Friday, September 19, 2008

Virginia's Vacay - Days 5-7

Since I had a full week off from the hospital while Kenta only took a couple days off, I hit the road for Missouri to visit Kenta's sister Emi for three days. Emi moved to Missouri in June 2007 to be with her husband who was stationed there with the army. They live among the Ozark Mountains and a lot of military training camps... but not much else. Kailie joined their family in the end of April. Sadly Jeff had to leave for a SIXTEEN MONTH tour of Iraq in the end of June. Emi has been doing a great job coping with being both a new mother and an army wife in the true sense; however she's had a hard time getting many of the projects for their new house done. So we worked on a few things around the house, made some curtains, made a color coordinating quilt, did some shopping in the closest sizable town (70 miles away), threw a baby shower, and (most importantly) took care of Kailie. Here are a few samples of our work:

Emi and Kailie

We even found time to paint Kailie's toenails. :)


I officially get two weeks of vacation each residency year (July to July) in addition to some time around Christmas or New Years, and one of my weeks (taking individual days off is not allowed) had to be taken before the holiday season. So as I transitioned off of my FIVE WEEKS of night float, I grabbed Kenta, and we hit the road. One of the perks of living in Indianapolis, in my opinion, is that we're only 3 hrs away from Chicago. I LOVE CHICAGO!! Kenta had never been to Chicago, so it was a bit of a no-brainer where we were going to spend our vacay. Kenta only took a couple days off of work, but four days in Chicago was plenty. We do so much on our vacations that we need a rest at home vacation after our out of town vacation.

Anyway, here are some pics of our fun in Chicago with a few editorial comments. Enjoy!


Sue the T-rex

K&V w/ Sue (not Kenta's mom... the dinosaur)


Harry Caray was a very famous baseball announcer in Chicago. His son Skip Caray and grandson Chip Caray are also famous announcers. So Kenta had to visit his restaurant while we were there. The food was fantastic, and we highly recommend it.

K&V with the 'holy cow'

Harry Caray iconized as a holey cow, one of the phrases he was famous for using.

K & Harry Caray
Harry Caray's Restaurant bought the ball that epitomized the Cubs curse, and blew it up. The remnants are there for all to see. Apparently it worked as the Cubs are hot right now.


I thought that this statue of a man and an enormous fish was fantastic. I can't tell you why, per se, but I just loved it and took a few pictures.

Chicago skyline



Kenta loves going to both famous restaurants and famous 'firsts' restaurants. Gino's East was the second restaurant in make Chicago deep dish pizza pies. Interestingly the first was Uno's which has since become a franchise, and thus not as cool to visit.

What else would Kenta want to do more on vacation than go to a baseball game... nothing! So off we went to see the White Sox play the Angels.

And who do you think we saw? Ken Griffey, Jr (of course)

He has now played for three different teams, and I have somehow managed to see him play at all three of his home fields. Please see my earlier blog on my strange connection to Ken Griffey, Jr. (June 2008 post)

The game went to the 15th inning, but we were pooped by the end of the 12th. It was a great game though; we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.


On the way home we stopped by the Fair Oaks Dairy, which is known throughout the state (and perhaps the rest of the dairy world) for its award winning cheeses. It also has all sorts of things to do with the whole family - tours, games, learning how to make cheese and ice cream, etc. I couldn't convince Kenta to go on the tour, but we did do some cheese tasting and buy some for the road. However, my favorite part was the sign at the entrance (featured above) -- A dairy good time for the family. For whatever reason I thought this sign was hilarious, and it still makes be smile to see it again. Hopefully a few people out there will find it similarly funny.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Indy Zoo

Kenta and I had a three day weekend, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and see more of Indy. Also I've been wanting to go to the zoo here for a while. I love zoos! Indy has had koalas visiting for the last few months, so we had to see them before they leave next week. I have to say that it was somewhat anticlimactic as their habitat was very small and they were dead asleep. However, I can now say that I've seen koalas in real life. Enjoy a few of our pics from the trip.

Sleeping koala

Staring at the emu and kangaroo

Dolphin Show!! It was a lot of fun!
They sure do a great job of keeping the grass short.


I got to pet the elephant!! I was so, so excited!!

Bye, bye elephant...

The mama elephant took the entire pile of hay so that the baby elephant had to walk around picking up the stray left overs. Poor baby elephant.

Back to Nauvoo

About a month ago Kenta and I joined his parents and younger brother Koji on a trip to Nauvoo. On the way there we saw the Mississippi River flooding several towns and roads, including the one we were supposed to take....

