Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Characters in Caricatures

In the fall of 2008, we went to a festival in Tokyo (can't remember now which one) and there was a tiny, old Japanese woman sitting on the ground, under a tree, drawing caricatures.  I'd always wanted to get one done of the kids, but for some reason had just never managed to do it, so we settled down on her mat and got one done, Japanese style (she drew in the peace fingers):

(no that's not mini-Richard Nixon)

When we were in Florida this summer we spent a day at a local boardwalk, where there was a guy doing caricatures in a little, mobile studio, so we stepped inside and got one done, American style (Ethan sat for 15 mins, holding up his peace fingers):

I really love them both, and can't wait to get them properly framed and hung.  Now I'm kicking myself for not having done them earlier, and more often.  Gabi especially was such a fat, cute baby, she would have been adorable as a cartoon!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

BFFs an Ocean Apart

This summer, Gabi experienced her first true heartbreak when her best friend moved back to America.  Gabi and Kelekah met the day we stepped off the plane in Japan, and were joined at the hip from that day forward.  They shared the same birthday, born literally within minutes of each other, and Kelekah lived in the exact same building that I lived in as a kid (just 3 buildings down from us).  And they both had little brothers 11 years younger than themselves.  Both are great students and runners, teammates on both the cross-country and track teams for 3 years.  

Fortunately K's family had arrived in Japan only a month before us, which meant the girls could count on at least 3 years together.  In the military, most families move every 3 - 4 years, so if you're unlucky enough to arrive at a base and become good friends with someone who's already been there 2 + years, chances are you won't be together long.  

G and K were completely inseparable at all times, so you can imagine their complete devastation when we learned K's family would be re-locating in July last year, especially considering we weren't planning on leaving Japan any time soon.

But there is a silver lining for the broken hearted BFFs:  Technology is a truly awesome thing!  G and K Skype regularly, at least 3 times a week.  They routinely hook up when one or the other is getting ready for school, and thanks to the portability of their laptops and handy-dandy webcams, they peruse each other's closets via internet "Wear that pink shirt, with those jeans!"  "What do you think of this scarf with that sweater?" and even take the laptop into the bathroom to experiment with hairstyles together!  

While we were still in the hotel, I found Gabi in the bathroom one Saturday night, pre-hair styling session (which explains the dead wombat on G's head), and found the girls playing a rousing game of UNO, together!  Thanks to technology, they can best friends forever, no matter how far apart they are!

We miss you Kelekah!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Bloggiversary to me!!!!

Yikes!  I totally missed my own blog anniversary!  Exactly 3 years and two days ago, I started this blog.

Holy crap has my life ever changed in the last 36 months!!!  Absolutely nothing in my life today is how I imagined it would be just 3 short years ago.  In some ways it's kind of sad, but in other ways it's a really great thing.

I'm so, so happy I decided to start blogging, I have met some of the most amazing people over the last three years, all because of this blog.   To be honest, I now have more blogg-y friends reading my drivel than I do people who knew me before I started blogging!  I also really love that I have such a detailed account of the last three years, it's so neat to be able to read back and find out EXACTLY what we were doing at this exact point in our lives three years ago, and usually with pictures.  It's like a mini time machine!

When I started blogging, I was positive I'd run out of things to write about, I mean, my life isn't really all that exciting, but as it turns out, I have SO MUCH to blog about, that the only thing I run out of is the time to blog about it!

So - Happy Bloggiversary SakuraSlime!

(This is actually Lily, Masa and me toasting on the night I found out I'd made the applicant list for my job!  I was so happy that she was there to share that life-changing moment with me!  Yet another post I've never managed write!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Post X-mas

So I've covered Xmas night, and now the day after, I'll get to Christmas day eventually!

The day after Christmas, the kids and I, plus G and Meg's BFFs, headed to Tokyo for some shopping and to take in the Constellation exhibit at the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills.

Our first stop was Shakey's Pizza.  My fave of all faves restaurant.  We scoffed back way too much pizza (including some pudding, chocolate sauce and marshmallow pizza! Oishii!) and headed for the KiddieLand toy store.  The permanent store is 6 floors of toy awesomeness, but it's currently being renovated, so they've opened a temp store around the corner.

After less than 24 hours, Gabi's Xmas money was burning a hole in her pocket so we headed for H&M and Forever 21 in Omotesando.  She found quite a bit of stuff, cute and on sale.  Score!  She was quite pleased with herself, only to realize 6 blocks and 2 train stops away that she'd lost her shopping bag.  M, E, BFF and I were already in Roppongi headed to meet up with Gina and her kiddos for the exhibit.  G re-traced her steps but never found her bag :(  She left her name and number with the clerks at both stores, but to date, we haven't heard anything on the MIA loot.

We met up with Gina, James and Alexa and quickly decided that none of the kids (the teens more than the toddlers) were interested in the constellation exhibit, so we decided to head up to Tokyo City View in Mori Tower.  Not a single person, with the exception of me, was impressed with the expansive views of Tokyo sprawled out below us.  How is that even possible?  I NEVER get tired of that view!  I've lost count of the number of times I've taken in that view, and from so many vantage points:  Tokyo Tower, Mori Tower, the Docomo building, the TMG building.....I could literally sit for hours just taking it in.

The boys romped and played for awhile, Alexa slept, we snapped the obligatory pix, Gina and I chatted for not nearly long enough, and then it was time to go.  Gina and co had had a really jammed packed weekend and her kids were exhausted, mine were bored and hungry so we figured it was only a matter of time before we hit the melt-down zone.

The kids and I headed up the block to TGI Fridays for more yummy food, before finally heading home.

It was a nice day, it really helped with the ever-so-anti-climatic day after Christmas.

Meg and BFF

James and Ethan

I will never EVER get tired of this view!!

E studying his newest Lego book at dinner

E dancing to the music in his head, and the girls playing charades on the train.  
(Our stop on this line is the next to the last one, so we're always among the very last ones on the train and usually end up with a car to ourselves, cause nobody wants to be near with gaijin freaks!)