Saturday, March 25, 2017


Does NBD still mean No Big Deal? Did it ever mean No Big Deal? I really don't want to be that super unfleek old lady that uses acronyms incorrectly, KWIM? Bam. I'm an AF wife. We live acronyms, especially the ones of which nobody knows the actual meaning.

My four BFFs that I took on an adventure today. That's where the NBD comes in. I had many, "NBD we're just __________," moments today. If pictures bore you, turn away. :) Ome has quickly become my favorite place on earth.
Sean is on call for the week, which typically makes for a very long week around here. I decided not to let it hold me back this weekend. I was all, "Ok, well...bye." The boys got to be boys. They forgot they were supposed to be fighting and accidentally got along for a solid four hours. The whole lot of them. There may have actually been a tiny bit of real life, no kidding brotherly love today.

Jude requires much bribery if Sean isn't with us. Simon did our 7-11 run for us and came out with tiny Coke bottles for the little two. They don't get soda very often around here, so the entire days haul of photographs look a bit like a Coke commercial.

On the way to Ome, I had a long talk about not being typical Americans. Don't be loud and boisterous. Don't be obnoxious. There moment to shine was here, "On the other side of the bridge is restaurants where people are eating outside. Be respectful. Be quiet. Don't be 'those Americans.'" That led to Jude bolting and his brother tackling him at the end of the bridge. This, of course, led to Jude screaming as if he was being murdered Ah, kids. The great humblers.
Titus has finally mastered blowing bubbles. In a majority of todays shots, he has a weird something going on with his lips. On the ride home I heard him wondering aloud how many bubbles were caught by my camera. :) Funny kid.

At one point, the sweetest elderly Japanese couple stopped us on the walkway and wanted to chat. We did a lot of giggling, hand signals, and eventually Google translate. Do you know what doesn't work with kids interjecting in the background? Google translate. The only one of us that understood anything was Titus. He kept tugging on me, "I know what she's saying, Mom." And I'd say, "Then answer for us!" At the beginning of our chat, I only had the little two. When the big two came trotting up, they could barely contain themselves. It was awesome. The old man kept patting each of their heads as if unpacking a life sized Troika doll.

Titus told them all of our names and ages. I need to get Jude in Yochien so he can help us collectively not look like a buncha morons. The wife laughed when Google translate managed to catch, "My husband speaks better Japanese than me." At the end, she said her only English phrase, "Nice to meet you." As we were leaving about an hour later, I spotted them further down the walkway and gave a little wave. When Jude turned to wave also, the little old lady was so excited that she was jumping up and down waving at us. It made my day and I think it made hers, too.

 I don't think this cat spoke English. 
His skipping stone selection:
Titus' smile is everything(and the way Jude was scaling the eight inch tall boulder!). 
These fellas were warned. No whining allowed if they drenched themselves or soaked their shoes. I had to stop the mom train a few times and let them be. I pretended head injuries aren't an actual thing and let them climb every rock but the last one they wanted to climb. Due to the rectal cranial inversion of my eldest, he didn't see what the problem was with the rock that was in the middle of the rapids. As his oblivious mother, it didn't occur to me that he had the ability to fly or float himself into the middle of the river to shimmy up that bad boy. I will say that the silent treatment he gave me over this didn't have the effect on me he was going for. Mom: 1, Silent Simon: 0.
I texted Sean this picture. 
He texted back: It was in November. Just keep your voices down. 
I replied: Have you met your children? Time to go! 
 I tend to push limits when it comes to picture taking. I don't have a happy middle ground. I always tend to take just a few too many as evidenced by the mugs in this shot. 
 But I never get pictures of all four! I was on a streak today and I wasn't willing to let it go easily. 

Look at that kindness. 
 See how lovingly he's dragging his baby brother up the rock?

 Just to push my luck, I tried for a few timer shots. 

 On our way back to the car. What looks like a sweet hug is actually Jude threatening to throw his brother off the side of the trail. Maybe I'll forget that part years down the road. 
 You can get anything from a vending machine in Japan. My kids come running to the sound of coins dropping into a vending machine in the same way Gus goes running for his squeaky toy. 

