Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Morning 2012...

Our first Christmas in Japan has gone very well so far. Here is a 4-minute video of the kids discovering what Santa brought, as well as opening their scooters. And, of course, there are photos below. I tried to get photos of everyone, opening at least one gift from everyone who sent one, but I may have missed some... sorry if I missed yours! Everything was well-received and appreciated! The kids thought that this was a very good Christmas as far as presents went. In fact, they are already outside showing their friends.

We opened presents with Grandma Nancy and that side of the family on Skype.

The aftermath

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Karate and a letter from Santa...

Thursday was karate day, as usual, but what was unusual is that is was a serious sparring day, as well as a leveling up day for Xan, which he didn't know was coming.

Here is a 10-minute video of the boys sparring and the brief leveling up ceremony for Xan: Click here

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here. It's in the 40's during the day, getting down to the mid-30's at night. The kids still enjoy playing outside, only their cheeks get pretty rosy:

Xan got a letter from Santa today. It was addressed to Alex Guthrie, so after enjoying the letter with his brother, Xan disappeared in his room. He came out with a letter he had written to Santa, and asked for an envelope:

The boys and I are also semi-famous. A photo of us from the Tsuzu trip is displayed in the library building.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lost teeth, a promotion and a Christmas party...

Sorry for the delay in blogging, but it has been a pretty busy week for us. Will and Xan each lost a tooth, Rodney was selected for promotion and returned from his balmy tropical vacation in Guam, and I have been grading 35 students' work and turning in grades for the semester. Here are some photos to share with you guys:

I forgot to mention this in the Tsuzu blog post, but we got name tags that had our names in Japanese. I know hen it is my name because I have a smiley face with a dimple, then a capital I, and then a smiley face without a dimple.

Concrete walls make it hard to hang things. But, with the help of some Command heavy-duty stick-em-up hooks, I finally got my "Scrumptious" wall hanging up! I realized I don't have my new brother-in-law, Luke, or the newest baby cousin, Ben, up there, so I must get to work!

As I mentioned the boys each lost a tooth this week. Will lost his 6th one since we moved to Japan. Not to be outdone, Xan, that same night, went to work on his loose tooth, but only manged to give himself a bloody lip. I have no idea how he did it, and he was not forthcoming with the information. But, a few days later, the tooth was too loose to be able to eat with, so Dad pulled it. The Japanese tooth fairy came to our house twice this week, dropping off 100 yen each time.

Two nights before Rodney got home from Guam, the detachment had its annual Christmas party. The kids and I took fashion up a notch and headed out to the club on base for a catered meal. Santa was there and he gave each boy a pack of WWE Rumbler wrestlers, which they were more than happy with.

As I mentioned previously, Rodney found out on Friday morning that he has been selected for promotion. His last promotion was in 2007 and he is projected to pin on his rank February 1. This is a photo of him buying Master Sergeant chevrons, which he was dying to do the moment he got home. I snapped this picture, which he was telling me not to snap. Since when do I listen?

We finally got our official Marine Corps ball photo. This is the first year that we don't have an American and Marine Corps flag behind us. It wasn't an option this year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Youth Cultural Tour

The kids and I went on a youth cultural tour yesterday. Click here for the story.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Grocery list...

I thought this was funny... Xan is now writing things on the grocery list...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Whoops! Forgot some Christmas photos!

I forgot to take photos of two other areas that have been attacked by Christmas. Here they are:

In other news, Rodney got to his "holiday vacations" spot safely late last night. He said his hotel is disgusting and a relic from the 1970's, but he does get free wifi that sometimes works.

My first scrapbooking class in Iwakuni went very well. I had 8 ladies, who all said they had a great time. You can see photos of the event by clicking here. I am having a crafting holiday open house next Tuesday. Hopefully that will go just as well.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Beginning-of-December updates...

Well, the Christmas cards are in the mail and our mid-rise looks like the holidays threw up in it, so we are good to go for Dec. 25. If you haven't had a chance, yet, take a look at my blog post about our decorations. Rodney griped at me about how many boxes of Christmas stuff we have, but, at the same time, he said the house looks nice and wants the holiday lights on when he's home.

Speaking of Rodney, he will be leaving soon for his fun time on an island that is a U.S. territory. Have to be cryptic because of military secrecy, etc. I don't know why. It sounds like he is going to a tropical location on a plane during the month of December. Seems like a vacation to me. ;) When he is home, he is polishing his bowling skills... bowling is his new hobby, and since we can see the bowling alley from our house, it's a convenient way for him to stay out of trouble.

Xan finally has all of his tiny cavities filled (four in total! The kids are now rinsing their teeth with ACT and have fresh batteries in their electronic tooth brushes) and Will had the crack in his front tooth filled in. We are both pleased with the results. The kids' dentist is a cute blonde 20-something lieutenant that the kids adore. Sorry, boys, she's getting married soon.

I have officially lost 33 pounds since Sept. 1, although I took the week off last week, fighting off a cold. Rodney is now fighting it off. It seems like each year I move somewhere, I get sick. When I moved to Illinois, I got pneumonia; when I moved to Florida, I got a kidney infection. Now I have this cold that has lasted nearly 2 weeks. Yuck. Tomorrow night is my first scrapbooking class here in Iwakuni. Hopefully all will go well and it can be a fun event every month. I am also finishing up my first semester as an online instructor. I have about 50 papers to grade before grades are due on Dec. 17, so I am not looking forward to that.

Speaking of papers, here are some recent writing samples from the boys. I'm sure you can guess whose is who's, and who the brown-noser in the family is. I would also like to remind you that Mrs. Howell is another cute, well-educated, blonde 20-something in Xan's life.

Will's paper pays homage to a memory of Grandpa Paul:

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The Japanese protested today outside the front gate of the base, so the front gate was closed for a couple of hours.Japanese law requires that protesters get permits ahead of time so the base knew about this scheduled protest a few days ago. Here is a video a friend of mine took. I have no idea what they are shouting, or what they were protesting, other than the American military's general presence in their country.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Molly goes to school...

Both boys wanted to show Molly off to their classes at school, so I arranged it with their teachers to go Wednesday afternoon. Will's class of 5th graders was first, and the other 5th grade class joined them. I created a PowerPoint presentation for the kids, and just made sure my talks were age-appropriate. Here are photos, and a link to the YouTube video Will took.