Luckily we found another road. We love our GPS system. We'd probably still be driving around acres and acres of corn and soy without it. Eventually we got to our destination... Nauvoo, Illinois.
We had a great time seeing all the sites and learning more about life in the 19th century. Of course we also enjoying looking at/walking around the beautiful Nauvoo Temple.

We also went to the City of Joseph Pageant that evening. I loved it! (Don't tell my friends back in the Rochester/Palmyra area, but I actually liked it better than the Hill Cumorah Pageant.)

Hyrum and Joseph Smith statues
On Sunday we went to church in Nauvoo and then hit the road for Carthage, Illinois to see the Carthage Jail shown below.

Another statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in front of Carthage Jail.

After Carthage we hit the road again for Springfield, Illinois where we went to Abraham Lincoln's home and got to see all sorts of Lincoln memorabilia.

It was a quick trip, but we really enjoyed ourselves and had fun with Kenta's family.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Today's blog #5 (ridiculous I know -- I think this will be the last)
So as a preface to this blog, I am one of six children and Kenta is one of four children. Given that you might think that we would have been an aunt or uncle much earlier in life, but since we are both the oldest children and the first to marry in our respective families, we have missed out. That is until April 25 when Kenta's sister Emi, who married Jeff Stapler on Valentine's Day of 2007, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. They named her Kailie Hana Stapler. With graduation and the move we hadn't been to see our new niece until June 21 when we drove down to their small town in Missouri for her blessing. Since Jeff is not a member of our church, Emi decided she would like her father, now Grandpa Takagi, to bless Kailie. So we arranged a big family get together in Missouri. We drove down from Indianapolis. Kenta's mom and brother (Koji) were already in the states moving Naomi (his other sister) into her new apt in DC. They were joined in DC by Kenta's dad who flew in from Japan. Then those four flew into St Louis and drove to join us. Lots of crazy traveling. But we all had a wonderful time with Jeff, Emi, and Kailie. We practically had to draw straws in order to hold Kailie, but everyone got the opportunity they wanted, I think. Anyway, here are some fun pics.
The Arch of St Louis, MO

The flooded Mississippi River

Kailie and Grandma Takagi

Sleeping Kailie and Grandpa Takagi

Koji holding a smiling Kailie... well she was smiling just before the picture was taken.

Takagi clan just after the blessing

(L --> R Kenta, Virginia, Naomi, Koji, Grandpa Takagi with Kailie, Jeff, Emi, & Grandma Takagi)

As a somewhat sad conclusion to this blog, three days after Kailie was blessed Jeff was deployed to Iraq for the next 15 months. He's an officer in the army in the military police division. He'll be able to come home for 18 days leave at some point in time, but he will surely be missed by his wife and new baby. Now that Kenta and I are only 6 hours away from Emi, we're going to try to get down there to hang out more often. Emi and Kailie are, of course, always welcome to come up and stay with us, but traveling that long with a 2 month old might be a bit difficult so we don't expect them anytime in the next couple months.

A Work in Progress...

Today's blog #4

Our new home:

Here are the bare bones our the apt. Yes, that's Kenta taking a nap on the floor while we were waiting for the rain to stop so that we could unload the truck.

Kitchen -- small!!
Stairs... I know they're not interesting, but it's proof that we have two floors.
Kenta didn't tell me he was taking this picture -- I don't look the greatest.
Bedroom -- Kenta took the picture and didn't think it was important to make the bed. This was a point of daily dispute early in our marriage, but I have since given up since I almost always leave the house while he's still asleep. However, it would have been nice if he would have at least pulled up the sheets for the picture. Oh well.
The Spare 'Oom (for you Narnia fans)
Our kitchen is very small, so I use part of this room from my extra freezer and pantry shelves, but it also houses my crafts, extra food storage, our nice serving dishes and anything else that doesn't fit nicely somewhere else in the house. It also doubles as a guest room with the addition of an air mattress. All welcome -- just call before you come. :)

Our new love seat

So when we bought our new furniture we ordered the color 'camel' for our couches. We they came, they seemed more like a mocha. In my stressed state, this was more than enough for a minor break down. I have since learned that if I turn on all the lights in the living room and open the blinds in the middle of the day they look a little bit more camel-like... but most of the time they're closer to a mocha. Oh well.

Our asian-inspired room divider. We're still working on how to decorate it. One of our many works in progress.

Our new table. We got the taller of the two heights available for the table and chairs (counter or pub height), and I LOVE THEM!! I love tall furniture for some reason, always have, so I just love having a taller table to sit at. Yay!

More pictures to come as we put things together a little bit more.