 I'd like to come back in a week or two and see it all in bloom. The boys agreed that that is a good idea. :)
 This is the end of the pictures. Sean told me not to post them all lest folks get bored. I took 560 pictures today. I thought this was whittled down pretty well. 
On the way home, we decided to be spontaneous and try somewhere new for dinner. We chose a ramen place that was unlike our typical ramen places. It was amazing. The poor guy that got stuck taking our order kept saying "Hot." I was a little confused. Ramen is supposed to be hot. So I was trying to communicate, "Spicy?" It was hilarious to both of us. He was asking all of his coworkers for help translating. He finally just goes, "Ahhhh, I don't speak English!" He said it in perfect English. I said, "Ah, now that I understood." We finally figured it out enough via Google translate to order and grabbed a few selections of tempura. I'm not entirely sure what we ate, but you can't go wrong with fried.

We broke many etiquettes today. I had to reroute and turn around quite a few times on our way home. It was a bit cold and the flowers weren't as in bloom as I'd hoped, but the boys and I had an awesome, awesome day. I said no big deal several times today, but this stuff is a pretty big deal. A huge deal. It's everything.

I would rather come home with 500 pictures and the memories captured than $500 worth of anything money can buy.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Full tanks

Now that I have my computer back and my Project Life waiting to be finished for 2016, I realize I forgot to post a few sets of pictures. These are from our trip to Ohio at Thanksgiving. It was a much needed trip amidst the chaos of the move. This family fills our love tanks full. If we don't get a marriage out of this group...! 

 I don't know what just happened here, but Charlotte's look kills me. 

 These two. They're the marriage I'm betting on. Two peas in a pod, these chuckleheads. 

 I call this one, Why you should never take kids somewhere that charges admission:

 I want to go back in time and swoop these two into my arms. Their cuteness goes up by a factor of 10 when they're together. Jude was telling my sister about two little neighbor girls: "Oblivia and her sister." Niki asked, " Olivia your girlfriend?" He very emphatically answered, "No-uh! Charlotte is my girlfriend, Oblivia is my neighbor!" Her name is Olivia, but we use the word "oblivious" a lot in this house, because teenage boys. 

These people are number one on our list of military connections. If not for a friendship between two military brats 25 years ago, we could've missed out on several of the greatest friendships ever.  For more on that story: READ THISTHIS. <--Good night, look how they've grown, Kristine! All eight of them have changed so much. I am done with reminiscing. I'm going to go have a good cry now.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jude, 4

The family has been asking for Jude's birthday pictures. I can't find the bin of hand-me-downs that he desperately needs. He's out of his 4T clothes already and the ones that fit are stained. Sean let him eat spaghetti in a white shirt. Side note: carpet cleaner gets stains out!

In my head, I planned to take him down some cool Japanese street with lanterns and perfectly manicured trees and Asians on bicycles and perhaps a baby Buddha. Reality reminds me that he's four now and that isn't going to happen. This kid? He does not pose. He doesn't even stay in the frame if he knows a camera is present. 

It doesn't really feel like he had a birthday. I was out of town on the actual day. When I got back from the retreat, tired and sick, a cake was about the best I could pull off. His presents were given straight from the Amazon box. Lame. Lamelamelame. Kid parties have never been my strong point, but this year, wow. Thankfully, he's four. He didn't give us any grief about it. :)

Oh, Jude. He is so very, very four. He has a fantastic imagination. He's into pretending to drive and has imaginary cars parked all over the house. He likes playdoh, specifically mixing brand new colors just to drive his brothers insane.

He loves his dogs. Ruby would say he loves her a little too much, but I say its just desserts that the most annoying dog on earth gets her fair share of being annoyed. He loves being outside. Riding bikes, playing at any park, being around people. He plays shy, but at the same time will pitch a mean fit no matter the audience. 

He's still very snuggly. He's sneaky. He's hilarious. He's moody. He misses his Grandma and asks about her several times a day. He is a mean little cuss to his brothers. He knows all of their hiding spots and steals from them regularly. He is a naughty one, but he is so stinking cute about it. 
 This. This picture is classic Jude. 
 Yep, those are cream puffs on top of the cake. Japan does cake right. 

 His birthday wasn't anything grand. Not at all, but we ate cake and he was loved on, and sometimes that has to be enough. 
 It certainly was for him.