Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter, 2014!!

Our Easter festivities began Saturday morning with an egg hunt....or, in reality, a mad-dash-for-far-too-few-eggs-for-this-many-kids hunt.  :)

We made it to the baseball field just in time for Garytt's age bracket.  Kris and Boy ran out onto the field and Boy was able to nab quite a few eggs!

On your mark...

Ten minutes later, Mackenzie's age group went for it.  There were SO many kids in this group.  The rules for the hunting were:  1.  you can only go once.  2.  you can only go in your age group or an age group above yours.
So, I guess a bunch of little kids went in with their older siblings, who all happened to be 7-8 years old.  I heard several moms complaining that their kids (who looked 4) didn't get any eggs....what did you expect when they had to race 8 year-olds out to get eggs?
Mackenzie got in line and the announcer told parents to get back against the fence.  So, I scooted back to the fence and took pictures of Princess waiting for the horn to blast. The announcer then said that there would be two blasts-one for the kids and then one for the parents to go out and take pics.  So, the first horn blasted and I was trying to get shots while waiting for the next blast.  Just as the second blast went off, I looked down the fence and I was the only parent still standing at the fence!  So, I didn't get any pictures of Mackenzie actually getting eggs.  All those non-rule-abiding parents blocked my way.  And, I've seen way too many pushing fights on this base between parents who felt their kids were wronged that I wasn't about to shove people out of the way to get a good shot.  

Once we got back to the house we checked out the loot.  Garytt got all candy & one little alien.  Mackenzie got all animals & aliens.  So, they traded for what they wanted out of the other kid's pile.    (Pictures are awful...forgot to change the setting on the camera.)

 Later that night we dyed our eggs.  I had a parent-fail here...forgot to make sure we actually had food coloring.  Luckily, there was blue, green, and yellow.  I also found the gel food coloring and it could also be used for egg dying.  So, we were able to make six different colors (that's as many coffee mugs as I had anyway.)

Minion Eggs

Once the eggs were done the kids planted their jelly beans in hopes that they would grow into lollipops overnight.

The finished eggs:  


The next morning I got up at 0330 to be at the Chapel by 0400.  I then got on a bus and headed to the USS George Washington for the Sunrise/Sonrise Service.  It was a really good sermon, although, quite chilly...49 degrees with about a 15 mph wind.  Brrr.  Unfortunately, it was a very cloudy morning, so instead of watching a nice sunrise off the deck of the ship, we experienced a gradual greying of the Earth.  
View from my seat, looking up at the 73 with the sun just starting to light up the sky behind the ship.

 We were able to walk around a bit and snap a few pictures before we headed back to the Chapel at 0600.

I decided to skip the coffee and donuts at the Chapel because I didn't want to miss the kids getting up and looking for the eggs.  Well, the kids didn't even get up until about 0750.  I could have had a dozen donuts and a whole pot of coffee (which I desperately needed after only about 4 hours of sleep)

The kids' loot from the Easter Bunny.  He was a smart guy for getting things they could use to entertain themselves on the long flight home next week!

The lollipops grew!!

I didn't fix a huge meal...just ham, mac and cheese, green beans and asparagus, and bread.  Then, for dessert we had Grandma's favorite...Pavlova!  YUM!!!

 From our family to yours, HAPPY EASTER!!!!

"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."  Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ogusuyama Hike with the Fam

Daddy has the day off....what's on the agenda??  HIKING!!!  

My plan:  Walk to the JR station, ride to Kinugasa St, walk to Iris Garden to (hopefully) see the wisteria that should be blooming any day now, hike up Ogusuyama.  If there was time I wanted to spend some time at Kinugasayama Park.  What actually happened....

Well, first things get from the house to the train station.  Since Daddy had off today, we were able to ride from the house to the 12 hour lot just inside Main Gate.  We were walking out of the gate at around 0930.  We then walked the 3/4 mile or so to Yokosuka JR Station.  Here is where we had our FIRST casualty...yes, I said first...The kids got to the top of the stairs in front of the Daiei and, like always, they took off running down the bike ramp.  And, like always, we said, "Don't run because when you fall it will hurt."  Well, Mackenzie took a dive.  And, when I say 'dive', I mean, as she was running down the ramp she fell to her hands and knees and then slide at least six inches.  She jumped right back up and ran the rest of the way down.  Once at the bottom of the ramp she immediately found a spot to sit down and then the pain hit.  She cried a bit and her legs shook with the pain.  It only lasted a couple minutes and then tough girl was up and walking again...holding Daddy's hand now for emotional support.  When we got to the station we waited about ten minutes for the train to Kinugasa Station.

