Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nicholas Update - Evolution Soccer and KG Concert

The boys have been enjoying soccer so much this year that we signed them up for year round soccer at Evolution.  Unfortunately Jaden's age group was full, so it's only Nicholas for now. 

I was so very proud of Nicholas on his first day in his new soccer group.  He used to be so shy and timid, but his KG teacher has done an AMAZING job at building his confidence this year!  Nicholas walked right into this group of boys where he didn't know anyone with his head held high and jumped right in to the practice.  He did great!!!  He may not be the most aggressive little boy, but he has great foot work.  We look forward to his future in soccer!
Nicholas' new soccer group at Evolution
Last weekend, Evolution organized a tournament of sorts.  It was very well organized and a lot of fun for the kids.  Nicholas and his friend Garrett (who joined his class right before the tournament) were on the same team and they finished second overall.  Way to go Nicholas and Garrett!!!
The ridiculous thing about the tournament were the trophies.  Now we can debate the whole "every child gets a trophy" all you like, but not only does every child come home with a trophy at the end of the tournament, but WE HAD TO PROVIDE THE TROPHY!!!!  For the amount of money we pay to be part of this soccer league, I couldn't believe we had to supply our own trophy!!!  What does it even mean to make your own trophy!!!  I could line our shelves with hundreds of trophies if I wanted to make our own!!  Crazy!!! 
Nicholas with his homemade trophy ... a team effort.  Jaden designed it, Nicholas wrapped the boxes with foil and colored it.  I drew the soccer dude on top.  Ken donated the soccer ball to use on top (it's one of his fooz balls).
Not only did Nicholas and Garrett win second place over all, Nicholas also took 3rd place in the trophy competition.  They actually gave medals to the top three trophy winners ... winner of the tournament didn't get anything (except the trophy they made themselves).

Nicholas with his friend Garrett ... second place overall.  Way to go boys!

Nicholas is nearly finished with kindergarten ... only two weeks left!  Yikes!!  His school had the KG year end concert last week, celebrating community helpers.  Nicholas' class were the dentists.  They wore dads white button up shirts at lab coats and wore paper head lamps.  Super cute. 

Nicholas in the front row with the class of dentists

The school video is much better quality than the ones I took.  The link takes you to the school video, the Dentists (Nicholas' class) are the second group after the opening number.  They all did fabulous -- first time on the highschool stage!

ASD Kindergarten "Friendly Neighborhood Helpers"

My videos ...
Proud little Nicholas with his friend Jaydon after the concert

Happy dentist ready to head home
 After the concert, we went out to lunch with friends, came home and Nicholas crashed on the couch.  It was clearly an exciting and exhausting day!
Crashed out on the couch after a long and successful day!

Jaden's update - cubscouts

We came back from an AMAZING week in Japan and I was immediately humbled by my kids.  We do so many things to expose them to things and create experiences for them that they will remember. We literally just took them on this fantastic adventure in Japan and then on our first full day home we had a lazy morning, had friends over, went to a friends house, came home for dinner and when I promised family game night, they got so excited Jaden wanted to set the table with my fine china to celebrate this "epic" day.  They always blow me away with their appreciation for the littlest things in life.  Apparently play dates and game night rank higher than a trip to Japan.  Love my kids!!

Formal china for our chicken and mashed potatoes dinner after an "epic" day with friends and board games
So this past week, Jaden had his Cub Scouts Graduation.  It was his first year to be involved with scouts and I'm not sure we were very good scout parents.  We missed a lot of the pack events, but Jaden still enjoyed his den meetings and earning the various patches/pins/belt loops/etc.  Here are a few pictures from cub scouts throughout the year:

Beginning of the year when Jaden gets his scarf (do they have official names?) ... yes he had a broken finger

Den meeting at our house ... made skeletons out of paper plates (right before Halloween)

Hanging with friends waiting for Rainwater Regatta to begin
Ready to race ... Jaden had a Minecraft Creeper boat design

Finish line
Short video of one of Jaden's races ... close until the end

Blue and Gold Banquet ... award ceremony

Jaden's favorite den meeting ... game about road safety
 Ken found the pinewood derby race to be quite challenging to prepare for here in Doha.  We don't have any tools and the supplies are impossible to find in country.  So Jaden's car was a simple triangle (think cheese wedge) painted with orange flames.  Then Ken wanted to add some extra weight to help make it go faster so he stuffed weights into a kazoo, carved out a spot on top of the car and stuck a lego guy's head and helmet on top to look like a driver.  I thought it was all pretty clever considering what we had to work with.  This project also taught us it's more of dad's derby than the cub scout's derby.  Jaden wasn't able to help saw (too hard with a hand saw) or carve out the kazoo spot, so he basically just painted it and Ken did the rest.  Based on other entries, Jaden did as much or more than anyone else. 

