Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stars Were Gleaming

It's December 1st here in Japan. We put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, but we had to wait until the 1st to put up our Advent calendar!

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of this sucker.  I started on it last year and had it mostly finished before we left for China to spend Christmas with our favorite Kings (my cousin Crystal and her husband Aaron). So this is the first year we really get to use it.
I patterned it after the one my mom had made that we used growing up.  I have very fond memories of it, and taking turns with my brothers to put up the ornaments. The one major thing I did differently was embroidering a Christmas or Christ related scripture on the back most of the ornaments so we have something spiritual to read each morning when we put up an ornament.
I have also been teaching Ellie my most favorite children's Christmas song, Stars Were Gleaming.  My mom taught this to us as little kids, and made up hand motions to go with it. I love it.  Here we are singing it!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Accidental Trip to Yamashita Park

Over Thanksgiving break, we decided to take advantage of finally having a Saturday to ourselves and go to the zoo.  Sidenote-Ben and I run the Drama Club at the high school and we have been rehearsing of the the fall play which opens this weekend, so we haven't had a fully free Saturday for a while.
Anyway, Ben googled directions and we were set to go.  The zoo is up in Yokohama, just north of us, and we followed our directions without any problems, until we got there.  Because our directions took us not to the zoo, but to the Yokohama City Hall.  Oops.  Thank heavens Ben speaks Japanese.  He found someone who knew how to get to the zoo and got directions. Unfortunately it was an hour drive and several toll roads away. We simply didn't have the time or the yen to do it.  But we saw signs for Yamashita Park very close by, and one of Ben's co-workers had suggested it to us, so off we went. We were even able to score a free curbside parking spot just a block from the park (and if you've ever tried to park a car in Japan you know what a miracle this is).

Ellie had so much fun running around and looking at the water and the boats and all the people.  It is apparently a very popular park along the waterfront of bay in Yokohama. 

We even saw a mediocre juggler (really it's hard to be impressed after seeing the Shanghai Circus), and bunnies on leashes. So it was almost like a zoo.
Even Clara enjoyed going out and about and getting tons of attention from Japanese business men passing by.
She's sure the charmer with her winning smile.

 Plus Ben and Ellie bought an ice cream to share-even though it was pretty chilly. And we all know that ice cream makes any outing a success.

Good Mornin'

I love it when this is the first face I see in the morning, after Ben's.

Thanksgiving 2011

We had a wonderful thanksgiving.  We have had so much to be thankful for this year, and it was wonderful to spend this holiday sharing with others as well.  We had four missionaries from our church over (two Americans, a Korean and Japanese), and a sister in our branch who is here without family. 

We made a fantastic feast of turkey (which we brined and I can now say that I like turkey, it was so yummy), stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, a green salad, rolls, and a pumpkin and a pecan pie.  Oh, and olives.  I taught Ellie the proper way of eating olives.

Off of your fingers of course.  Olives are the most nostalgic part of Thanksgiving, and I'm not sure why.  I have very strong memories of putting olives on my fingers with cousins and eating them up.
Clara enjoyed her own thanksgiving feast of milk and more attention than she knew what to do with.
We were also given these crazy wafer cookies, and I couldn't help but post this picture. It is literally a cookie as big as her face.
Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh yeah, Halloween. That holiday were we all got sick.

As The Royal Family we participated in our branch's Trunk-or-Treat activity the Saturday before Halloween.  Really, we probably shouldn't have gone because Ellie was clearly coming down with something. But she had so been looking forward to it, and darn it if I wasn't going to show off the costumes I'd been working on. So here we are; Ellie as Rapunzel (post-hair cut and dye job-didn't you know she got it bleached afterwards?), Clara the chameleon, Ben as the King, and me as the Queen.
 On Sunday morning Ellie had a fever and a terrible cough. I stayed home from church with the girls, but by the evening Ellie seemed to be much better. So we let her paint the little pumpkin she had picked out. We asked her what kind of jack-o-lantern Ben should carve and she replied, "Uh..a monster one." So he carved Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.
Pretty clever if I do say so.
And then Monday morning she was terribly sick again, and Ben wasn't feeling that super either. And then by Wednesday morning/afternoon Ellie felt better, but I didn't and Clara got a little fever and started coughing.  It was awesome...But we all pulled through. Let's just hope we don't get sick for Thanksgiving, because I really like the food.

4 Months

 Clara is now 1/3 of a year old. She's been quite the trooper, dealing with a funky schedule since we have been in play rehearsals for the past 2 months.  She still a super smiley baby, and quite content as long as she isn't left all alone. 
 She gets plenty of attention from her big sister.  Eleanor loves to give Clara hugs and kisses and tells her "I love you, Clara." If Clara is wearing purple socks then Ellie must wear purple socks, too.  If Ellie has her blanket then Clara must have her little blanket. It's cute.
 Clara returns the love by smiling and laughing at Ellie nearly every time Ellie looks at her.  She endures Eleanor trying to feed her pretend food and reading her books.
 At her four month check up Clara weighed 13 lbs and was deemed a great baby.  She started rolling over randomly from her tummy to her back.  I think it surprises her a little every time she does it.
And she pulls the silliest faces.