Monday, November 24, 2014

I LOVE Japan: Hakone and Yunessun Resort

It is snowing outside now. The ground is so beautiful with a blanket of white snow on it. But brrr...it is crazy cold. I wish I could just soak in a hot tub right now! Speaking of hot tub, when we were in Japan, we tried out "onsen" or Japanese hot springs. Even though it was technically summer and was supposed to be super hot when we went (July), some days were rainy and gloomy because of the typhoon that was rolling into Tokyo. It was perfect for us though because we could enjoy a hot public bath without being overheated.

We went to the Yunessun onsen resort in Hakone. Hakone is famous for its natural hot springs and beautiful scenery. It took us about 2 hours to get there and another 20 minutes by bus to the resort.  A funny story took place before we went into the resort. When we got to the resort we decided we wanted to go see some outdoor sculpture museum, so we got in a taxi. When I got in the taxi I realized I had left my purse, with all our passports and train passes and my wallet in there, on the bus. We immediately asked the taxi driver to chase down the bus (despite not knowing how to speak Japanese. Just imagine me frantically wave my hands around and pointing towards where the bus had gone and shouting "bus, bus bus!!"). I thought it wouldn't take long to get to the bus but holy cow, it took us like 20 minutes to finally caught up to it!! I was almost in tears because I thought we had to go all the way back to the train station to tack down the bus and everything. Thank God our taxi driver took a short cut (he even politely asked us if he could take a short cut!) and intercepted the bus! We went all the way to Lake Ashi, which was a famous spot to view Mount Fuji, while chasing the bus! After we got my purse I absolutely did not feel like going to see the museum anymore so we headed back to the resort, which was 20 minutes away. In the end it cost us close to one hour for the whole ordeal and $50 taxi fare! Trust me, I wanted to kill me too!

Despite th whole crazy bus-chasing ordeal, we had a good time at the onsen resort soaking in different hot springs. I really liked the green tea onsen because it smelled so refreshing and it's pretty cool! The red wine onsen was cool too but it was a little too chlorinated in my opinion. The sake onsen was okay and the coffee one was kinda scary cause it looked dirty...like mud water.

The resort also has the indoor onsen where you'd have to go in naked so my mom and I opted out of it. No way, Jose! 
There's also some indoor swimming pools (this resort is huge!) where Liam could play in. We also went in the man made water cave area for a dip. 

We weren't planning on going to Hakone at all because it was kinda far from the city, but because we had quite a fun day visiting Lake Kawaguchiko to see Mount Fuji (I'll be posting about it soon!), we decided going away from the city for a day would be worthwhile too. I wish we had more time to explore Hakone, it just seems like such a beautiful and serene place. It is SO green and misty. It is so zen!



Across the street from the Hakone train station


I love this vending machine!! I seriously want to try every single ice cone in there! Especially the one with the cute polar bear! 

Kawaii!

even the wall is so cute!

coffee bath

coffee bath

red wine bath



woo~~ so comfortable!

Smells so good!





sake bath

too hot to go inside!
Liam and daddy playing in the green tea pool





some pools are on the higher ground so we had to climb up the stairs to get to them

man...I would give anything to go back there!




this is rose pool or lover's pool or something like that

Liam thinks that the coffee pool is pungent. 
indoor kids pool

i love the mural and the greek themed decor.

he was telling his grandma how much he likes the pool



red tea, milk tea, and lemon tea bath


hmm...I don't know why every single picture of us three turned out blurry!

this is in the rock cave...kinda eerie. 
Here's a short clip of what the day looked like. We had so much fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Patches

This is how we spent many of our days in October.--visiting pumpkin patches. Even since before we had Liam, Mr.L and I would go to a pumpkin patch every year. We always felt that the pumpkin patches were OK, but not super awesome for us. It wasn't until we had Liam that pumpkin patches all of a sudden become something HOLY-CRAP-IT'S-SO-AWESOME-AND-WONDERFUL-SO-WE-MUST-GO-TO-EVERY-SINGLE-ONE-WE-KNOW! I swear, having kids makes everything that seems ordinary or insignificant become way bigger deals and way more awesome. It was watching Liam had the time of his life that made me love taking him there. Last year when he was one, he wasn't really into it. But this year was a whole different ball game. He loved it and was so gutsy that he went down huge slides all by himself and laughing and giggling all the while. He also loved counting the pumpkins and said "pun-ty, pun-ty" (pumpkins).

This year we went to 6 or 7 pumpkin patches around Salt Lake and Utah county. My favorite is definitely the Cornbelly at Thanksgiving Point. It has got so much to do in there you'll probably want to go back at least one more time.



A random pumpkin market at the corner of a street in Sandy. It had a couple of huge inflatable slides that Liam loved going on, and the duck boat was cute too even though all Liam did was go round and round and round on it (he needs to work on his steering skill).




those pink pumpkins!! I regretted not getting ANY!


We went to Cornbelly on their opening night and saw fireworks with music. 



cow train ride

he loved the corn beach!

It was our first time to Gardner village. It was basically a shopping place with lots of witch displays almost everywhere you turn. There's a little stage there for the littles to dance on and Liam and his friend Maverick were loving it. Try and see if you can spot some witches in some of the pictures below.









We drove by this pumpkin patch on our way to church so we decided to check it out one Monday night for FHE. It is basically a field with a lot of picked pumpkins on the ground and a pirate ship.


This was his first time realizing he could actually sit on the pumpkin. Life changing. 





Liam in the pirate ship with his pirate hat.
 We went to Wheeler's Farm to check out their pumpkin patch. It wasn't the greatest but you get a free pumpkin with the ticket you purchase. I think Liam liked the farm part more because he got to pet some sheep and rode in a wagon.










Jaker's farm in Springville is one of the funnest we've been to. We went there last year with some friends and we went again this year because it has a lot to do FOR FREE!! We went down the slides, played in the corn box, went on a wagon ride around the huge pumpkins farm, got lost in the hay maze, saw some dirty farm animals, and went in a little tiny haunted house.









I love seeing the white pumpkins on the farm!

We went to this pumpkin patch in Orem with our friends and it was pretty cool. It was not huge but there were LOTS of people there when we went. It was also a pretty warm day and I was just getting over my strep throat, so it wasn't a terrific day for me. But they had these ginormous pumpkins on display, which was the highlight for me. I am a sucker for photo ops! Oh, and they also had huge sunflowers (that were dying) and some corn maze.








Back to Cornbelly we went one evening after Mr.L got off work. Liam really really loved it here! There were some slides that were like 3 stories high and he didn't want me to go down with him on it (of course I said he MUST go down with me). Crazy boy! I also loved that there are fire pits where you can roast marshmallows and make s'mores at or just sit by the fire for some warmth.




Liam liked feeding his daddy!


and this air pillow...so fun! he jumped on it for the longest time! It was so cute to see.

The last pumpkin patch we went this year was the one in Pleasant Grove called Hee Haw. I used to love it a lot but now that I have found so many more nicer pumpkin patches I don't know if I'd go back again. The day we went most of the "fun attractions" like pony rides, wagon rides, and petting farm were closed. Boo! The place really wasn't that fun without those "funtractions", okay! Liam went down the big slide on a hill all by himself, over and over...for about half an hour until I was like "my back hurts from standing and watching you, so we are going home".


I love this picture of him so much! He is just so loving and tender. He stroke the bunny softly and point out all the body parts of the bunny "ears, head, eyes"...so darling! 

So fearless!

So happy!