Category Archives: visitors

been awhile…

Yes, again, I’m 2 weeks behind. But that’s for a GREAT reason. Amy and Issey came to this side of the pond to visit us and pick up Emily. We had the typical whirlwind 2 weeks (which, along with full-time work and a pregnancy, is why I STILL haven’t blogged their Christmas trip). They left on Wednesday. So, in an effort to not get bogged down, I’m going to pull ALL of the last two weeks into this one post. :) Here goes…a boatload of pictures that are unedited, out of order, and a lot of them off my phone, but they are here!

This is one of many versions of the calendar that we tried to keep so that we could keep all of our activities straight!


One day, we went to the International District to try to learn about the Japanese Internment at the Wing Luke Museum, but dumb Susan didn’t look at the open days and it was closed that Monday. So, we had some crazy good, but crazy expensive tea at the Panama Hotel which is one of the remaining businesses that was owned by a person of Japanese heritage during the internment and somehow made it through. Here Amy is telling the story of the internment to the kids.



PS It was HOT during these two weeks. There was lots of fun pool time!




We also had birthday party for Issey because he was at home alone without Emily during his birthday. Plus, it was just fun to have a birthday party for the kids. We had a BBQ, got a DQ ice cream cake and the kids sang songs on the Xbox, thus reigniting Hutch’s love of the song “I Wanna Tiger” (Eye of the Tiger). :)

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I forgot to grab a picture of it before, so here it is after it’d been gobbled up! I asked for “Happy Birthday, Issey” to be written in “Sounders Green”, because of his love for soccer.

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Then, one day we tried to take Amy and the kids to Discovery Park, but we got there too late and missed all the passes. So, we went to Golden Gardens instead, which was fun for them because of the playground, so it ended up being a “win”.










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Then, one day we did the “Seattle Tourist Tour” and rode the Ducks and went up the Space Needle. It was my first time, since moving here in 1993, that I’d ridden the Ducks. And it was a blast! I also hadn’t been up the Space Needle in awhile, but I remembered how it’s one of those “Grand Canyon” type of things where you go up there, spend 15 minutes and then you’re done.



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Hutch got a little overwhelmed in the middle of it and had to lie down on our seat.


He didn’t really want to smile for a picture with Mama, either.


Nicholas got to get up and do a dance for the whole bus while we were boating on Lake Union. (See the actual dance in the video below).


Hutch got some good Nana time when he was tired of sitting with Mama.


We got lucky and the sun came out when we got onto the water!



Then, after the Duck, we headed to Seattle Center and grabbed lunch, but then Hutch had a total meltdown and refused to leave to go to the Space Needle. Lucky for us, he likes Aunt Amy and she carried him. (It didn’t help that it was right in the middle of naptime, which he was obviously missing.)

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The kids found something to look at on the floor while we were waiting for the Space Needle elevator.


We got our picture taken!


And then we went way up high!





Hutch really liked playing with the zoom-in telescope. We also looked for the building where Papa was working!


When we got to the bottom, Hutch made a souvenir Space Needle coin. It was really hard to turn and he put on his tough guy face.



And all of this tired him out so much that he actually fell asleep at around 4pm on the way home from dropping Nana off. THIS HAS NEVER EVER HAPPENED! He slept for over an hour in our driveway. CRAZY.


I had to walk around wearing Briar, who was getting fussy and then SHE fell asleep on me! So, I spent about an hour walking around my driveway, looking like a crazy person reading Entertainment Weekly. And thus ends the fun Duck and Space Needle day.


Here is a collage video of all the video I took on the phone of our Seattle Tourist day. Entirely unedited, as I was making it in a coffee shop and couldn’t hear anything. I just figured why not put it all together because someday I might want to watch it!


And then another day, we took the kids (minus Elizabeth, who was getting some much-needed alone time with Jim) to St. Edwards Park for a hike and some playtime. It was super fun and Emily was in 7th heaven.





