Friends and Farewells

We were lucky in August to have a visit from our dear friends Julia and Jon from the US. Their visit flew by, but we were glad to show them St Andrews at its sunny gorgeous best (a rare sight this summer!).  Here we were perched on the famous pier.

It was Edinburgh Fringe Festival time – so we took the train to Edinburgh for the day and dragged them along to an adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale.  It was a total hit with the wee one – and brought a tear to my eye as it was laced with a charming narrative about a girl whose Dad (forces) was away more than at home.  Something that seemed to be the case in our house this year.  [Though I exaggerate wildly here.]

Sure enough though, it seemed that the very next day we were savouring our fleeting memories of our dear friends’ visit whilst trying to quickly slot in some lasting memories of our own Dada before he hopped on the plane for a month in Oz.  Farewell!!

We’re Have I Been All This Time…

Longest break I’ve taken in a while…somehow, at the end of a week at the keyboard, it is kinda hard to make time to pop in here.  Silly me.

Weekends have taken on a new measure of quality family life now that our time all together is really limited to breakfast and dinner/bath/stories/bed.  We ALL look forward to those weekends.  Since I last checked in we have had a few adventures.

April was our Scottish Summer this year I think.  So one weekend we took advantage of the delightful weather and strolled along the Fife Coastal Path

with our new friends Tomandsuzie (not to be confused with Tomandclaire) and our wee tots to the Cocoa Tree in Pittenweem.

Then we made some essential modifications to the chicken coop so that the girls could get up and go to bed without our help (esp helpful now that it is light around 4.30am and dark at 10.45pm)…and so that a helpful undergrad could come in and feed them whilst we made our first UK road trip to visit Tomandclaire in Manchester.  During this balmy weekend we managed an outing to the local RSPB reserve…

…and HeatonPark which had the added bonus of a tiny farm and a playground.

The following weekend was the Royal Wedding – and though none of us are particularly royalist in persuasion…there is something kinda lovely about a wedding…so I managed to make a cuppa and turn on the TV for some of the proceedings – though I did have a lot of interference from the easily distractable male members of the family.  We followed up the festivity with our first BBQ of the season – though the weather was not so great then, and has not really picked up since.  Sigh…

Later on we even managed a spot of garden planting.  As per usual, the little herbies are doing great.  But after an unseasonably warm April, May has been so cold that not much else has survived the transfer to the cold little garden patch .  Apart from the fabulous radishes we harvested this week.

The big news of the month was QPR (the Doctor’s football love) were promoted to the Premier League.  Whilst sport is still really something I do not understand…this was an event worth celebrating – with chocolate cake and bubbles!

And the other big news was the big-boy bed.  We took the sides off the cot…and Kaz has pretty much settled into a rhythm of sleeping in his own little space.  We have to lie down by him now to get to sleep…but that usually happens pretty quickly.  He has fallen out several times, and one night I stepped on him in the dark (oops) and another night he fell over all his toys trying to get out the door in the dark…but slowly we have made adaptations and sleep IS happening.  Now onto potty training…

Our final news is the galvanising into action on the house-hunting front.  We have been out most weekends looking for a permanent home.  A frightening and enlightening process.  We think we have narrowed down the area we would like to live in…and this charming village has caught our eye…

…Kaz has so far loved going to see houses, esp when we come across a playground en route

…but it will probably take us most of the summer to find something we are sure about…so no move imminent yet!

So…a big update.  Sorry it was so long…and I was absent for so long…hope to mitigate that in future.  It all got a bit hectic there for a while.  Happiness to you and thanks to those of you who kept popping in to see how we are doing.  I will try to be back here more often in future!

This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Have a wonderful weekend.

See other wonderful moments at Soule Mama.

Father’s Day Fiesta

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than in the middle of a fiesta of football?  In our house, World Cup year is a major cause for celebration…indeed, all other activities virtually shut down for a month.   I was a little disbelieving in 2006 when Akira declared he would watch all 64 games, but that is indeed his commitment to enjoyment and appreciation of the beautiful game.

And this year, so with many teams to support between us by virtue of our multiple citizenships (Japan, England, USA, New Zealand) there has been something of interest for all.

Father’s Day began then, with French Toast, berries and Maple Syrup (a hit with the wee guy, who thought it was cake!) while we watched Slovakia v Paraguay.  I set off for Kaufmann Park to satisfy Kazuo’s playground fixation at 8.30am with instructions for Akira to stop anyone scoring any goals until I came home.  He called as we were walking back to apologise for not being able to stop the goal…and I said (convinced that NZ would have been subject to a bit of a battering against world champs, Italy) ‘Not to worry, it was to be expected…’  So it was a tense hour or so at our house while we watched the astounding All Whites more than hold their own defensively and emerge with a draw.  A great start to the day.

Here is Kaz, somewhat oblivious to the tension bulding around him:

And then dances of jubilation after the game:

During  naptime, Father went and stood in a fiercely hot queue at Pappy’s Smokehouse to get himself a Father’s Day Fix of Memphis-style BBQ Ribs – another hit with the wee guy who was ravenous after his nap and chomped down on the melt-in-the mouth pork.  (I think the sauce was the real attraction!)

And we rounded off the day at Heman Park pool for a swim with Luca and his folks…and then a picnic in the steamy heat (did I mention it is HOT here – record temps for June, soaring into the 100’s for a few days now, poor aircon unit!) at Shaw Park.  It was warm enough for Kazuo to finally discover that he liked the pool after all.  No photos of this outing, since it was all hands on deck to avoid the tears of the previous trip – but a good time was had by all.

Fathers are indeed critical family members.  I miss mine deeply…and am so grateful that Kazuo has the luxury of a wise, thoughtful, hands-on, silly, lively, adventurous, resourceful, kind, active, responsible, emotive, exuberant, talented…(I would love to go on…I am sure you are getting a picture here)…Father who loves him dearly and who deserved every bit of joy that came his way yesterday…and then some!

This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Check out SouleMama for the inspiration.