Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Evelyn got a new violin for Christmas (ok - an old violin, but it has character and supposedly sounds better than a new one).  I found a great Suzuki 1/4 length with case and bow on Ebay that Santa was able to bring to her.  She has been great at practicing thoughout the week and impresses me each time she has a lesson!  We were so lucky to have a friend recommend the teacher she has now.  Miss Rina is Japanese but speaks good enough Engrish to get by.  And she is GREAT with kids!  And her resume???  Let me list a few things:

Attended Berkley College of Music
35 years of classical experience
Member of Japan Philharmonic
Member of Yomiuri Symphony
5 years with the Tokyo Enseble Academia
Guest soloist in Scotland's Speyfest Church and Robert Burn's grave in Scotland
Regular member of Slip Jig, Celtic Ensemble

Here is a picture of Evie with Miss Rina (who is due this week with her FIFTH child).  I am so happy she gets such an awesome musical experience (along with her amazing piano teacher Ms Brooke who started her foundation for music and has helped her want to learn more instruments!)  After only about a month of lessons, Evelyn is learning Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Catching up

(our family photos from Kate Chapman Photography)
I always seem to go full-steam ahead with my November thankful posts and then totally stop!  Life gets so busy around Dec and I spend a whole month after it trying to catch up on things.  So, here is a little synopsis of what has happened since I last posted:

Late Nov:
I went back and re-read my last post about Skype.  What I couldn't write back then (but am allowed to now since it is no longer classified as top secret) is that Patrick was actually on a medical mission trip to Cambodia to support the President of the United States!  It was a quick trip that I wasn't allowed to know much about until after he returned, but it is still so stinking cool to think that MY HUSBAND was chosen to be the orthopedic surgeon for the Prez.  OK...he really only would have worked on him if sh*t hit the fan...but still.  He was there.  As a physician.  For the President of the United States of America.  He luckily wasn't needed, but he still received a cool certificate and other memorabilia.  I am totally framing it for him (for when he 'retires' from the military next year) so he can put it in his office!  No pictures (well, some of Patrick golfing and some in front of the Embassy) to post :-(
(Patrick's certificate)

Early Dec:
After Patrick returned from Cambodia, he went on a trip to Guam with his medical team for some training.  It was a nice little get-a-way for him while I held down fort with 2 sick kids.  Luckily, the got better pretty quickly!  We finished out the football and cheerleading season, had a girl scout meeting with Santa, Evelyn's school festival, and then the day after Patrick returned from Guam, we headed to Hakuba again (same place as last year) for another awesome ski vacation.  We got the same chalet and our friends stayed in the adjoining one.  We had a super warm day of skiing and a super cold day of skiing...but loved every second of it.  The kids are getting so much better and Gavin was able to ski down by himself!  We got back the weekend before Christmas and enjoyed a nice quiet Christmas day by ourselves.  We skyped with all of our families and took 5 hours to open presents!  On Christmas night we celebrated with desserts with friends.  The day after Christmas, I had gall bladder surgery - so the days after that were kind of a blur.  Luckily Patrick was home and took amazing care of me (and the kids).  The kids had so many new toys and games so they were very well behaved.
(Evelyn's school Christmas performance)
(My littlest ski bunny),,,hot day - notice the unzipped jacket!
(At the bottom of the hill after their solo skiing)...cold day - notice the face warmers and layers
(Seibu-en Amusement Illuminations Light Show)
(My favorite Christmas morning shot)
We started off on a bad foot, with me still recovering (also from the BCC mole removal) and Gavin getting the flu.  6 days of fever, vomiting, etc...poor kid.  Again, I was so happy Patrick was home to help!  We eventually both got better and started our routines once again.  Kids back in school, Patrick at work and me back to meetings for the YOSC and teaching English.  Oh, and don't forget about GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SALES!  Towards the end of the month, Evie got the stomach bug and passed it to Patrick...so hopefully we ALL got the sick out of our system for the year and will be healthy for the rest of 2013!!!
(My big scar on my back)
(Some of the cutest Daisies in the world!!!)

We are preparing for Patrick to head back to the states for a few weeks to interview for fellowships.  He has decided to specialize in foot and ankle orthopedic surgery.  He will be doing back-to-back-to-back (etc) interviews to optimize his time home.  He will get a few days to catch up with family and friends, but not many!  He is very nervous for this next step but super excited!!!  Some of the places are in PA, DC, AL, OH and MI.  So beyond the transcontinental flight from Tokyo to Philly, he has about 6 flights in between.  Please pray for his safety and that he will find the right fellowship for us.  The kids and I have some fun things planned while he is away (including sledding on Mt Fuji!) and we will just be busy with our normal routines.  
(The amazing sunsets with Fuji in the background)
(Lots of golf time with Daddy while mommy recovered)

 Some of Evelyn's first notes trying out her new violin!

We are super excited to be planning our last year and a half here!  My sister is coming for 2.5 weeks in April, Patrick's parents will be out for some time in May (we will visit Kyoto and Hiroshima with them), we might go on an adult-only vacation to Malaysia and Borneo in June, our friend Denny is coming for 2 weeks in July....we LOVE our adventures and sharing them!!!!