Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday to Ethan!!

I have a 3 year old--I can't believe it!! Last week Ethan turned 3 and had a great birthday. He has been so excited for his birthday and to open all of his presents. It was funny on his birthday he kept walking around saying, "It's Ethan's birthday, I get to 00open presents" or he would sing "Happy birthday to Ethan!" It was very cute! We spent the morning webcamming with both sets of grandparents and he got to open their gifts while they watched. Then we went out to eat at the Officer's Club here on base for lunch--very good food and finished up the day with his birthday dinner and opening the rest of his presents.

Eric and I feel so lucky that Ethan is a part of our family. He is such a wonderful child (most of the time) and is such a great big brother to Kailey. He and Kailey love each other so much and Ethan is always so good to watch out for Kailey and I know he is going to be such a great big brother to our new baby. I have to admit, I have so much fun with Ethan--he is such a great helper around the house, I love listening to what he has to tell me, he is such a funny kid...I could go on and on. What it boils down to, is that I am probably the luckiest mom because I have two of the greatest kids ever!! Happy Birthday Ethan--hope this year is great!!!

Ethan blowing out candles on his dirt cake!

Kailey obviously enjoyed her cake--I think more got on her face than in her mouth!

Ethan playing with "Chuck the Truck" - one of his new toys!

Kailey and her crazy morning hair playing on Ethan's new plasma car--by the way, it is awesome--Eric and I have fun riding on it!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Japan's Next Top Child Model

Ethan had his first modeling gig this week and ROCKED it!! He is like a professional and I was just so proud of him. I don't know if you have ever heard of Combi, but they are a company that makes baby everything--clothes, strollers, etc. Anyways, he modeled summer clothes for their summer catalog that is coming out--so in a couple of months I will post his PROFESSIONAL photos--as I watched them take pictures, he had a lot of really good ones.
Anyways, so Ethan and I had to be up in Tokyo Thursday and Friday for a couple of hours. Thursday we got to the studio at 10:30, where there were also 4 other little boys there to get pictures. They changed Ethan into his first outfit, did his hair and we started taking pictures. The bulk of the time we were there he took pictures with one other little boy, but later in the day he took pictures with 3 of the other little boys. We were there until about 2:00. I have to admit the time flew by, because as soon as Ethan finished his pictures, we were changing into our next outfit, fixing hair, etc. He would wait about 10 minutes and then it was his turn to do pictures again. Like I said, I was just so proud of him because he did such a great job. A couple of the little boys had a hard time standing still, but Ethan was so good to listen and stood there and made really cute faces--I was just so proud of him!!! Anyways, Ethan really enjoyed himself. The staff at the studio were so good to play with the kids and make them laugh. I really had to do nothing, just help Ethan change into his clothes and then watch him as he took his photos--it was a lot of fun!!

Friday we headed up again for another day of shooting. We got up there at 1:00 and there were 3 little girls there that were finishing up their pictures and a little boy that was there to take pictures also with Ethan. It was kind of interesting talking to all of the moms, because they all had done TONS of modeling with their kids. The one little boy that Ethan modeled with had done 12 Combi catalogs among tons of other jobs. I realized that this modeling thing is like a whole new world--one of the moms was telling me that she does 6-8 jobs a month with her kid--it is crazy! Anyways, Ethan rocked it again and we had a great time. I have to admit I went into the modeling thing a little reluctant, but after watching Ethan I have realized that he is GOOD and the photographers really like him. It will be interesting to see how many jobs we get after this.

I took a couple of pictures at the shoot, but really didn't have time to take more.

What one of his shirts said that he modeled--I thought it was a funny saying--typical Japanese!
He wore a lot of outfits similar to this--the Japanese really like pink--he wore a couple of things that looked like they were for a girl, but on the other hand he had some really cute outfits.
Playing with the staff during a little break--I can't say it enough, but the staff was AWESOME--they were so good to play with the kids. In the background of this picture, you can kind of see the set where they took pictures.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kannonzaki Park and the most awesome slide ever!!

Last week, we took the kids to this AWESOME park by us called Kannonzaki Park. The kids and I have been before, but this time we took Eric with us to experience the fun. All I can say is that playgrounds here are SO much better than they are in the states. The following pictures will depict that. So the above picture is a view from the park. The park is huge and is up on top of a hill. We really haven't explored much of it besides the playground part.

The whole reason to go to the park is this slide. It is a roller slide that is super long. This picture only shows part of the slide. Japanese love roller slides. I have only seen them once in the states, but you go so fast it is almost scary, especially the bigger you are!

