And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Zoo Lights

Seeing Christmas lights has always been part of our Christmas tradition.  Since we live about 30 minutes away from the nearest military base (where even Christmas lights are sparse at best) is the closest "Christmas lights" viewing can be done, we opted to check out Zoo Lights instead.  The Zoo here is pretty fun during the day time as the animals are all at a very close range.  Their habitats are small and rather sad, but the fact that you can just about reach out and touch the animals is pretty cool.  In fact, at one point I was certain that Parker was going to be eaten by a hippo.  I could literally have reached out and touched it; as the fiercest animal in the jungle, I would not have put it past the hippo to just swallow Parker in one bite!  We arrived at the zoo around 4 and had plenty of time to check out all the animals we wanted to before it got dark.





















 Part of the draw to Zoo Lights (in addition to the lights) is also the fact that there is snow.  They use a snow machine to create it of course, but it is still snow, and still awesome none-the-less.  Unfortunately for us, the snow exhibit cost $10 a person and was more than we brought.  Dominik was SUPER upset about it, but still had an okay attitude considering.  However, as luck and answered prayers would have it, just down the walk way from the main snow attraction was a much smaller...and FREE snow play area for the kids.  Dominik was elated and was able to throw a few snowballs before he slipped and fell and then proceeded to hate the snow.  Hahaha...such a funny kid!


The look of a boy who is trying to be happy but is super sad he can't play in snow!






At this point the sun had set and all the lights were turned on.  The lower area that we were in didn't have too many lights so I was pretty disappointed.  However, when we were walking up through the top area towards our car there were so many lights, making the whole trip totally worth it!  There was a laser light show that left something to be desired, but the light displays were spectacular.  My camera and shaky hands didn't do the lights justice...the whole things was very classy (sometimes hard to come by when it comes to the Japanese trying to recreate American traditions) and well done.  The boys did great and we all had a blast!  If we were here next year we would definitely be coming here again!!





If you look closely, you can see them blowing in the snow...so much fun!








Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas...from our Tent to yours!

This year for Christmas we (100% TJ's idea and doing) decided to have Christmas in the new tent that Grandma and Grandpa Papenfuss got for our family.  TJ set everything up...including the couch and the tree...with all the presents, inside of the tent.  When the boys walked up the stairs to see all the presents, they were so surprised and excited to see the tent all set up as well.  Our kids have never been camping before (that they can remember at least) but they were still thought it was pretty cool.

This year for Dominik was a big year for Legos. He got a scooter and helmet from Santa, a few transformers from Grandma and Grandpa, and some Harry Potter Jammies that we can't keep him out of.  Parker got a new scooter from Santa as well, and a trampoline, a basketball hoop, some Mr. Potato head superhero's, and a few Duplo's Lego sets.  TJ got an Amazon Fire TV Stick for downstairs, a golf glove and gift card, and a new water bottle.  I got a new wooden watch, some cute boots, the new Adele CD, and a BOSCH!!  I can't believe that Grandma and Grandpa Finlayson got us (mostly me) a BOSCH!!  I also can't believe that in the weeks leading up to Christmas, TJ watched me make 4 dozen cinnamon rolls, 2 dozen dinner rolls, and 14 cherry turnovers, all with my broken Kitchen Aid mixer...while the Bosch was just sitting wrapped up in our living room.  Oh well...I am still so excited to have such an amazing new kitchen tool.  The Bosch really is a gift for the family though...now I'm even more enticed to make yummy treats for the family because it's an excuse to use it!










 

The only downside to Christmas this year was the fact that Dominik, Parker, and I all had food poisoning!  We spent most of the night and day throwing up or having diarrhea.  Definitely not an ideal way to spend such a festive holiday, but it did allow us time to slow down and really relax...when we weren't in the bathroom or cleaning up puke that is!

The evening was spent with good friends and good food!  Midori brought KFC for dinner which is a traditional Japanese Christmas dinner.  In fact, it is so traditional and in such high demand that you have to pre-order the dinner by December 10th and schedule a pick up time.  We enjoyed sharing traditions with Midori, the sister missionaries, and the Layton's.  We are so lucky to have such great friends to share these holidays with!!