Archive for September, 2011

The Highs and Lows of July

In : Kiddo, Travel, Posted by on Sep.09, 2011

Well, I would love to say that there were some low temperatures in July, but that ended up not being the case. Everywhere we went – Houston, Austin, Victoria, New York City, and Florida all ended up being almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes!


July started out with a great plan, but a bad execution. Vicky and Dan watched the girls for the entire weekend while we went to Austin for Kevin and Sarah’s wedding. However, my neck was out of whack from the flight, and it was just getting worse. I finally ended up at the chiropractor, which only worsened the situation. It was so bad that I spent the wedding and half of the reception at the Brackenridge Medical Center, but I left with painkillers, muscle relaxers, and extra strength ibuprofen. I enjoyed catching up with high school friends – even if I was in pain and on drugs. Then we headed back to Houston where I visited another chiropractor who fixed me.  By then it was the 8th of July, and I had lost an entire week and the 4th of July to a drugged up stupor. I have been told that the kids were great and really enjoyed the fireworks.

Too hot at the Houston Zoo

Then we hung out in Houston doing all of the touristy stuff. Our visit to the Houston Zoo was a bust. It was just too hot. However, our trip to Space Center was fabulous, but getting lost in Clear Lake, where I grew up, sucked! Then we went to Houston Museum of Natural Science and the butterfly exhibit, which is always a hit. We didn’t get to see a ton of Todd, but we did get to see Kung Fu Panda 2, which was our first movie theater experience as a family.

Sisters snuggle while Gramps does all of the work



We also got to go down to Victoria to visit with my dad and stepmom. The highlight of the visit was taking the boat out and going fishing, which Tess tired of in about 10 minutes, but everyone caught a fish!


Then it was off to New York City. Todd went with his Masters program, and I flew on a separate plane with the girls. The girls and I were having so much fun going to museums, playgrounds, and parks. The High Line was my favorite. The girls’ favorite was going up in the Empire State Building at night. Lindsey, our babysitter, made it possible for me to go and see Freud’s Last Session, Upright Citizens Brigade, and War Horse, which were all very different and all very good.


Then the girls and I headed to Ft. Lauderdale to visit with Grandma and Grandpa Mau and enjoying the pool and beach and doing some much needed R and R.



So to recap July:

High: Girls in Summer Camp at Nature Discovery Center with Mary Ann

Low: My neck

High: Seeing friends in Austin and being at Kevin and Sarah’s wedding

Low: My neck

High: Having fun with the girls in Houston and catching up with friends

Low: The heat

High: Visiting with family and taking the girls on the boat

Low: Houston Zoo

High: Space Center Houston with Laura and Mitsuyo-san

Low: 1st day in New York City

High: All other days in New York City

Low: Barely seeing Todd

High: Visiting with family in Florida

Low: Realizing that this is really the end of our summer

Here are the photos from Texas, New York City and Florida.

Here are two videos from New York City: T Rex and Ferris Wheel

Awesome June in Japan

In : El Japan, Posted by on Sep.09, 2011

June was a fabulous month. It started off with the End of the Year party at Canadian Academy at the Swisshotel in Namba, Osaka. Two years ago we had the End of the Year party there, and we got a sitter to take care of kids in the hotel room while we went to the party and karaokeing afterward. This year our sitter requested that she spend the night with the girls in our apartment. Excuse me, but would that mean a kid free night at a fancy hotel? Sign me up!

Cute kids on the way to Yakitori

A few days later Rob, Rachel, Eleanor and Thomas arrived in Kobe for their Japan adventure. First of all, I’d like to remind everyone that we live in a 900 square foot apartment. Also, for those mathematically impaired, that is 8 people – 4 kids and 4 adults – in 900 square feet. Yikes! Despite all of my concern about space, things worked out beautifully.  The kids – 4,5,6, and 8 – all played together so well. They wrote a play, rehearsed it, made props and costumes.  Rachel was working during the first couple of days interviewing people about the built environment, attitudes and raising kids in Japan.

Walking through the low tide

Todd and I finished school a few days after their arrival, and that day we headed to Miyajima island which is right across the bay from Hiroshima. Miyajima is one of the most sacred places in all of Japan. It has a imperial shrine along with many other temples and places to visit. It is such a sacred place that births and deaths are not allowed on the island. We stayed in a traditional Japanese house with only a few tables, a couple of cushions and futons, all on tatami floors. The house also has a kitchen, so we brought our own cooler full of food. Our way there turned out to take much longer than I expected, so we arrived after all taxis on the island had stopped – oh, and it was pouring down rain.  We found dinner at an okonomiyaki restaurant. As we walked to the house, Thomas ended up falling into his umbrella and coming out of his shoe. Poor guy did not have a good time after that. Luckily, the owner of the house found us and gave Todd, Tess, Rachel and Thomas a ride. Rob, Eleanor, Riley and I walked the rest of the way, and they were total troopers.

The next day was gorgeous, and we ventured up the island on some cable cars and did some shopping. The day after was a little rainy, but we headed into Hiroshima, and Todd and I watched the kids while Rachel and Rob visited the Peace Memorial Museum.


Then it was back for 5 more days in Kobe, which were filled with Kobe beef, Hanshin Tiger game, Bunraku, Kyoto, antique shopping, and recycle store shopping. We were sad to see Rob, Rachel, Eleanor and Thomas head to Tokyo for some time at Disney, but we had such a good time with them.

Then we had about 5 days to pack and get ready to head to the States for Todd’s Masters in Theater for Educators that he is doing through the University of Houston. We spent about 5 weeks in Houston, 5 days in New York City, and a week in Florida before returning to Houston for a few days before, finally, heading back to Japan.

Here are our photos from June. This is a photo album dedicated completely to our first Japanese baseball game.