Archive for December, 2009

The Last of Maui

In : Kiddo, Picture Pages, Travel, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

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The Luau

We are spending our few last days in Maui relaxing by the pool and hanging out at the beach.

Here are the pictures of last outings before heading back.  We visited Iao State Park and walked a little through the park, and the girls waded in the river and threw some rocks.

Last night we went to the ever popular and touristy Old Lahaina Luau.  It was all you could eat and drink, and the show was great.  Riley was enthralled, and Tess was tired, but I am glad that we went.

Here are the photos.



And even more Maui

In : General, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

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Today we went to the Maui Ocean Center, played mini golf, and hit each other with bumper boats.

Here are the photos.



More Maui

In : General, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

There are more pictures of our trip to Maui here.

A diver shows the girls the mouth on the sea urchin.

We’ve been busy, finally.  After trying to recover from our colds for the first few days, we ventured out to ride on the Reef Dancer.  It is like a kid friendly version of snorkeling.  They could watch the fish from inside the boat with the help of some divers who collected things like urchins and cowrie shells to show the kids.

We’ve been swimming a lot at the pool at our condo.  The kids love it, and they are completely independent in the pool when wearing their arm floaties.  Riley is also really into snorkeling.  I am trying to convince her to do it at the actual beach and not just in the pool, but she doesn’t seem too keen.  Maybe she hasn’t forgiven me for not telling her how much the ear piercing was going to hurt.

Yes, that is a breaching whale, a hundred feet from our boat!

This morning instead of opening up our Christmas presents, which we did a couple of weeks ago, we headed on a whale watching expedition.  For two hours we sailed on the open, calm ocean looking for whales.  ***Note: The last time Todd and I did this was in July off of Bar Harbor, Maine.  It was 35 degrees Fahrenheit with 8-10 foot chop.  Todd spent the entire 4 hours puking, and I saw the back of one humpback whale and her calf.  Needless to say, Todd was not optimistic about this experience.  Luckily, the weather and the seas were great.  We saw about 15-20 whales.  During the last thirty minutes, the same whale stayed with us and breached about 20 times.  It was unbelievable.  Even our guide was in awe.  The girls were excited with what they saw, although, Riley and Tess were a little put out about not being able to ride the humpback whale (Damn you, Go, Deigo, Go).  Riley actually did puke two times, but she recovered like a champ.  She gets car sick, so it was no surprise to us that she would get sea sick as well.

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Once we returned home, Todd finished up making the gumbo, threw some tasty cornbread together, and I made Vicky’s Famous Shrimp Dip.  Marie, coworker and friend from Japan, who just happened to be here for the holidays, came over, and we had a delicious meal, and then watched the girls swim in the pool.

Merry Christmas!



2009 – What a year you have been?

In : El Japan, General, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

I spent a couple hours late last night (or early this morning) thinking about this past year.  Yea, jet lag still sucks.

What will I remember about 2009 for years to come?

It got me thinking of past years and what I remembered about them.

  • 2008 – The Year of Autism.  I have thought about this year, and I couldn’t come up with anything.  Then it struck me.  This is the year that I was convinced that Tess was autistic, and we would have to move back to the States to get services for her.  She didn’t talk to us or understand us until after she was two.  She turned on after her second birthday, and, luckily, all is well now, but that was a long, bleak year that I would prefer to forget.
    Tess in the wagon
  • 2007 – The Year of Japan.  We spent the first part preparing for our move, and Todd rapidly learned Japanese.  Then we spent the last couple months of the year getting used to Japan.
  • 2006 – The Year of Tess.  I spent most of this year pregnant with or focusing on a newborn Tess.
  • 2005 – The Year of Depression.  I spent the first several months suffering from severe postpartum depression and the last several months getting therapy.  Finally, finishing the year accepting the fact that I could be good enough at something and not perfect!
  • 2004 – The Year of Riley.  I spent most of this year pregnant with Riley.
    Sneak preview.
  • 2003 – The Year of Trying To Conceive (TTC).  Yea, that was fun.  Then it wasn’t, and then I started charting.  Then we stopped trying, and then I was a wreck! Damn you Depo Provera and your lasting power.
  • 2002 – The Year of Going Overseas.  Culture shock and travel.  The worst and best parts of living overseas.  In Peru, there were also in-house massages and maids, too.  Ahhhhhh, how I miss you.
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  • 2001 – The Year of Being a Teacher.  This was my second year of being a teacher, and I didn’t feel like such a fraud.
  • 2000 – The Year of OMG, I Am A Teacher and A US Citizen.  In the same week in August, I started teaching and got my citizenship.  Yea, that was crazy!
  • 1999 – The Year of Getting Married. We got married.  It was beautiful.
  • 1998 – The Year I Graduated College.  I had a horrible kidney infection, but no insurance because I just graduated, and my first job didn’t cover me.  I was a teaching assistant at a Nature Center.   I ended up drugging myself with Dayquil to get through the ceremony.  That night there were so many people sleeping in my apartment, and I was running a huge fever.  When we woke up the next morning, Andrew Leeper, bless his heart, said it was like the Titanic.  I keep saying in my sleep, “I am soooo cold.”
  • 1997 – The Year I Turned 21. Love you Nicole, that was a crazy night on Northgate.
  • 1996 – The Year of Todd. Todd and I first started dating on December 28, 1995, so during 1996 very little existed in the world that I cared about besides him.  Even $600 phone bills (between the two of us) seemed insignificant to me – not so much to my parents.

