so, i haven't been blogging much lately.  sorry about that.  it's been pretty quiet.  with the kids having alternate days off, i haven't had much time to myself.  i actually enjoyed going to the kindy to help 'translate', which meant i just interpreted for the principal and his wife a couple of times.  the rest of the time i spoke to a (scottish) teacher and the parent chaperones.  the bagpipe performance was excellent!  i'm almost sorry to have missed the performances at global arena (we were in miyazaki at that time).  hiro also went and i think he enjoyed it as well.  of course, his favorite part were the fresh local strawberries that the principal had set out for the visitors!

thursday morning i went to costco by myself, and was happy to find the doors open at 9 am!  there was an awful line even before the doors opened, but i got in fairly quickly and the crowds inside weren't too bad.  i got most of the things on my list and got out by 9:30 (well, through the checkout so i could enjoy a slice of pizza!) and was home by 11 (um, i may have stopped at the starbucks in shingu on my way home.  i *was* going to go to the new IKEA but the parking was TERRIBLE, so i just went for a frapp instead.)

that night i packed up the car with our futons and the non-perishable foods, and our clothes, and let the kids go to sleep on the living room floor.  big mistake as sasha and hiro were awake by 4:30 while i was trying to get everything else organized and into the car.  tommy woke up just before we got in the car, but he went back to sleep rather quickly.  sasha also went to sleep for a while, but hiro and the dog were awake the whole time.  we were pulling out of the driveway at 5:20 and were at victoria's house by 9:30.  not too bad!  the kids played with victoria's daughter while victoria and i went shopping for a few last things.  we brought a few things for lunch as well, and the rest of the guests started showing up while we were finishing up.

dinner the first night was yakiniku/BBQ, so we had to prepare a few dips to go with salad, veggies and tortilla chip.  i made guacamole and soy bean hummus, plus i had brought a jar of salsa.  rachel made a dip with cream cheese, tuna, tomato and green onion, it was great!  i ate so much that first night, and drank so much wine!  i practically had to roll into bed that night, i couldn't move!

saturday dawned far too early, but after some water and some painkillers, i was ready to start breakfast and cooked up a load of bacon.  good thing i 'tested' some whilst cooking, as there wasn't any left by the time i got a plate to serve myself!  there was still plenty of food, no worries.  after breakfast, sasha wanted to go in the river with the other kids, and hiro waffled over going in the river or going with me to the onsen.  in the end he stayed there while tommy and i went with rachel, her mom and erica to the onsen.  before that, we went by the gorge so rachel's mom could have some proper sight-seeing.  by ten a.m., though, it was pretty crowded and we quickly nixed the idea of actually getting out and seeing it for ourselves.  we did drive down and up again, you can get a quick glimpse that way (just tell the parking minders that you are picking someone up at the bottom and are not actually going to park there yourself!)  so then we were on our way to the onsen, which was refreshingly empty, so the kids could be rowdy (we did try to keep their noise to a minimum) and enjoy the lovely baths to ourselves.  then we went to the supermarket to get a few things and then went to a tourist spot to check out before heading back to victoria's house.

sadly, the temple had a funeral to prepare for on sunday, so we didn't have the same experience we usually do.  for one thing, we couldn't sleep in the hondo on saturday night.  we had to keep the noise down as well.  although we could stay as long as we wished on sunday, victoria was going to be pretty busy in the afternoon.  saturday's dinner was in the garden.  we made frozen lasagna for the kids and i made up a pot of green curry for the adults.  i didn't drink as much wine, and was actually in bed before ten.  i slept better than i had the night before (i'll spare you the details!) but was up pretty early this morning.  i took zorro for a walk in the early morning sun, it was quite nice.  then i went back to finish up the dishes from saturday night, and then to help with preparing breakfast.  after breakfast yoshi and i started packing up the car, and we were on the road just after 10!  this worked out really well for us, we didn't run into any traffic at all!  usually the drive home is a nightmare, but it was almost pleasant.

we came home to find the cat still alive, the house musty and everything pretty much intact.  i have started laundry and am now home with the kids while yoshi takes the car to be cleaned.  i'm not sure what we'll have for dinner, but hopefully yoshi will sort that out!  i am ready to take a week long nap!

i didn't take very many pictures this time, i feel like i've already taken them all....