GW and rachel have already written better posts than i could, plus they took pictures, and i didn't, so this post is going to be fairly short. after the entrance ceremony, we took the kids to a omuraisu restaurant (though that's not quite what it is...but their speciality is HUUUUUGE omuraisu (omelets over 'chicken rice') so we just call it the omuraisu place.) everyone was hungry so tempers were short but eventually we got the (delicious) food and stuffed ourselves. then we went back home to find yoshi's brother and his family waiting for us.

oh, did i mention? yoshi's brother called the night before to tell yoshi they wanted to go to costco. pretty late (after 10? i was actually asleep when yoshi came upstairs to ask me what my plan was for saturday.) let's just say that i have some resentment towards being called last minute for family obligation (because now i have some family obligation) when we were already pretty busy and had other plans. yoshi wasn't coming with us to oita but was kinda hairy getting the kids to agree to get in the car when their cousins were there to play with right now. eventually the kids and i got on the road, and actually made pretty good time.

on the regular roads it take four (or more) hours to drive to GW's. one of the toll roads between here and there was changed to free (i'm sorry for that awkward sentence. some of the toll roads had their tolls removed last year; you can still go on the road--which saves time--but you no longer have to pay) and that shaved nearly an hour off the time. also, the traffic was pretty good for a fabulous saturday afternoon. in the middle of sakura-season.

speaking of, it was an absolutely beautiful day for driving, especially since nearly all the blossom trees were ... uh ... blossoming. this year has been particularly gorgeous. i don't remember the trees being so fabulous, to be honest. yes, sakura are really pretty, but usually the weather doesn't cooperate and it either rains (which washes the petals away), or a freak cold snap occurs and 'confuses' the trees (so they start to bloom, then kinda shut down, then bloom again but then the leaves come out and the trees just don't look as nice if the leaves are unfurling at the same time.) anyway, this year the cherry trees (here in northern kyushu, anyway) have been so gorgeous, and still are, nearly a week later. unprecedented (for me, anyway, and my 11 years here!)

so we got to GW's just before dinner. shou and his daddy left soon after we got there (for a previous engagement) and we let the rest of the kids get used to each other. then it was time for dinner, and GW had made yummy stuff for all of us. the kids ate first, then bathed, then watched a bit of tv and then we attempted to get the kids to sleep. hiro and tommy had actually fallen asleep in the car on the way there, and it was a bit early for my kids (7 pm) to go to bed, so we got up again and quietly played for about 45 minutes and then i tried to get them to sleep. tommy was the one hold out so we let him play for a bit longer and then eventually all the kids were asleep! GW and i had a lovely time chatting and drinking and almost-but-not-quite-crying (i hope i was a help, though!!). we talked through shou and his daddy getting home, having something to eat, taking baths and going to bed. we talked past midnight when eventually someone upstairs needed his mommy. it's so nice to have a good, long talk!

the next morning was fairly early (maybe not for the kids who went to bed pretty early!) but i wasn't feeling too bad. i haven't been drinking much lately, though i did try to do my share! after getting dressed (me and the kids) we fed the little ones and then shoved them outside to play (ok, ok, we let them watch their sunday morning cartoons) and to wait for rachel and her girls to arrive. my bunch was hungry for lunch by 9:30 so i told them they had to wait for rachel to get there. every five minutes it was, 'i'm hungry. is rachel here yet?' but i managed not to throttle anyone.

i had seen rachel a couple of weeks before, but i always enjoy her company and her girls are great fun, too! i know that hiro loves playing with the older two girls who seem to have great patience for the younger kids, and still know how to have fun like the little kids! we left GW's at 2, because i didn't want to get home too late and because (i thought) sasha and tommy had school the next day. so we said our goodbyes and gave hugs all around and then we were off. it took about 3.5 hours to get home, which is pretty good, and i have to say we greatly enjoyed our time in oita. thanks

again to GW for having us!! and to rachel for coming out and playing with us!

EDIT: i guess i did have a lot to say!!