The Lord is gracious and blessed me with two weeks back home for the holidays. I spent last Christmas in Japan and Vietnam, so it was extra special being back in CA this year.
Steph and I got a cheap flight with Asiana but we had to go through Korea which added another 2hour flight to the trip. But what helped was getting upgraded to business class thanks to our friend Mina who works for Asiana groundstaff at Narita! Never in my life have I sat in anything other than economy...so it felt like a new world.
Landed in Korea and our first stop was Jamba! Man, that Caribbean passion tasted better than I ever remember. 2 hours to Korea...a 2 hour layover...11 hours to LAX... and finally...
HOME! Little Eden loved all the snacks I brought back.
Cam's new thing is wanting to be a Chef. It is the cutest thing. He asked for cooking supplies from Santa for Christmas and when he got it he said, "Making stuff!! (what he calls cooking supplies)... It's what I wanted!"
Every morning my mom does devotionals with the kids, just like she did when I was little. Now with the little ones she pulls them up to her lap one at a time and teaches them this short and amazing phrase, "I will be kind, I will listen, and I will learn to love Jesus." I love that.
First order of business..a plate of Josies mexican tacos nomzzzz.
Spent plenty of time playing outside with the kids.
Love Bailey girl.
Hunter is 5.5 now! Can't believe it. He's a full force energetic-sporty-sweaty-boy and it's awesome. He loves kicking the soccer ball as hard and high as possible, sweating more than a marathon runner, and creating new rules so he wins at every game he plays.
My mom made plenty of "Komae Chicken" this holiday season. Everyone goes crazy for this stuff for good reason - it's covered in shoyu sugar!
My sister and her family recently moved into my grandparents house and it was the first time i've seen it since. She did an amazing job adding her own modern touches while still keeping the house that same cozy place we all grew up going to. I'm so thankful to still have the house in the family (i'm a terribly sentimental person...aka attached to everything) and we had a lovely Komae Christmas there with my dad's side of the fam.
On the Komae Christmas menu... batayaki! A dish my grandparents always made for us kids growing up. It was SO GOOD.
I mean, look at all those veggies yummmmz.
Her facial expressions are too good.
Cam and Len are bffs and talk in the cutest little sentences to each other. Lenya calls Camden "Tanden" and Camden calls her "Len Len" awww.
Eden really is like a tiny doll that has come alive haha.
haha this kid!
On Christmas morning I got all cozy before the kids came over with my journal and Starbucks mug my friend Megan gave me. ahh...home.
My grandparents piano is now at my house and Hunter has been learning quickly! He played jingle bells a thousand times which was cute. I can still hear my mom saying, "no pounding!"
Christmas morning. I love this pic. My parents bought the kids matching pj's last year with their names embroidered on them and they still fit.
On Christmas morning we got all the crew over and had Christmas breakfast. I loved being back with all my siblings, my parents and the kiddos.
Our neighbors won the day with the best gift from Santa!
classic sibling pic! Love these people.
Christmas dinner was with the Hirano side...and Kyle brought his virtual reality for all to try. It was a trip!!
PRIME RIB COOKED TO PERFECTION.
this plate of food right here...YOWZAHh.
Our family has a tradition that the kids must perform a little something in order to get their gifts. This year Hunty, Cam, Len and Eden sang a few songs with their jingle bells in hand.
New Years would not be complete without Mochi.
My mom's job has always been to cut off the pieces for us kids to roll into perfect little mochi balls!
Russ loves his toasted with plenty of kinako on top.
Put all that glorious mochi in mom's amazing ozoni = the absolute best way to start the new year!
Mom and Auntie Julie always do an incredible job cooking up our new years feast. I really don't know how any of us are going to follow in their footsteps!
I mean...it's just too beautiful.
I did a lot of other things back home...but these were the days when I had my camera around. More pics from my phone in another post. On my last night at home my dad planned to take me out to a surprise. All he said was, "dress warm and bring Joel (my camera!)" I had no idea where he was taking me but my dad is a great planner and surprise thrower so I was stoked!
He told me to drive out to La Canada...but before I figured out what we were doing he fed me and my sissy Panera bread!! Fuji apple chicken salad and French onion soup...the best!!!
And the surprise was...
THE ENCHANTED FOREST!!!
They turn Descanso Gardens into a magical land of light...SO rad! I kept thinking...Japanese people would go crazy for this.
Loved spending the night with my dad and sissy.
It was the perfect way to end my time back home. It kind of felt like a dream...being back with my family, seeing so many loved ones and friends, and being there for GPA's funeral. God is so good and really blessed me with the best two weeks at home!