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And we finished off that day with sushi lunch!

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On one of Amy’s last days in town, we went shopping at Bellevue Square and Issey got to hold Briar. He’s SUCH a good little “mommy”!!!! :) And then we went to Cupcake Royale and enjoyed a tasty treat. So much for our anti-diabetes plan. ;) But it was worth it to introduce Amy to Stumptown Coffee!!

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We also went to Mandarin Buffet as a family, at the request of Issey and Emily, and Hutch was introduced to the chocolate fountain. We had always thought that he didn’t like eating there, but I think it’ll be on our list from now on as a possible eat-out place. (Others include Bento Box for kah-reh (curry) rice, Red Robin for spaghetti, Mod Pizza for pizza, any carousel sushi and any Mexican place that serves normal black beans and rice with guacamole (although Qdoba is his favorite). We’re making progress!!!

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On the last last night they were in town, we had lasagna at Elizabeth’s and then went out for frozen yogurt (at Issey’s request) to the place in Mill Creek where Chandler works. We tried to get one last picture of the sisters. This is how they turned out on my phone. :) Even though they’re blurry (it was dark), I love to see our big smiles!



It was a great, albeit short, trip with Amy but they’re always fun because we try to do things with her that we don’t normally do. We are hoping that they’ll be back for a nice long trip next summer and we can have even more relax-around-the-pool time.

Ahhhh, there. I did it. Not perfect, but I got it all off my phone/camera and just threw it in one post and now it’s off my back. On to work off the rest of the back(b)log of stuff since last December.

horsin’ around

Today we took Emily to visit our Uncle Nick and Aunt Sandy’s farm. It’s a little north of Centralia and a gorgeous property. They have 15 horses, 2 dogs and a few barn cats. Oh, and a lot of spiders. ;) We had a great time there with Nicholas, Carys, Emily and Aunt Elizabeth. And at the end of riding, Aunt Sandy made us s’mores. And then Hutch got stung by a hornet, which wasn’t awesome. And, Briar crying in the car most of the way down and back (1.5 hours each way) wasn’t awesome. But, otherwise, it was a heavenly day. Especially for Emily, who really loved getting to ride a horse without being led. She was comfortable enough that Aunt Sandy felt comfortable enough leaving her alone in the ring while she showed us around. It was cool to see how comfortable Hutch was around the big horses. He was expecting ponies and seemed to have a little trepidation when he realized there were no little “teeny tiny” horses and that he’d have to ride a big one. But, he took it in stride (ha! see what I did there?) and even asked to ride a 2nd time at the end!

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the day:




Uncle Nick showed Hutch his “cat collar” and then gave it to Hutch.

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He wasn’t so sure about it. ;)




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oops. :)






















By the end of the riding session, Hutch was a tired boy….you can see it on his face here.



This series cracks me up. I LOVE the smiles and laughs on Emily’s face. At one point while I was snapping here, Hutch asked Emily (in Japanese), “Do you know Japanese?”. That’s why she’s cracking up.

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We had a great day! Headed to carousel sushi and ice cream on the way home (while Briar cried the whole trip between leaving, dinner and then getting home). But, it was worth the crying. So happy to see the smiles on Emily’s, Hutch’s and Carys’ faces. (Nicholas said he wished he hadn’t come, so he didn’t smile much.) We can’t wait to go back and visit Aunt Sandy and Uncle Nick again. We’re hoping to make it one more time while Emily is still here. She told her mom she had an awesome time and just wishes she had MORE time to ride and to groom the horses. :)

weekend stills

On Friday, I embarked on another cleaning project and started to clean out the laundry room. The below collage shows how far I got before a baby cried. Good enough for one day, I suppose! (And, obviously the bottom is the “before”…. for some reason the collage app wouldn’t let me put the correct one on top).

On Saturday, we skipped Lil Kickers and went to the Kirkland Summerfest. There was lots of fun stuff to do and we got some great pics and videos, but they are on Papa’s phone, so I’ll have to grab those and update this later.

