Sunday, December 21, 2014

last batch

So- I've got the last batch of pics from when my parents were in town that need blogging!
we spent three days in tokyo exploring parts of town we hadn't seen before!  sometimes I get so anxious thinking about all of the things I need to see and do here.  There is SO MUCH.  ahhhhh!

Staying at the New Sanno (military hotel) is wonderful. so inexpensive and so easy!  plus they have the BEST pool and a great place to get souvenirs.

here's metta hanging out in the pool.

and mack hanging out poolside with gramps.  it was pretty fabulous having a 1:1 ratio of children to adults.  I need a nanny,
and everybody eating cereal in the coffee cups.
Our first day downtown- it rained and was cold!  we checked out Meiji Shrine and harajuku street and the Roppongi hills neighborhood,  I didn't get many pics because I was wearing mack most of the day and it was so wer!

Yoyogi park is like Central Park in NY.  It's a dense jungle in the middle of a crazy bustling city!  everything here was beautiful.

everything here also seemed to be very large!  these tori gates are the first I've seen in this natural wood.  Most are red.
a giant boat made of vegetables!? I think it may have been as a sacrifice/gift at the shrine?  there were all sorts of vegetable displays here.  they often leave food and drinks and money at the shrines,
the giant spider at roppongi.  metta HATED it.  she is afraid of things in such a sporadic fashion.  She held a giant cockroach at school the other day- but was terrified of this sculpture?  weirdo,

Our next day was dry and lovely.  we took the train out to Odaiba- a man made island in Tokyo Bay. There are museums and malls and Lego land!  the boys were super excited about lego land! and we lucked out to have the place almost emtirely to ourselves!  It's all indoors and has only 3 rides- but the kids were so so happy.

tokyo made out of legos is pretty amazing!  Here's Shibuya square!

and the skyline at night!

nothing better than a giant pit of legos.

the boys took a monkey making course with gramps.  all the instructions were in japanese- but they figured it out!
there was also a car building and test site.

more than anything the boys loved the ninjago training grounds!  they must have tried getting through the lasers a zillion times!

mack didn't like lego land AT ALL.  seriously- it was possibly the grumpiest he's EVER been.

eating some of the world's best food from the best french bakery near the hotel.

we also visited the Asakusa Shrine.  It's one of the largest and oldest in Japan. and it's ALWAYS crazy and crowded!!

I love the smell of burning incense,

metta is throwing in her yennies as an offering!

we try to take lots of dragon pictures for mack.  I feel bad that he's not going to remember any of this at all.

these japanese people LOVED metta.  they hugged her and took pictures and ooed and ahhed.
ike getting a 'no hands' piggy back ride from Nannie Annie!

this street is lined with souvenir shops and fabulous food!

after Asakusa- we ventured out to dinmer at the Hard Rock Cafe.  It was SO DELICIOUS.  Definitely my first high quality american food since we left the states.  and it was so good.  so so good.  our view walking back to the subway was pretty cool!  I LOVE big cities at night. the lights and chaos and sounds are pretty exciting.

our last day with nannie annie and gramps was sad news.  metta cried when they drove away on the shuttle!  I'm so glad they could come and visit! and I'm so happy they said they'll be back soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

the hustle and bustle of it all!!

what have we been up to?!  I really NEED to blog.
 I LOVE the holidays.  I LOVE that from Halloween to Christmas- my house is full of decorations, there are parties to attend, we are busy with family traditions, our house smells like pumpkins and cinnamon, and there's fabulous food constantly!

the only bad thing is being a little homesick! my homesickness rotates cities and states and people.

this past week my friend sent me this picture from a dayton holiday party (so many of my favorite people!!) and I may have shed a tear or two. moving can make holidays a little sad sometimes!

so- I go out of my way to make the best out of wherever I am!  and I've been busy making happy memories here in japan!

here are just a few of my phone and camera snapshots from the last month or so!

the base had a holiday parade and tree lighting event last week and it made my month.  we've been to a christmas parade every year the past seven -and I was worried the tradition would stop in japan!

it was cold and perfectly christmasy.

 giant airplane parts wrapped in paper! and there was a C-130 flyover!
 the PACAF (pacific air force) band!
 santa and his hazardous materials helpers :)
they even set out bleachers for us!!
the main road on base is lined with giant christmas boards made by all of the base squadrons and organizations!  it's super festive.
our church even made one and put it up!

Last night was our church Christmas party!  it was held in the high school gym on base because our church building isn't big enough for parties!  we had a combined party with the japanese congregation.  The church gym isn't heated -  and it was below freezing out- but the kiddos stayed plenty warm running around! 
The English ward primary kids sang silent night and then Japanese kids sang it! it was pretty cool to hear in both languages!
metta sat on santa's lap four times.  she wants a stuffed cat for christmas.  Santa claus was bi lingual so even the Japanese kids got to talk to him!  his suit is the one I bought on Amazon last year for our church party. it's already been used FOUR times here this year for all sorts of base functions.   totally worth the money.  everybody needs a santa suit.
There was a live japanese band playing christmas music and mack was NOT impressed. 

last weekend we had the med group (hospital staff) children's party!  it was Polar express theme and crazy fun!  I was in charge of the food and helped with decorating and everything else.  I really love being involved and meeting people- so being on a base where there is so much for me to do is FABulous.