That’s pretty much as far as I got.  Before that there are some important years, but nothing hugely significant.

So what would I say about 2009?  I am thinking it was The Year Of No More Babies.  There are no more diapers (during the day), there are no more bottles, there are no more cribs.  They are both in school.   Yay!  I am pleased to say there will be no more babies in the Welbi household.  We are already slightly outmatched.



Riley’s Moods

In : General, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

Here is some reflection that Riley did on her moods during school.  I think her reflection tell us as much about Tess as it does about Riley.

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A Very Maui Birthday

In : General, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

This year we are all about observing holidays.  Since Santa brought the girls bunk beds (huge and heavy), we decided to have Christmas the Sunday before we left Kobe.  It was great!  To continue this theme, we decided to have Riley’s birthday early because we fly back to Kobe on her birthday.  It was not ideal, but it saved us $2200 per ticket!

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Pretty much I told Riley she could pick the day that she wanted to celebrate her birthday.  So this morning she woke up and decided today was the day that we would celebrate her birthday.  First, I went to the store to get all of the makings for pumpkin pie, which is Riley’s request for a birthday cake.  Once I returned, Riley opened her presents.  Then she decided that we should spend the day at the beach.  Thirty minutes later we were out the door and spent the morning at the beach.

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The afternoon we spent at the local mall at Claire’s where Riley got her ears pierced!  I warned it would hurt a little, and she definitely was having second thoughts.  We spent about 30 minutes in Claire’s just shopping.  Then she decided that she wanted the December birth stone.  She sat down on the chair, and she was ready to go.  Just at that moment Tess tried to climb up, so I convinced Tess to wait.  Then two lovely ladies did her ears at the same time.  Boy, did she scream!  I felt bad, but she was so cute.  She was crying and upset for less than a minute.   Meanwhile, Tess runs out of the store and screams, “I don’t want the chair!”  I was laughing so hard that it was hard to console both girls.  I think Tess might be scarred for life, or she might have no memory of it tomorrow.  Who knows, it’s Tess!

All in all, I think Riley had a great birthday.

Here are the photos.



A Very Maui Christmas, Part I

In : General, Posted by on Dec.12, 2009

In past years I’ve watched in awe as people have departed Kobe on the last day of school, which is a half day. I’ve often thought they were ambitious, and when people did it with kids, I thought they were crazy.

Well, this year we attempted it as well, but not because we wanted to, but because if we wanted to cash in our sweet, sweet vouchers from getting bumped last year, they had to be used within a year, so the 18th it was!

Luckily our flight didn’t leave until 9pm, which put us on the 5:15 bus to the airport, so we were able to do some last minute packing and cleaning around the house.

Our flight from Osaka to Honolulu was turbulent, but other than that, uneventful. Riley slept almost immediately upon take off, while Tess was awake until 12:30am Osaka time. Each seat had their own video entertainment on demand screen, so I made Todd watch The Hangover, which I’d seen, and I watched Four Christmases, which Todd would never watch. I’d just bought some Peanuts Classic episodes from itunes for the girls to feed their endless appetite for Charlie Brown, so that’s what Tessy watched.

We landed in Hawaii and had the LONGEST walk ever to our connecting airline, grabbed an earlier flight than we were scheduled on the smallest jet I’ve ever ridden in, and had the shortest flight ever- 25 minutes. It was a superlative experience.

Our first day, I struggled to get over this nasty cold and unpacked all of our stuff, Todd spent most of his time and money at the grocery store (apparently he spent 30 minutes in the produce sections in awe), and the girls played non-stop.

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However, the second day, we actually did something. We walked from our condo to Baby Beach, calm, shallow water perfect for the little ones. After a few hours, we headed home to shower, change, drive into town, do a little shopping at an American style mall that – gasp – carried Todd’s shoe size and dresses designed for my body type. It was like heaven. We ended our second day by picking up Bob, Todd’s dad, at the airport and grabbing some dinner before driving home.

Here are a few pictures of the girls from our walk along the front street board walk on our first night and our first trip to Baby Beach.