Ethan and Eric coming down the slide! The only bad part about the slide is the hike back up to the top. There are two ways to go--up TONS of stairs or up this obstacle course with stairs. We chose the obstacle course obviously!!

My little monkey climbing up the net!

Kailey on the zip line.
***Warning--next picture not suitable for young kids--depicts a pregnant lady on the zip line--SCARY!!!***

I love zip lines, so I had to try. I am embarrassed at how far down the rope is--I guess I have put on a few pounds--I'm blaming it on the baby!!

Another rope course to climb through
There is this fun pirate ship play area with a slide to play on. The kids love it!

This was the highlight of the park. So Japanese have awesome bathrooms with TONS of buttons for everything you can think of (heated seats, wash your bottom off, sounds to mask when you are making sounds, etc.) The kids spent probably ten minutes pushing the buttons to open and close the door. They thought it was so much fun. On the plus side, Ethan does love to go potty when we are out in town because there are so many buttons. However, one of these days I know he will push the bidet button and I will have a stream of water come shooting up at us and we will have to walk out of the bathroom soaked--how embarrassing!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Luxury in Tokyo!!

There is a hotel here called the New Sanno that is in the middle of downtown Tokyo and it is restricted to military personnel or officials. It is so cheap and so nice (think like 4-5 stars) and all I will say is our hotel room cost less than $60--unheard of for such a nice hotel and here in Tokyo if you stay in a hotel it is EXPENSIVE!! Anyways, so the New Sanno is just about the best place on earth. This was our first stay and for sure not our last. We plan on taking trips up there at least every 3-4 months. The nice thing about it, besides being so gorgeous, is that you feel like you are in America and in the lap of luxury. It has a couple of very good restaurants, you are taken care of so nicely and everyone speaks English!! Anyways, so we drove up Monday afternoon and came home Tuesday afternoon. It is kind of sad, but Ethan was ecstatic to stay in a hotel and couldn't stop talking about it. It has now been a week and he is still asking me when we are going back to the hotel. I guess this tells me that he has spent a little too much time in hotels if he loves hotels that much!
Anyways, so we headed down Monday afternoon. Here is a picture of our little diva on the drive (it was a little over an hour)--she refused to take off her sunglasses all day.
This next picture is an example of what it is like to park in Japan. This is the parking lot at the hotel and like most places, all the parking spots are so TINY!! You can't tell too well from the picture, but we had about 3 inches on either side, so we had to jump out the back of the car!!
After eating a wonderful meal at the hotel, we hopped on the train and headed out to see some Christmas lights. We had read about a couple of displays in the base paper and decided to go see them. We will just say that next time we venture out, we need to do more research. So we found the lights and here is a picture:
When we got there, all of these people were waiting in line and there were a bunch sitting in bleachers watching the lights and the weirdest music was playing. As people walked through the line, they stopped at this tree and took pictures as they touched a big seashell.
Here is a picture of the big tree thing and people touching the sea shell. As they touched the shell, you would have thought it was the most important thing ever. ERic and I joked that it seemed like a cult. Anyways, I just can't describe how bizarre the whole thing was. However, Japanese are just bizarre. It was an interesting experience!
The next day we hung around the hotel and went swimming (they have a great indoor pool) and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet. Like I said, we didn't want to leave, we felt like we were in the lap of luxury and can't wait to go back. We already have reservations for May when my parents come--yahoo!!

Christmas Jackpot!!

Christmas this year was low key, but we really enjoyed ourselves. It was our first Christmas away from family, and even though we missed our families, we enjoyed having time to spend just focusing on the kids.
So what is Christmas like in Japan??? Surprisingly, there were tons of decorations and lights out in town. It was also kind of funny because we heard American Christmas music in a lot of restaurants and stores when we were there. I guess it goes to show that Christmas is everywhere!! I did have a little bit of a hard time because it didn't feel like Christmas, despite all the lights. First off, the weather has been very mild (60's), secondly, I missed going to see Santa, going to see huge displays of lights, Christmas shopping in the stores, etc. We ended up doing most of our shopping online.
Christmas Eve we had a lot of fun. We invited over one of our JAG friends who is single. She is from New Mexico and every Christmas Eve they had tamales and posole (authentic Mexican). So that is what we made and it tasted very good. After we put the kids in bed, we stayed up and played games.
Christmas morning, I think I was more excited for the kids to open their presents than they were. Our kids are SOOOOO spoiled. They have great grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins that love them. In fact, the kids got so many presents, that some of the ones we were going to give Ethan we decided to save until his birthday in a couple of weeks.
Here is a little slideshow of Christmas morning and all of the kids loot they scored!! We really had a very nice Christmas and are so blessed!!