Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A great trip to America!

Thanks for all who made our trip to America an enjoyable experience--those who prayed for us, cooked for us, talked with us, spent time with us, played with us, loaned us cars, toys, etc., and much, much more! The flight over went very well with Tomoki sleeping about 5 hours into the flight as was his normal bedtime--hallelujah! The flight time on the way back was all daytime, so that was a bit of a challenge, but we survived! We definitely learned some things about jet lag and children--it is unpredictable! The first three nights we had midnight parties for about 3 hours, but after that things went a bit better--thankfully! We spent the first two nights at my aunt's home in Elgin--they picked us up at the airport and treated us royally! Thanks again, Gassers! At first Tomoki was very friendly with his cousins and those he met, but as we met new people each day, he became more and more reserved and clung to mama. Next time, we need to not try to see so many people, I guess. As always, it was good to go, but it was good to come home too. I guess I am too much of a routine person, but also, there is that peace of being where you know God wants you to be. We are thankful to come back refreshed in soul and spirit.

I should have taken more pictures, but here's a few of those I did take....not in order...
Tomoki was overwhelmed by all the fun things at the Schick's--baby kittens, a "ta-to" (tractor), a skidsteer, lots of implement toys, etc.
Had a picnic with the Fritz family in Martha's backyard.
On Father's Day, my dear family had organized a Chuck and Miriam Sauder Kayak Reunion out at John and Misty's place. They arranged for canoes/kayaks for the whole clan and we floated down their creek. Though I am nervous on the water, it was fun and I am glad we did it. Here is the whole gang in the shirts they had made for us! We had a boat themed supper, decorations, a rubber ducky release with prizes that reminded us of our folks. Thanks for making it special!
Tomoki cautiously enjoyed his experience!

Tomoki loved all the tractors--even push lawnmowers were fun for him. Logan came and mowed our yard and Tomoki thought it was great. He was scared, though, of the garage door. I didn't realize how different our life in Japan is until I came to America--rarely a garage or a lawnmower--let alone a tractor!

We visited Mom and Dad's grave on a beautiful Friday evening. It was so peaceful and Tomoki loved the horses in the field next to the cemetery. It passed one year since Dad's death and I just finished listening to his funeral again today. So thankful that he ate "broccoli and carrots" and we could enjoy as many days with him as we could. I didn't know what it would be like to go home this time without both Mom and Dad, but somehow as we walked into our little house on Harris Street (we rent it out to two bachelors while we are in Japan and kick them out when we come home :) ) it felt like coming home--seeing all the repairs that Mom and Dad had done with us on that home. It was an unexpected blessing! Everywhere there are little hints of their presence and their love--and that warms my heart.

We spent a few afternoons out at Jim and Rachel's pool. Here he is with Luke--cute!

We enjoyed the Tremont Turkey Festival which happened to be the first weekend we were home. Papa took Tomoki on the merry go round, but that was kinda torturous--every time around he would cry, "Mama!" He survived, though, and thoroughly enjoyed the train and the big slide.

We enjoyed running through the sprinkler at the Gassers!
There were many highlights for me, but I think the best was being able to sit in church on Wednesday night and hear God's Word and sing hymns of praise in English. About a month before we came, I just had this longing to go to Tremont's Wednesday night church and soak in the peaceful feeling of worshiping with so many fellow believers and loved ones. Bless Akihiro for keeping Tomoki so I could experience this. I know that God can be worshiped anywhere--and perhaps most importantly in our hearts and our quiet time with Him each day--but there is something that words can't quite describe about a quiet evening worship service.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Heading to Tremont!

We are looking forward to our travels to the US the next two weeks! It will be one year since Tomoki and I have been back--we were last there for Dad's homegoing. Check out the next several posts--I am finally caught up!

Japanese dress-up

At the small village we visited, they dressed some of us up!

Tomoki and Maria playing peek-a-boo

Tomoki loves the "shovel car"!

Recently there was house demolished in our neighborhood. Tomoki woke up saying "uush, uush" and fell asleep that way. I didn't get a whole lot done around home for going to watch it! Other times I think "diggers" make divine appearances--like when we were up north and had a business meeting and Grandma Ito could take Tomoki to see the digger across the street!

Travels with Dale, Meg, and Maria

We had a great time with Dale, Meg, and Maria--my cousins from Illinois. The following pictures are in no specific order at all! I haven't mastered order of pictures on Blogger :(
Here we are in Hakodate--a city on the north island of Hokkaido. The night lights are supposed to be the third best in the world.
Going for a cruise on Grandpa Ito's boat.
Needless to say, we need to get some smaller life jackets!
My Japanese mom and her sister dressed up Meg in kimono!

Maria was so friendly to Tomoki--here we are in the airport getting ready to fly to Hokkaido.

We visited Nenba, a village that was recreated. They dressed up Dale and Meg--and Tomoki and Maria--as you will later see--in traditional dress. Not Mt. Fuji in the back.

We climbed part of Mt. Fuji--from 5th to 6.3? step.

More of Spring

We were blessed to have an elderly friend from our church stay with us on her way to and from her daughter's home in Kyushu. Tomoki loved Iwama-san!He also loved Marie Inoue reading books to him. His eye is all puffy because he got a bug bite on his eyelid--yikes!
We are babysitting a friend's children twice a month. Isn't this little guy just precious! Their mommy is American and daddy is Japanese.
Here's Akihiro reading to the older siblings.
Cleaning out the tadpole/frog box and playing with the frogs!

We got some tadpoles at the pond in a local park and enjoyed watching them turn into frogs. Too bad one escaped one night and is on the loose in our house!The daikon radishes that didn't get big enough or good enough to eat turned into beautiful white and yellow blooms--with the yellow Chinese cabbage blooms in the back.
Tomoki is all boy--loves to use Papa's screwdriver!

Here's a better picture of my tulips!