Tuesday, September 1, 2015

LeSueur Family Vacation 2015 {Water Day}

For our LeSueur Family Vacation this summer we went to Denver and stayed with John's parents. Amanda and Stephanie, John's sisters, did an amazing job of planning lots of fun activities for everyone including a giant water slide in the backyard! Here are a few snapshots from the day. Most of them were taken on the Fuji x100t because I wanted to test out some of its film simulations.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Somewhere past Cedar Fort

We took a long drive on the 4th of July. The incoming storm provided a lovely ominous atmosphere. There was also a pond full of goldfish.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Little Cottonwood Hike with the Nashes

We took a short hike with the Nashes up Little Cottonwood Canyon during the week of the 4th. The boys were so cute and insisted on hiking themselves all the way in, but got a little tired on the way out. We dipped our feet in the river, enjoyed feeling the crunch of dry pine needles under our feet, and tried to pretend that no one was there but ourselves. Vaughn always invites us to eat something with him at the end of our hangouts, even though he's only 3.  It's usually ice cream. We drove back to the Nash house and picked up some good street tacos from Tacos el Pariente and had some ice cream bars afterwards. Thanks Vaughn!

Always the unwilling muse.

John vs. John shoot out.

Oh those little feet kill me!

Sushi with JP

After coming back from Japan, John and I both got sick for about a week. Warm weather colds are the worst! Turns out we both had sinus infections and needed some antibiotics to clear things up. After that I was only at home every other week for the rest of the summer. It was fun and a little crazy and I left my bag packed and sitting in my bedroom for all of July. In between trips I was able to spend some solid time with friends that I usually only hang out with sporadically during the school year. A lot of the catching up was done over food!

JP took me out for a belated birthday celebration early in July. We had intended to go to a Filipino place but it was closed when we arrived. Instead JP introduced me to a candy and soda fountain store called Pops and Sweets where JP treated me to some cheesecake Kit Kats and chocolate banana Pocky from the Japanese candy section. JP had her first taste of Ramune and I got to show her how to use the plunger to get the marble out. After gathering a sufficient amount of sugar we many delicious nigiri and sushi rolls for lunch.

Gabriel and Jen.

This jewelry box was handmade with palm fronds by JP's Marshallese friend.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Photo Update

We finally updated our photography website with current pictures and pricing. It only took about 3 years . . . this was from a session was with the Schwitzer family and is still one of my favorites!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Japan Day 10: Leaving

Our last day in Japan was spent traveling from Kyoto to Tokyo and then spending the rest of our yen in the city. After we got back from Kurama we stayed at the Hyatt Regency. It was a really posh, but we decided we still liked our Japanese hotel in Tokyo the best. I did like that it had a Japanese shower and bath done up in a modern style.

The pretty ceilings at the Hyatt Regency.

The hotel gave us a $30 voucher for their restaurants that John decided use all on French pastries from their in-house bakery, even though he had gotten sick of them several days before back in Tokyo.

I went did a quick shopping stop before we left Kyoto. I had no idea what these tissues in the dressing rooms were supposed to be used for until I went to this department store where they were finally marked.

Apparently you use them to cover your face so you don't get make-up on the clothes. I doubt I'm wearing  it correctly here.

I miss the many vending machines in Japan with their great variety of drinks. I've been trying to find this flavor of Schweppes in the States but haven't had any luck.

John eating more pastries.

Waiting at Kyoto Station.

The last bullet train ride into Tokyo.

Once we arrived in Tokyo we stored our luggage in a locker at Shinjuku Station (thanks for the tip Rick!) and picked up some items we had left at our first hotel. We also visited Tokyu Hands again and purchased some gachapon for souvenirs at the Keio department store. Our flight wasn't until midnight so we got a little tired without having a home base to rest our legs. 

Overall, we loved Japan! There are so many unique and beautiful things so see, experience, and eat that we felt like we barely scratched the surface. 

For anyone interested. Here is a rough outline of our itinerary below. We didn't get to the all of the things on it which is why we'll just have to go back!

Japan Day 9: Nara & Tōdai-ji

I realized I got stuck not finishing our Japan posts because there were just so many pictures of deer that I couldn't sift through them all! Our last full day in Japan was spent in Nara which is about an hour away from Kyoto. We went to visit Tōdai-ji, a Buddhist temple complex, and feed the many tame (and supposedly sacred) deer that live on the grounds. Being an animal lover you can imagine my glee at this particular temple and why I got a little trigger happy with my shutter!

Vendors around Tōdai-ji sell special crackers that you can feed the deer. The deer have been trained to recognize the sound of breaking crackers and will surround you once you they hear it. 

All the many things the deer can do to you! Apparently they pick on the small and elderly. You gotta show them who's alpha! 

There were tons and tons of Japanese school children at Tōdai-ji that day! A lot of them went up to John to practice their English. I was surprised that they didn't come and talk to me and then realized it's because I didn't look foreign.

Feeding the deer by mouth! Haha!

One of the cracker vendors taught us that if you put your palm out and down that it will signal the deer to stop and go away. It worked for the most part. You can also make the deer bow to you by holding the cracker above their heads. Yes, the deer in Japan are so polite that they bow to you! It kind of makes you feel awesome.

This kind of summarizes Tōdai-ji: deer and tons of Japanese school children. And no, the kids are not flipping me off, even though it totally looks like it!

Lest you think all the deer were Bambi-like, here is some evidence of their fiesty-ness. This stinker is actually the same deer in the picture where I'm feeding it under the huge tree. 
Something we noticed was that the Japanese kids (and some adults) didn't really know how to interact with animals.  When the deer were persistent they would run away screaming and some of the kids even started crying. This video portrays the intense deer fear perfectly! It was kind of funny. We learned that we had to put the deer in their place and if they pushed, we pushed back, gently of course.