tucker is on.

This next was was seriously hard.  About half way through the girls wanted to quit but there was a line behind them so I unsympathetically told them they had to keep going or jump in.  They decided to finish.  It wasn't like I could go out there and help them.  I later went out and tried it and I instantly felt bad.  It was really tough.  Like tough mudder tough.  I also wanted to quit, but I couldn't the logs were wiggly and moved all around, plus when you went to step on a new log the one you were on would push back.   

This slide might just be the craziest thing I've seen in Japan yet.  It is literally straight down.  you have to push yourself off the edge onto nothing.  It looks like no bid deal, but the moment you are sitting at the top it feels really hard to push off over the edge into midair.  It goes against every instinct.  The slide "catches" you in about five feet. 
There is nothing like watching a two-year-old do something again and again with no fear that is really scary to every adult around.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Girls Night

The boys were going on a Father son camp out so we decided to have a girls night at our house.  We went grocery shopping before we left to get supplies.  Calista was really upset and not into the shopping until she got the root beer.

Root beef floats and a movie is what the girls wanted to do for girls night.  I think I can handle that.

In fact I even upped the fun with painting nails, making their favorite puffed pancakes for dinner all together, and letting them watch two movies.
We watched Despicable Me three and the Emoji movie, neither of which I would recommend.
After the movies and floats the girls wanted to sleep downstairs.  Well, Penelope and Scarlett wanted to sleep downstairs.  Calista and I preferred our own beds. 

I just love these girls!  Calista is waving good night to everyone.

Monday, June 4, 2018


One great thing about living in a foreign country is that places aren't crowded on American holidays.  Bob still gets them all off so we try to make sure and go somewhere that might be crowded on a weekend.  On Memorial day we went to Zoorasia.  This was our first real type of zoo I've seen here in Japan.  There are a few other places we have been that seemed to happen to have a few animals in cages and they called themselves a zoo, but this was the first place that actually felt like a zoo to me.
I love all the man hole covers here.

Before we went in we bought our tickets Japanese style, or through a vending machine.
It was a decent size zoo.   We spent most of the day there, we saw everything but we the kids were done by the end of it.  It was a good size for a one day trip to the zoo.

We tried to hit a keeper talk like we always used to back in the states.  It wasn't quite the same because of course everything was said in Japanese. 
They had a couple play grounds throughout.
I love it when I see a mini toilet.  They seem to be a ling at zoo's.  I remember the San Diego Zoo had them as well.  This one went up to about my ankles.
Some of the animals know where the real fun is.

We were lucky to catch a show with birds.  Once again we had no idea what they were saying, but at the end we got to come up close and see them better.  Scarlett was really happy because this is her favorite animal, the scarlet macaw.  I thought it was crazy because I got to hear a bird speak Japanese.  The keeper would say things and the bird spoke back.  I was able to pick out konichiwa but that was about it.
Tucker made a video of our day.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Bob and the kids sang church last Sunday while I played the piano.  I got a video of it before we went.  I just love the song by Jenny Phillips "Gethsemane."

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mt Takao Hiwatari Festival/ FireWalk

I've heard a lot about Monks who walk across hot coals.  Occasionally will even reference it on sitcoms or other shows.  The office has a funny episode where Michael challenges people to walk across hot coals.  When I heard about the Mt. Takao Hiwatari Festival where the monks actually do an annual fire walk and they walk across the hot coals I knew we had to go.

We got there about an hour and a half early to get a good spot to see the ceremony.  And it was a ceremony.  There was over an hour of chanting and other symbolic things going on that I really didn't understand at all.  After the hour and a half wait to even start the kids struggled to sit through it all.  But once they started the fire things got more exciting.

In the below picture you can see the crowds.  I am so disappointed but I accidentally deleted the pictures off my nicer camera.  I had some good shots too.  So you will have to make due with the couple I quickly took with my phone and the video Tucker made.  The video is pretty good.
The fire was huge and we could really feel the heat.  Once it got going the smoke covered half the audience for a good while.  The wind was on our side though, and we didn't get too much wind our way.

I love being adventurous and trying knew things so I was thrilled when I found out that after the Monks walk across they open it up to the public to participate.  Calista and I took a selfie after we walked through.
The kids were scared to do it, but I told them they had to.  I'm kind of mean like that.  No one got burned so it wasn't like I was torturing them.  But once you step out they do not want you to stop walking, for obvious reasons.  So when a couple of kids started but got scared a monk came over and walked with them across.  It was cool that they were personally escorted across the coals by a real monk.  Once we made it across we were lead to some sort of monk who I think gave us a special type of blessing.  Like I said before I really didn't know what was going on, but was just along for the ride.
It was such a fun experience and one of the few times since I've been in Japan that I got to experience something that truly felt like part of their culture.  It was like the Monks were doing their thing with or without the giant crowd of people watching.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Shakespeare in May

The kids have been working hard over that past month and a half on the play "Pericles."  A homeschool mom put this together for the kids and I'm so glad we participated.  All of their hard work paid off during their Friday night performance.  I originally thought the only people who were coming to the performance that hadn't been to all the practices were the dads.  Most people here don't have Grandparents or extended family to come support but I think everyone knows that and really helps support each other.  Three families from our ward came to watch the kids and I know there were others who had friends come to watch as well.  I think one of my favorite parts was just as Tucker walked out someone from the audience shouted, "That's my friend!"  It was cute.

The kids were nervous, especially Tucker, but it went really well.  Tucker was two different characters and had several speaking parts so he was understandable nervous, but he seemed to thrive on the nervous excitement.  He was the oldest child there by a couple months, so it was a pretty young cast.  Penelope was scared during the first couple practices but once she knew what to do she was totally fine.  It also helped that she didn't have an speaking rolls.  Scarlett did great during the play, but it was hard to get her to cooperate during the practices.  It took several different practices to get her to even say her part.  She wouldn't even attempt it until everything was perfect.  She had to be confident in her part and have the exact right baby doll.  I one time brought the wrong doll and she refused to do her part.  We also had lots of disagreements about getting her to wear her costume.  Leon did well with his storm part, his biggest struggle was to hold still and be quiet during the rest of the play.  All the kids acted just exactly according to their personalities and I wasn't surprised one bit by how the behaved during the process.

We took videos!