Christmas 2014

We really love Christmas around our house and do our best to make it traditional and festive for ourselves as well as the kids. This requires a little bit more effort on our part since we live in a country where basically all Christmas amounts to is seeing really badly decorated trees, eating fried chicken and tasteless cake, and hearing Wham's "Last Christmas" played a million times.

Two years ago we bought a large artificial tree (well, large for Japanese standards since the trees here are usually only about a meter tall) and the kids "helped" set it up at the beginning of December. We spent a few days in December whipping off batches of cookies in our new oven. In previous years I had been baking cookies 6 at a time in our tiny microwave/oven combo and it took me forever to get any amount of cookies baked. It was wonderful to have 4x the baking capacity this year!

We also went to a few Christmas parties in the middle part of December which were kind of hectic but fun for the kids.
William, who I think was intending on a peace sign, at the Fukuyama Foreign Association Christmas party
Rosie checking out the little tree at our church Christmas party
Opening a present from Santa at the church Christmas party
Winter break began for the kids and I on December 22nd. Dustin's winter holidays usually only begin around the 28th, but he always takes at least Christmas day off. We spent the days before Christmas going on exploratory bike rides, going to a train show, and trying to keep warm.

Checking out Bingo Honjo station from the wrong side of the tracks
William the conductor
Playing with electric trains
An exceedingly hairy looking Dustin and a rare Fukuyama snow.
Here's my little bit of whining: I managed to feel sick on and off all winter break. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep off the headaches, congestion and coughing but a mother doesn't exactly have the luxury of being out of commission during the holidays. Instead I just went through the motions in a kind of a sickly daze and hoped that everyone was enjoying themselves more than me. Dustin was nice enough to wake up at the crack of dawn with Rosie every day so that I could get an hour or two more sleep each morning.

On Christmas Eve we brought the kids to the zoo only to find out that they were randomly closed for the day. There is an awesome playground next to the zoo so we just let the kids spend the afternoon running around there instead. Compared to some of the seriously sketchy playgrounds in our area this one is amazing.

William on a classic rolly tube slide
And Rosie watching

I am not sure if this will become a permanent family tradition for us, but for the last few years we have designated Christmas Eve as our Japanese Christmas dinner day and Christmas Day as the typical western holiday cuisine day. Last year we had nabe on Christmas Eve this year we went all out with fried chicken, pizza, and the best part of Christmas cake: strawberries. 

The children then spent the rest of the evening decorating sugar cookies for Santa and writing a letter to go with them.
Cookie decorating time
They got jealous of Santa's spread and needed their own glass of milk and cookies before going to bed
Once the kids were asleep we finished up a bit of wrapping and pulled the presents from their hiding places to go under the tree. 

 And the next morning:

William showing off the book given to him by his kindergarten.
Theo helping Rosie open up her present.
William and his walkie talkie with ecstatic Theo in the background.
 I spent the rest of the day in a sick but industrious cloud baking a turkey and pies, making stuffing mashed potatoes, and all the lovely veggies.

This was just the beginning of our holidays and I will hopefully find the time to write about the rest of it soon. I also noticed that there were no pictures of Bosco or me from Christmastime, and since this post is so picture heavy already, here is a token selfie and a cute picture of our lavender pooch soaking in some winter sunshine.


Carol said...

What fun! I was glad to see a picture of Bosco - I keep forgetting to ask how he's doing. I'll bet he is in dog heaven, after being on the sidewalk for so long. Theo sure gets into the excitement, doesn't he? Hope you are feeling better, lovey.
Love, Mom

Lorel said...

Love it, thanks for the Christmas read. I was very fortunate this Christmas; we spent two days at my parents' and two at Jaime's.. So I had 4 days of no cooking or child care!!