Archive for January, 2011

Oops, Riley’s Birthday Party

In : El Japan, Kiddo, Picture Pages, Posted by on Jan.01, 2011

The recent media has been filled with stories about how much having a December birthday sucks, but for many of us, the date of our first (or subsequent) child was not a choice, rather an unbelievable dream come true.

She blew the all out herself.

So Riley was born 7 days early on December 31, 2004.  The whole story of that birth can be found in the archives of this site.  Every year we’ve had a party for her.  Her first birthday party with family and friends (and no little kids) was held at Vicky’s house.  Her second birthday at Vicky’s house – again with no little kids, just family and friends.  Her third birthday was in Kobe with other faculty kids.  Her fourth birthday was back in Houston with family and friends, but now Eleanor and Thomas joined in.  Then for her fifth birthday we were traveling back to Kobe from Hawaii, and we celebrated a few days early with family.  She has really never had a full on little kid birthday party.


That was her request for her 6th birthday party.   So on December 11th, we invited the entire class and their siblings, and we booked the Community Hall for our apartment complex (think big empty room).  Todd cooked up a storm for the kids and the adults as usual.  The theme of her party was kookie, crazy, so we had an monster the kids created – like pin the nose on the monster.  We had a stop rocket and a target, which were quickly destroyed, and then we had an artsy-crafty section where the kids could draw a kookie, crazy picture.  We also had bomb candles and Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich cake.

The kids had eaten, played all of the games, and were restless after an hour, so we headed out to the yellow playground right behind the Community Hall with all of the cow balloons (kookie, crazy, right?).  Unfortunately, it was sprinkling a little bit when we went outside, but that soon stopped long enough for the kids to go outside and play on the playground.  After 45 minutes outside, we headed back in for goodie bags and good-byes.

We cleaned up and headed back to the house for a couple of hours of rest before we got dressed up and went downtown for our school’s Christmas Party!  That is kookie, crazy!

Here are the photos.

End of an Era

In : El Japan, Kiddo, Picture Pages, Travel, Posted by on Jan.01, 2011

of holidays, that is.

We’ve been on holiday since the 17th of December, and we head back to work tomorrow.


The first part of the holiday was spent taking care of Tess and Riley as they ran fevers for 5 days each, back to back.  Riley was mostly recovered by Christmas Eve, and we headed to the Lemleys for a Christmas Eve feast along with Bob, Lindsay and Tony who came to Kobe from Yokohama to help us celebrate.  Lola spent most of the night laying in my lap.  The older kids had a gift exchange, which they loved.  The adults drank and ate way too much, and we headed back to the house late in time to prepare for Santa’s arrival.  The girls also got to watch a special video from Santa for each of them before heading to bed.


Christmas Day the girls slept in until 9:30, and the adults had all been awake, eaten breakfast, and were almost bored by the time the girls finally woke up.  Santa’s gifts were a doll house, Star Wars Legos, a puzzle, and a Nutcracker.  The girls loved them all as well as all of the gifts from family and us.  Luckily for us (especially the girls) it started snowing half way through present opening.  I bundled them up, and we headed outside to chase huge fluffy flakes.  It snowed for the rest of the day on and off, but unfortunately there was no accumulation.  In the afternoon of Christmas Day, we had friends over to partake in some delicious seafood gumbo.


After Christmas, we had a few days to relax before heading on the Shinkansen to Yokohama to stay with Lindsay and Tony for a bit.  Yokohama was lovely (and warmer than Kobe).  The girls loved spending more time with Bob, Lindsay and Tony.  Riley also celebrated her 6th birthday in Yokohama with some pumpkin pie, Star Wars Legos, Burgers, spider playgrounds, and Bornelund.  She had a fantastic day, and she is so excited to be 6!

We headed back to Kobe on the 1st, after I got sick and ended up with Pink Eye in both eyes!  I spent a few days recovering while the girls spent a few days playing with their new (and old) toys.  Riley’s been working on riding with only two wheels, and we took the pedals and training wheels off of Tess’s bike so she can learn how to balance herself.

So now the house is back to normal with all of the Christmas decorations put away, and we are just relaxing the evening before heading back to work.  Tomorrow is going to be rough!  I don’t think any of us has been up before 8am since the 17th of December!

UPDATE:  I forgot to link to the photos.  Here is the album from Christmas Eve at the Lemleys.  Here is Christmas Eve night and Christmas day.  Here is our first trip to Yokohama.