The decorations for the party were AMAZING.  

 we transformed the hospital cafeteria into a train and train station!  it was a lot of work- but a lot of fun!
 breakfast and hot cocoa for dinner.  A ton of zeb's and Ike's friends have parents who are also in the me group- so the party was full of familiar faces.
 here's my santa suit again :)
 ike and zeb made up christmas lists for santa that were big surprises! these kids are always making new lists.  Zeb wants an ipad mini?!  and a wii U!  and ike wants a skateboard and cash,   sorry, guys! santa doesn't take add ons.  especially crazy ones.
I didn't get any pics- but we also had an adult med group party with a Las Vegas theme?! weird, right?!  we went and dressed up the most 'vegasy' we could.  I wore a cardigan with sequins and kent wore crazy socks with his suit :)  the night ended up being a blast.  I lost my voice from getting so rowdy :)  there were all sorts of contests, games, and prizes. and free babysitting!  we won a wireless bose speaker.  it's worth 130$ and kent loves it so the night was a success :)

 this week- Ike had a school ribbon cutting ceremony for the new kindergarten building!  it's a pretty cool building.
 and there was a giant cake to commemorate the grand opening!  Ike still loves kindergarten so much. the school is awesome here.

he also had  thanksgiving program where he sang and danced the turkey tango.  he's a turkey.

I've been a little sad (okay- A LOT sad) about missing out on wandering the Target holiday aisles and meijer sales and I'm doing my best to make up for it here.  I peruse amazon's 'aisles' daily :) and we hit the black friday sale at the BX.  the BX is our on base 'target'.  only it isn't target. at all!  but- they had sales- and we went.  and this past weekend they had a moonlight madness sale from 8-11 so I got us a babysitter and Kent and I went.  It was really fun!  the crazy thing about living here is that you get to know EVERYbody so events like these are big parties with all of your friends.  it's pretty great.  we got a ton of nice toilet paper and fancy diapers for 50% off.  it was a successful evening!

we also went to costco black friday!  no sales- but they did have pizza and hot dogs :)

we also ate thanksgiving leftovers for days after the holiday.  the best part of our japanese thanksgiving were the purple sweet potatoes.  here they are before the crumb topping.  
they taste almost the same and we loved them! 

 Our house is all decorated for christmas and I love it.  we've even done outdoor lights on our little base townhome!  zeb says the candy canes are lighting santa's runway for landing.

it's also been cold enough to scrape my windows!  hooray!!  now all I need is snow to make christmas perfect!!
I want our tree to be decorated with ornaments from all the places we've lived and I got some fabulous Japanese ornaments!  some origami cranes- so little kimono dolls, and some fun folk art ornaments from the daiso (japanese dollar store!).  I love them.

it's also been cold enough to really enjoy the hot japanese ramen shops!  our favorite is just outside of the base gate.  it's super delish and waaaay cheap.  kids meals are 190 yen.  with the exchange rate right now- that's like $1.50!!


oh my goodness. and I bought strawberries this week.  for not so crazy a price.  480 yen. about 4 dollars!  a christmas miracle.

mack is 8 weeks today and I have to say- 4 kiddos has been my easiest transition.  he and metta get along great and he's a champ at running around everywhere with me,  to the gym. to the store. running outside. he just sleeps. here are the two pals at the daiso in the perfect two kid shopping cart!

Metta has had a rough week this week. she picked up a nasty cough and we took away the binky forEVER.  it's all she wants for christmas.  she even told santa.  she wants her binky back.

here she is taking her last nap with the bink.
she's been lots needier this week and always wants to sit on  my lap.  she also does crazy things when I feed mack. like shove objects up her nose. 'look, mom!'
 she's crazy obsessed with stuffed animals. she doesn't like dolls AT ALL.  but soft animals are her favorite.  she sleeps with at least 20.  and gathers them at stores.  she takes backpacks to friends' houses and tries to smuggle out their stuffed animals.  for real.

and finally- this kid- at eight weeks- smiles.  mostly at me. and mostly in the morning. 

 he also cries.  occasionally.

 one of my favorite pics from the last week or so.  mt fuji.  I was running the fog covered flight line at sunset and it was amazing.  moments like these make me realize what an amazing opportunity it is to live in Japan.

happy holidays!! christmas is coming!!!
and if you haven't seen this super short fabulous youtube video yet- check it out.  it's the real reason I love the holidays so darn much.  The glad tidings!!  the Joy our Savior brings!!