hey there! how have you been? we've been well. settling into school life and getting a rhythm going, especially in the morning. hiro has only been late to getting out the door once (and only because he was watching TV. naughty!) but the kinder bus has been earlier than the posted arrival time so we've been late a few times for that.

all the kids had monday off (not a regular golden week holiday day); hiro from the saturday observation day he had last month, and sasha/tommy for a day they will have on sunday later this month. that makes for a nice long golden week holiday!

as we have done for the past seven years, we went to miyazaki for golden week. yoshi had originally decided not to go, he wanted to visit some japanese friends instead. at the last minute, though, his plans fell through and he asked to go to miyazaki with us. in fact, as i was finishing up packing up the car, i found him trying to wedge himself between sasha and tommy's car seats! i had to rearrange the seating because this year we brought our bedding with us (japanese futons & blankets).

since we originally were going without yoshi, and plans changed at the last minute, we went on monday and planned to stay three nights. first we headed to costco, and then we took our time on the drive over. it was actually quite nice, not too much drama in the car for a change. we got to takamori by mid-afternoon and spent time at a playing field next to an onsen (tsuki-something, sorry i can't remember the name of the onsen!) we (that is, the kids) ran around a lot, patted a few goats, went down the slide and terrorized the swing set. then we went for an onsen, and after that we had dinner at a small restaurant. maybe because we were so hungry, but the udon and teishoku sets were really great!

then we headed to victoria's house for a lovely golden week holiday. there were five families this year (we were the only ones who stayed on monday night.) there was also a couch-surfing couple from canada (originally from france) who did most of the cooking. as one of them was a cook, the food was especially fabulous! the kids had a great time, as usual, playing with all the other children. there were a few injuries, especially among the children, but nothing too serious (though perhaps rachel's oldest had a rough time of it!)

the drive back wasn't quite as nice as the drive to miyazaki, but we eventually made it home! for whatever reason (i'm a little unclear on the whole thing), the toll roads aren't going to be discounted for very much longer and i'm not sure if we'll be able to go next year. i'm really glad that we had so much fun this year!