I added the links that I forgot the first time!!
Hi! Did you miss me? Well, I've missed you, dear Internet friends.
There has been a lot going on and I would need a full-time assistant in order to be able to get it all onto this blog. I don't know how many times I've started this post, just to be interrupted, just to get back to it and realize that everything has changed so I'll have to start over. So let me try one more time.
I thought that December wasn't going to be too busy since we didn't have to do any music for the Christmas service at our church but we just filled it up with other stuff so now we're busy again. Tomorrow my friend and I are going to decorate the church for Christmas. Chikara is coming along to keep an eye on the kids. This year we are putting up a Christmas tree covered with red and white ribbons with clear lights in the entrance of the church. In the dining hall we are going to hang paper snowflakes from the ceiling so it looks like a Winter Wonderland (hopefully!) and then we'll be putting pointsettias with lights around them on the stage. I'll post some pictures when we're done.
Then tomorrow night I'm going with my friend Abigail to see a Red Priest concert. Abigail discovered them recently and then she found out they were giving a concert in our area so she asked me if I'd like to go with her (of course!). Chikara's going to watch the kids (Thank You!) so I can go with her and enjoy a girl's night out. What should I wear? I have no idea. Any suggestions?
I think we're going to end up celebrating Emi's birthday on this Sunday instead of next Sunday (which is her actual birthday) because Chikara's parents are busy. Yes, sometimes they suck at being grandparents. She's getting a new bicycle for her birthday so we'll go shopping together, let her pick out the one she likes, go out for dinner and then come back to our house for cake. I'm thinking of buying a Baskin Robins ice cream cake instead of making the traditional chocolate cake because I can't see how I'd actually get the cake done between now and then. Cake-baking fairies coming into my kitchen and baking one while I'm asleep are more of a reality at this point.
From Monday I get to prepare for a speech about Canadian culture. How I got roped into this is a long story. The short version is that I'm doing a favor for a friend. I will be going to a junior high school in our area next Friday and speaking to 290 students for 20 minutes, in Japanese, about Canadian culture. At first I thought about sharing about how Canadians celebrate Christmas but I couldn't imagine being able to capture their attention so I've decided so speak about Terry Fox and through his life share about Canadian culture and how Canadians think (I hope!). His story is very interesting so at the least I should be able to keep their attention but I'm hoping to plan a seed of hope in their minds. Now I just have to learn how to say "fundraising", "prosthetic leg" and "Cancer Society of Canada" in Japanese, plus figure out a good translation for "Marathon of Hope" and I'm ready to go.
The Saturday after that is the Children's Christmas Party at our church. Chikara is doing some music for that and both Emi and Misaki are involved so we'll all go to that and then the next day, Sunday (the 16th), I will be singing with the gospel choir that our pastor's wife leads. She asked me awhile ago if I would be willing to sing the solo for two of the songs that they're doing since they don't have a good soloist. I said yes before everything got so busy. But I think it'll be fun. If I could just get some time to practice...
The following Friday we are going to Miyazaki on the evening overnight ferry to attend the wedding of one of Chikara's cousins. We haven't been to Miyazaki for almost two years so I'm really excited to go and see everyone. Chikara's dad is the second of five siblings and they all have at least two or three kids (Chikara's cousins). Chikara is the oldest cousin so when we visit there are a lot of teenagers to watch our kids! Only one of Chikara's cousins has kids so far and they are around the same age as my younger two. We'll be there all of Saturday and Sunday and then leave on the Sunday night ferry arriving home on Christmas Eve morning. Dad wanted to stay one extra day and return on Christmas Day but I said no. Sleeping on a ferry is not how I want to spend Christmas Eve. Ever.
I don't think that Chikara's dad has Tuesday off so we'll get to spend Christmas alone with our girls. Yeah! Last year we went back to Canada for Christmas. It was a very special time and my girls still talk about it like it just happened a few weeks ago. They all thought for sure that we were going back again this year and it was a huge disappointment when I told them that we're not going back until next summer. But I am looking forward to starting our own traditions with the girls now that three of them are old enough to participate. I can't tell if they actually believe in Santa or if they're just pretending to make me feel better so I'll just go with the flow on that point. I am planning to make a nice lunch and maybe use my fine china (twice in one year!). But mostly we'll just relax and enjoy each other, especially since the few weeks before will be a whirlwind.
Oh, and in the middle of the whirlwind I need to find time to put up our Christmas tree and buy all our Christmas presents. Right about now a personal assistant sounds like a good idea.
We have on purposely planned nothing for the New Year's holidays but I'm sure that will change quickly. Hee-hee!