Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Keeping It Busily Simple

Well, it's been a month since my last post.

We haven't been traveling. We haven't been fighting crime or dealing with a crisis. Nope. We've just been living our normal lives. And those, while pretty much devoid of fancy trips, romantic getaways, or extreme sports, are overall pretty rich. We've been keeping it relatively simple. Busy, but simple.

We begin with a smirking Mimi.
And why is she smirking? Well, her school had a teacher-in-service day so, with the other two in preschool, we decided to take her on a "just Mimi" date. We headed down to Luce in San Francisco. 
Mimi ordered her favorite: butter pasta with Parmesan cheese.
Sadly, her table manners didn't quite match the ambience of the restaurant.
During one weekend in March Sumie had call, so I went into "entertain the kids" mode. That meant a quick bite to eat and a park. We headed over to Super Duper Burger. Eagle-eyed readers might notice my deconstructed burger...but that's another blog.
The burgers there are great. Both Mari and Kuri took down a half burger each, while Mimi chomped through a full one.
But the shakes and fries were the real stars. Mari began by being generous and feeding some to her big sister... 
...but that strategy was quickly reversed. 
After lunch we headed over to a park in the old Hamilton Airfield neighborhood in Novato. Mari and Kuri immediately took control of the helicopter.
Mimi decided to climb on top of the chopper to, I guess, have her legs chopped off.
For the next two hours the kids ran, screamed, fought, and played. I was able to get a few shots in amidst all the commotion.
There's a wonderful walking path near the park that skirts the bay. Despite the wind, we ventured out so the kids could burn off some more energy.
Mari and I eventually caught up to our two runners, who had been taking a break on the bench around the corner.
I love this next picture, but have no clue what my middle child is doing. This happens often.
Kuri had a special performance and space themed art show at his preschool. Here he is dressed up as an astronaut...
...and here's his award-winning planet diorama. 
I've mentioned before that Kuri's preschool is amazing. Here's an example. Over the past month the kids and teachers recycled random scraps to create a massive space ship. They'll be entering it into the Marin County Fair this year. 
The ship is crewed by the students and teachers.
On Easter weekend the cousins came by for a sleepover. Saturday night we had nabe, sashimi, and lots of dessert. On Sunday morning, we raced out the door for an Easter egg hunt at a country club in San Rafael. The kids quickly hit their quota of candy.
We then all went for ramen, which is always a favorite with the kids. Thankfully, there's actually a decent ramen shop in Marin now!
Of course, Sunday being the first of the month, I took the boys out to cars and coffee.
These evenings, if you happen to visit, there's a good chance you'll find Mimi practicing her ukulele. We picked one up about a month ago and she's really taken to it. I'm still amazed at how much more nimble her fingers are compared to her aged father's. 
No, there's not much all that exciting going on in our lives right now, but it's a happy kind of busy. We do our work, go to school, tramp to a million different extra curricular activities, eat dinner together and then, when the day's nearly done, it's time for a book. Simple, but still pretty good.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ski Week Mini Staycation

Last week was our "ski week." A full five days off school for the kids and, with Sumie able to take a few days off early in the week, a chance for the whole family to get out and have some fun. We opted for a staycation this time around. I figured it would be easier for me to fight off the kids at home than in a rental or hotel room.
Even before the ski week hit, we'd been busy. Inspired by the Space-X Heavy Falcon launch, Kuri insisted that I build him his own. Here's our rendition in very, very basic Legos.
 Our Valentine's day was made extra special with a bouquet designed by Kuri.
On the Sunday before ski week, Sumie suprised the kids with chocolate chip muffins and kindly made me some almond flower pancakes. So sweet.
We then headed out for a local park where Mimi and I practiced tennis. By the end of our session, we pulled off an eight hit rally. Huge success (for both of us, honestly).
Of course, Kuri and I got out for the occasional drive.
We watched the Olympics and rooted for Japan...
...and for the US and Korea, complete with flags Mimi made with chopsticks.
 We saved some money making our own pizza...
...and naturally, we did our Japanese homework (there is no ski break for Japanese school).
During our staycation, we attempted to explore some of what the Bay Area has to offer. A trip to the Academy of Science was well received (but so common, we didn't get pictures). We did try something entirely new, though: the Hiller Aviation Museum. Here, Mimi and Kuri got to sit in a Blue Angels cockpit.
All three kids learned how parachutes catch wind using a wind tunnel table...
 ...and learned how to land a 747 at SFO (with a little help from Papa).
The practice was fortuitous as outside the museum, the kids were able to take the yokes of a real 747!
 
Mama and Mari decided to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Later that week, we put our newfound aviation knowledge to use flying our balsa wood planes up at the neighborhood school.
Mimi and Kuri also hit another local park, Memorial Park in San Anselmo, but this time just with Mama. Papa and Mari had decided to take a nap.
Even with all the park visits, there was still plenty of time for snacks. Mimi used a special Japanese kit to make her own waffle treats.
And the sugar intake didn't end there. With the temperature having dropped it was time for an evening fire, and that, at least to the kids, meant marshmallows.
Thankfully, Mimi cleaned up rather well.
Over the weekend I decided to break out my FujiFilm X-A1 camera. I'd never been that happy with it, but decided I'd flash the firmware for the camera body and the lens to see if it would make a difference. It did.
The kids and I had a lot of fun snapping shots in the backyard...
...and, once again, at a park. Mimi had fun pushing her baby sister.
Mari attempted to play in the sandbox, but wasn't that happy with the resulting dirty hands.
She much preferred playing peak-a-boo.
Even Kuri jumped in.
After so much play, Mari needed some re-energizing apple sauce.
That evening, as the temperature dropped once again, we warmed ourselves up with some soup. 
All told, it was a lot of fun. So much we did that wasn't even covered here - a sleep-over and Grandma and Grandpa's, a lunch date alone for me and Sumie. Maybe we'll be better at taking pictures on our next staycation. We'll definitely do it again.