December


Thanksgiving leftovers


building forts on a cold, rainy day


Fujisan.


They love Winter Illuminations here. We went to one near us.


S’s room


The bedrooms are small, but there’s plenty of room in her closet!


We have a growing collection of small/vintage-y frames with photos of us in them.


We took a trip to Palau to see where Ezra lived for 4.5 years when he was a kid. But it takes us around 3 hours to get to the airport, and our flight was mid-morning, so we stayed the night in Narita at an Air BnB. Staying in modern-traditional apartments via Air BnB has been a lot of fun.

Oh, Japan. 😉


Waiting to board


Koror National Museum

We spent a few days doing more touristy stuff and a few days seeing Ezra’s old stomping grounds.

We later found out there was a much better road, but our drive to the northern part of Babeldaob was an adventure.


Ezra on the beach they used to play at


drawing her usual crowd


Hiking the stone path and eating young coconut


The water is so clean and clear


She loved the warmer weather (=fewer clothes), the sand, and being outside so much.


The reef was so neat


Stone monoliths


waterfall hike


a friend of a friend in Palau gave me this to help with my bug bites (20+!).


we took the public ferry out to Peleliu to see WWII remains.


E in the thousand man cave


pillbox


a warning about unexploded ordnance… stay on the paths!


Scarlet Beach


Peace Memorial. It’s rather emotional to look at a memorial about a bloody battle between the US and Japan when we now live in Japan and the Japanese are so welcoming to Americans, and there is peace and friendship between us.


Zero fighter. Probably my favorite part, thanks to Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises


clouds between Guam and Narita


Nursery in Narita airport.


So you know how to use the Japanese toilet. 😉


S was cranky in a restaurant once and an elderly couple gave this to her on the way out.


we went to a playroom full of felt toys made by elderly Japanese ladies. S loved it.


Christmas eve dinner


Christmas morning


Favorite Christmas present. 😉 I can’t find it over here!


We’re having trouble with the heat in the house being either nothing or too much… hence the often little-clad toddler.


“I’m helping you guys sort the trash.”


We invited my Japanese friend and her family to Christmas dinner. She brought homemade sushi! So yummy!


10 PM on New Years’ Eve deciding Midnight in New Zealand was good enough for us, so we said cheers and drank some orange water kefir.

favorite recipes// naturally sweet sugar cookies // Mediterranean baked sweet potatoes (though not so great with Japanese sweet potatoes) // earl grey granola // blueberry ricotta shallot pizza // homemade cooked eggnog // chocolate pumpkin tart (the crust wasn’t good but the filling was like fudge!)

best of online//  7 Reasons to Celebrate Advent // creative conversations with your kids // The Best Place to Be // what to do in an active shooter situation // why to take fewer pictures // Spurgeon on Christmas // clips from the ABC movie // 10 Things Healthy People do Differently // how to protect your children in an active shooter situation // ISIS issues fatwa against down syndrome children // My Muslim Problem (don’t agree with all of his theology, but still a good read) // 11 Ways to Write Better // Worship Leader resolutions // gluttony // when Satan steals your motherhood

reading of late// Shepherding a Child’s Heart // Compassion Without Compromise // Openness Unhindered

what brings joy// warm weather // sunshine // beach baby // S dancing to this (Sleigh Ride in 7/8) // quiet days at home // restful vacation // the ocean // opportunities to share Christ with my Japanese friends // listening to Ezra preach // grace navigating new cultures – grace from others to us, and grace from God to allow us to be joyful when we take a long trip to IKEA and come back with no couches.

Miss Munchkin// tells us stories in her own little language now, loves to read books, make music, and eat food.

writing// Javi’s Cafe, 24. Javi’s Cafe, closing thoughts.

Also, I had the opportunity to record a bit of oboe for a family friend’s 25 Days of Christmas blog series. You can listen to it here.

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