Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ashley's Wedding.

We landed in Salt Lake after about 18 hours of traveling and rushed home to see our kids.  After a quick love from the kids I jumped in the shower and got ready to head down to Lindon to a wedding reception of dear friend.
{Ashley, me, Allison, Sherry Hall}
I met the Hall family {Brother Hall not pictured} in Pacific Palisades, California while serving my mission and today Ashley was married in the Salt Lake Temple.  I was so bummed when I realized a few months ago that I would miss the sealing by a few hours because I was flying.
My companion and I taught Allison and she was baptized while I was serving in Malibu.

October 4, 2003
{can't remember the name of her friend who baptized her, me, Allison, Sister Kuwahara}
In the summer of 2008 Allison was married in the San Diego temple and Gregg and I made a trip down there to support her and the family.
{Ashley, Allison and me}
{Sherry, Dave, Allison, Larry and Ashley}
I have kept in close contact with the Hall family.  In fact a few weeks ago when Gregg and I were in Vegas we met up with Allison and Dave for dessert one night.
Back to tonight!
Ashley got sealed in the SL temple today and I didn't want to miss the reception despite the fact that I was incredibly sleep deprived {still haven't slept since the morning we got up and walked to Tokyo tower}.
Ashley looked beautiful.  I loved her hair so she let me take a picture of it.
Everyone left a finger print with their name by it on a piece of art work as the 'sign-in' I thought it was a cute and creative idea.
The reception was a beautiful sit down dinner - I was flying solo - it didn't seem fair to ask Gregg to join me and to leave the kids after a long international trip.
I didn't think to take a picture of the table scape until AFTER the dinner and dessert bar :/ but you get the idea.  It was so simple and elegant.

This table was full of family, the bride and groom and a lot of friends from the Pacific Palisades ward in California.  It felt like a family reunion/ward party!  I served in that ward for 9 months and have kept in touch with many of the people there.  It was so fun to sit and talk and update since the last time we all saw each other.
The beautiful flowers
{lighting and pictures are kind of bad because it was starting to get dark}
I am so happy for Ashley and for the entire Hall family.  They have come a long way since my companion and I were first invited into their home for a spaghetti dinner 13 years ago {I remember every detail of that dinner}.

If someone would have told me that some day I would sit in the temple with the entire family I wouldn't have believed them!!!  I was like a proud older sister or maybe even a proud mom today :)

Japan {good-bye}.

Luckily we had Lauren to help us purchase and navigate our last train ride.
These maps are crazy!
Here we are waiting for the Narita express train.  We flew out of the Narita airport which is further outside of Tokyo.
Why is saying good-bye so hard?  Probable because we don't know when we will see Nate, Lauren and Tagg again.
Good-bye Tagg!
Oh, so sad.
Tagg started to cry :(
It made me teary eyed.
Our bags could only weight 23 kg ... wow!  I am good!!!  We brought an entire suitcase full of stuff for Nate and Lauren so on the way home we had a suitcase with all our stuff inside and then we put that suitcase inside the empty one.
Pete's got his passport and he is ready to go.
Good-bye Tagg.
Good-bye Japan.
My happy little travel buddy.
Such a beautiful evening.
Pete loves his little blanket almost as much as Bodie loves his.
Unlike the flight over the flight home was packed.  Not a single empty seat.  We were suppose to be on the front row of comfort economy so we could have use of the Delta baby bassinet but for some reason {that no one at Delta could explain} we got bumped to the back of the plane.  It wall worked out fine and Pete was a gem!
He slept for about five hours like this on my lap.
Then he woke up for a little snack and then it was back to sleep.
We flew home the same way we went, through Seattle.  We made it through customs and immigration super quick.  We were able to get on an earlier flight back to SL without going through an enormous security line ... and without having to pay the $100 same day change fee!
Gregg wanted a hamburger as soon as we landed!  I had a few bites!
I believe this is Mt. Rainier - it was so beautiful with the snowy top.

What a remarkable trip to Japan.
We toured around Tokyo and Kyoto and loved everything we saw.  The people, the culture, the food, the scenery and of course our company!!  Nate and Lauren were the best tour guides, we will miss them.

I would have to say out of all the places around the world I have been {and the things I have done and seen in each of those places} Japan is somewhere in my top three for sure. 

Japan {Tokyo Tower}.

There was one last site we wanted to see before we left Japan so we headed out on a walk this morning to see it.
Some beautiful flowers along the way.
Fun design in the cement.
Cute lady working in her garden.
So Gregg has noticed that everywhere we go there are these crazy possum looking creatures.  We asked a few people {including Google} and could not figure out what they were all about.  Finally I texted a friend back in the states who server her mission in Japan.  Here is what she told us;
It's called Tanuki, a mythical raccoon dog creature that is jolly and mischievous.  
{and there is one other feature about him but I am not going to share it here ... its not really appropriate ... apparently there is an entire song about it.}
There you go, a super random Japanese fact!  I made Gregg stand with this one for a picture so we wouldn't forget.
The last site we wanted to see in Japan was Tokyo Tower {made famous by various movies}.  
Tagg see's it.
It's design was inspired by the Eiffel tower, it is the second tallest building in Japan.
Pete was board by it.
And so was Tagg!
On our walk home we saw this parked mini-minivan.  They are everywhere and now you can see the perspective, Lauren is tiny and so is this car!  It's awesome, I tried to convince Nate and Lauren they needed one.
Cool corner store.
And this tree ... so cool.  It is two trees that have been trained to grown toward this metal round display.  Over the years it has been growing around the top.