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So… we are just coming out of “summer vacation mode”, and reflecting on the many things we did during the past couple of months. This post is kind of a smattering of pictures more than anything else, of going to the zoo, the beach, blueberry picking, visiting friends where we had a Japanese style BBQ, having friends over, and getting the kids teeth and eyes checked.  I will add a few notes amid the pictures. 🙂

This is at our friend’s house, having a Japanese-style BBQ. They live 2+ hours away, and to get there you have to take the “Tokyo Bay Aqua Line”  – one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world, at about 6 miles long. Very cool. If you want to know more about that or see pictures, here is a link:

A lot of the doorways are rather short!! (It’s not that Dominique has actually grown THAT much!!)

Japanese style yards are very different from what we could think of doing for our American yards! Very artistic, eh?

While we were visiting these friends, we walked down to their neighbor’s house. He is over 80 years old, and is a master at creating bonsai trees. He taught us so much about these trees! He has soooo many of them in his large yard, over 100, I’m sure. One of the things that I was really fascinated to learn is that one of these must be at least 100 years old to be considered a bonsai! They are bought at that age for between $1,000~$2,000, and as they age and are cultivated, they increase in value. He was offered about $30,000 for one of his, but he refused to sell! They are all too special to him…..  This little sweetheart lives across the street from us. These dresses were once Olivia’s and Annaliese’s (Thank you, Grandma Carol!), but now they’ve moved down the line. 🙂 After these two shots from church, you can see another picture of her eating breakfast at our house. That is because we had the privilege of keeping her overnight while her parents went to the hospital to have her new little brother! 

Next, pictures of the beach. We live just about an hour from the closest one, so very doable. Lots of fun! Look who got a haircut!

And, blueberry picking! Who knew that, in such an urban area as the one we live in, we would be so close to a you-pick blueberry garden?? It was a pleasant surprise. The berries were extremely plentiful and very sweet, but we did have one unpleasant surprise: the price!! They were approximately $10 per pound… which adds up REAL quick! After about 40 minutes, I had to forbid the kids from picking any more, or I wouldn’t have been able to pay for them!! Japanese women are very much more sun-conscious than Americans, and for SURE than Brazilians! Notice the hat, the long pants and sleeves, and the glove/sleeves as well. This is all very common to see in the summertime…
This is a friend that we met through our Friday night English times. He came over several times during summer vacation, and on his birthday, we went to the zoo with him and his dad.  Above, Dominique and a friend ‘playing’ make-up. Dominique is an aspiring make-up artist…
Below, health checks. Olivia seems to have trouble seeing with one of her eyes, but thankfully, since the other eye is fine and we use both to see, she won’t need to have glasses for now. And they all behaved beautifully for their dental checks! The dentist and his assistant were impressed. Makes a mama smile. 🙂
I love these moments (above), when the kids are just getting along beautifully and loving on each other! Gotta enjoy them when you can! And photograph them to look at in the less lovely moments. Smile.

Below, our neighbor down the street turned 77 and we helped her celebrate! She lost her husband a few months ago, so we have been trying to keep her company. She has been coming to church on Sundays most weeks as well!