Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nanbu Town

It's a long weekend, yay! We've been wanting to go camping and thought this weekend would be great, but, it would have to be an overnight so we decided to go somewhere close. South west of us is Nanbu Town, only about 30 miles, but, a little over an hour by car. They have some camping in "tree houses". The forecast said clear so off we went.
The forecast was wrong, you can't really tell in this picture but by the time we got there it was pouring!
These are the cute tree houses, not quite what the kids were expecting but they had a ball. Avie asked if we could move in. We were able to cook our dinner under the tree house so the rain wasn't a big deal and by the morning the skies had cleared and it was a beautiful day!
This valley is so beautiful.
Next, we let the kids climb the dragon tower nearby. It's not a regular tower where you walk up and down stairs. There are rope covered tunnels that go outside of the tower to climb up and down, it's crazy!
Here they go...I was hoping I would fit.
Yep, that's Rayce in there.
This thing was pretty entertaining for both adults and kids.
Before we returned to the base we went to try and find Hokoji Shrine. I never get tired of seeing these things!
The entrance.
This one was one of the more beautiful ones we've seen. It was built between 1249 and 1256, and houses the oldest Buddha's ashes in Japan.
Rayce did NOT want to come to the shrine, he thinks they are boring but, he perked up when he realized there were frogs everywhere!
This pagoda is the tallest three story pagoda in Japan.
We are always so grateful to be able to explore Japan and for the amazing place it is.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2nd and 7th!

With reluctance and apprehension and trepidation the kids went back to school on Monday and can I mention all these emotions were from me and not them, well, mostly. Danielle was a little nervous to start seventh grade but by the end of the day she had changed her mind. With the exception of one "difficult grader" teacher she is loving school. Rayce got a fabulous teacher who may (gasp) make him like school!! We wont hold our breath but so far, so good. Avie Jo starts Kindergarten next week and in the meantime I'm lapping up my last bit of one-on-one time with her.
My very astute seventh grader.
awesome kids.

Friday, August 15, 2014


14 years of marriage. Whew, it sounds like a long time, it is a long time, but for us, for me, these last 14 years have been more than I imagined. Marriage is hard and is sometimes filled with frustration. Communication breaks down, emotions run high, kids are demanding, alone time is sporadic: there are so many reasons why none of us should make it in marriage, but here we are.
He makes me laugh because he's funny...I make him laugh because I do stupid stuff.
"Our Heavenly Father has provided that marriage and family ties may be established permanently, to endure forever; and that a marriage that we can joyfully look forward to eternally must be a good marriage here, a marriage that is the heart of a happy home and family."-Marion D. Hanks

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri

This weekend's festival was the Nebuta festival in Aomori City. A series of lit up floats are pulled through the streets in a spectacular parade that also includes dancers and taiko drumming. I wasn't sure if we were going to end up going. We were getting a lot of conflicting answers to whether or not it was worth it. A lot of base dwellers were telling us that it was crowded and hot and parking was hard to find. We ended up going and I'm so glad we did!
Everything we heard was not so. Parking was easy (not cheap, but easy), we had a decent cloud-cover to keep it from being too hot, and as for the crowds, well, it was normal parade busyness.
These are the traditional outfits worn in the parade.
Unless you have reserved seating there's no way to sit up front but we found a nice park to set down our blanket and kill time until dark.
We had our preposterously expensive bells ready for the parade.
Delicious festival food!
Then it was time! I've never seen a parade like this, ever.
The floats are so impressive, beautiful, stunning even.
Dancers and big taiko drum.
One of the smaller floats. The people sitting in the front have fans and will wave them frantically at the floats to bring them closer to the crowd.
The spectators then fan the carriers of the float, at least for a second or two until they're off again.
The kids were so good but Avie was pretty done at this point so we left with 20 minutes or so to spare, which turned out to be a great thing because we got a head of the festival traffic out of there.
But not before one last stop off on the way back to the car for a bit more festival food...well for mom anyway!