my passport expires in a couple of weeks. i have been sitting on the paperwork for a while (i actually got it when we applied for tommy's passport) but i filled it out last week, got pictures taken on sunday, and dragged all our asses to the post office today to get it sent off. part of the process involves the 'expack500', which is a special envelope, like registered mail, that the consulate requires us to send so they can send our passport back safely.

i had to bribe my children just to get out the door this morning (well, not tommy. he's still in that perfect infant stage where he cannot talk.) i said to them, 'ok, mommy has to go to the post office, so let's go there and then go have lunch.' hiro and sasha: YAY! LUNCH! unfortunately, at the time they only had diapers on. it took a lot of cajoling and threatening of taking away lunch (out) before we got ready to go.

i have never taken all of them into the post office before. i rarely need to go these days. i can use the ATM to withdraw or deposit money, and i just don't send letters or postcards like i used to. plus, i can get stamps at any convenience store. i actually went to a discount place yesterday, to get an expack, but they were fresh out. i figured i needed to get the money order at the post office, and i would feel better about sending my passport application (including current passport) in an expack500, so i braved the main post office.

it wasn't so bad, considering the wait ('hiro needs lunch NOW!!!!') and the sink (WTH for? do you really get that dirty in the post office that you need to wash your hands??) lots of papers hanging off the counters (which makes a nice sound when you whack them) and display boards with ribbons hanging off them. there were plenty of obaa-sans who were perfectly delighted to go gaa-gaa over my babies, even if they couldn't understand.

you will be pleased to know that i got everything signed, stapled and sealed up and ready for delivery. thank god. i was actually quite worried that i would forget and let my passport expire. and who knows what that would have done to my visa!

then a quick stop at cosmos to get packaged baby food for tommy (the kind you add to cooked rice) and a bottle of water. then we went to west yakiniku. it's a chain restaurant, mainly in western japan (i think). they have a pretty good lunch deal, plus a salad bar, so the four (four!) of us can eat for less than $20, and that includes an AYCE salad/dessert bar. yakiniku is grilled at your table, so you may think i'm crazy for taking three small children there. maybe i am. we sit in the tatami section, at the table that's right next to the kid's room, so when hiro and sasha get bored, they just go in there and play. today was extra hectic because tommy eats now (not just sleep or gaze from his car seat/carrier) so i had to go between feeding him a scoop of rice and mix, giving hiro and/or sasha rice/salad/meat/kimchee plus grill the food, serve the rice and drink the miso soup before it goes cold. so, no pictures of lunch.

yakiniku seems to have declined in popularity recently, probably because of the BSE scare. for that reason, our local west is usually not busy. i even got a server to hold tommy while i went to the bathroom (hey, babies and grills DO NOT MIX!) another reason to take my savages there--they can run around and usually not bother anyone.

after he finished eating, i noticed tommy was really wet. hmmm, confusing. i set about to change his diaper when i realized that he was wearing the cloth diaper i had put on him before his morning nap! poor little baby! i got him changed up (thankfully i had a diaper--but only one!--and a spare romper in the diaper bag), then sasha spilled miso soup all over hiro's shorts, so i had him take them off. it's almost like a traveling circus some days...