Monday, January 27, 2014

Cherry Blosson Festival

This weekend we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Nago.  It had a TON of vendors selling all kinds of interesting Japanese things and awesome food!! Molly got to drive an underwater sub type thing.  It is nice that some things can be translated even when we can't speak the language.  Her favorite part of the festival was getting to buy a giraffe with money she has earned.  We are still working on convincing her that being in nature is a lot more fun than shopping but she is a hard sell on that.  Luckily for us we had a friend along who told us growing up she wasn't a big outdoors person and fought her family on it but loves it now - so there is hope!!  We climbed about 600 stairs to see the castle ruins and then farther up to see some more of the trees.  It was beautiful and I learned that the trees are called sakura trees as I was asking about how far the playground was from where we were.  To end the day we ate some ice cream at Blue Seal!
Tay driving the sub

Molly waiting her turn

Happy to spend her money

Sakura Tree - Cherry Blossom

Riley loves to adventure on her own!
She climbed a lot of the stairs until our friend carried her

Loving walking up the stairs surrounded by the blossoms

Pretty amazing

On he way down after walking over 2 miles

Boys playing with guys and girls climbing trees to supervise!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A week in Thailand with Kaitlin

I got the privilege of traveling to Thailand to hang out with Jon's little sister Kaitlin last week.   She is going to be there for a little bit and her family wasn't going to join her for a few weeks.  I saw this as a great opportunity to travel and be with someone I really enjoy being around and added bonus a week without any major responsibilities.  With no kids the both of us took leisurely mornings drinking coffee having long devotionals and then heading out each day when we would be figuring out how to work in naptimes for kids normally.  Kaitlin was such a fun travel buddy!  We ate at tons of street vendors, rode in taxis - cabs - the train - tuk tuks - and a khlong (water taxi) and went shopping at some fun places. 
highlights of the week:
Geocaching and King Rama IX park - we thought this was the park that was a pit stop on Amazing Race but after further research when we got home realized the real park was in Phuket not Bangkok.
Cooking Class Shilom - we met at a ticket counter of the train stop watching for a short enthusiastic Asian women.  That was the description in our email confirmation, standing there laughing about how we probably wouldn't be getting to do this a short enthusiastic Asian came bounding up the stairs and we knew she was the one!  As the class we went to the market with our chef then went to the cooking school and got to prepare our five course meal with ladies from Argentina, Korea and France.  It was so fun and it tasted amazing!!
Royal Palace and the Khlong - To get to the royal palace we rode a khlong which is a water taxi.  It was quiet an adventure and seeing the water everywhere it made sense to ride them.  The royal palace was AMAZING!!!  In America you see tons of white marble for "royal" places, in Japan it is all red and stone but in Thailand it was the most colorful display I had ever seen.  There was so much gold everywhere along with tons of colored glass in all the displays.  It was pretty amazing to walk around and take it all in.  We were able to see a changing of the guard at the palace and well lets just say it wasn't quiet what I was expecting.  I was thinking like the tomb of the unknown solider but it was more like a leisurely look at each other then randomly change places and mess with their uniforms. 
Chinatown - we rode a tuk tuk threw the streets going to Chinatown after going to the flower market.  It was tons of vendors selling lots of fun knick knacks and some amazing fruits
JJ Market - the largest market in the world covering over 30 acres.  I walked around for hours, bought the girls some souvenirs, ate some pad thai and laughed at some of the stores with Kaitlin
Thai Massage - since Kaitlin was pregnant we had to have an hour foot massage at some point or maybe it was because this is on every web site and travel book of things you must do while there. 
Most amazing part of the trip was being in a place that was melting pot.  While we were in the trains I just kept thinking about how amazing heaven is going to be.  People would open their mouths and almost any language could come out.  It gets me so excited to see people from every tribe, nation and tongue get together to worship God!!!
Last breakfast in Okinawa

We made it together!

Khlong - water taxi


King Rama IX park

Thought we were at an Amazing Race pit stop - whoops!


Cooking class in the market

How to pick out shrimp

Explaining Thai veggies

Excited to learn!

They make everything beautiful.


manning the wok

Teacher made me redo my dish because it must be beautiful

Beautiful and the shrimp are plated like a heart

papaya salad

making curry

on the khlong

enjoying the sites

coconut water

The Royal Palace

If you didn't have long pants they provided you pants to rent
No shorts or tank tops at the royal palave 


There is so much color!

Guarding the palace

Changing of the guard

Massage time!

China town
Sorry Kaitlin only picture I had:)

JJ Market

So many stores

Waiting on some Pad Thai

Protestors got a little more active during our time.
There was some violence at Victory Monument which we saw on the train but didn't get up close to

Planned a fun day at a park but stopped due to protests

So we took the train to the indoor mall


Saying goodbye - Kaitlin got up at 5am to take me to the airport!
What a great friend.

What to do with a 6 hour layover in Thaipe??
Haircut at a spa - 30 min head massage followed by a haircut

Girls modeling their outfits

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Date nights and Parks

This week Jon and I were able to go on a few dates and we took the girls to a few parks.  For one date we went to Round 1 an amazing 8 story Dave and Buster type place.  It had tons of games, basketball courts, soccer fields, batting cages, roller skating, mini scooter bikes, ping pong, a relaxation room with massage chairs, a huge kiddie play area and arcade games - oh and of course karaoke rooms!  Jon and I enjoyed a night of friendly completion and we each won a few of the activities so we could rub it in each others face throughout the week.  It was so fun and we will probably take the girls at least once.  Another night we also got to have dinner and a movie  - we watched The Strange Life of Walter Mitty.  This movie was clean, funny and had us laughing and talking about how creative it was. 
When we were not out of dates we were having fun as a family.  We have made some great friends here and they show us the fun parks they find.  The girls and I went with some friends one day to Ewok park.  It was called this because it is like you are in a tree village - just needed a little fur on us.  Another day we went to an awesome park with a roller slide.  Too bad I went a little crazy and the slide and didn't stop fast enough and now Kelly has a fractured knee.  We are supposed to keep her from walking for a week and with the help of her split/cast that should be fun!
Sister who like to dress alike

Round 1 - so much fun

beating up the kick box machine - too bad we can't count in Japanese

Roller blading around the rink

The elevator for all 8 floors

Matching shoes

Ewok park

They loved the bridge


More swining

A fun sesaw type thing

JOTO = awesome and it truly was

Park buddies eating with us

Kelly sat still - found out why after a visit to the ER

Nurse Abby checked it out and recommend the ER

Fractured Knee - oh boy

What a good patient