We left Kinugasa St. and took off toward the Iris Garden.  We walked through a little shopping area and then by a hospital and then through lots of streets filled with interesting Japanese homes.  Here is where casualty number two happened...Mackenzie fell again!  This time there was blood.  So, we sat down and I started digging for the Bandaids I usually have in my bag.  I guess we have used them all up.  Well, fortunately, a Japanese man passing by in his work truck stopped to ask us something, couldn't understand what he was saying (probably something like, "what the heck are you Americans doing sitting on the front step of my neighbor's house?!")  When we showed him the pitiful teary-eyed girl on the step he made such a sad face.  Then, he pulled a box of Bandaids out of his glovebox.  :)  He saved the day!  Mackenzie said, "Arigatoo goziamas".  He said a few more things, waved and then drove on.  

The Wisteria should be blooming on the wood frames in the background.  I'm pretty sure that tree on the edge of the pond is a weeping cherry tree.  
Finally, we made it to the garden around 1030.  We stopped to look at the little pond and a couple ducks that were swimming around the lily pads.  I could see from here that the Wisteria wasn't blooming yet, so we decided not to pay for entrance.  Instead, we headed back a few steps toward the sign for the Ogusuyama Trail. 
                   A little ways up the trail and we were able to see where all the Wisteria should be.  
It was just down the road from here that Kris said, "Is this trail ever going to change from concrete to an actual dirt hiking trail?"  After walking up a hill, around a turn, beside a stinky garden, and then under a roadway, we made it to the actual trailhead.  Yay!  And, the fun begins...
There were a few neat bridges at the beginning of the trail. 

 And a lot of pretty, green Japanese Maples.

Of course, there was an abundance of bamboo.  We aren't quite sure why the bamboo was knocked down in so many places.  Maybe typhoon damage, maybe mudslide aftermaths, or, as Garytt now thinks, Godzilla left a major swath of destruction from Kurihama up Ogusuyama!

 After the nice gradual incline and the cool bridges, we then came upon what would be Garytt's bane of the day....
Garytt called this "The Dangerous Bridge".  He held Daddy's hand the first time over.  The second time he walked slowly with his arms spread out to each side and said he would be very careful.

The first set of steps...

 They were quite steep in some areas.  And, some of the steps took a really big stretch for the little legs in our group to make it.  Sometimes we stepped to the side and took the smooth incline.  Sometimes there was just imprints left in the mud for us to step into.

Mackenzie was our star hiker for the day.  After her first two falls she finally found her footing and was at the lead for the whole trip up the mountain.  She didn't complain about anything hurting or how long it was taking us.  She just kept on climbing like a pro!  Proud of that girl!

The mountain evened out for a bit as we walked by a pretty amazing golf course.  One of the golfers asked us (I think) if we were climbing to the top of Ogusuyama.  She cheered us on!  Well, she was probably cheering on the little legs that were dominating that hike.

We walked under netting as we went around the golf course.  Then, poor Garytt, MORE STAIRS!  These stairs were steep enough that there was a rope tied between trees for hikers to pull themselves up on.  Kris demonstrated for the kids, who thought that was pretty funny.

As we got a little past the halfway point of this set of stars, we could finally see the top!!!

Shew!  It's now around 1230 and, we made it!!  All 3.6 -ish miles of it!  Up to an astounding altitude of 794 feet!  Ha ha.  It gave us a nice view of the Miura Penninsula and the surrounding area.

Ogusuyama is the highest peak on the peninsula.  We sat down on a bench and had lunch.  Plain PB sammies for G and Kenz.  Turkey and cheese for me and the Hubs.  I didn't get a shot of the observation tower, but as soon as we were done eating we climbed more stairs.

Back center is our home...Yokosuka Naval Base.

Here's a look down the peninsula coast.

 A look toward Enoshima.  Mt Fuji is hiding in the clouds to the back right of the picture.

After a little rest and some snacks we packed it back in and headed back down the mountain.  Of course, it didn't take nearly as long to get down the mountain.

These flowers were all along the path up the mountain.  They are so pretty and feel silky smooth.

Kris directed us on the way back to Kinugasa St.  He found a faster way.  While he and the kids explored a little bamboo spot I ventured into Daiko-ji Temple.  I can't find any information on this temple on the internet.  It was very quiet back here and the grounds were pristine.

This building is beautiful!  But, the kids were ready to be home, so I could only take a few shots and then walk on down the road.

 Ok...a little story here...So, Garytt climbed up those three stairs.  Then, he stepped out on the slant to slide on down.  Well, it didn't work as he planned...his right foot went out first, then when he picked up his left foot his right foot went flying down the slope like he had a roller-skate on.  His little booty crashed into the little ditch at the bottom pretty hard.  I don't think he shed any tears, but it did hurt him.  Now, he was definitely ready to get on the train and head home.

So, we walked back through the neighborhoods, no more casualties!  And, Boy only had to be carried for a little with Daddy and then a little with Mommy.

 We walked back through the markets and into the train station.  We were home by 1600.  Both very dirty kids immediately took baths then rested in front of the t.v. until dinner.  I'm guessing that after the 9+  miles we walked today this Havens family will sleep soundly!

Here is a map of our route to and then up Ogusuyama.