The Golden Car (no clue why he named it the golden car ... I wanted to call it The Crazy Kazoo)

Race course is ready
Photo finish with Jaden's car in the farther lane from the crowd...

Nicholas' crazy hair ... watching the races after a brief soccer match outside in the heat (he cools himself off by combing his hair up off his scalp)

Final standings ... Jaden came in 5th and his good friends Ben, Jeb, and Skyler took 1st, 2nd, and 4th.  Way to go boys!

Cub scout graduation

Jaden read the opening and closing portion of the ceremony

preparing to read in front of the crowd

receiving his awards

Monday, May 25, 2015

Japan - Yokohama

By day 4 in Japan, the boys were exhausted and wanted a lazy morning.  So we slept in and planned to take the trains into Tokyo ... see a bit of the city, maybe a shrine, and the observation deck of Tokyo Tower.  Instead Ken called to warn me that a typhoon was heading toward Tokyo.  I checked the weather and sure enough it was forecast to hit Tokyo around 3pm that afternoon.  It wasn't a huge typhoon, but I still didn't want to get stuck in the rain with 2 tired boys in Tokyo.  So we decided just to explore Yokohama.  There's plenty to see and do just outside the doors of our hotel.
First stop was the giant ferris wheel!
The boys were so excited about riding this ferris wheel ... it really was huge!!  But what was I thinking taking our boys on a giant ferris wheel in typhoon winds???  Really??  Not my best mom moment!!!  A quarter of the way around and I thought Jaden was going to either start crying or throw up he was in such a state.  Between the sound of the wind blowing through our cart and the rocking movement every time I switched sides to take a picture - he was NOT having it!!!  I started telling silly stories to distract him until the ride was over, but it was a really long ride!!!
picture of our hotel from the ferris wheel

Landmark Tower (tallest tower in Yokohama) on left and Queen's Towers in the middle.  The office where Ken was working was in one of the Queen's Towers.

Yokohama bridge from the ferris wheel. Typhoon was coming from this direction.

Just sat down in the ferris wheel ... still smiling!

After the ferris wheel disaster, we took a break and did some shopping.  Boys were thrilled to find Legos!!  (and almost same price as in US ... not like Qatar where legos are 2-4 times more expensive!)
chosen souvenir - Ninjago lego set and Grape flavored Fanta
The following day was our final day in Japan and we had to check out of our hotel at lunch time and head for the airport around dinner time.  We decided to just stick around Yokohama for another day in hopes that Ken would get out of work early and join us.  The typhoon from yesterday ended up coming though the middle of the night and not much of an issue.  Today was absolutely beautiful weather!!
We started the day at the Cup Noodle Museum (Ramen Noodle Museum).  Boys designed and decorated their cup of noodles.
They turned the crank to get the noodles in the cup
They chose toppings (bacon, cheese, chicken and shrimp)
They watched them cover it and wrap it in plastic wrap
Finally they pumped up the little bag to create an air pillow of protection around your cup of noodles.
Finished product!  Time to tour the museum and learn the history of ramen noodles.
They thought it was cool to be on TV!
Nicholas posing with statue of the founder of Ramen
Would have been a MUCH nicer day to ride the ferris wheel!
Much prettier in clear skies! 

To kill some time while Ken was working, we went for a stroll through Chinatown...

Welcome to China town - narrow streets, vibrant colors, lanterns, street food EVERYWHERE!

It was a bit hot in the sun, but perfect in the shade...

Panda store

Boys in front of Chinese temple

Temple in china town.  Love all the colors.
Our final stop was to go to the observation deck of Landmark Tower.  Ken was supposed to meet up here at 3pm.  Unfortunately  we were standing at 2 different doorways for an entire hour waiting for each other and we never found each other!  :-(  Eventually I gave up waiting and we went to the top to see the view. 

View of Yokohama from Landmark Tower.  That ferris wheel sure looks small from up here!
And I have to include a picture of  a Japanese toilet.  The boys fell in love with them!!  "These toilets are EPIC!!!" were their exact words.  This is a fairly basic model, but I forgot to take a picture of the toilet in our hotel.  The toilets have buttons for evyoerything!  Water spray (for cleaning), bidet, temperature and pressure control of the water sprays, temperature control for the seat, some even have music and various other sounds with volume control.  They really are crazy!  And they are intimidating when they aren't in English!  How do I know if I pressed the button to flush or turned on the water spray if it's only in Japanese??
 We had an uneventful flight home to Doha and jumped right back into our routine after a wonderful 5 days in Japan.  Our flight landed at 4am on a Thursday.  Jaden didn't sleep a wink all night on the plane, but I put him on the bus at 7:15am.  I figured school would keep him awake easier than I could.  Only problem was that Jaden missed 4 days of standardized testing while we were gone and after nearly 36 hours without any sleep, they pulled Jaden aside to start making up his tests.  Poor kid!!! 

It was another fantastic trip to Japan and I sincerely hope it won't be our last.