on saturday morning i woke up very early and did some laundry. it looked like it wasn't going to be all that great a day weather-wise, plus i was going to be gone and so i took the wet stuff to the coin laundry to get it all dry. when i got back i packed up a lot of stuff (and yet forgot sasha's undies) including towels (for onsen or possible paddling opportunities) and got the kids fed. then dressed. then in the car. we actually left the driveway at 8:30! first we were off to 7-11 to turn in halloween coloring pages to get a prize. woo hoo? anyway, we were on the road to oita by 9 am and i gave gaijin wife a call to tell her our estimated arrival time. i actually got it right for a change, and that included a stop for lunch! there were a lot of, 'mommy, i have to pee!' from the back, nearly every ten minutes. there was a bit of screaming and fighting but the promise of jiji the cat and the threat of going back home (i even turned the car around, once) kept them in line and we were at kitty's house a little bit after one in the afternoon.

hiro and jiji

sasha and jiji

we were invited out to GW's to meet sarah and her family. they are so nice, and sakura is a little beauty! she has such a beautiful smile.

the kids had a great time playing and the time seemed to fly by! before i knew it, it was time to leave and meet up with jo!

petting the kitten
(i would have taken more pictures but my nikon died right about here:
sakura and her mommy

but i got some pics with my olympus before giving up:
GW & daughter

we met at a joyfull and had dinner with jo and her kids, and then we followed them to their house. it's really in the country-side, right in the mountains. we checked out the cottage, and then we went into their house to hang out. even though they were really tired (none of then had a nap), hiro, sasha and tommy had a GREAT time playing in jo's house, i think we didn't get back to the cottage until after ten! then it was shower, teeth brushing and pajama time. we opted for the futon route, because the kids love to sleep with me, and we wouldn't have fit on the beds. i actually moved to a bed once the kids were asleep, but some time during the night hiro came and found me....the kids also surprised me by being afraid of 'oni' (devils?) and asked me what would happen when the oni came. ??? i told them that i would protect them. sasha wanted to know what i would do to the oni. ??? i was stumped for a few seconds, and then said i would close my eyes because that would make the oni disappear. oni are not real so closing my eyes would make them go away. that didn't really seem like the right answer, but they went to sleep anyway. phew!

the next morning jo's family had to leave really early because of undokai, but she very kindly left us breakfast! sasha and i were up and dressed early enough to say goodbye to our hosts and wish them luck at the undokai. then we had a slow morning playing and having breakfast. i got a few pictures, mostly of the cottage (which is just so lovely!) and the chickens which were so friendly. well, they would run up to the fence when they saw anyone coming.

kiora cottage

the chickens

kiora cottage

but that wasn't the end of our day! sunday was rachel's littlest one's birthday party.

birthday girl

as always there was a lot of fabulous food:

the spread

i couldn't resist the caramel slice:

caramel slice

there were cakes and sandwiches, too.

dora the explorer cake

shaped sandwiches

candy bread

the kids had a great time playing, dress-up, running around and going outside. we probably had too many sweets, but it was a birthday party so we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.

i actually managed to drag myself (and the kids) away at a decent time and managed to get home before dark! i was pretty exhausted, but i think it was a great weekend. we would all like to thank GW for inviting us over to play, jo for letting us crash at her place (and i REALLY REALLY hope we have time someday to actually spend together. the kids are STILL talking about your place and want to go see jo. as early as tomorrow, if possible! lol) and of course to rachel and erica for having us over for the birthday party! we had a great time and i hope we weren't too much of a burden!