After that, we headed home, where Hutch refused to nap (sigh…) and then we headed to Grasslawn Park to meet up with some of my high school friends who get together each summer to remember Cory, my prom date who died of cancer 8 years ago. I didn’t take any pictures of it, but it was fun to see people that I haven’t seen since 1995. Because of Facebook, it seems like I still see some of them every day. And then, we took Emily to the International District to “Nihon Machi”. It was supposed to be a great festival, but it was pretty small and not much happening. Again, didn’t take any pictures of that, either. Oopsie. Basically, the highlight was getting Hutch some kakigori (shave ice) and getting Emily some shu creams (cream puffs).

On Sunday morning, we got up bright and early and headed to get donuts and then took Emily to the Evergreen Classic, a big horse show out in Carnation. She was in 7th heaven!!!! She’s really been wanting to do some horse stuff since she’s been here and this was one of the first things she’s done, other than petting some horses that live near us. Here are some pictures of the day!

We are going to Uncle Nick and Aunt Sandy’s farm on Saturday, where she’ll get to ride a horse, so hopefully that’ll be a big highlight of the trip.

After the show, we went to Red Robin to get a burger for Emily because we’d asked what food she was craving and said, “hom-bah-gah?”, which translates to “hamburger” in Japanese and she said “yes”. When we got there, though, Emily ordered mac & cheese. :) And then we headed to Bellevue Square to the Lego store and purchased some fun stuff. When we got home, the gang made cookies.

Here’s Hutch saying he wants “a little tiny one” bite of the cookie dough. I can totally hear him saying it, just from seeing this picture.

Emily and Hutch had a great time playing with their new sets while watching Garfield. Here’s what Emily made. She really DOES have horses on the brain.
And then Hutch got tired.
For dinner, I made some of Emily’s favorite “Japanese” food, a cream stew. It’s not originally Japanese, but is pretty common there now.
It turn out ok, but probably not as authentic as the “real” stuff (out of a box).

And then the day came to a close, with two tired boys and a tired mama. (Briar’s always tired, so that’s why she doesn’t get a picture or a mention).

Here’s one more picture. Before we hit up Summerfest on Saturday morning, we were drawing stuff to waste some time. We’ve been reading a book about growing pumpkins, so he has pumpkins om the brain. As we were cutting them, we suggested drawing Jack o’lantern faces on them AND THIS IS WHAT HE DREW:
O. M. G. When did he start drawing actual things!? Just last week, he was sent home with the below two paintings. There’s a pretty big difference between these pieces of art and the jack o’lanterns. But, i really DO love how those jack o’lanterns somehow look Japanese. Or is it just me??

Anyway, another long, full weekend. Relatively tantrum free, despite not taking naps either day. We ended it by watching the premiere of the last season of “Breaking Bad”, one of the best shows ever made, but not enough to keep me awake through the whole episode. ;)

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emily, the second time

We had Emily stay over again tonight! We took her to Ginza for traditional Japanese food and she got some tasty yakisoba. We had some fun with our dessert. ;)


And then we went to Cupcake Royale and got some cupcakes.



I think she’s having more and more fun, as she picks up more English. And Hutch loves having Emily around, even if they don’t really speak Japanese like we were hoping they would.

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So, maybe I spoke too soon thinking that the old Hutch was back. Yesterday (Saturday) was a pretty rough day full of tantrums and fights. We figured it was all catching up to him. But then he woke up crying in the middle of the night, which he never does. And then, he didn’t want to eat breakfast. By midmorning, looked like this and was holding his tummy:


And then he barfed. And then he looked like this.


And then he barfed again.

And then our Portland family arrived and he perked up to play with Georgia and Ronan, so we thought, “He’s better. Let’s go to pizza.” Aaaaand he barfed again while there. So, not a great day, other than getting to see our family!

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