Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me

As we were debating what to get each other for Christmas this year, we realized we are no longer in the phase where you get "fun" gifts. Well, you can still get "fun" gifts, like a nice wallet to match my lovely handbag, but maybe not this year. It may have to wait until my birthday. This year, my husband really wanted to get me a washer/dryer combo. I at first refused by saying "this is not FUN!" He reminded me that buying a new suit and better briefcase was not much "fun" for him, but in his Japanese salary man phase of life this is what he needed. It was not what he wanted, but he needed it, and so that is what he bought himself for Christmas. He reminded me that I mentally curse my washer every week so maybe a new washer/dryer combo would help my stress level. You see, for the past nearly four years, I have been using a tiny washer our friends gave us when we moved to Tokyo. When you do a load of laundry in the said tiny washer, well, you just could not put a lot of clothes in a load because the washer was so small. If you did overload it, it would not be able to go through the spin cycle like it should and it would beep constantly so I would have to try to rearrange the clothes so they could spend correctly. After doing this 3 or 4 times, it would finally finish and I would have to hang the clothes. Sometimes the clothes would not be dry after hanging for the entire day due to the weather or moisture in the air so I would have to wait until the next day before folding the clothes and putting them away. Then I would start the cycle all over again because the said washer was so small I would have to do loads of laundry nearly every day to keep up with it all. If Miss M were to have an accident at night, this would really mess me up because I could only wash one sheet at a time and they take a long time to dry. You can see how I mentally and sometimes verbally cursed this machine at least once a week. You can also see why my husband wanted us to upgrade the machine, to help my stress level which in turn would help him. But a washer/dryer just does not sound like a "fun" Christmas gift. However, dear friends, it has been the best Christmas gift ever. When Miss M and I got home from the Nutcracker, the new and improved washer/dryer combo had arrived and been installed. On the front it reads "Kaze Iron Slim/ Big Drum." My husband showed me how to set it and we tried it that very night with a load of towels. Did you read the plural I used there? I was able to wash several towels in one load because it is a Big Drum washer. With our new machine, you set the timer and tell the machine when you want it to finish. So, I have been setting it to run at night when our electricity is cheaper and have it finish at 8AM. At 8AM, I pull out the clothes, they are warm and fluffy, and all I have to do is fold them and put them away. A I have missed you oh dryer. It is amazing what this machine has done for my quality of life here in Tokyo. It just helps, a lot, and saves me quite a bit of time and frustration. I am thankful for a husband who knows what I need and is not afraid to tell me.:) And little did he know at the time, but I bought us a "fun" Christmas present for both of us - tickets to see Eric Clapton in February. :) My American MIL also got me a nabe pot through the husband's help as he bought it here in Tokyo. We tried it for the first time last night and I can tell we will get a lot of use out of this pot. It was delicious. Not a bad Christmas for me at all. :)

Nutcracker with Miss M

Everybody has their own Christmas traditions. As a parent, you often want to do ALL of these traditions because you read about so many wonderful things. But in the craziness of the season, it is hard to do ALL of these wonderful things you read about on so many blogs or books. However, one tradition I have wanted to do is take Miss M to the Nutcracker every year at Christmas. We started it last year when we were visiting America and we went to see the ballet with my best friend from high school and her daughter. The girls are the same age and they seemed to like it. It brought back fond memories of elementary school as I remember going to the ballet on a school field trip to the same opera house. This year however we decided to stay in Tokyo for Christmas. I checked online and was able to find the ballet at the New National Tokyo Theater. Our tickets were a bit more expensive than our tickets to the ballet in Lexington, Kentucky, obviously, and the ballet was a bit more impressive (no offense to Lexington). :) It was like seeing it with the New York City ballet company. The costumes were much more elaborate and Miss M did not like the details of the rat costumes. But overall she really enjoyed it. We went with her friend who she takes ballet with and had a little mother daughter date. As I was sitting in the ballet, I realized why I wanted to make this a tradition. It was so nice to just sit, for 2 hours, listen to beautiful music and watch wonderful dancing and just "be" during the busyness of the holiday season. It meant so much to me to just take a breather, enjoy my daughter, enjoy God's gifts he has given to people through their musical and artistic talents, and just relax. We had a fabulous time and whether I am in Tokyo or another city at Christmas, I will do my best to keep this tradition. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scrapbook Day December 2013

On 12/13/13 we headed to Fuji Q Highland Theme park near Mt. Fuji. When we pulled up we felt like we were the Griswold's pulling into Wally World. My husband asked if I wanted him to park at the back of the lot so we could be the first people out, but I declined. We went with another family from our church and Miss M and I were fighting some bad colds. We had an early night to bed on Friday and after a large buffet breakfast we were ready to hit the park. It was not crowded at all and we barely had to wait in line for rides. We rode the tea cups without doors, the large Ferris Wheel and had a great view of Fuji-san, the merry-go-round, and enjoyed the Thomasland area of the park for little kids. Miss M also enjoyed some ice skating with her daddy. It was a great day. The kids slept most of the way back (we rented a car for the weekend which was so nice) and after meeting our friends at Denny's for dinner we all headed home. I love having the freedom the car brings. It is so nice to not have to think about how we are going to cart all of our stuff plus our kids through Tokyo station and get on a shinkansen. We can just get in the car from our building and go straight to our destination. No extra modes of transportation is so nice. My two favorite parts of the weekend were watching the K Man play with the boys from the other family. He had so much fun, especially with their middle son, and they were so so cute together. I also enjoyed watching Miss M ice skate. She really enjoys it and is definitely her father's child when it comes to winter sports and being outside in the cold. Enjoy the pictures. There are a lot of them.

Gingerbread Houses

We have been fighting coughs and colds for quite some time now. Tis the season. Last week we stayed in the house one full day and kept ourselves busy with gingerbread houses and rice krispy treat choo choo trains. It dawned on me that my children have never had rice krispy treats before. Crazy since I remember my Aunt Liz making them every time we saw her and how much I loved them as a child. They were her specialty and it made me think of her as we made them here in Tokyo. They turned out well and were quite tasty, just like I remember as a kid.