Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Christmas Season 2016

The Christmas season was busy, as usual.  It started off with a Cultural Christmas Coffee at my place early in the month.  I had so much fun spending time with 7 amazing ladies, talking, drinking coffee, and sharing holiday favorites that I only took one picture at the beginning of the party.  Trust me...it was good times! ps...this was the first time I've cooked a ham in the crockpot...oh.my.yum!

The very next day we had to say goodbye to an amazing family.  So, a year ago we had quite a large group of boys living in our Sakura building.  One by one, these boys have PCSd to another duty station.  With the departure of this family we lost two wonderful boys from Garytt's group.  My dear friend, who I spent many hours chatting with on the playground and laughing at the hijinks our boys could conjure up, is greatly missed!

One last group hug!  And one last goodbye.

The next week the kids and I made our way to Nagasawa Station so we could spend our third year watching Junko-san's English classes perform a play in English.  This year was The Gift of the Magi.  We had a great time listening and sharing in the progress of the children we have watched grow over the last three years.  What an amazing night!  
Walking to the community center where the performance was held.
Of course, the kids remembered the way as I was a bit confused
on which building we were supposed to enter.  
One of the kids' favorite parts of the evening...the massive BINGO game...you can get BINGO as many times as there are gifts on the table.  I loved the fact that this year the kids and I were able to understand what the number was in Japanese and in English.  :)

The commissary may have been a mad house two days before Christmas, but I always forget a few ingredients and have to fight the crowd and the rushed, crazy, rude people who don't want to be there as much as I don't want to be there.  But, as I walked out to get in my car I was blessed with this amazing sunset!  And, it was fast...pink, purple, blue when I took the picture then completely blue two minutes later when I pulled out of the parking spot.

Garytt, Emily and Kenzie
Friday night we ran outside to watch the fire parade pass by.  It was on a different route this year, but we ran across the street just in time to watch it all go by.  Shew....it was loud!  

We were so happy to be invited to a Christmas Eve potluck at our friends' house.  We had a great time eating delicious food and then playing a White Elephant game.  The kids were supposed to play the game as well, but with a few really little ones in the group were afraid they wouldn't understand when someone else stole their gifts.  Especially when Garytt said, "You mean I'm ALLOWED to take someone else's present?  Without getting in trouble?  I'M IN!!!!"  So, the kids just picked presents out of the kid pile, opened them (G got an alligator, M got candy), and then they headed upstairs to another friend's apartment to watch movies while the adults hung out and played their White Elephant game.  

Then, just a short while later we were graced with the MOST amazing Christmas Caroler EVER!!!  Sweet Alyssa sang us two songs, helping to close out a pretty awesome Christmas Eve!  Then, we all ran downstairs so the kids could sprinkle Reindeer Food all over the road in order to help Santa's Reindeer find our apartment.  

After our annual reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas by Pop Pop...

...we checked on Santa's progress before hitting the hay.

The kids were up bright and early the next morning.  Kris and I slowly made our way out of bed around 7 and then 8.  I put all the yummy food in the oven and on the stove top and we got down to business!

The annual sibling photo...still just as hard to get all three looking in the right direction with their eyes open and smiling.

Some of the yummy deliciousness for the morning.  And, the weird shot on the right is the first one I took with my new iPhone app-operated camera gadget.  haha.....He wasn't ready.

The Boy fell in and we lost him for a few minutes!

The boys building Mackenzie's new doll house and furniture.

I almost got all the food in the picture.  Delicious spread!  
The turkey was the best one I think I've ever made!  

Like father...like son...with the new silverware holders from Mom/Grandma.

And, some of the play time with new toys.  Garytt got a new mini nerf gun, so we built about two dozen targets with Legos and then set them up around the dining/family rooms and watched him work on his aim.

What a fabulous Christmas!  This is likely our last Christmas in Japan and it did not disappoint! Great time with friends and family!